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Amazon SNS Agent alert notifications

Learn how to send notifications through Amazon SNS using Netdata's Agent alert notification feature, which supports dozens of endpoints, user roles, and more.


This file assumes you have read the Introduction to Agent alert notifications, detailing how the Netdata Agent's alert notification method works.

As part of its AWS suite, Amazon provides a notification broker service called 'Simple Notification Service' (SNS). Amazon SNS works similarly to Netdata's own notification system, allowing to dispatch a single notification to multiple subscribers of different types. Among other things, SNS supports sending notifications to:

  • email addresses
  • mobile Phones via SMS
  • HTTP or HTTPS web hooks
  • AWS Lambda functions
  • AWS SQS queues
  • mobile applications via push notifications


While Amazon SNS supports sending differently formatted messages for different delivery methods, Netdata does not currently support this functionality.

For email notification support, we recommend using Netdata's email notifications, as it is has the following benefits:

  • In most cases, it requires less configuration.
  • Netdata's emails are nicely pre-formatted and support features like threading, which requires a lot of manual effort in SNS.
  • It is less resource intensive and more cost-efficient than SNS.

Read on to learn how to set up Amazon SNS in Netdata.


Before you can enable SNS, you need:

  • The Amazon Web Services CLI tools (awscli).
  • An actual home directory for the user you run Netdata as, instead of just using / as a home directory.
    The setup depends on the distribution, but /var/lib/netdata is the recommended directory. If you are using Netdata as a dedicated user, the permissions will already be correct.
  • An Amazon SNS topic to send notifications to with one or more subscribers.
    The Getting Started section of the Amazon SNS documentation covers the basics of how to set this up. Make note of the Topic ARN when you create the topic.
  • While not mandatory, it is highly recommended to create a dedicated IAM user on your account for Netdata to send notifications.
    This user needs to have programmatic access, and should only allow access to SNS. For an additional layer of security, you can create one for each system or group of systems.
  • Terminal access to the Agent you wish to configure.

Configure Netdata to send alert notifications to Amazon SNS


This file mentions editing configuration files.

  • To edit configuration files in a safe way, we provide the edit config script located in your Netdata config directory (typically is /etc/netdata) that creates the proper file and opens it in an editor automatically.
    Note that to run the script you need to be inside your Netdata config directory.

It is recommended to use this way for configuring Netdata.

Edit health_alarm_notify.conf, changes to this file do not require restarting Netdata:

  1. Set SEND_AWSNS to YES.

  2. Set AWSSNS_MESSAGE_FORMAT to the string that you want the alert to be sent into.

    The supported variables are:

    Variable nameDescription
    ${alarm}Like "name = value units"
    ${status_message}Like "needs attention", "recovered", "is critical"
    ${severity}Like "Escalated to CRITICAL", "Recovered from WARNING"
    ${raised_for}Like "(alert was raised for 10 minutes)"
    ${host}The host generated this event
    ${url_host}Same as ${host} but URL encoded
    ${unique_id}The unique id of this event
    ${alarm_id}The unique id of the alert that generated this event
    ${event_id}The incremental id of the event, for this alert id
    ${when}The timestamp this event occurred
    ${name}The name of the alert, as given in netdata health.d entries
    ${url_name}Same as ${name} but URL encoded
    ${chart}The name of the chart (
    ${url_chart}Same as ${chart} but URL encoded
    ${family}The family of the chart
    ${url_family}Same as ${family} but URL encoded
    ${value}The current value of the alert
    ${old_value}The previous value of the alert
    ${src}The line number and file the alert has been configured
    ${duration}The duration in seconds of the previous alert state
    ${duration_txt}Same as ${duration} for humans
    ${non_clear_duration}The total duration in seconds this is/was non-clear
    ${non_clear_duration_txt}Same as ${non_clear_duration} for humans
    ${units}The units of the value
    ${info}A short description of the alert
    ${value_string}Friendly value (with units)
    ${old_value_string}Friendly old value (with units)
    ${image}The URL of an image to represent the status of the alert
    ${color}A color in AABBCC format for the alert
    ${goto_url}The URL the user can click to see the netdata dashboard
    ${calc_expression}The expression evaluated to provide the value for the alert
    ${calc_param_values}The value of the variables in the evaluated expression
    ${total_warnings}The total number of alerts in WARNING state on the host
    ${total_critical}The total number of alerts in CRITICAL state on the host
  3. Set DEFAULT_RECIPIENT_AWSSNS to the Topic ARN you noted down upon creating the Topic.
    All roles will default to this variable if it is not configured.

You can then have different recipient Topics per role, by editing DEFAULT_RECIPIENT_AWSSNS with the Topic ARN you want, in the following entries at the bottom of the same file:


An example working configuration would be:

# Amazon SNS notifications

AWSSNS_MESSAGE_FORMAT="${status} on ${host} at ${date}: ${chart} ${value_string}"

Test the notification method

To test this alert notification method refer to the "Testing Alert Notifications" section of the Agent alert notifications page.

Do you have any feedback for this page? If so, you can open a new issue on our netdata/learn repository.