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Configuration guide

No configuration is required to run netdata, but you fill find plenty of options to tweak, so that you can adapt it to your particular needs.

Configuration files are placed in /etc/netdata.
Depending on your installation method, Netdata will have been installed either directly under /, or under /opt/netdata. The paths mentioned here and in the documentation in general assume that your installation is under /. If it is not, you will find the exact same paths under /opt/netdata as well. (i.e. /etc/netdata will be /opt/netdata/etc/netdata).

Under that directory you will see the following:

  • netdata.conf is the main configuration file
  • edit-config is an sh script that you can use to easily and safely edit the configuration. Just run it to see its usage.
  • Other directories, initially empty, where your custom configurations for alarms and collector plugins/modules will be copied from the stock configuration, if and when you customize them using edit-config.
  • orig is a symbolic link to the directory /usr/lib/netdata/conf.d, which contains the stock configurations for everything not included in netdata.conf:
    • health_alarm_notify.conf is where you configure how and to who Netdata will send alarm notifications.
    • health.d is the directory that contains the alarm triggers for health monitoring. It contains one .conf file per collector.
    • The modular plugin orchestrators have:
      • One config file each, mainly to turn their modules on and off: python.d.conf for python, node.d.conf for nodejs and charts.d.conf for bash modules.
      • One directory each, where the module-specific configuration files can be found.
    • stream.conf is where you configure streaming and replication
    • stats.d is a directory under which you can add .conf files to add synthetic charts.
    • Individual collector plugin config files, such as fping.conf for the fping plugin and apps_groups.conf for the apps plugin

So there are many configuration files to control every aspect of Netdata’s behavior. It can be overwhelming at first, but you won’t have to deal with any of them, unless you have specific things you need to change. The following HOWTO will guide you on how to customize your netdata, based on what you want to do.

How to

Change what I see

Increase the metrics retention period

Increase history in netdata.conf [global]. Just ensure you understand how much memory will be required

Reduce the data collection frequency

Increase update every in netdata.conf [global]. This is another way to increase your metrics retention period, but at a lower resolution than the default 1s.

Modify how a chart is displayed

In netdata.conf under # Per chart configuration you will find several [CHART_NAME] sections, where you can control all aspects of a specific chart.

Disable a collector

Entire plugins can be turned off from the netdata.conf [plugins] section. To disable specific modules of a plugin orchestrator, you need to edit one of the following:
- python.d.conf for python
- node.d.conf for nodejs
- charts.d.conf for bash

Modify alarms and notifications

Add a new alarm

You can add a new alarm definition either by editing an existing stock alarm config file under health.d (e.g. /etc/netdata/edit-config health.d/load.conf), or by adding a new .conf file under /etc/netdata/health.d. The documentation on how to define an alarm is in health monitoring. It is suggested to look at some of the stock alarm definitions, so you can ensure you understand how the various options work.

Turn off all alarms and notifications

Just set enabled = no in the netdata.conf [health] section

Modify or disable a specific alarm

The health.d directory that contains the alarm triggers for health monitoring. It has one .conf file per collector. You can easily find the .conf file you will need to modify, by looking for the “source” line on the table that appears on the right side of an alarm on the netdata gui.

For example, if you click on Alarms and go to the tab ‘All’, the default netdata installation will show you at the top the configured alarm for 10 min cpu usage (it’s the name of the badge). Looking at the table on the right side, you will see a row that says: source 4@/usr/lib/netdata/conf.d/health.d/cpu.conf. This way, you know that you will need to run /etc/netdata/edit-config health.d/cpu.conf and look for alarm at line 4 of the conf file.

As stated at the top of the .conf file, you can disable an alarm notification by setting the ‘to’ line to: silent.
To modify how the alarm gets triggered, we suggest that you go through the guide on health monitoring.

Receive notifications using my preferred method

You only need to configure health_alarm_notify.conf. To learn how to do it, read first alarm notifications and then open the submenu Supported Notifications under Alarm notifications in the documentation to find the specific page on your prefered notification method.

Change the netdata web server access lists

You have several options under the netdata.conf [web] section.

Stop sending info to

You will need to configure the [registry] section in netdata.conf. First read the registry documentation. In it, are instructions on how to run your own registry.

Change the IP address/port netdata listens to

The settings are under netdata.conf [web]. Look at the web server documentation for more info.

System resource usage

Reduce the resources netdata uses

The page on netdata performance has an excellent guide on how to reduce the netdata cpu/disk/RAM utilization to levels suitable even for the weakest IoT devices.

Change when netdata saves metrics to disk

netdata.conf [global] : memory mode

Prevent netdata from getting immediately killed when my server runs out of memory

You can change the netdata OOM score in netdata.conf [global].


Move netdata directories

The various directory paths are in netdata.conf [global].

How netdata configuration works

The configuration files are name = value dictionaries with [sections]. Write whatever you like there as long as it follows this simple format.

Netdata loads this dictionary and then when the code needs a value from it, it just looks up the name in the dictionary at the proper section. In all places, in the code, there are both the names and their default values, so if something is not found in the configuration file, the default is used. The lookup is made using B-Trees and hashes (no string comparisons), so they are super fast. Also the names of the settings can be my super duper setting that once set to yes, will turn the world upside down = no - so goodbye to most of the documentation involved.

Next, netdata can generate a valid configuration for the user to edit. No need to remember anything. Just get the configuration from the server (/netdata.conf on your netdata server), edit it and save it.

Last, what about options you believe you have set, but you misspelled?When you get the configuration file from the server, there will be a comment above all name = value pairs the server does not use. So you know that whatever you wrote there, is not used.

Netdata simple patterns

Unix prefers regular expressions. But they are just too hard, too cryptic to use, write and understand.

So, netdata supports simple patterns.