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KEEPALIVED(8) System Manager's Manual KEEPALIVED(8)


keepalived - load-balancing and high-availability service


keepalived [-f|--use-file=FILE] [-P|--vrrp] [-C|--check] [-B|--no_bfd] [--all] [-l|--log-console] [-D|--log-detail] [-S|--log-facility={0-7|local{0-7}|user|daemon}] [-g|--log-file=FILE] [--flush-log-file] [-G|--no-syslog] [-X|--release-vips] [-V|--dont-release-vrrp] [-I|--dont-release-ipvs] [-R|--dont-respawn] [-n|--dont-fork] [-d|--dump-conf] [-p|--pid=FILE] [-r|--vrrp_pid=FILE] [-T|--genhash] [-c|--checkers_pid=FILE] [-a|--address-monitoring] [-b|--bfd_pid=FILE] [-s|--namespace=NAME] [-e|--all-config] [-i|--config-id id] [-x|--snmp] [-A|--snmp-agent-socket=FILE] [-u|--umask=NUMBER] [-m|--core-dump] [-M|--core-dump-pattern[=PATTERN]] [--signum=SIGFUNC] [-t|--config-test[=FILE]] [--perf[={all|run|end}]] [--debug[=debug-options]] [--no-mem-check] [-v|--version] [-h|--help]


Keepalived provides simple and robust facilities for load-balancing and high-availability. The load-balancing framework relies on the well-known and widely used Linux Virtual Server (IPVS) kernel module providing Layer4 load-balancing. Keepalived implements a set of checkers to dynamically and adaptively maintain and manage a load-balanced server pool according to their health. Keepalived also implements the VRRPv2 and VRRPv3 protocols to achieve high-availability with director failover.


Use the specified configuration file. The default configuration file is "/etc/keepalived/keepalived.conf".
Only run the VRRP subsystem. This is useful for configurations that do not use the IPVS load balancer.
Only run the healthcheck subsystem. This is useful for configurations that use the IPVS load balancer with a single director with no failover.
Don't run the BFD subsystem.
Run all subsystems, even if they have no configuration.
Log messages to the local console. The default behavior is to log messages to syslog.
Detailed log messages.
Set syslog facility to LOG_LOCAL[0-7], LOG_USER or LOG_DAEMON. The default syslog facility is LOG_DAEMON.
Write log entries to FILE. FILE will have _vrrp, _healthcheckers, and _bfd inserted before the last '.' in FILE for the log output for those processes.
If using the -g option, the log file stream will be flushed after each write.
Do not write log entries to syslog. This can be useful if the rate of writing log entries is sufficiently high that syslog will rate limit them, and the -g option is used instead.
Drop VIP on transition from signal.
Don't remove VRRP VIPs and VROUTEs on daemon stop. The default behavior is to remove all VIPs and VROUTEs when keepalived exits.
Don't remove IPVS topology on daemon stop. The default behavior it to remove all entries from the IPVS virtual server table when keepalived exits.
Don't respawn child processes. The default behavior is to restart the VRRP and checker processes if either process exits.
Don't fork the daemon process. This option will cause keepalived to run in the foreground.
Dump the configuration data.
Use the specified pidfile for the parent keepalived process. The default pidfile for keepalived is "/run/", unless a network namespace is being used. See NAMESPACES below for more details.
Use the specified pidfile for the VRRP child process. The default pidfile for the VRRP child process is "/run/", unless a network namespace is being used.
Enter genhash utility mode. Previous versions of keepalived were shipped with a dedicated genhash utility. genhash is now part of the mainline code. We keep compatibility with previous genhash utility command line option. For more information please refer to the genhash(1) manpage.
Use the specified pidfile for checkers child process. The default pidfile for the checker child process is "/run/" unless a network namespace is being used.
Log all address additions/deletions reported by netlink.
Use the specified pidfile for the BFD child process. The default pidfile for the BFD child process is "/run/" unless a network namespace is being used.
Run keepalived in network namespace NAME. See NAMESPACES below for more details.
Don't load if any configuration file is missing or cannot be read.
Use configuration id ID, for conditional configuration (defaults to hostname without the domain name).
Enable the SNMP subsystem.
Use the specified socket for connection to SNMP master agent.
The umask specified in the usual numeric way - see man umask(2)
Override the RLIMIT_CORE hard and soft limits to enable keepalived to produce a coredump in the event of a segfault or other failure. This is most useful if keepalived has been built with 'make debug'. Core dumps will be created in /, unless keepalived is run with the --dont-fork option, in which case they will be created in the directory from which keepalived was run, or they will be created in the directory of a configuraton file if the fault occurs while reading the file.
Sets option --core-dump, and also updates /proc/sys/kernel/core_pattern to the pattern specified, or 'core' if none specified. Provided the parent process doesn't terminate abnormally, it will restore /proc/sys/kernel/core_pattern to its original value on exit.

