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How to Setup Jupyter Notebook Server as a daemon service

Create a new user

Create a new user on your system with a home directory. Refer to documentation of the linux version you are using to set this up. This is a recommended method since it will allow smooth and dedicated user setup for this Jupyter Server.

Check packages required

You should have these packages installed

python3 --version
pip3 --version
virtualenv --version

if not installed login as sudo user and install

sudo apt update
sudo apt install python3-dev python3-pip
sudo pip3 install -U virtualenv  # system-wide install

Setup Environment for development as jupyter notebook user

Login as user and create a new virtual environment by choosing a Python interpreter and making a ./venv directory to hold it:

virtualenv --system-site-packages -p python3 ~/venv

Activate the virtual environment using a shell-specific command:

source ~/venv/bin/activate  # sh, bash, ksh, or zsh

When virtualenv is active, your shell prompt is prefixed with (venv).

Install packages within a virtual environment without affecting the host system setup. Start by upgrading pip:

pip install --upgrade pip

pip list  # show packages installed within the virtual environment

And to exit virtualenv later:

deactivate  # don't exit until you're done using your virtual environment

Pro Tip

# add a bash alias in .bashrc for venv activation 
# for zsh shell this is .zshrc

alias venv="source /home/fermi/venv/bin/activate"
source ~/.bashrc

# run venv to activate virtual environment 

Install Jupyter as sudo user

sudo python3 -m pip install jupyter # system-wide install

Login as user where you created virtual environment

Setup A notebook configuration file. Check to see if you have a notebook configuration file, The default location for this file is your Jupyter folder located in your home directory:

  • Windows: C:\Users\USERNAME.jupyter\
  • OS X: /Users/USERNAME/.jupyter/
  • Linux: /home/USERNAME/.jupyter/

If you don’t already have a Jupyter folder, or if your Jupyter folder doesn’t contain a notebook configuration file, run the following command:

jupyter notebook --generate-config

# output
Writing default config to: /home/fermi/.jupyter/

Navigate to in the ~/[PATH] specified above and open with an editor.

Set configuration for Jupyter

Edit the For more info refer to documentation.

nano /home/fermi/.jupyter/

Change ip and port as you see fit. IP will broadcast in LAN incase you want to access from another host other than localhost.

## The IP address the notebook server will listen on.
c.NotebookApp.ip = ''  #default= localhost

## The port the notebook server will listen on.
c.NotebookApp.port = 7000     #default=8888

Startinf Jupyter for the first time

Start the notebook


# output 
[I 11:33:48.980 NotebookApp] Writing notebook server cookie secret to /run/user/1002/jupyter/notebook_cookie_secret
[I 11:33:49.355 NotebookApp] Serving notebooks from local directory: /home/fermi
[I 11:33:49.355 NotebookApp] The Jupyter Notebook is running at:
[I 11:33:49.355 NotebookApp] http://(TSERV or
[I 11:33:49.355 NotebookApp] Use Control-C to stop this server and shut down all kernels (twice to skip confirmation).
[W 11:33:49.356 NotebookApp] No web browser found: could not locate runnable browser.
[C 11:33:49.356 NotebookApp]

    Copy/paste this URL into your browser when you connect for the first time,
    to login with a token:
        http://(TSERV or
[I 11:34:18.338 NotebookApp] 302 GET /?token=ea0e3be651a7244793651e7aadc6e8994d4db30ce5d8ef1b ( 0.89ms

Visit the url from the commandline output in you browser. In this example the url is:

http://(TSERV or

You can also replace http://(TSERV or with the IP or HOSTNAME of the server/ machine. You should be able to login.

Logout and then login again: Set a password

When you logout and login the second time you will be asked to set password. Use the token and set a new password which will then be encrypted now saved in the /home/fermi/.jupyter/jupyter_notebook_config.json. You can manually check contents of this file.

Now exit the server ^C and start the server again. You wont see any token generated since a password auth is in place. Now we are ready to deply this as jupyter a service.

Setting up notebook server as a service

login as user

Setup Environment for your service. I use a file for setting all the ENVIRONMENT_VARIABLES for this service to use

# create env file in /home/fermi/.jupyter/env
touch /home/fermi/.jupyter/env

Add ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES in to the file as follows. Add venv, CUDA libraries and paths if you have. You can lookup your .bashrc to check if you have custom variables.

