Unveiling the Mystery: How to Check Who Restarted Service in Linux?

Have you ever wondered who restarted a particular service on your Linux server? Whether you’re managing a single system or an entire network, keeping track of service restarts can help you identify potential issues and maintain a smoothly running environment. In this guide, we’ll delve into the details of how to check who restarted a service in Linux, providing you with a comprehensive understanding and practical methods to uncover this information.


When managing a Linux server, you may encounter situations where services need to be restarted for various reasons. These reasons could range from routine maintenance to troubleshooting unexpected issues. Being able to identify who initiated a service restart can be valuable for accountability and troubleshooting purposes. In this article, we’ll explore different techniques to achieve this using built-in Linux tools and commands.

How to Check Who Restarted Service in Linux?

1. Checking System Logs Using journalctl

One of the most reliable ways to determine who restarted a service is by inspecting system logs. The journalctl command provides access to the systemd journal, where you can find detailed information about service restarts. To specifically search for service restart logs, you can use the following command:

journalctl -u <service-name> | grep "Starting" | grep "by"

Replace <service-name> with the name of the service you want to investigate. This command filters the logs to display entries related to the starting of the service and includes information about the user who triggered the action.

2. Analyzing auth.log for Clues

In some cases, the user initiating a service restart might require elevated privileges. The auth.log file can provide insights into users’ activities involving authentication and authorization. To search for relevant entries, you can use the following command:

grep "sudo systemctl restart <service-name>" /var/log/auth.log

This command will display entries related to the use of sudo to restart the specified service. It can give you information about the user and their IP address.

3. Utilizing Process Information

Every process running on a Linux system has an associated Process ID (PID). You can use this information to track the user who initiated a service restart. Here’s how:

  1. Identify the PID of the service:bashCopy codeps aux | grep "<service-name>"
  2. Once you have the PID, check the process owner using:bashCopy codeps -p <PID> -o user=

4. Employing auditd for Enhanced Tracking

The auditd framework provides a powerful way to monitor system activities, including service restarts. By configuring audit rules, you can capture specific events and gather information about the user responsible for restarting a service.

Here’s a high-level overview of the process:

  1. Install auditd if not already installed:bashCopy codesudo apt-get install auditd # For Debian-based systems sudo yum install auditd # For Red Hat-based systems
  2. Configure audit rules to track service restart events:bashCopy codesudo auditctl -a always,exit -F arch=b64 -S execve -k service_restart
  3. View audit logs to find service restart events:bashCopy codesudo ausearch -k service_restart

5. Using External Tools

Several third-party tools and monitoring solutions can simplify the process of tracking service restarts. Tools like Nagios, Zabbix, and Graylog offer comprehensive monitoring capabilities, including detailed information about service-related activities and user interactions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I track service restarts across multiple servers?

Yes, tools like Graylog and Nagios offer centralized monitoring for multiple servers, allowing you to track service restarts across your network.

Are there graphical user interface (GUI) options for tracking service restarts?

Yes, some monitoring solutions provide GUI interfaces that display information about service restarts and related activities in a user-friendly manner.

Is it possible to track service restarts retrospectively?

Yes, the systemd journal retains logs over time, allowing you to review historical service restart information.

How can I prevent unauthorized service restarts?

Implementing proper user access controls and permissions can help prevent unauthorized users from restarting services.

Are there any risks associated with monitoring system activities using auditd?

While auditd provides valuable insights, it can generate a large volume of logs. Ensure you have sufficient storage and configure audit rules wisely.

Can I receive alerts for service restarts in real-time?

Yes, some monitoring solutions can be configured to send alerts or notifications when specific events, such as service restarts, occur.

How do I find out why a Linux server rebooted?

Examining the system logs, specifically the “/var/log/syslog” or “/var/log/messages” file, can help you determine the reason for the Linux server reboot.

Who rebooted the Linux server?

The user who rebooted the Linux server can be found in the system logs.

How to check who restarted service in Linux?

You can use the “systemctl show” command with the service name to see the user responsible for restarting the service in Linux.

How do I find out why a Linux server rebooted?

Examining the system logs, specifically the “/var/log/syslog” or “/var/log/messages” file, can help you determine the reason for the Linux server reboot.

How to check server reboot in Linux?

Review the timestamps in the system logs, such as “/var/log/wtmp” or “/var/log/lastlog,” to identify recent server reboots in Linux.

How can I tell which user rebooted Linux?

You can use the “last” command along with the “reboot” keyword to see a list of users who rebooted the Linux system.

How do I find out why Linux restarted?

Investigate the contents of the system logs, particularly the “/var/log/syslog” or “/var/log/messages” file, to understand the reasons behind the Linux restart.

How to check when server rebooted in Linux?

Utilize the “last reboot” command to see a chronological list of server reboots along with their timestamps in Linux.


In the dynamic world of Linux system administration, having the ability to track service restarts and identify the responsible users is crucial for maintaining a stable and secure environment. Whether you choose to leverage built-in tools like journalctl or opt for more sophisticated solutions like auditd or third-party monitoring tools, the insights gained from tracking service restarts can enhance your troubleshooting and maintenance efforts.

Remember, the methods discussed in this article provide you with different approaches to achieve the same goal. Choose the one that aligns best with your environment, requirements, and familiarity with the tools. By following the steps outlined here, you can unveil the mystery of

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