Note: This will also affect any other process producing a core dump while keepalived is running.

Returns the signal number to use for STOP, RELOAD, DATA, STATS, STATS_CLEAR, JSON and TDATA. For example, to stop keepalived running, execute:
kill -s $(keepalived --signum=STOP) $(cat /run/
Keepalived will check the configuration file and exit with non-zero exit status if there are errors in the configuration, otherwise it exits with exit status 0 (see Exit status below for details).

Rather that writing to syslog, it will write diagnostic messages to stderr unless file is specified, in which case it will write to the file.

Record perf data for vrrp process. Data will be written to / The data recorded is for use with the perf tool.
Disable malloc() etc mem-checks if they have been compiled into keepalived.
Enables debug options if they have been compiled into keepalived. debug-options is made up of a sequence of strings of the form Ulll.
The upper case letter specifies the debug option, and the lower case letters specify for which processes the option is to be enabled.
If a debug option is not followed by any lower case letters, the debug option is enabled for all processes.

The characters to identify the processes are:
Chr Process
p Parent process
b BFD process
c Checker process
v VRRP process

The characters used to identify the debug options are:

Chr Debug option
D Epoll thread dump
E Epoll debug
F VRRP fd debug
N Netlink timers
P Network timestamp
X Regex timers
M Email alert debug
T Timer debug
S TSM debug
R Regex debug
B Smtp connect debug
U Checksum diagnostics
O Track process debug
A Track process debug with extra detail
C Parser (config) debug
H Checker debug
Z Memory alloc/free error debug
G VRRP recvmsg() debug
J VRRP recvmsg() log rx data
V Script debugging
K Dump keywords

Example: --debug=DvEcvNR

Display the version and exit.
Display this help message and exit.

Exit status:

if OK
if unable to malloc memory
if cannot initialise subsystems
if running with --config-test and configuration cannot be run
if running with --config-test and there are configuration errors but keepalived will run after modifying the configuration
if running with --config-test and script security hasn't been enabled but scripts are configured.


keepalived can be run in a network namespace (see keepalived.conf(5) for configuration details). When run in a network namespace, a local mount namespace is also created, and /run/keepalived/keepalived_NamespaceName is mounted on /run/keepalived. By default, pid files with the usual default names are then created in /run/keepalived from the perspective of a process in the mount namespace, and they will be visible in /run/keepalived/keepalived_NamespaceName for a process running in the default mount namespace.


keepalived reacts to a set of signals. You can send a signal to the parent keepalived process using the following:

kill -SIGNAL $(cat /run/

or better:

kill -s $(keepalived --signum=SIGFUNC) $(cat /run/

Note that if the first option is used, -SIGNAL must be replaced with the actual signal you are trying to send, e.g. with HUP. So it then becomes:

kill -HUP $(cat /run/

Signals other than for STOP, RELOAD, DATA and STATS may change depending on the kernel, and also what functionality is included in the version of the keepalived depending on the build options used.

This causes keepalived to close down all interfaces, reload its configuration, and start up with the new configuration.
Note: If a virtual_ipaddress, virtual_route or virtual_rule is being moved from one VRRP instance to another one, two reloads will be necessary, the first to remove the virtual ipaddress/route/rule, and the second reload to add it to the VRRP instance it is now to be configured on. Failing to do this can result in the ipaddress/route/rule not being configured on the new instance if both the old and new instances are in master state. It will usually work with a single reload, however, if either of the VRRP instances is not in MASTER state or if the VRRP instance the ipaddress/route/rule the VRRP instance is being added to is later in the original configuration file than the instance it is being removed from.
keepalived will shut down.
Write configuration data to /tmp/
Write statistics info to /tmp/keepalived.stats
Write statistics info to /tmp/keepalived.stats and clear the statistics counters
Write configuration data in JSON format to /tmp/keepalived.json
This causes keepalived to write the current state of its internal threads to the log


If you are running a firewall (see firewalld(8)) you must allow VRRP protocol traffic through the firewall. For example if this instance of keepalived(8) has a peer node on IPv4 address

# firewall-cmd \

--add-rich-rule="rule family='ipv4' \
source address='' \
protocol value='vrrp' accept" --permanent # firewall-cmd --reload


keepalived.conf(5), ipvsadm(8)


This man page was written by Ryan O'Hara <>