I'm pretty new to the deployment world but this is what's going on. I have a new Ubuntu (Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS) droplet from DigitalOcean. I installed and configured nginx and everything is working smooth. I turn it on and off with: service nginx start/service nginx stop but I need to be able to do this with a different user called pepito.

When I try to run service nginx start with pepito I get:

~# service nginx restart
==== AUTHENTICATING FOR org.freedesktop.systemd1.manage-units ===
Authentication is required to restart 'nginx.service'.
Authenticating as: pepito

But I'm going to be running this from Capistrano so I don't want to be asked to enter the password, so I added this to visudo like this:

pepito ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: /usr/sbin/service nginx*

Tried again and same problem. Keep googling and reading and find out that ==== AUTHENTICATING FOR org.freedesktop.systemd1.manage-units === is a message from Polkit so I read a little about it and created the following file in: /etc/polkit-1/localauthority/50-local.d/nginx.pkla


Of course it doesn't work when I try to start and stop nginx from pepito. I don't know what else to try!

1 Answer 1


With the visudo command you edited the file /etc/sudoers, which only applies if you prefix your commands with sudo, in your case sudo service nginx start.

  • Thanks dude! It was driving me crazy. I'll just avoid using Polkit that I can't understand!
    – Andres
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 16:20
  • 1
    Sudo is the general mechanism in Linux/Unix to provide fine-grained access to superuser rights. Commented Mar 10, 2018 at 13:27

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