I made a rather simple startup script for my node.js program that should run on startup:

start on startup
stop on shutdown

    exec sudo -u max WEBSITES_DIR=/home/max/websites/ /usr/local/bin/node /home/max/websites/server.js 2>&1 >> /var/log/node.log
end script

If I use:

sudo start my-program 

it works, but when I reboot the machine I get the error message:

init: my-program main process (325) terminated with status 2

Anybody any idea on how to debug this?

3 Answers 3


The startup event is the very first event that gets emitted in the Upstart bootup process. There are all kinds of things that won't have happened yet - the root filesystem will still be mounted read-only, networking hasn't been initialized, etc.

I suspect that the job is exiting quickly because all of its dependencies (explicit or implicit) aren't initialized yet. I'd change the start condition to something like

start on filesystem and started networking

At least then you'll be able to write to your logfile.

As a side note, it looks like you reversed your output redirection arguments - you actually meant >> /var/log/node.log 2>&1. Using 2>&1 means "take whatever is currently fd 1, and make fd 2 the same thing", but you haven't changed what stdout is yet.

  • Thats a good hint, thanks! Will try it out tomorrow. The script I am executing is on a mounted drive (the server is a virtual machine on my development pc) – is that already mounted when the filesystem is ready? Thanks a lot for the note on the redirection arguments. :-)
    – BMBM
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 23:22
  • The "filesystem" event is emitted when all filesystems listed in /etc/fstab (and also /lib/init/fstab) have been mounted. There are also events emitted for each filesystem, and certain classes of filesystem. The upstart-events(7) manpage has more information about the different standard events. It's new in Natty, so if you don't have that, you can read it with crappy formatting at manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/natty/man7/upstart-events.7.html Commented Jun 15, 2011 at 22:48
  • In case anyone comes across this question from a virtual machine environment such as vagrant, use start on virtual-filesystems. This will wait for things like network mounts. (Ref: manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/trusty/man7/…)
    – msanford
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 21:40


Startup node.js on Ubuntu server

more /etc/init/noded.conf

Ubuntu upstart file at /etc/init/noded.conf:

description "noded.conf"

author      "ntbinh"

start on runlevel [2345]

stop on runlevel [06]



su - ubuntu -c "NODE_ENV=test exec sudo /etc/init.d/noded start"

end script

You have already /etc/init.d/noded. You can edit /etc/init/noded.conf ==> startup booting:

 # Ubuntu upstart file at `/etc/init/noded.conf`

 description "noded.conf"
 author      "ntbinh"


 start on runlevel [2345]

 stop on runlevel [06]


 su - ubuntu -c "NODE_ENV=test exec sudo /usr/bin/nohup /usr/bin/node /home/ubuntu/server.js" >> /home/ubuntu/log.log 

 end script

In my case, the similar error was caused by trying to start a script from my upstart script, that didn't actually exist. It turned out that I forgot to commit and push the script.

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