How to install and use vtop graphical terminal activity monitor on Linux

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The vtop is a graphical activity monitor for the command line written in Node.js. How do I install vtop on my Linux server?

From the project page:

Command-line tools like “top” make it difficult to see CPU usage across multi-process applications (like Apache and Chrome), spikes over time, and memory usage. That’s why we created vtop. Vtop is a free and open source activity monitor for the command line. It’s written in node.js and can be easily extended


First install Node.js if not installed on your system. Next type the following command to install vtop:
$ sudo npm install -g vtop
Sample outputs:

Fig.01: Installing vtop
Fig.01: Installing vtop

How do I use it?

Type the command:
$ vtop
Sample outputs:

Fig.01: vtop in action
Fig.01: vtop in action

You can setup the vtop theme:
$ vtop -t wizard
Possible theme options: acid, becca, brew, dark, monokai, parallax, seti and wizard:
$ vtop -t parallax
Sample outputs:
Gif 01: vtop in action
Gif 01: vtop in action

Keyboard shortcuts

  • Press u to update to the latest version of vtop.
  • Arrow up or k/kbd>to move up the process list.
  • Arrow down or j to move down.
  • Press g to go to the top of the process list.
  • Press G to move to the end of the list.
  • Press dd to kill all the processes in that group.

Even though vtop is pretty fancy. I recommend htop tool or atop utility or top command only for server usage.

See also

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

2 comment

  1. Interestingly, it doesn’t show the proper CPU usage in the process list window. It shows the proper usage in the graph, but I have a VMWare VM currently doing a process that’s eating up (according to htop) 376% CPU (4 virtual CPUs, 400% is all 4 pegged). vtop shows in the graph that we’re nearly pegged, but the process list just has vmware listed once, taking up a mere 9.1% of the CPU.

    vtop is neat, but for accuracy on my particular system, I’ll stick to top and htop.

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