Running NodeBB

The preferred way to start and stop NodeBB is by invoking its executable:

However, NodeBB when started via ./nodebb start will not automatically start up again when the system reboots. The methods listed below are alternatives to starting NodeBB via the executable.


Newer releases of Ubuntu use systemd to manage their services. The following is a systemd service example you can use:


ExecStart=/path/to/nodebb/nodebb --no-silent --no-daemon


Replace your username (myuser) and the path to NodeBB as appropriate.

Save the file to /etc/systemd/system/nodebb.service. Start and stop NodeBB by doing the following:

$ systemctl start nodebb
$ systemctl stop nodebb

Note that we are passing --no-silent and --no-daemon to the executable. The former ensures that logging is sent to stdout (in which case you can view the log output by running journalctl -u nodebb), and the latter doesn't do any forking and runs in the main parent thread.

For more information on configuring systemd, please consult the manpage for the systemd service.


Older versions of Ubuntu may utilise Upstart to manage processes at boot. Upstart also handles restarts of scripts if/when they crash.

You can use Upstart to start/stop/restart your NodeBB.

Note: Prior to NodeBB v0.7.0, Upstart processes would not track the proper pid, meaning there was no way to stop the NodeBB process. NodeBB v0.7.0 includes some changes that allow Upstart to control NodeBB more effectively.

You can utilise this Upstart configuration as a template to manage your NodeBB:

start on startup
stop on runlevel [016]
setuid someuser
setgid someuser
    cd /path/to/nodebb
    node loader.js --no-silent --no-daemon
end script

From there, you can start stop and restart NodeBB as the root user: start nodebb, stop nodebb, restart nodebb, assuming nodebb.conf is the name of the Upstart config file.

Supervisor Process

Using the supervisor package, you can have NodeBB restart itself if it crashes:

$ npm install -g supervisor
$ supervisor app

As supervisor by default continues to pipe output to stdout, it is best suited to development builds.

Forever Daemon

Another way to keep NodeBB up is to use the forever package via the command line interface, which can monitor NodeBB and re-launch it if necessary:

$ npm install -g forever
$ forever start app.js

Grunt Development

We can utilize grunt to launch NodeBB and re-compile assets when files are changed. Start up speed is increased because we don't compile assets that weren't modified.

Installing Grunt

$ npm install -g grunt-cli

Run grunt to start up NodeBB and watch for code changes.

$ grunt