Linux: See Bandwidth Usage Per Process With Nethogs Tool

by on March 7, 2013 · 6 comments· LAST UPDATED March 7, 2013

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I have Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.x server. How do I find out and groups network bandwidth usage by process under Linux operating systems? How do I find out what programs are using network bandwidth under Linux operating systems?

You need to use nethogs command. It is a small "net top" tool. From the nethogs project home page:

Tutorial details
DifficultyEasy (rss)
Root privilegesYes
Estimated completion timeN/A

Instead of breaking the traffic down per protocol or per subnet, like most such tools do, it groups bandwidth by process and does not rely on a special kernel module to be loaded. So if there's suddenly a lot of network traffic, you can fire up NetHogs and immediately see which PID is causing this, and if it's some kind of spinning process, kill it.

Please note that this tool only works under Linux operating systems.

Install nethogs under Debian or Ubuntu Linux

Type the following apt-get command to install nethogs package:
$ sudo apt-get install nethogs
Sample outputs:

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
  libavutil-extra-51 libggiwmh0-target-x libggi2 libgii1
  libvo-aacenc0 libgii1-target-x mplayer-skin-blue libggiwmh0
  libggi-target-x libvo-amrwbenc0
Use 'apt-get autoremove' to remove them.
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 4 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B/28.2 kB of archives.
After this operation, 115 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Selecting previously deselected package nethogs.
(Reading database ... 331881 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking nethogs (from .../nethogs_0.7.0-3_amd64.deb) ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Setting up nethogs (0.7.0-3) ...

Install nethogs under RHEL or CentOS or Fedora Linux

First turn on EPEL repo and type the following yum command to install nethogs package:
# yum install nethogs
Sample outputs:

Loaded plugins: product-id, rhnplugin, security, subscription-manager
This system is not registered to Red Hat Subscription Management. You can use subscription-manager to register.
This system is receiving updates from RHN Classic or RHN Satellite.
rhel-x86_64-server-6                          | 1.5 kB     00:00
rhel-x86_64-server-6/primary                  |  13 MB     00:01
rhel-x86_64-server-6                                     10127/10127
rhel-x86_64-server-6-debuginfo                | 1.3 kB     00:00
rhel-x86_64-server-6-debuginfo/primary        | 776 kB     00:00
rhel-x86_64-server-6-debuginfo                             4240/4240
rhel-x86_64-server-optional-6                 | 1.5 kB     00:00
rhel-x86_64-server-optional-6-debuginfo       | 1.3 kB     00:00
rhel-x86_64-server-supplementary-6            | 1.5 kB     00:00
Setting up Install Process
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package nethogs.x86_64 0:0.8.0-1.el6 will be installed
--> Finished Dependency Resolution
Dependencies Resolved
 Package        Arch          Version              Repository   Size
 nethogs        x86_64        0.8.0-1.el6          epel         28 k
Transaction Summary
Install       1 Package(s)
Total download size: 28 k
Installed size: 53 k
Is this ok [y/N]: y
Downloading Packages:
nethogs-0.8.0-1.el6.x86_64.rpm                |  28 kB     00:00
Running rpm_check_debug
Running Transaction Test
Transaction Test Succeeded
Running Transaction
  Installing : nethogs-0.8.0-1.el6.x86_64                        1/1
  Verifying  : nethogs-0.8.0-1.el6.x86_64                        1/1
  nethogs.x86_64 0:0.8.0-1.el6

How do I use nethogs?

The syntax is:

nethogs eth1
nethogs [option] eth0 eth1
nethogs [option] eth0 eth1 ppp0
sudo /usr/sbin/nethogs eth0

Sample outputs:

Fig.01: nethogs in action

Fig.01: nethogs in action

Another output from one of my personal RHEL server:
Fig.02: Nethogs in action on my centos/rhel box

Fig.02: Nethogs in action on my centos/rhel box

Keyboard shortcuts

Use the following interactive controls:

  1. m : Cycle between display modes (kb/s, kb, b, mb)
  2. r : Sort by received.
  3. s : Sort by sent.
  4. q : Quit and return to the shell prompt.

Other options

       -d     delay for refresh rate.
       -h     display available commands usage.
       -p     sniff in promiscious mode (not recommended).
       -t     tracemode.
       -V     prints Version info.

Check out related media

This tutorial is also available in a quick video format:

Video 01: Linux: Nethogs Tool Grouping Bandwidth Usage Per Process (PID)

See also
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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dariusz March 8, 2013 at 9:19 am

how better is it from old well known iftop?


2 Teresa e Junior April 13, 2013 at 6:13 pm

It displays the actual process that is consuming the bandwidth (PID, command, and user).


3 Jalal Hajigholamali March 8, 2013 at 9:23 am

very nice and useful article..

thanks a lot


4 March 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm

useful, thanks.


5 Majid March 14, 2013 at 1:38 pm

thanks,very usefull


6 Peter May 7, 2013 at 8:16 pm

It’s a nice tool but what’s the point if I can’t see the root process IDs and processes, even if I run it using sudo? I’m not a linux guru and just use ubuntu and I can see a bunch of root processes making connections, constantly, and I believe it’s causing lag in my gaming. So how can I figure out which processes these are?

It would also be nice if there was a logging option or batch mode. Sometimes it’s not practical to quickly switch to the console to see which process is popping up.


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