What is the difference between service and systemctl?

Solution 1:

service is an "high-level" command used for starting and stopping services in different unixes and linuxes. Depending on the "lower-level" service manager, service redirects on different binaries.

For example, on CentOS 7 it redirects to systemctl, while on CentOS 6 it directly calls the relative /etc/init.d script. On the other hand, in older Ubuntu releases it redirects to upstart

service is adequate for basic service management, while directly calling systemctl give greater control options.

Solution 2:

systemctl is basically a more powerful version of service.

With service you can only do commands related to the service (i.e. status, reload, restart) whereas with systemctl you can use more advanced commands such as:

systemctl is-failed name.service # check if service failed to load

Or masking services:

systemctl mask name.service

There's a lot of good info on this page from Ask Ubuntu.

Solution 3:

systemctl is the main utility to control daemons/services in systemd,
while the service command is the traditional utility in SysVinit world.

One of systemd's features is to be compatible with SysVinit/legacy commands,
so, if you have the systemctl command,
service foo start will be a wrapper around systemctl start foo.

Same story for chkconfig.