11.2. Starting Services

Contributed by Tom Rhodes.

Many users install third party software on FreeBSD from the Ports Collection and require the installed services to be started upon system initialization. Services, such as mail/postfix or www/apache22 are just two of the many software packages which may be started during system initialization. This section explains the procedures available for starting third party software.

In FreeBSD, most included services, such as cron(8), are started through the system startup scripts.

11.2.1. Extended Application Configuration

Now that FreeBSD includes rc.d, configuration of application startup is easier and provides more features. Using the key words discussed in Section 11.4, “Managing Services in FreeBSD”, applications can be set to start after certain other services and extra flags can be passed through /etc/rc.conf in place of hard coded flags in the startup script. A basic script may look similar to the following:

# PROVIDE: utility
# KEYWORD: shutdown

. /etc/rc.subr



load_rc_config $name

# SET THEM IN THE /etc/rc.conf FILE

run_rc_command "$1"

This script will ensure that the provided utility will be started after the DAEMON pseudo-service. It also provides a method for setting and tracking the process ID (PID).

This application could then have the following line placed in /etc/rc.conf:


This method allows for easier manipulation of command line arguments, inclusion of the default functions provided in /etc/rc.subr, compatibility with rcorder(8), and provides for easier configuration via rc.conf.

11.2.2. Using Services to Start Services

Other services can be started using inetd(8). Working with inetd(8) and its configuration is described in depth in Section 28.2, “The inetd Super-Server”.

In some cases, it may make more sense to use cron(8) to start system services. This approach has a number of advantages as cron(8) runs these processes as the owner of the crontab(5). This allows regular users to start and maintain their own applications.

The @reboot feature of cron(8), may be used in place of the time specification. This causes the job to run when cron(8) is started, normally during system initialization.

All FreeBSD documents are available for download at http://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/doc/

Questions that are not answered by the documentation may be sent to <freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.org>.
Send questions about this document to <freebsd-doc@FreeBSD.org>.