Getting started guide¶
Thanks for trying Netdata! In this getting started guide, we’ll quickly walk you through the first steps you should take after getting Netdata installed.
Netdata can collect thousands of metrics in real-time without any configuration, but there are some valuable things to know to get the most out of Netdata based on your needs.
We’ll skip right into some technical details, so if you’re brand-new to monitoring the health and performance of systems and applications, our step-by-step tutorial might be a better fit.
If you haven’t installed Netdata yet, visit the installation instructions for details, including our one-liner script, which automatically installs Netdata on almost all Linux distributions.
Access the dashboard¶
Open up your web browser of choice and navigate to
http://YOUR-HOST:19999. Welcome to Netdata!
- Read more about the standard Netdata dashboard.
- Learn all the specifics of using charts or the differences between charts, context, and families.
Netdata primarily uses the
netdata.conf file for custom configurations.
On most systems, you can find that file at
Some operating systems will place your
/opt/netdata/etc/netdata/netdata.conf, so check there if you find nothing at
netdata.conf file is broken up into various sections, such as
[registry], and more. By
default, most options are commented, so you’ll have to uncomment them (remove the
#) for Netdata to recognize your
Once you save your changes, restart Netdata to load your new configuration.
- Change how long Netdata stores metrics by either increasing the
historyoption or switching to the database engine.
- Move Netdata’s dashboard to a different port or enable TLS/HTTPS encryption.
- See all the
netdata.confoptions in our daemon configuration documentation.
- Run your own registry.
Collect data from more sources¶
When Netdata starts, it auto-detects dozens of data sources, such as database servers, web servers, and more. To auto-detect and collect metrics from a service or application you just installed, you need to restart Netdata.
There is one exception: When Netdata is running on the host (as in not in a container itself), it will always auto-detect containers and VMs.
However, auto-detection only works if you installed the source using its standard installation procedure. If Netdata isn’t collecting metrics after a restart, your source probably isn’t configured correctly. Look at the external plugin documentation to find the appropriate module for your source. Those pages will contain more information about how to configure your source for auto-detection.
Some modules, like
chrony, are disabled by default and must be enabled manually for auto-detection to work.
Once Netdata detects a valid source of data, it will continue trying to collect data from it. For example, if Netdata is collecting data from an Nginx web server, and you shut Nginx down, Netdata will collect new data as soon as you start the web server back up—no restart necessary.
Even if Netdata auto-detects your service/application, you might want to configure what, or how often, Netdata is collecting data.
Netdata uses internal and external plugins to collect data. Internal plugins run within the Netdata dæmon, while external plugins are independent processes that send metrics to Netdata over pipes. There are also plugin orchestrators, which are external plugins with one or more data collection modules.
You can configure both internal and external plugins, along with the individual modules. There are many ways to do so:
[plugins]section: Enable or disable internal or external plugins with
[plugin:XXX]sections: Each plugin has a section for changing collection frequency or passing options to the plugin.
.conffiles for each external plugin: For example, at
.conffiles for each module : For example, at
It’s complex, so let’s walk through an example of the various
.conf files responsible for collecting data from an
Nginx web server using the
nginx module and the
python.d plugin orchestrator.
First, you can enable or disable the
python.d plugin entirely in
[plugins] # Enabled python.d = yes # Disabled python.d = no
You can also configure the entire
python.d external plugin via the
[plugin:python.d] section in
Here, you can change how often Netdata uses
python.d to collect metrics or pass other command options:
[plugin:python.d] update every = 1 command options =
python.d plugin has a separate configuration file at
/etc/netdata/python.d.conf for enabling and disabling
modules. You can use the
edit-config script to edit the file, or open it with your text editor of choice:
sudo /etc/netdata/edit-config python.d.conf
nginx module has a configuration file called
nginx.conf in the
python.d folder. Again, use
edit-config or your editor of choice:
sudo /etc/netdata/edit-config python.d/nginx.conf
nginx.conf file, you’ll find additional options. The default works in most situations, but you may need to make
changes based on your particular Nginx setup.
- Look at the full list of data collection modules to configure your sources for auto-detection and monitoring.
- Improve the performance of Netdata on low-memory systems.
systemdto expose systemd services utilization metrics automatically.
- Reconfigure individual charts in
Health monitoring and alarms¶
Netdata comes with hundreds of health monitoring alarms for detecting anomalies on production servers. If you’re running Netdata on a workstation, you might want to disable Netdata’s alarms.
/etc/netdata/netdata.conf file and set the following:
[health] enabled = no
If you want to keep health monitoring enabled, but turn email notifications off, edit your
edit-config, or with the text editor of your choice:
sudo /etc/netdata/edit-config health_alarm_notify.conf
SEND_EMAIL="YES" line and change it to
- Follow the health quickstart to locate and edit existing health entities, and then create your own.
- See all the alarm options via the health configuration reference.
- Add a new notification method, like Slack.
Change how long Netdata stores metrics¶
By default, Netdata uses a custom database which uses both RAM and the disk to store metrics. Recent metrics are stored in the system’s RAM to keep access fast, while historical metrics are “spilled” to disk to keep RAM usage low.
This custom database, which we call the database engine, allows you to store a much larger dataset than your system’s available RAM.
If you’re not sure whether you’re using the database engine, or want to tweak the default settings to store even more historical metrics, check out our tutorial: Changing how long Netdata stores metrics.
- Learn more about the memory requirements for the database engine to understand how much RAM/disk space you should commit to storing historical metrics.
- Read up on the memory requirements of the round-robin database, or figure out whether your system has KSM enabled, which can reduce the default database’s memory usage by about 60%.
Monitoring multiple systems with Netdata¶
If you have Netdata installed on multiple systems, you can have them all appear in the My nodes menu at the top-left corner of the dashboard.
To show all your servers in that menu, you need to register for or sign in to Netdata Cloud from each system. Each system will then appear in the My nodes menu, which you can use to navigate between your systems quickly.
Whenever you pan, zoom, highlight, select, or pause a chart, Netdata will synchronize those settings with any other agent you visit via the My nodes menu. Even your scroll position is synchronized, so you’ll see the same charts and respective data for easy comparisons or root cause analysis.
You can now seamlessly track performance anomalies across your entire infrastructure!
- Read up on how the Netdata Cloud registry works, and what kind of data it stores and sends to your web browser.
- Familiarize yourself with the Nodes View
Start, stop, and restart Netdata¶
When you install Netdata, it’s configured to start at boot, and stop and restart/shutdown. You shouldn’t need to start or stop Netdata manually, but you will probably need to restart Netdata at some point.
- To start Netdata, open a terminal and run
service netdata start.
- To stop Netdata, run
service netdata stop.
- To restart Netdata, run
service netdata restart.
service command is a wrapper script that tries to use your system’s preferred method of starting or stopping
Netdata based on your system. But, if either of those commands fails, try using the equivalent commands for
systemctl start netdata,
systemctl stop netdata,
systemctl restart netdata
Even after you’ve configured
netdata.conf, tweaked alarms, learned the basics of performance troubleshooting, and
added all your systems to the My nodes menu, you’ve just gotten started with Netdata.
Take a look at some more advanced features and configurations:
- Centralize Netdata metrics from many systems with streaming
- Enable long-term archiving of Netdata metrics via backends to time-series databases.
- Improve security by putting Netdata behind an Nginx proxy with SSL.