Start, Stop and Restart services on systemd RHEL 7 Linux server

The Systemd system management daemon was designed to replace current init system inherited from UNIX System V operating systems such Linux and thus making current init system obsolete. It this tutorial we will discuss some systemd basics such as how to start or stop service and see service status using systemctl command.

Let’s start with little bit of information about our systemd version. Use the below systemctl command to determine systemd version:

[root@rhel7 ~]# systemctl --version
systemd 208

Next, we use systemctl command to list all currenly running services on our Redhat Linux server system:

[root@rhel7 ~]# systemctl list-units --type=service | grep running

show list of all running services on rhel7 linux server
Similarly we can list all services which failed to load during the system’s boot time:

[root@rhel7 ~]# systemctl list-units --type=service | grep failed
fprintd.service                                                                           loaded failed failed  Fingerprint Authentication Daemon
rhnsd.service                                                                             loaded failed failed  LSB: Starts the Spacewalk Daemon
rngd.service                                                                              loaded failed failed  Hardware RNG Entropy Gatherer Daemon

If you are interested in all active services available on your system simply execute the above systemctl command without the grep pipe:

[root@rhel7 ~]# systemctl list-units --type=service
systemd-udevd.service                                                    loaded active running udev Kernel Device Manager
systemd-update-utmp.service                                              loaded active exited  Update UTMP about System Reboot/Shutdown
systemd-user-sessions.service                                            loaded active exited  Permit User Sessions
systemd-vconsole-setup.service                                           loaded active exited  Setup Virtual Console
tuned.service                                                            loaded active running Dynamic System Tuning Daemon
upower.service                                                           loaded active running Daemon for power management
vboxadd-service.service                                                  loaded active running LSB: VirtualBox Additions service
vboxadd-x11.service                                                      loaded active exited  LSB: VirtualBox Linux Additions kernel modules
vboxadd.service                                                          loaded active exited  LSB: VirtualBox Linux Additions kernel modules

LOAD   = Reflects whether the unit definition was properly loaded.
ACTIVE = The high-level unit activation state, i.e. generalization of SUB.
SUB    = The low-level unit activation state, values depend on unit type.

68 loaded units listed. Pass --all to see loaded but inactive units, too.
To show all installed unit files use 'systemctl list-unit-files'.

The above command will only list active services. To list all services including inactive services run:

[root@rhel7 ~]# systemctl list-units --type=service --all

Once we have located the service we whish to start, stop, restart or get a status on, we use systemctl command with a following syntax:


So for example to stop our Postfix Mail Transport Agent:

postfix.service     loaded active running Postfix Mail Transport Agent

We can issue a systemctl command:

[root@rhel7 ~]# systemctl stop postfix.service
[root@rhel7 ~]# systemctl stop postfix

Later we can check the status using:

[root@rhel7 ~]# systemctl status postfix.service
postfix.service - Postfix Mail Transport Agent
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/postfix.service; enabled)
   Active: inactive (dead) since Mon 2014-09-15 12:27:09 WST; 5s ago

Depending on the service you are trying to manage you can use various different commands such as stop, start, restart, status, reload, kill etc. Check the manual page of systemctl command to get a full list of commands.