I keep my sphinx pid in /var/run/sphinx/searchd.pid but every time I hard reboot the directory /var/run/sphinx disappears and sphinx fails to start. Is there a way to make that directory stick or have it automatically created? How do people usually handle this situation? I use Ubuntu Hardy

  • Can you give us the output of mount?
    – reconbot
    Oct 15, 2009 at 15:05

4 Answers 4


That directory is ephemeral by design. If its contents stuck around across boots, all sorts of ugly effects could occur, as control scripts of various sorts look in there to see what processes they should be signaling. On recent system, this temporary nature is enforced by mounting /var/run as tmpfs, while older systems just deleted everything in the directory at startup.

Therefore, you need to configure Sphinx or its startup script to create that directory, or just write the PID file in /var/run directly.

  • 4
    +1 for description of /var/run. But note that he doesn't want the PID file to be persistent across a reboot; just the sphinx directory. Oct 15, 2009 at 15:30
  • I came across this thread looking for a solution for centos 7. I am using Systemd to run a program which needs a folder in /var/run, but when I manually created it, it got deleted after a reboot. Systemd (I think) has a tool to help create temporary folders in /var/run with a conf file like so: /run/tmpfiles.d/my_temp_folder.conf. I am not sure if tmpfiles.d is just for Systemd or not, but I thought this comment might be helpful for someone stumbling onto this thread like I did.
    – Shmack
    2 days ago

You have two chances at least:

  • change your init script to do a mkdir -p /var/run/sphinx/


  • set pid_file = /var/run/sphinx-searchd.pid in /etc/sphinx.conf

I'm for the second one.

  • 2
    And of course this means the startup script must run as root to be able to write directly to or create a directory in /var/run. Which is annoying...
    – Eloff
    Oct 26, 2012 at 17:40
  • I chose the second solution as well. It looks like there is precedence for this (cron, ssh, atd, syslog).
    – BillMan
    May 30, 2013 at 13:39

there is now a centralized mechanism for the creation of temporary files and directories such as these. A service wishing to use this method can remove mkdir commands in its own startup script and instead place a .conf file in /etc/tmpfiles.d, /run/tmpfiles.d, or /usr/lib/tmpfiles.d, with Ubuntu services seeming to prefer the last option. for your case create a file /usr/lib/tmpfiles.d/sphinx.conf.
the content of the file would be:
d /var/run/sphinx 0755 root root

here d stands for directory, next to it is the path, permission, owner and group.
This will create the /var/run/sphnix directory on reboot.

Checkout the full documentation tmpfiles.d


If using systemd, there is a configuration item explicitly for this.



If set, one or more directories by the specified names will be created below /run, and will be owned by the user and group specified in User= and Group=

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