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root@kumarswamys-desktop:/etc# sudo /usr/sbin/service vsftpd restart    
restart: Unknown instance:
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Why running sudo as root? –  Braiam Sep 26 '13 at 14:33

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

A typical restart job will attempt to kill an old instance first. What is happening here is that there isn't an old copy to kill.

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Try this sudo /etc/init.d/vsftpd restart

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This worked for me: service ssh start

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3  
The service in this question is vsftpd. Do you mean to suggest something like service vsftpd start? –  Eliah Kagan Jan 17 at 12:10

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