This command has the following syntax:


This command has the following options:

-c CONFIG, --config CONFIG

The configuration file to use.

-d, --daemonize

Indicates that the executable will be run as a daemon. This option is only available on machines that run in UNIX or Linux environments. For machines that are running Microsoft Windows that require similar functionality, use the chef-client::service recipe in the chef-client cookbook: http://community.opscode.com/cookbooks/chef-client. This will install a chef-client service under Microsoft Windows using the Windows Service Wrapper.


The name of the environment.

-f, --[no-]fork

Indicates that a chef-client run will be contained in a secondary process with dedicated RAM. When the chef-client run is complete the RAM will be returned to the master process. This option helps ensure that a chef-client will use a steady amount of RAM over time because the master process will not run recipes. This option will also help prevent memory leaks (such as those that can be introduced by the code contained within a poorly designed cookbook). Use --no-fork to disable running the chef-client in fork node. Default value: --fork.

-F FORMAT, --format FORMAT

The output format: doc (default) or min.

Use doc to print the progress of the chef-client run using full strings that display a summary of updates as they occur.

Use min to print the progress of the chef-client run using single characters. A summary of updates is printed at the end of the chef-client run. A dot (.) is printed for events that do not have meaningful status information, such as loading a file or synchronizing a cookbook. For resources, a dot (.) is printed when the resource is up to date, an S is printed when the resource is skipped by not_if or only_if, and a U is printed when the resource is updated.

Other formatting options are available when those formatters are configured in the client.rb file using the add_formatter option.


Indicates that formatter output will be used instead of logger output.


Indicates that logger output will be used instead of formatter output.

-g GROUP, --group GROUP

The name of the group that owns a process. This is required when starting any executable as a daemon.

-h, --help

Shows help for the command.

-i SECONDS, --interval SECONDS

The frequency (in seconds) at which the chef-client runs.

-j PATH, --json-attributes PATH

The path to a file that contains JSON data. Use this option to override normal attributes set elsewhere.

-l LEVEL, --log_level LEVEL

The level of logging that will be stored in a log file.

-L LOGLOCATION, --logfile c

The location in which log file output files will be saved. If this location is set to something other than STDOUT, standard output logging will still be performed (otherwise there would be no output other than to a file). This is recommended when starting any executable as a daemon.


Indicates whether colored output will be used. Default setting: --color.

-N NODE_NAME, --node-name NODE_NAME

The name of the node.

-o RUN_LIST_ITEM, --override-runlist RUN_LIST_ITEM

Replace the current run list with the specified items.

-r RECIPE_URL, --recipe-url RECIPE_URL

The URL location from which a remote cookbook tar.gz will be downloaded.


A number (in seconds) to add to the interval that is used to determine the frequency of chef-client runs. This number can help prevent server load when there are many clients running at the same time.

-u USER, --user USER

The user that owns a process. This is required when starting any executable as a daemon.

-v, --version

The version of the chef-client.

-W, --why-run

Indicates that the executable will be run in why-run mode, which is a type of chef-client run that does everything except modify the system. Use why-run mode to understand why the chef-client makes the decisions that it makes and to learn more about the current and proposed state of the system.


Use a URL

$ chef-solo -c ~/solo.rb -j ~/node.json -r http://www.example.com/chef-solo.tar.gz

where -r uses the remote_file resource to retrieve the tar.gz archive into the file_cache_path, and then extract it to cookbooks_path.

Use a directory

$ chef-solo -c ~/solo.rb -j ~/node.json

where the -r URL option is not used. chef-solo will look in the solo.rb file to determine the directory in which cookbooks are located.

Use a URL for cookbook and JSON data

$ chef-solo -c ~/solo.rb -j http://www.example.com/node.json -r http://www.example.com/chef-solo.tar.gz

where -r corresponds to recipe_url and -j corresponds to json_attribs, both of which are configuration options in solo.rb.