I have come across a .service that contains the following:


The original .service file can be found HERE.

I am on Ubuntu 16.04LTS.

  • 3
    Possible duplicate of What is systemd's target, service and socket?
    – muru
    Nov 15, 2017 at 8:49
  • 2
    It's not a proper duplicate, as (reading beyond the title) this question is asking about the [Install] section of a unit file. Ironically, it is the very next table down from the one hyperlinked in the question.
    – JdeBP
    Nov 15, 2017 at 11:52
  • 1
    This new related question has a lot more details in the answer and is very well worth reading.
    – Wildcard
    Mar 14, 2019 at 23:13
  • It really is, thanks for pointing there @Wildcard.
    – Rapti
    Jan 22, 2021 at 15:43

3 Answers 3


multi-user.target means that the systemd-service will start when the system reach runlevel 2.

To complement the answer, here's a table of the targets and their run levels:

Run Lvl Target Units                        Description
0       runlevel0.target, poweroff.target   Shut down and power off
1       runlevel1.target, rescue.target     Set up a rescue shell
2,3,4   runlevel[234].target,               Set up a non-gfx multi-user shell
5       runlevel5.target, graphical.target  Set up a gfx multi-user shell
6       runlevel6.target, reboot.target     Shut down and reboot the system
  • 1
    But it's WantedBy=multi-user.target, so it just means the service will start and before runlevel 2 right ? not necessarily when system reaches runlevel 2, am I wrong ?
    – Tristan
    Dec 10, 2018 at 17:53
  • 2
    What's a gfx multi-user shell? Any reference? Oct 14, 2019 at 7:46
  • A gfx multi-user shell refer to a multi-user system with a GUI. Oct 15, 2019 at 14:44
  • @TobiasHolm You might not be completely right, I'm getting the same target (graphical.target) even on a GUI-less Debian server with systemctl get-default.
    – aderchox
    Nov 27, 2021 at 10:30

This is the dependencies handling mechanism in systemd. multi-user.target is the alternative for runlevel 3 in systemV world. That said, reaching multi-user.target includes starting the "Confluent ZooKeeper" service. Probably that's what you need indeed.

  • 6
    pretty vague answer. amazed that it got the green tick. some people be like, knows a little, throws a brittle.
    – ino
    Aug 21, 2021 at 5:14

I found this tutorial the simplest to understand. You can run the following command yourself to see what's there:

$ ls -al /lib/systemd/system/runlevel*
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 15 Apr 25 10:31 /lib/systemd/system/runlevel0.target -> poweroff.target
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 13 Apr 25 10:31 /lib/systemd/system/runlevel1.target -> rescue.target
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 17 Apr 25 10:31 /lib/systemd/system/runlevel2.target -> multi-user.target
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 17 Apr 25 10:31 /lib/systemd/system/runlevel3.target -> multi-user.target
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 17 Apr 25 10:31 /lib/systemd/system/runlevel4.target -> multi-user.target
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 16 Apr 25 10:31 /lib/systemd/system/runlevel5.target -> graphical.target
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 13 Apr 25 10:31 /lib/systemd/system/runlevel6.target -> reboot.target

But you should probably just read the linked question accepted answer about targets.

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