Configure your nodes

Netdata's zero-configuration collection, storage, and visualization features work for many users, infrastructures, and use cases, but there are some situations where you might want to configure your nodes.

For example, you might want to increase metrics retention, configure a collector based on your infrastructure's unique setup, or secure the local dashboard by restricting it to only connections from localhost.

Whatever the reason, Netdata users should know how to configure individual nodes to act decisively if an incident, anomaly, or change in infrastructure affects how their Agents should peform.

The Netdata config directory

On most Linux systems, using our recommended one-line installation, the Netdata config directory is /etc/netdata/. The config directory contains several configuration files with the .conf extension, a few directories, and a shell script named edit-config.

Some operating systems will use /opt/netdata/etc/netdata/ as the config directory. If you're not sure where yours is, navigate to http://NODE:19999/netdata.conf in your browser, replacing NODE with the IP address or hostname of your node, and find the # config directory = setting. The value listed is the config directory for your system.

All of Netdata's documentation assumes that your config directory is at /etc/netdata, and that you're running any scripts from inside that directory.

Netdata's configuration files

Upon installation, the Netdata config directory contains a few files and directories.

  • netdata.conf is the main configuration file. This is where you'll find most configuration options. This doc won't go into exhaustive detail about each setting. You can read descriptions for each in the daemon config doc.
  • orig is a symbolic link to the directory /usr/lib/netdata/conf.d, which contains stock configuration files. Stock versions are copied into the config directory when opened with edit-config. Do not edit the files in /usr/lib/netdata/conf.d, as they are overwritten by updates to the Netdata Agent.
  • edit-config is a shell script used for editing configuration files.
  • go.d/, python.d/, charts.d/, node.d/, and custom-plugins.d/, which are directories for each of Netdata's orchestrators. These directories can each contain additional .conf files for configuring specific collectors.

Use edit-config to edit netdata.conf

The recommended way to easily and safely edit Netdata's configuration is with the edit-config script. This script opens existing Netdata configuration files using your system's $EDITOR. If the file doesn't yet exist in your config directory, the script copies the stock version from /usr/lib/netdata/conf.d and opens it for editing.

Run edit-config without any options to see details on its usage and a list of all the configuration files you can edit.

./edit-config
USAGE:
./edit-config FILENAME
Copy and edit the stock config file named: FILENAME
if FILENAME is already copied, it will be edited as-is.
The EDITOR shell variable is used to define the editor to be used.
Stock config files at: '/usr/lib/netdata/conf.d'
User config files at: '/etc/netdata'
Available files in '/usr/lib/netdata/conf.d' to copy and edit:
./apps_groups.conf ./health.d/phpfpm.conf
./aws_kinesis.conf ./health.d/pihole.conf
./charts.d/ap.conf ./health.d/portcheck.conf
./charts.d/apcupsd.conf ./health.d/postgres.conf
...

To edit netdata.conf, run ./edit-config netdata.conf. You may need to elevate your privileges with sudo or another method for edit-config to write into the config directory. Use your $EDITOR, make your changes, and save the file.

edit-config uses the EDITOR environment variable on your system to edit the file. On many systems, that is defaulted to vim or nano. To change this variable for the current session (it will revert to the default when you reboot), export a new value: export EDITOR=nano. Or, make the change permanent.

After you make your changes, you need to restart the Agent with service netdata restart.

Here's an example of editing the node's hostname, which appears in both the local dashboard and in Netdata Cloud.

Animated GIF of editing the hostname option in
netdata.conf

Other configuration files

You can edit any Netdata configuration file using edit-config. A few examples:

./edit-config apps_groups.conf
./edit-config ebpf.conf
./edit-config health.d/load.conf
./edit-config go.d/prometheus.conf

The documentation for each of Netdata's components explains which file(s) to edit to achieve the desired behavior.

What's next?

Take advantage of this newfound understanding of node configuration to add security to your node. We have a few best practices based on how you use the Netdata Agent and Netdata Cloud.

You can also take what you've learned about node configuration to tweak the Agent's behavior or enable new features:

Last updated on