I'm having trouble with increasing the open-files ulimit (ulimit -n) for a particular process on a Debian 6 server.

AFAIK I've done everything to change the servers hard and soft limits in this case, (ulimit -n shows 200000), but when I check the /proc/<process_id>/limits file it's still showing the old limits:

Limit                     Soft Limit           Hard Limit           Units
Max open files            1024                 4096                 files

The steps that I have already taken to permanently increase the ulimits are:

Added to /etc/profile:

# set ulimit n permanetly
ulimit -n 200000

Added to /etc/security/limits.conf:

*       soft    nofile  200000
*       hard    nofile  200000

Uncommented this lime in /etc/pam.d/su

session    required   pam_limits.so

What am I missing? Thank you!

Other (relevant?) info:

  • The process is started in a init.d script with start-stop-daemon
  • The /etc/security/limits.d/ directory is empty

1 Answer 1


I think /etc/pam.d/su/etc/pam.d/su is for su command, maybe put pam_limits.so in /etc/pam.d/login or /etc/pam.d/system-account solve this issue. And after change a system-account limits, you need to restart.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .