Nagios Install

Installing Nagios

[Ref: OpenBSD 5.0, Nagios 3.3.1, Nagios Core 3.x Manuals]

Table of Contents

Install the binary package of your choice from Packages. For our sample configuration, we’re going to choose the ‘chroot’ package which runs within the chroot’d environment of OpenBSD’s base Apache 1.3x release.

pkg_add nagios-web-3.3.1-chroot

The install, will copy the files to your system and configure

Path Description
/var/www/etc/nagios Configuration Files.
	In General, the file nagios.cfg is in this path root, and item specific
	files are loaded/linked from here. Most configuration options, references
    will be stored in the sub-directory */objects*.
	Sample configuration files are copied into /usr/local/share/examples/nagios
	The default configuration file loaded by Nagios, *nagios.cfg* is in the root, 
	and item specific files in in the sub-directory /objects.
	<td>WWW Nagios Files</td>
	<td>WWW CGI BIN Nagios Files</td>
	<td>Utilities executed by Nagios to check things,
	such as check_icmp, check_http</td>
	<td>Further example configuration files</td>

To complete configuration for Nagios, we will create our Apache configurations in the following path.

Path Description
/var/www/conf/modules Apache is configured to load all files in this directory as part of it's configuration. We will ln(1) our configuration file into this path from /var/www/conf/modules.sample

It is important that you note all the packages that are installed, and ensure you complete the package install instructions.

To launch nagios at each restart of your host, refer the install screen-output, and update your rc.conf.local file to include something such as the below: rc.d(8), rc.conf(8)

File: /etc/rc.conf.local



Before we start looking at changing the configuration settings for Nagios, some basic commands for starting and stopping nagios services.

Syntax Check

[Ref: Verifying Your Configuration]

After/when making changes, perform a quick check.

/usr/local/sbin/nagios -v /var/www/etc/nagios/nagios.cfg

Take care with the screen-output and resolve errors, where possible solve the warning messages as well.

Log Review

Our install logs output to /var/log/nagios/nagios.log.

egrep "(^log_|^debug)" /var/www/etc/nagios/nagios.cfg

It is important during the install, and system checks that you monitor the log file and consider increasing the debug_level.

Another important file is the status file, which (?) contains the current evaluation by nagios of our configuration files:

grep ^status_ /var/www/etc/nagios/nagios.cfg


Once everything’s running Nagios can be start/stopped using the web interface, but even with that option the command-line is quite straight forward.

To stop Nagios:

kill -KILL `/usr/bin/head -1 /var/run/nagios/`


To start Nagios:

/usr/local/sbin/nagios -d /var/www/etc/nagios/nagios.cfg

To manage start | stop from the GUI user interface, select the “Process Info” link for all available options.


Restart Nagios by kill(1) sending it the HUP - Hang Up signal to reload it’s configuration file:

kill -HUP `/usr/bin/head -1 /var/run/nagios/`

Basic Configuration

As noted above, the default/sample configuration for Nagios execution is in /var/www/etc/nagios.

Path Description
ngaios.cfg The default configuration file loaded by Nagios, *nagios.cfg* is in the root, and item specific files in in the sub-directory /objects.
cgi.cfg Configuration for the Web Interface.
objects/*.cfg Configuration files defining object attributes and behaviour.

We review more specifics on the web configuration settings below, and delve here into some basics about the other Nagios configuration settings. The broad breakdown of the configuration files is:

  • nagios.cfg loads the other configuration files
  • objects/ stores config files for nagios objects
  • templates are definitions of objects, that can be re-used by other objects.

In essence, you could have all your configuration in one text file that rules them all(tm) and we choose to break them up for our own aesthetics. Choose your object filenames for what fits best for your configuration.

For a graphical visualisation of how an example configuration’s files are inter-related refer to the list of diagrams at the Nagios Wiki.


[Ref: Nagios Core - Main Configuration File Options]

The sample nagios.cfg file is well documented and is used to reference (load) other configuration files.

grep -v "^#" /var/www/etc/nagios/nagios.cfg | grep ".cfg"

cfg_file specifies an object configuration file containing object definitions (hosts, host groups, contacts, contact groups, services, commands, etc.)

Get more information about the parameters through reading the comments in the configuration file, or documentation.


Objects, as referenced in the above example is separated into files that generally identify the objects defined within them.

But, the examples also show you in localhost.cfg that you can have a multitude of object types within a single file.


[Ref Object Inheritance Object Definitions]

Nagios objects support inheritance, such that one practical use of inheritance is to use incomplete object definitions as the foundation (pre-defined defaults) on which to complete your object.

By default, all Nagios objects are registered, to use a partially defined (incomplete) object then use


The basic install stores a good number of templates (incomplete objects) in the config file objects/templates.cfg, but it can be in any of your configuration files. Because of inheritance, any object can be used as the foundation for customisation for a new object.

For example, the template for openbsd-server

File: /var/www/etc/nagios/objects/templates.cfg

define host{
	name					openbsd-server
	use						generic-host
	check_period			24x7
	check_interval			5		; check every 5 minutes under normal conditions
	retry_interval			1		; check the service every ONE minute until a hard state can be determined
	max_check_attempts		10
	check_command			check-host-alive
	notification_period		workhours
	notification_interval	120
	notification_options	d,u,r	; send notifications about down, unknown, recovery events
	contact_groups			admins

The openbsd-server template, extends or specifies particular details extending the template generic-host, through the keyword use

	use						generic-host

Identify the object instance through the property: name

	name					openbsd-server

Each template name must be unique amongst objects of the same type.

	notification_period		workhours

As with the use keyword, several parameters can reference other objects, and one in particular that is important for our basic install, is the notification_period workhours which is defined elsewhere.

notification_period: 	... the short name of the time period during which notifications 
of events for this host can be sent out to contacts. If a host goes down, becomes unreachable, or recoveries 
during a time which is not covered by the time period, no notifications will be sent out.

So, it’s important for our test install because we need to know that notifications (whatever that is) isn’t going to work if we’re outside the notification_period.

File: /var/www/etc/nagios/objects/timeperiods.cfg

define timeperiod{
	timeperiod_name workhours
	alias			Normal Work Hours
	monday			09:00-17:00
	tuesday			09:00-17:00
	wednesday		09:00-17:00
	thursday		09:00-17:00
	friday			09:00-17:00

Below we show a template definition of the object type service and we note two service objects: ping-service which we are defining below, and generic-service which is defined elsewhere in the configuration file.

File: /var/www/etc/nagios/objects/templates.cfg

define service{
	name					ping-service
	use						generic-service
	normal_check_interval	5 		; check every 5 minutes under normal conditions
	retry_check_interval    1		; re-check the service every ONE minute until a hard state can be determined
	notification_options	w,u,c,r	; send notifications about warning, unknown, critical, recovery events

Summary: Any object can be used as a template but in particular, an object can be explicitly set as a template (i.e. not usable directly) through the simple object item register 0: