System Daemons

A daemon is a process that runs in the background and outside the direct control of a user. It’s common for daemons to have a name that ends with a “d”. Examples of daemons are sshd and httpd. On OpenBSD, daemons are controlled with the rcctl utility. Most of the daemons included in Base have their variables defined in /etc/rc.conf. Adjustments should be made in the user controlled file /etc/rc.conf.local. The original rc.conf file is subject to change during updates and upgrades while the rc.conf.local file will remain untouched.

Most of the daemons in rc.conf are not started on boot. For the daemons not started at boot, you’ll find a line like the following in rc.conf


In order to start the httpd daemon during boot, add the next line to /etc/rc.conf.local, creating it if it doesn’t exist.


It is adviced to not add these lines directly but instead use the rcctl utility.

The following makes sure the httpd daemon is started on boot.

rcctl enable httpd

The next command will disable the httpd daemon starting at boot.

rcctl disable httpd

A daemon can be started from the command line with:

rcctl start httpd

And stopped with:

rcctl stop httpd

For more examples, please see man rcctl.