linux – How to run a shell script at startup

The Question :

392 people think this question is useful

On an Amazon S3 Linux instance, I have two scripts called start_my_app and stop_my_app which start and stop forever (which in turn runs my Node.js application). I use these scripts to manually start and stop my Node.js application. So far so good.

My problem: I also want to set it up such that start_my_app is run whenever the system boots up. I know that I need to add a file inside init.d and I know how to symlink it to the proper directory within rc.d, but I can’t figure out what actually needs to go inside the file that I place in init.d. I’m thinking it should be just one line, like, start_my_app, but that hasn’t been working for me.

The Question Comments :
  • I’m no experte in this kind of stuff, but I think the init.d solution (here) should be preferred to the rc.local solution because the latter one is the old tooling which is only still usable because the new tooling is backward compatible.
  • pm2 start my_app; pm2 startup; pm2 save

The Answer 1

305 people think this answer is useful

In the file you put in /etc/init.d/ you have to set it executable with:

chmod +x /etc/init.d/start_my_app

Thanks to @meetamit, if this does not run you have to create a symlink to /etc/rc.d/

ln -s /etc/init.d/start_my_app /etc/rc.d/

Please note that on latest Debian, this will not work as your script have to be LSB compliant (provide, at least, the following actions: start, stop, restart, force-reload, and status):

As a note, you should put the absolute path of your script instead of a relative one, it may solves unexpected issues:


And don’t forget to add on top of that file:


The Answer 2

380 people think this answer is useful

Set a crontab for this

#crontab -e
@reboot  /home/user/

after every startup it will run the test script.

The Answer 3

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A simple approach is to add a line in /etc/rc.local :


or if you want to run the command as a special user :


(the trailing ampersand backgrounds the process and allows the rc.local to continue executing)

If you want a full init script, debian distro have a template file, so :

cp /etc/init.d/skeleton /etc/init.d/your_app

and adapt it a bit.

The Answer 4

35 people think this answer is useful

This is the way I do it on Red Hat Linux systems.

Put your script in /etc/init.d, owned by root and executable. At the top of the script, you can give a directive for chkconfig. Example, the following script is used to start a Java application as user oracle.

The name of the script is /etc/init.d/apex

# chkconfig: 345 99 10
# Description: auto start apex listener
case "$1" in
   su - oracle -c "cd /opt/apex ; java -jar apex.war > logs/apex.log 2>logs/apex_error.log &";;
   echo "put something to shutdown or kill the process here";;

This says that the script must run at levels 3, 4, and 5, and the priority for start/stop is 99 and 10.

Then, as user root you can use chkconfig to enable or disable the script at startup:

chkconfig --list apex
chkconfig --add apex

And you can use service start/stop apex.

The Answer 5

26 people think this answer is useful

Enter cron using sudo:

sudo crontab -e

Add a command to run upon start up, in this case a script:

@reboot sh /home/user/


Press ESC then ūüė° to save and exit, or hit ESC then ZZ (that’s shift+zz)

Test Test Test:

  1. Run your test script without cron to make sure it actually works.

  2. Make sure you saved your command in cron, use sudo crontab -e

  3. Reboot the server to confirm it all works sudo @reboot

The Answer 6

15 people think this answer is useful

Just have a line added to your crontab..

Make sure the file is executable:

chmod +x /path_to_you_file/your_file

To edit crontab file:

crontab -e

Line you have to add:

@reboot  /path_to_you_file/your_file

That simple!

The Answer 7

11 people think this answer is useful

Another option is to have an @reboot command in your crontab.

Not every version of cron supports this, but if your instance is based on the Amazon Linux AMI then it will work.

The Answer 8

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You can do it :

chmod +x PATH_TO_YOUR_SCRIPT/start_my_app 

then use this command

update-rc.d start_my_app defaults 100

Please see this page on Cyberciti.

The Answer 9

4 people think this answer is useful

Edit the rc.local file using nano or gedit editor and add your scripts in it. File path could be /etc/rc.local or /etc/rc.d/rc.local.

sudo nano /etc/rc.local

This is the edit:


once done press ctrl+o to update, pressEnter then ctrl+x.

Make the file executable.

sudo chmod 755 /etc/rc.local

Then initiate the rc-local service to run script during boot.

sudo systemctl start rc-local

The Answer 10

3 people think this answer is useful

Create your own /init executable

This is not what you want, but it is fun!

Just pick an arbitrary executable file, even a shell script, and boot the kernel with the command line parameter:


Towards the end of boot, the Linux kernel runs the first userspace executable at the given path.

