How to List All Services in Ubuntu [4 Best Methods]

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Last updated: June 27, 2023

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To list all services in Ubuntu, you can try these four methods:

  1. Systemctl Command: List all services in a tabular format, including their status, unit name, and description.
  2. Service Command: List services along with their status, denoted by [ + ] for running services and [ – ] for stopped services.
  3. Init.d Directory: List services by examining the script files in the init.d directory.
  4. ls System Directory: List all systemd service unit files and related files in the /etc/systemd/system directory.

Listing services in Linux offers several benefits, including improved system understanding and monitoring, enhanced troubleshooting and issue resolution, and streamlined service management. However, users may encounter common errors such as “Service Command Not Found,” incomplete or missing service information, and incorrect service names or syntax. Understanding and addressing these errors is crucial for efficient service listing and effective system administration.

Continue reading the article below to learn different methods to list all services in Ubuntu, the benefits of listing services, and common errors with possible solutions.

Knowing how to list all services in Ubuntu is a fundamental skill that allows you to gain valuable insights into the components running on your machine. By exploring the intricacies of service listing, you not only gain a comprehensive overview of your system’s functionalities but also empower yourself to manage, troubleshoot, and optimize its performance effectively. In this article, I will explore different methods to list all services and the benefits it brings. I will also discuss some common errors with possible solutions equipping you with the knowledge to take control of your Ubuntu environment with confidence.

How to List All Services in Ubuntu

To list all services in Ubuntu, you have multiple methods at your disposal. The systemctl command in Ubuntu provides a straightforward and efficient way to retrieve a comprehensive list of services, their status, and additional details. The service command offers a simpler alternative, while the init.d directory allows for the manual examination of service files. Additionally, exploring the /etc/systemd/system directory unveils systemd service unit files and their configurations.

1. Systemctl Command

The systemctl command is a powerful tool for managing services in Ubuntu. It provides a straightforward and efficient way to list services, their status, and other details. Follow these steps:

  1. Open a Terminal in Ubuntu.
opening terminal 22
  1. Type the following command:
<strong>systemctl list-units --type=service</strong>
  1. This command lists all services in a tabular format, including their status, unit name, and description.
listing system services
  1. To filter services based on their status, you can use flags like –state=active, --state=inactive, or –state=failed.
listing inactive system services

2. Service Command

Another method to list services in Ubuntu is by using the service command. Although systemctl is preferred, the service command can still be useful in certain situations. It offers a simpler way to list services and their statuses in Ubuntu. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Access the command window and type the following command:
<strong>service --status-all</strong>
  1. This command provides a list of services along with their status, denoted by [ + ] for running services and [ – ] for stopped services.
listing all running and stopped services
  1. To list the details of a specific service, use the following command:
<strong>service service-name status</strong>

Replace service-name with the name of the service you want to check.

viewing details of a specific service

3. Init.d Directory

The init.d directory contains script files responsible for managing services in Ubuntu. By examining this directory, you can list services and gain insights into their configuration. Follow these steps:

  1. Launch your Terminal window.
  2. Navigate to the init.d directory by typing the following command:
<strong>cd /etc/init.d</strong>
  1. Use the ls command to list all the files in the directory.
  2. Each file in the init.d directory corresponds to a service. You can view the details of a particular service by opening its respective file.
listing files containing details of services

4. Using the ls System Directory

Another method to list all services in Ubuntu is by exploring the /etc/systemd/system directory. This directory contains systemd service unit files that define and configure various services on your system. Here’s how you can use this method:

  1. Open your command prompt and navigate to the systemd system directory by typing the following command:
<strong>cd /etc/systemd/system</strong>
  1. Use the ls command to list all the service unit files in the directory.
listing systemd service unit files
  1. Each service unit file represents a specific service. You can examine the contents of a particular unit file to gain insights into its configuration and dependencies.
  2. The files and directories listed are the systemd service unit files and related files in the /etc/systemd/system directory.

Benefits of Listing Services in Linux

Understanding the benefits to list all services in Ubuntu is essential for efficient system administration. By gaining visibility into running processes and their status, administrators can effectively monitor the system, troubleshoot issues, and streamline service management. Here are three key advantages of listing services in Linux:

