File descriptor

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Global limit

Display

# cat /proc/sys/fs/file-max

Change

File: /etc/sysctl.conf
fs.file-max = 65536

Apply the changes made in sysctl.conf.

# sysctl -p

Per-user limit

Display

# ulimit -n

Change

File: /etc/security/limits.conf
username         soft    nofile          4096
username         hard    nofile          16384

Instead of username you can also use * as a wildcard.

The soft limit is the value a user starts with after login and the hard limit is the value a user is allowed to raise the value to.

Changes can be made with

$ ulimit -n 8192
Note: For users this gets applied at login via pam_limits.so. When running a daemon it may have to set this by its own.