Systemd Restart=always is not honored

I would like to extend Rahul's answer a bit.

SystemD tries to restart multiple times (StartLimitBurst) and stops trying if the attempt count is reached within StartLimitIntervalSec. Both options belong to the [unit] section.

The default delay between executions is 100ms (RestartSec) which causes the rate limit to be reached very fast.

SystemD won't attempt any more automatic restarts ever for units with Restart policy defined:

Note that units which are configured for Restart= and which reach the start limit are not attempted to be restarted anymore; however, they may still be restarted manually at a later point, from which point on, the restart logic is again activated.

Rahul's answer helps, because the longer delay prevents reaching the error counter within the StartLimitIntervalSec time. The correct answer is to set both RestartSec and StartLimitBurst to reasonable values though.

Yes, there is. You can specify to retry after x seconds under [Service] section,


After saving the file you need to reload the daemon configurations to ensure systemd is aware of the new file,

systemctl daemon-reload

then restart the service to enable changes,

systemctl restart test

As you have requested, Looking at the documentation,


sounds like a decent recommendation.

systemd gives up trying to restart it

No. systemd gives up trying to restart it for a little while. This is clearly shown in the log that you supply:

Jun 14 11:25:51 localhost systemd[1]: test.service: Failed with result 'start-limit'.

This is rate limiting kicking in.

The length of the little while is specified in the service unit, using the StartLimitIntervalSec= setting. The number of starts that are needed within that interval to trigger the rate limiting mechanism are specified via the StartLimitBurst= setting. If nothing on your system differs from vanilla systemd, including the defaults for these two settings, then it is 5 times within 10 seconds.

StartLimitIntervalSec=0 disables rate limiting, so systemd will retry forever rather than giving up. But making your service either not exit so often, or idle enough between exits and restarts that it does not exceed the rate limiting threshold, is a better approach.

Note that rate limiting does not care how your service exited. It triggers on the number of attempts to start/restart it, irrespective of their cause.

Further reading

  • Lennart Poettering (2013-10-07). systemd.unit. systemd manual pages.
  • Systemd's StartLimitIntervalSec and StartLimitBurst never work