I installed the Prometheus Blackbox Exporter using this instruction set: https://devconnected.com/how-to-install-and-configure-blackbox-exporter-for-prometheus/

When I start the blackbox exporter from the command line it works fine:

/usr/local/bin/blackbox_exporter --config.file=/etc/blackbox/blackbox.yml --web.listen-address=":9115"
level=info ts=2023-05-09T15:18:12.170335169Z caller=main.go:213 msg="Starting blackbox_exporter" version="(version=0.14.0, branch=HEAD, revision=bba7ef76193948a333a5868a1ab38b864f7d968a)"
level=info ts=2023-05-09T15:18:12.17114947Z caller=main.go:226 msg="Loaded config file"
level=info ts=2023-05-09T15:18:12.171355458Z caller=main.go:330 msg="Listening on address" address=:9115

When I try to run it as a service it does not:

systemctl status blackbox_exporter
blackbox_exporter.service - Blackbox Exporter
   Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/blackbox_exporter.service; disabled; vendor preset: disabled)
   Active: failed (Result: exit-code) since Tue 2023-05-09 15:20:40 GMT; 5s ago
  Process: 22483 ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/blackbox_exporter --config.file /etc/blackbox_exporter/blackbox.yml (code=exited, status=1/FAILURE)
 Main PID: 22483 (code=exited, status=1/FAILURE)

May 09 15:20:40 hostname systemd[1]: Started Blackbox Exporter.
May 09 15:20:40 hostname systemd[1]: blackbox_exporter.service: main process exited, code=exited, status=1/FAILURE
May 09 15:20:40 hostname systemd[1]: Unit blackbox_exporter.service entered failed state.
May 09 15:20:40 hostname systemd[1]: blackbox_exporter.service failed.

I'm running Prometheus on another box, not sure if that will work with the blackbox exporter and Prometheus itself on separate boxes but something I wanted to try. I thought maybe for some reason not having Prometheus locally was causing problems so I tried installing Prometheus locally using this instruction set: https://devconnected.com/how-to-setup-grafana-and-prometheus-on-linux/

Unfortunately I have the same problem. I can fire up Prometheus just fine from the command line but cannot start it using sudo systemctl start prometheus. As I saw this being an issue on some other threads I researched, I'll also mention that SELinux is disabled on this particular machine. Thoughts anyone? TIA!

2 Answers 2


The command that you say works:

/usr/local/bin/blackbox_exporter --config.file=/etc/blackbox/blackbox.yml --web.listen-address=":9115"

What's inside the service definition:

ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/blackbox_exporter --config.file /etc/blackbox_exporter/blackbox.yml

Look carefully. The path to the config file is not the same. Does a directory /etc/blackbox_exporter even exist? Maybe not, and this is your problem. Plus, you may need to add some options like 9115 port unless it's the default.

You could edit the file /etc/systemd/system/blackbox_exporter.service to adapt service definition, then run systemctl daemon-reload, and try to start your service again.


It ended up being that something didn't like the command being configured in the config file blackbox.service in this way as per the directions:

ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/blackbox_exporter \
  --config.file=/etc/blackbox/blackbox.yml \

When I changed the config file to this it ended up working:

ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/blackbox_exporter \
  --config.file=/etc/blackbox/blackbox.yml \

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