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Unable to change open file limit

My webserver suffer from open limit in 1024 files, so I tried to
increase it, but without much luck.
At first, I changed sysctl value:
(root@server2)-(~) $ cat /etc/sysctl.conf | grep fs.file
fs.file-max = 12000
(root@server2)-(~) $ cat /proc/sys/fs/file-max
then I played a little with user specific limits:
(root@server2)-(~) $ cat /etc/security/limits.conf | grep nofile
#        - nofile - max number of open files
*	soft	nofile	12000
*	hard	nofile	12000

however even after reboot ulimit -n shows me old value:
(root@server2)-(~) $ ulimit -n
Of course, I can increase the value by ulimit -n 12000 but this change
won't be persistent.

Can anyone help me? Server run on debian 5.0.8

Artem Zhirkov
Netdedicated Solutions

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