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Increasing File Descriptors and Open Files Limit CentOS 7

PS: See Andy Dyrcz answer in the comments for a better way to do this

Some programs like Apache and MySQL require a higher number of file descriptors.
This is how you can increase that limit for all users in CentOS 7
Commands require root access

# Find the default limit – check the open files line – it will be 1024

sudo ulimit -a

To increase edit nano /etc/sysctl.conf add the below line, save and exit

fs.file-max = 100000

We also need to increase hard and soft limits
Edit /etc/security/limits.conf add the below lines before the #End, save and exit

* soft nproc 65535
 * hard nproc 65535
 * soft nofile 65535
 * hard nofile 65535

Next run the command

sudo sysctl -p

for MySQL, edit /usr/lib/systemd/system/mysqld.service  and add the below 2 lines at the end, save and exit


then increase the table_open_cache and open_files_limit in my.cnf

# reload systemctl
 sudo systemctl daemon-reload

# if you modified mysql config, restart mysql and check values for table_open_cache and open_files_limit

systemctl restart mysqld.service

run the below command to check the open files limit – change user based on requirement
output should say: open files (-n) 65535

# for mysql
 su - mysql -c 'ulimit -aHS' -s '/bin/bash'

# for apache
 su - apache -c 'ulimit -aHS' -s '/bin/bash'
  1. Andy Dyrcz
    March 27th, 2017 at 18:59 | #1

    oops! I used %gt and $lt around service_name, so your comments chopped it out…. You want to create an “/etc/systemd/system/’service_name’.service.d/” is what i meant…

  2. Andy Dyrcz
    March 27th, 2017 at 18:57 | #3

    You really don’t want to edit the service’s ulimits from within /usr/lib/systemd/system/ as this will most likely be overwritten during an update/upgrade. You want to create an “/etc/systemd/system/.service.d/” and create a limits.conf file in that directory.
    This way you don’t have to re-troubleshoot when you upgrade and you get “TOO MANY FILES” errors. 🙂

  3. April 3rd, 2016 at 15:37 | #4

    When adding


    To the service file, it needs to be added to the [Service] section, not at the end.

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