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pilight-daemon is the main process which checks if the daemon is running (if not, it 'promotes' itself to daemon), checks if the webserver is running (if so configured) and reads/sends receiver and sender information.
A handy use of pilight-daemon is with the -D setting. This runs the daemon as a regular program and writes all information that it usually logs, to the screen.
Note: pilight-daemon needs to be run as root.