I'm learning how to create services with systemd. I get this error:

.service: Start request repeated too quickly.

I can't start the service any more; it was working yesterday. What am I doing wrong?

$nano /lib/systemd/system/swatchWATCH.service
 1 [Unit]
 2 Description=Monitor Logfiles and send Mail reports
 3 After=syslog.target network.target
 5 [Service]
 6 Type=simple
 7 ExecStart=/usr/bin/swatch --config-file=/home/kristjan/.swatchrc --input-record-separator="\n \n " --tail-file=/var/log/snort/alert --daemon
 8 Restart=on-failure
 9 StartLimitInterval=3
10 StartLimitBurst=100
12 [Install]
13 WantedBy=multi-user.target

StartLimitInterval and StartLimitBurst I added after trying to fix it.

My system is Debian 9.8 Stretch all updates.


First, if this is a custom service, it belongs in /etc/systemd/system. /lib/systemd is intended for package-provided files.

Second, the service is likely crashing and systemd is attempted to restart it repeatedly, so you need to figure out why it's crashing. Check the service logs with:

journalctl -e -u swatchWATCH

It's possible there will be some extra detail in the main journal:

journalctl -e

Finally, check to see it runs directly on the CLI ok:

/usr/bin/swatch --config-file=/home/kristjan/.swatchrc --input-record-separator="\n \n " --tail-file=/var/log/snort/alert --daemon

I see you are using a --daemon option. That's often a mistake with systemd. Systemd daemonizes for you. Try removing this option.

If all else fails, review what changed since yesterday when it was working.

| improve this answer | |
  • Note that journalctl -u UNIT does not reliably display the dying messages of a unit, because there's no way to determine the origin cgroup of a message if the origin process is already dead. – Ferenc Wágner May 9 '19 at 12:25

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