  • 🔍 Improved System Understanding and Monitoring: Listing services in Linux provides a comprehensive overview of the running processes, allowing administrators better to understand the system’s status and resource allocation. By having visibility into active services, administrators can monitor their performance, identify potential bottlenecks, and allocate system resources more effectively. This knowledge enables proactive system maintenance and troubleshooting, improving system stability and optimized performance.
  • 🔧 Enhanced Troubleshooting and Issue Resolution: When encountering system issues or errors, listing Linux services is a valuable diagnostic tool. By examining the list of services and their status, administrators can pinpoint potential culprits causing system disruptions. It helps in narrowing down the scope of the investigation, allowing for efficient troubleshooting and issue resolution. With a clear overview of services, administrators can identify misconfigurations, conflicting processes, or resource conflicts, enabling them to address problems promptly and minimize downtime.
  • 💪 Streamlined Service Management: Listing services in Linux facilitates streamlined service management. By having an organized and accessible list of services, administrators can easily start, stop, or restart specific services as needed. Additionally, service dependencies can be identified, ensuring that services are started or stopped correctly. This streamlined management approach improves overall system efficiency, enables better control over critical processes, and simplifies routine maintenance tasks. A comprehensive service list provides administrators with a clear roadmap for managing and maintaining the system’s services efficiently.

Common Errors in Listing Services in Linux

When working with Linux systems and managing services, it is not uncommon to encounter errors while attempting to list all services in Ubuntu. Understanding these common errors and knowing how to troubleshoot them is crucial for smooth system administration. Here are three common errors that users may face when listing services in Linux:

  • 🚫 Service Command Not Found: When attempting to list services using the service command, you may encounter the error “command not found.” This error typically occurs if the system you are using does not have the service command installed or if the command is not accessible due to incorrect user privileges. Ensure you are running the command as a privileged user and check if the service command is available on your system. If not, consider using alternative methods such as systemctl or exploring the init.d directory.
  • Incomplete or Missing Service Information: Sometimes, when listing services, you may come across incomplete or missing service information. This can happen for various reasons, such as improperly configured service files, corrupted data, or system issues. When faced with this error, checking the service configuration files and verifying their integrity is advisable. Restarting the relevant services or rebooting the system may help resolve any temporary glitches causing incomplete or missing information.
  • 🔍 Incorrect Service Names or Syntax: Another common error is entering incorrect service names or using incorrect syntax when listing services. It is essential to ensure you accurately type the service name or use the correct command syntax. Check for any typographical errors, ensure proper capitalization, and follow the specific syntax requirements for the command or method you are using. Consulting the official documentation or relevant online resources can help you identify the correct service names and syntax for accurately listing services in Linux.

In Conclusion

This article has provided you with different methods to list all services in Ubuntu. In this comprehensive guide, you will also learn the benefits of listing services and common errors that can occur during the process.

To further enhance your Ubuntu system administration skills, consider exploring topics such as service monitoring, optimization, and troubleshooting common service-related issues. Additionally, delve into advanced concepts like systemd units, service dependencies, and automating service management to deepen your understanding. By expanding your knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to optimize your system’s performance and ensure its smooth operation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I filter and list only active services?

To list only active services in Linux, you can utilize the systemctl command with specific options. By executing the following command in the Terminal systemctl list-units --type=service --state=active, you can filter and display only the active services on your system. This command will provide a list of active services, including their status, unit name, and description. Filtering services based on their status enables you to focus on the running services and quickly identify the active components of your Linux system.

Can I list services based on their dependencies?

Absolutely! With the systemctl command, you have the ability to list services based on their dependencies. Using the --reverse flag, you can display services in reverse order, highlighting their dependencies. For example, running the command systemctl list-dependencies --reverse service-name, where service-name is the name of the service you want to check, will provide you with a hierarchical view of the services, starting from the specified service and following its dependencies. This allows you to understand the interdependencies among services and their order of execution.

Is it possible to list services by their startup order?

Certainly! To list services by their startup order in Linux, you can utilize the systemctl command with the --reverse flag. By running the following command systemctl list-units --type=service --all --reverse, you can obtain a list of services in reverse startup order. This means that services that start earlier during the boot process will appear toward the end of the list, while services starting later will be displayed towards the beginning. Listing services by their startup order provides valuable insights into the sequence of service initialization and can be beneficial for understanding the boot process and optimizing service configurations.



Ojash is a skilled Linux expert and tech writer with over a decade of experience. He has extensive knowledge of Linux's file system, command-line interface, and software installations. Ojash is also an expert in shell scripting and automation, with experience in Bash, Python, and Perl. He has published numerous articles on Linux in various online publications, making him a valuable resource for both seasoned Linux users and beginners. Ojash is also an active member of the Linux community and participates in Linux forums.



Akshat is a software engineer, product designer and the co-founder of Scrutify. He's an experienced Linux professional and the senior editor of this blog. He is also an open-source contributor to many projects on Github and has written several technical guides on Linux. Apart from that, he’s also actively sharing his ideas and tutorials on Medium and Attirer. As the editor of this blog, Akshat brings his wealth of knowledge and experience to provide readers with valuable insights and advice on a wide range of Linux-related topics.

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