I need to have network messages sent when a systemd service I have crashes or is hung (i.e., enters failed state; I monitor for hung by using WatchdogSec=). I noticed that newer systemd have FailureAction=, but then saw that this doesn't allow arbitrary commands, but just rebooting/shutdown.

Specifically, I need a way to have one network message sent when systemd detects the program has crashed, and another when it detects it has hung.

I'm hoping for a better answer than "parse the logs", and I need something that has a near-instant response time, so I don't think a polling approach is good; it should be something triggered by the event occurring.

  • Can you please provide an example (even a non working one) of what you are trying to achieve? – dawud May 27 '15 at 19:05
  • Can you please edit your question to add this information instead of adding it in a comment? :) – dawud May 27 '15 at 19:11

systemd units support OnFailure that will activate a unit (or more) when the unit goes to failed. You can put something like


And then create the notify-failed@.service service where you can use the required specifier (you probably will want at least %i) to launch the script or command that will send notification.

You can see a practical example in http://northernlightlabs.se/systemd.status.mail.on.unit.failure

  • 5
    There are a couple corrections needed to the instructions on the linked site. First, notify%n.service is redundant, and will result in notify@my-service.service.service. Second, %i should be used instead of %I, or all dashes in the name will be converted to forward slashes. – orodbhen Jun 22 '16 at 15:42
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    Is there a way to do this for multiple or all units, without modifying their unit files? – Vladimir Panteleev Sep 10 '17 at 12:52

Just my way to notify :


Description=Sent email 

ExecStart=/usr/bin/bash -c '/usr/bin/systemctl status %i | /usr/bin/mailx -Ssendwait -s "[SYSTEMD_%i] Fail" your_admin@company.blablabla'

add to systemd:

systemctl enable /etc/systemd/system/notify-email@service

At others services add:


Reload the configuration:

systemctl daemon-reload
  • Is there a way to avoid triggering it lots of times in a row? In some situations receiving 1K emails about a service that failed at night and tried over and over again to restart itself isn't helpful. – starbeamrainbowlabs Sep 20 '19 at 19:27
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    As far I know, no, there is no option from systemd. You should put some control into the bash command, something like touching a file and checking if it have +10min for example... in simple command logic: find -mmin +10 && send email && touch file ; – ceinmart Apr 7 '20 at 14:30
  • cannot enable it, ystemd states: The unit files have no installation config (WantedBy=, RequiredBy=, Also=, Alias= settings in the [Install] section, and DefaultInstance= for template units). This means they are not meant to be enabled using systemctl. – Produnis Sep 19 '20 at 10:53

I came across this utility which seems to provide this: https://github.com/joonty/systemd_mon

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