Node.js – How to run a node.js app as a background service

backgrounddaemonnode.jsprocessserver

Since this post has gotten a lot of attention over the years, I've listed the top solutions per platform at the bottom of this post.


Original post:

I want my node.js server to run in the background, i.e.: when I close my terminal I want my server to keep running. I've googled this and came up with this tutorial, however it doesn't work as intended. So instead of using that daemon script, I thought I just used the output redirection (the 2>&1 >> file part), but this too does not exit – I get a blank line in my terminal, like it's waiting for output/errors.

I've also tried to put the process in the background, but as soon as I close my terminal the process is killed as well.

So how can I leave it running when I shut down my local computer?


Top solutions:

Best Solution

Copying my own answer from How do I run a Node.js application as its own process?

2015 answer: nearly every Linux distro comes with systemd, which means forever, monit, PM2, etc are no longer necessary - your OS already handles these tasks.

Make a myapp.service file (replacing 'myapp' with your app's name, obviously):

[Unit]
Description=My app

[Service]
ExecStart=/var/www/myapp/app.js
Restart=always
User=nobody
# Note Debian/Ubuntu uses 'nogroup', RHEL/Fedora uses 'nobody'
Group=nogroup
Environment=PATH=/usr/bin:/usr/local/bin
Environment=NODE_ENV=production
WorkingDirectory=/var/www/myapp

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Note if you're new to Unix: /var/www/myapp/app.js should have #!/usr/bin/env node on the very first line and have the executable mode turned on chmod +x myapp.js.

Copy your service file into the /etc/systemd/system.

Start it with systemctl start myapp.

Enable it to run on boot with systemctl enable myapp.

See logs with journalctl -u myapp

This is taken from How we deploy node apps on Linux, 2018 edition, which also includes commands to generate an AWS/DigitalOcean/Azure CloudConfig to build Linux/node servers (including the .service file).