Metricbeat and systemdedit

The DEB and RPM packages include a service unit for Linux systems with systemd. On these systems, you can manage Metricbeat by using the usual systemd commands.

Start and stop Metricbeatedit

Use systemctl to start or stop Metricbeat:

systemctl start metricbeat
systemctl stop metricbeat

By default, the Metricbeat service starts automatically when the system boots. To enable or disable auto start use:

systemctl enable metricbeat
systemctl disable metricbeat

Metricbeat status and logsedit

To get the service status, use systemctl:

systemctl status metricbeat

Logs are stored by default in journald. To view the Logs, use journalctl:

journalctl -u metricbeat.service

The unit file included in the packages sets the -e flag by default. This flag makes Metricbeat log to stderr and disables other log outputs. Systemd stores all output sent to stderr in journald.

Customize systemd unit for Metricbeatedit

The systemd service unit file includes environment variables that you can override to change the default options.

Variable Description Default value


Log options



Flags for configuration file path

-c /etc/metricbeat/metricbeat.yml


Other paths

-path.home /usr/share/metricbeat -path.config /etc/metricbeat /var/lib/metricbeat -path.logs /var/log/metricbeat

To override these variables, create a drop-in unit file in the /etc/systemd/system/metricbeat.service.d directory.

For example a file with the following content placed in /etc/systemd/system/metricbeat.service.d/debug.conf would override BEAT_LOG_OPTS to enable debug for Elasticsearch output.

Environment="BEAT_LOG_OPTS=-e -d elasticsearch"

To change the logging output from the Metricbeat configuration file, empty the environment variable. For example:


To apply your changes, reload the systemd configuration and restart the service:

systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl restart metricbeat

It is recommended that you use a configuration management tool to include drop-in unit files. If you need to add a drop-in manually, use systemctl edit metricbeat.service.