I made changes on the /etc/environment file and want the webserver user www-data to benefit from them without rebooting the server.

It seems that, in order to reload the /etc/environment file, I only need to login¹.

Therefore, I'm trying to make the www-data user proceed to the login, but didn't find anything relevant.

I'm using lighttpd webserver.

How can I make the webserver (and it's user) aware of the changes in /etc/environment without a reboot?

  • System users don't log in the way human users do. What init system are you using (sysvinit, upstart, systemd, …)? Nov 26, 2015 at 23:24

1 Answer 1


I am not really sure I fully understood what you exactly trying to do here. Are you saying that you allow webserver and its user to login via shell?

However, beside the mysterious usage that you want to do with lighttpd, if you want to apply the env setting and make webserver aware of the envs, all you need to do is to bounce the lighttpd. You don't have to reboot the server for this but just web application.

  • what do you mean "bounce"? fyi: a service lighttpd restart doesn't seam reload the the /etc/environment
    – Jav
    Nov 27, 2015 at 10:36

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