I run a web site that uses Node.JS on Ubuntu Server (14.04 LTS). After rebooting the machine, my current workflow is to manually start the server manually by running the command

$ forever start app.js

I'm now trying to automate this process with Upstart. I have used chkconfig on RHEL before, but I am new to Upstart. I wrote the following script and saved it in /etc/init/myapp.conf.

description "Start the node process with Upstart"         

start on startup                                                   
stop on shutdown                                                   
expect fork                                                        

env APP_DIR="/path/to/app"                         
env NODE_BIN="/usr/local/bin"                                      
env HOME_DIR="/home/admin"                                     

    echo "Starting"                                             
    su admin                                                   
    cd $APP_DIR                                                    
    echo "Running forever start"                                   
    forever start app.js                                      
end script                                                         

pre-stop script                                                    
    echo "Stopping"                                             
    su admin                                                   
    cd $APP_DIR                                                    
    echo "Running forever stop"                                    
    forever stop app.js                                       
end script

However, the script does not seem to work. When I run sudo start myapp or sudo stop myapp, the console just hangs.

I would like Upstart to emulate as closely as possible to what would happen if I just signed in to the computer upon reboot and ran forever start app.js, including the user running the process, the default log file locations, and so on.

Any ideas?

1 Answer 1


by using upstart you'll be able stop using forever for your node process management. upstart has mechanisms for ensuring your process is started/stopped/restarted in the event of a failure (or nearly any other event for that matter)

here's a modified version of your upstart script that uses upstart's respawn directive to handle restarting your process if it crashes:

description "Start the node process with Upstart"         
author "you"

# use if your process is going to fork *once*
# expect fork

# use if your process is going to fork *twice*
# exepect daemon

# respawn the process indefinitely
# (ie. disregard the number of times it crashed
# during a given interval and continuously 
# restart the process)
respawn limit unlimited

setuid admin

# ensures the process is only started once we have
# filesystem access and an ethernet interface other
# than loopback is available (ie. internet conn)
# if your node process doesn't require net connectivity
# just remove the `and net-device-up...`
start on (local-filesystem and net-device-up IFACE!=lo)
stop on shutdown

# chdir sets the directory for all script blocks 
# (pre/post/errethang)
chdir "/path/to/your/app"

    # we're already in /path/to/your/app cause of `chdir`                                       
    echo "app is starting"
    /usr/local/bin/node app.js 2>&1 > app.log
end script

pre-stop script
    echo "app is about to stop"
end script

finally, to be certain that there are no syntax errors in your service conf, you can use init-checkconf /etc/init/myapp.conf.

my main source of reference for upstart is here. this document is a bit heavyweight, though. and it's hard to discern real world usage from some of the examples.

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