Packetbeat and systemdedit

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

The service unit is configured with UMask=0027 which means the most permissive mask allowed for files created by Packetbeat is 0640. All configured file permissions higher than 0640 will be ignored. Please edit the unit file manually in case you need to change that.

Start and stop Packetbeatedit

Use systemctl to start or stop Packetbeat:

sudo systemctl start packetbeat
sudo systemctl stop packetbeat

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

sudo systemctl enable packetbeat
sudo systemctl disable packetbeat

Packetbeat status and logsedit

To get the service status, use systemctl:

systemctl status packetbeat

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

journalctl -u packetbeat.service

Customize systemd unit for Packetbeatedit

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/packetbeat/packetbeat.yml


Other paths

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

You can use BEAT_LOG_OPTS to set debug selectors for logging. However, to configure logging behavior, set the logging options described in Configure logging.

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

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

Environment="BEAT_LOG_OPTS=-d elasticsearch"

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

systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl restart packetbeat

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 packetbeat.service.