Several projects provide popular init executables used by major distros, e.g. systemd, and in most distros init will fork a bunch of processes used in normal system operation.

But we can hijack /init it to run our own minimal scripts to better understand our system.

Here is a minimal reproducible setup:

The Answer 11

2 people think this answer is useful

This simple solution worked for me on an Amazon Linux instance running CentOS. Edit your /etc/rc.d/rc.local file and put the command there. It is mentioned in this file that it will be executed after all other init scripts. So be careful in that regards. This is how the file looks for me currently.enter image description here. Last line is the name of my script.

The Answer 12

1 people think this answer is useful

The absolute easiest method if all you want to run is a simple script, (or anything) is if you have a gui to use system > preferences then startup apps.

just browse to the script you want and there you go. (make script executable)

The Answer 13

1 people think this answer is useful

For Debian 9 see It is helped me. Short version for Debian 9: add commands (as root) to /etc/rc.local

/path_to_file/ ||  exit 1   # Added by me
exit 0

Probably, /path_to_file/ should be executable (I think so).

The Answer 14

1 people think this answer is useful

In Lubuntu I had to deal with the opposite situation. Skype start running after booting and I found in ~/.config/autostart/ the file skypeforlinux.desktop. The content of the file is as follows:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Skype for Linux
Comment=Skype Internet Telephony

Deleting this file helped me.

The Answer 15

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I refered to this blog, always sound a good choice

vim /lib/systemd/system/gosite.service

Description=A simple go website



systemctl enable gosite.service

The Answer 16

1 people think this answer is useful

Here is a simpler method!

First: write a shell script and save it a .sh here is an example

echo "disabled" > $fconfig
xinput float $id
notify-send -i $Icoff "Internal Keyboard disabled";

this script will disable the internal keyboard at startup.

Second: Open the application ” Startup Application Preferences”

enter image description here

enter image description here

Third: click Add. fourth: in the NAME section give a name. fifth: In the command section browse to your .sh . sixth: edit your command section to:

bash <space> path/to/file/<filename>.sh <space> --start

seventh: click Add. Thats it! Finished!

Now confirm by rebooting your pc.


The Answer 17

0 people think this answer is useful
  • Add your script to /etc/init.d/ directory
  • Update your rc run-levels: $ update-rc.d defaults NN where NN is the order in which it should be executed. 99 for example will mean it would be run after 98 and before 100.

The Answer 18

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Painless, easiest and the most universal method is simply executing it with ~.bash_profile or ~.profile (if you don’t have bash_profile file).

Just add the execution command at the bottom of that file and it will be executed when system started.

I have this one at the bottom an example; ~\Desktop\

The Answer 19

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Working with Python 3 microservices or shell; using Ubuntu Server 18.04 (Bionic Beaver) or Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) or Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) I always do like these steps, and it worked always too:

  1. Creating a microservice called p example “brain_microservice1.service” in my case:

    $ nano /lib/systemd/system/brain_microservice1.service
  2. Inside this new service that you are in:

    ExecStart=/usr/bin/python3.7 /root/scriptsPython/RUN_SERVICES/microservices    / -k start -DFOREGROUND
    ExecStop=/usr/bin/python3.7 /root/scriptsPython/RUN_SERVICES/microservices/ -k graceful-stop
    ExecReload=/usr/bin/python3.7 /root/scriptsPython/RUN_SERVICES/microservices/ -k graceful
  3. Give the permissions:

    $ chmod -X /lib/systemd/system/brain_microservice*
    $ chmod -R 775 /lib/systemd/system/brain_microservice*
  4. Give the execution permission then:

    $ systemctl daemon-reload
  5. Enable then, this will make then always start on startup

    $ systemctl enable brain_microservice1.service
  6. Then you can test it;

    $ sudo reboot now

  7. Finish = SUCCESS!!

This can be done with the same body script to run shell, react … database startup script … any kind os code … hope this help u…

The Answer 20

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Many answers on starting something at boot, but often you want to start it just a little later, because your script depends on e.g. networking. Use at to just add this delay, e.g.:

at now + 1 min -f /path/yourscript

You may add this in /etc/rc.local, but also in cron like:

# crontab -e
@reboot at now + 1 min -f /path/yourscript

Isn’t it fun to combine cron and at? Info is in the man page man at.

As for the comments that @reboot may not be widely supported, just try it. I found out that /etc/rc.local has become obsolete on distros that support systemd, such as ubuntu and raspbian.

The Answer 21

-6 people think this answer is useful

For some people, this will work:

You could simply add the following command into System ‚Üí Preferences ‚Üí Startup Applications:

bash /full/path/to/your/

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