≡ Menu

network traffic monitor

Almost a year ago, I wrote about Linux MRTG configuration how-to. However, some user seems to confused with MRTG, most users would like to know - how much traffic actually generated by ADSL/Cable service provider on daily and monthly basis.

MRTG is for network monitoring and it can be use to see how much traffic your server or ADSL router actually generated, however it will not tell you how much megabytes or gigabytes the daily traffic was. For all such home user and people having dedicated single Linux box hosted somewhere remote at IDC/ISP there is a tool called vnStat:

  • It is a console-base network traffic monitor for Linux (perfect tool for remote Linux box hosted at ISP)
  • It keeps a log of daily and monthly network traffic for the selected network interface(s).
  • It collects all data from /proc file system it means normal user can monitor traffic (no need to run vnstat as a root user)
  • Easy to setup & configure
  • Ease of use

Step # 1: Install vnstat

Debian / Ubuntu Linux user can install vnstat using apt-get command, enter:

# apt-get install vnstat 

Step # 2: Enable vnstat

Once installed, you need to create a database with the following command:

# vnstat -u -i eth0

Where,

  • -u :forces a database update for interface or creates the database if it doesn’t exist
  • -i eth0 : use to specify interface

Please note that it will start to collect data via cronjob:

0-55/5 * * * *   root    /usr/bin/vnstat -u

You do not have to install cronjob yourself; it should be automatically configure by apt-get.

Step # 3 View statistics

Display default traffic statistics

$ vnstat

Display daily traffic statistics

$ vnstat -d


Display monthly traffic statistics:

$ vnstat -m

Display all time top10 traffic days:

$ vnstat -t 


Try help option to get all query options:

$ vnstat --help

Read man page of vnstat for complete options and more information and download vnstat here