I have a NodeJS server on a virtual machine. I connect to the machine through SSH and leave the server running with:

npm start &

If I disconnect with Ctl-D, the server keeps running. If my internet drops and the connection fails, the server also stops. Why does this happen, and how can I leave the server running without it dropping because of the internet disconnection?

1 Answer 1


Even when it is running in the background, the server is still a child process of your ssh session. To get it to run independently, you can run it with nohup:

nohup npm start &

Wikipedia says:

Note that nohupping backgrounded jobs is typically used to avoid terminating them when logging off from a remote SSH session. A different issue that often arises in this situation is that ssh is refusing to log off ("hangs"), since it refuses to lose any data from/to the background job(s). This problem can also be overcome by redirecting all three I/O streams:

nohup npm start > npm.out 2> npm.err < /dev/null &
  • I ran NODE_OPTIONS=--max_old_space_size=50000 NODE_ENV=production nohup npm start >> stdout5.md 2>> stderr5.md < /dev/null &, the SSH session disconnected because of an internet failure, and the server went down. How can I debug it? Aug 31, 2021 at 18:59
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    Can you close the ssh session manual (ctrl-d) just after starting the server and have it stay up? Aug 31, 2021 at 19:08
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    You could also try configuring npm as a system service: serverfault.com/questions/1018676/… Aug 31, 2021 at 19:09
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    I'm not sure if it would help, but I usually configure my SSH client to detect timeouts and reconnect: $ cat ~/.ssh/config ConnectTimeout 10 ConnectionAttempts 100 you could also try using a keep alive ping with ServerAliveInterval 60. Those might reduce the problem. Sep 1, 2021 at 10:18
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    I'm a bit surprised that you still have this problem when using nohup. If that isn't working for you, my only other suggestion is configuring npm as a service. Sep 1, 2021 at 10:20

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