The server-running-p predicate will evaluate to t if the Emacs server is running, irrespective of which Emacs session currently "owns" the server process.

Therefore, when there are two or more independent Emacs sessions running simultaneously, server-running-p does not really test whether the current Emacs session is running the server.

I'm looking for a more specific test, one that will evaluate to t if and only if the current session (i.e. the session performing the test) is running the Emacs server.

  • 1
    Cannot test right now but maybe you can test if server-mode is non-nil.
    – YoungFrog
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 20:27
  • @YoungFrog: thanks for the suggestion, but in every situation I tested (namely, after server-start and after server-force-delete), server-mode was always nil.
    – kjo
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 20:32
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    I think YoungFrog's suggestion is a good one, but you need to call (server-mode 1) rather than calling (server-start). The former invokes the latter, and server-force-delete also checks and disables this mode, so it rather looks like sever-mode is the intended interface, and we shouldn't be calling server-start directly.
    – phils
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 23:10
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    That said, using server-mode still doesn't account for the same server being started and deleted via multiple Emacs instances, as deleting the server from one instance has no effect on the value of server-mode in another.
    – phils
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 23:24

1 Answer 1


You might check:

(and (boundp 'server-process)
     (processp server-process)

That should work provided that you've avoided starting a server in the other instances.

Assuming a socket-based server, if you were to start a second Emacs instance, and forcibly delete and then restart the server process from that second instance, then the above code will still return non-nil in the original instance (as the same socket directory will be in use), leaving you in the original situation.

(Obviously this isn't ideal, so there may well be a better solution.)

server-running-p tells you whether a particular named server (defaulting to server-name) is running; so if your server-name is the same in all of your instances, then you can avoid starting an already-running server like so:

;; Start server (but don't restart).
(require 'server)
(unless (server-running-p)

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