Run a node.js app as a background service

Make a myapp.service file (replacing ‘myapp’ with your app’s name, obviously):

[Unit]
Description=My app

[Service]
ExecStart=/var/www/myapp/app.js
Restart=always
User=nobody
# Note RHEL/Fedora uses 'nobody', Debian/Ubuntu uses 'nogroup'
Group=nobody  
Environment=PATH=/usr/bin:/usr/local/bin
Environment=NODE_ENV=production
WorkingDirectory=/var/www/myapp

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Note if you’re new to Unix: /var/www/myapp/app.js should have #!/usr/bin/env node on the very first line.

Copy your service file into the /etc/systemd/system.

Start it with systemctl start myapp.

Enable it to run on boot with systemctl enable myapp.

See logs with journalctl -u myapp

This is taken from How we deploy node apps on Linux, 2018 edition, which also includes commands to generate an AWS/DigitalOcean/Azure CloudConfig to build Linux/node servers (including the .service file).

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