# file:     /home/fermi/.jupyter/env

# Note that I am including venv path so that jupyter.service uses this venv binaries.

# in case you have GPU installed provide paths to CUDA libs 

Now login as sudo user.

# create a service file
sudo touch /lib/systemd/system/jupyter.service

# open and edit 
sudo nano /lib/systemd/system/jupyter.service

The following is a modified version of this service config.

# service name:     jupyter.service 
# path:             /lib/systemd/system/jupyter.service

# After Ubuntu 16.04, Systemd becomes the default.
# Ref:

Description=Jupyter Notebook Server



# Jupyter Notebook: change PATHs as needed for your system
ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/jupyter-notebook --config=/home/fermi/.jupyter/

# In case you want to use jupyter-lab 
# ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/jupyter-lab --config=/home/fermi/.jupyter/



Recap and a things to note:

  • service will run as user fermi. Since we have provided default access to fermi's home directory and our workspace WorkingDirectory=/home/fermi/users
  • the python venv is enabled by using settings /home/fermi/.jupyter/env
  • you can change the default to jupyter-lab from jupyter-notebook

Jupyter Kernels

By default ipykernel is installed along with jupyter when we installed the jupyter notebook in previous step. However we also have to provide a kernel for the virtual environment we just created.

login as user and list all existing kernels

jupyter-kernelspec list

Create a custom kernel with python3 from the virtual env with a custom name venvPy3

source ~/venv/bin/activate

which python    # this should echo 
>    /home/fermi/venv/bin/python

python --version    # check version just to make sure its the same we installed 
>   Python 3.5.2

# from venv install kernel 
python3 -m ipykernel install --user --name=venvPy3

jupyter-kernelspec list
Available kernels:
venvpy3     /home/fermi/.local/share/jupyter/kernels/venvpy3  
python3     /usr/local/share/jupyter/kernels/

You should also be able to see native kernels as shown here python3 from native python in /usr/local/share/jupyter/kernels/ This is happening because of the ipykernel that is installed in the systems python libraries. To install packages with native kernels use --user option. This is however not required for the virtualenv.

For our application we would like to disable native kernels and provide user access to only the venv for simplicity. We can add as many kernels as we like in the venv.

First check where is ipykernel installed. Login as sudo user

pip3 list | grep ipykernel

Uninstall ipykernel from system python libs.

sudo  python3 -m pip uninstall  ipykernel

Login as jupyter notebook user and activate venv. Now from install ipykernel in venv.

# from venv install kernel     
pip install ipykernel

# list existing kernels

# install custom venv kernel 
python3 -m ipykernel install --user --name=venvPy3

You can add as many kernel as needed for multiple versions of python from within the venv. All kernels created inside venv are available in the user home at /home/fermi/.local/share/jupyter/kernels/

Start the jupyter service

Now we are ready to start the service. Enable and start the daemon

# Enable the service
sudo systemctl enable jupyter.service
Created symlink from /etc/systemd/system/ to /lib/systemd/system/jupyter.service.

# Reload and Restart Service 
sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl restart jupyter.service

# Now check status of the jupyter service daemon

sudo service jupyter status

output : the daemon is running

● jupyter.service - Jupyter Notebook Server
Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/jupyter.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
Active: active (running) since Sat 2018-11-24 12:09:05 PST; 21s ago
Main PID: 8012 (jupyter-noteboo)
    Tasks: 1
Memory: 40.6M
    CPU: 824ms
CGroup: /system.slice/jupyter.service
        └─8012 /usr/bin/python3 /usr/local/bin/jupyter-notebook --config=/home/fermi/.jupyter/

login to the jupyter notebook and check

Visit the URL, create a new notebook.

Verify the venv is loaded

! python --version 
! pip --version 
! which python
! which pip

should generate output

Python 3.5.2
pip 18.1 from /home/fermi/venv/lib/python3.5/site-packages/pip (python 3.5)

As you see the venv is active. Also you should be able to see the 'Python3' venv kernel in the kernel list.

To check kernels available run this from commandline

jupyter-kernelspec list
  python3    /usr/local/share/jupyter/kernels/python3

To add and rename kernels please refer to jupyter-kernelspec documentation.

Check permissions for pip install from jupyter

From a new notebook run:

! pip install pandas

If you dont get any permission errors during the install you are good to go.

This concludes the full installation process for the Jupyer Notebook Server as a service daemon.