How to install htop on pfSense firewall

I am using pfSense version 2.4.4-RELEASE-p3 (FreeBSD 11.2-RELEASE-p10). How do I install htop version 2.x on a pfSense firewall?

htop is an awesome and interactive system-monitor process-viewer. It acts as an alternative to the FreeBSD program top. It is a text-mode application and latest version works on FreeBSD based pfsense firewall too. This page explains how to install htop on pfSense.

Install htop on pfSense

You need to log in using ssh client:
ssh admin@your-pfsense-firewall-ip-here
ssh admin@

Select option # 8 (shell).
Sample outputs:

Fig.01: pfsense ssh login

Fig.01: pfsense ssh login

To install htop, type:
pkg install htop
Sample outputs:
Fig.02: installing htop on a pfsense

Fig.02: installing htop on a pfsense

How do I use htop on pfSense firewall?

Simply type htop at the shell prompt (you may need to type rehash for the first time):
Sample outputs:

Animated gif 01: htop in action

Animated gif 01: htop in action

How do I show only processes of a given user?

To see only processes of a given user (say nixcraft), enter:
htop -u nixcraft
htop --user=nixcraft

How do I show only the given PIDs?

The syntax is:
htop -p PID,[,PID,PID...] htop --pid=PID,[,PID,PID...] htop -p 31151,24721

How do I disable color scheme?

To see a monochrome color scheme, enter:
htop -C
htop --no-color

pfSense htop keyboard shortcut keys

The following commands are supported while in htop:

Command Description
Up arrow key Select (highlight) the previous process in the process list. Scroll the list if necessary.
Down arrow key Select (highlight) the next process in the process list. Scroll the list if necessary.
Left arrow key Scroll the process list left.
Right arrow key Scroll the process list right.
PgUp, PgDn Scroll the process list up or down one window.
Home Scroll to the top of the process list and select the first process.
End Scroll to the bottom of the process list and select the last process.
s Trace process system calls: if strace(1) is installed, pressing this key will attach it to the currently selected process, presenting a live update of system calls issued by the process.
l Display open files for a process: if lsof(1) is installed, pressing this key will display the list of file descriptors opened by the process.

Other keyboard shortcuts

u Show only processes owned by a specified user.
M Sort by memory usage (top compatibility key).
P Sort by processor usage (top compatibility key).
T Sort by time (top compatibility key).
F “Follow” process: if the sort order causes the currently selected process to move in the list, make the selection bar follow it. This is useful for monitoring a process: this way, you can keep a process always visible on screen. When a movement key is used, “follow” loses effect.
K Hide kernel threads: prevent the threads belonging the kernel to be displayed in the process list. (This is a toggle key.)
H Hide user threads: on systems that represent them differently than ordinary processes (such as recent NPTL-based systems), this can hide threads from userspace processes in the process list. (This is a toggle key.)
p Show full paths to running programs, where applicable. (This is a toggle key.)
Ctrl-L Rfresh the screen.
F1 See this help menu.


You learned how to install htop on pfSense firewall. htop command has many more option. Hence, see the htop home page online here or read man page by typing the following command:
man htop

🐧 Get the latest tutorials on Linux, Open Source & DevOps via RSS feed or Weekly email newsletter.

🐧 3 comments so far... add one

CategoryList of Unix and Linux commands
Disk space analyzersncdu pydf
File Managementcat
FirewallAlpine Awall CentOS 8 OpenSUSE RHEL 8 Ubuntu 16.04 Ubuntu 18.04 Ubuntu 20.04
Network UtilitiesNetHogs dig host ip nmap
OpenVPNCentOS 7 CentOS 8 Debian 10 Debian 8/9 Ubuntu 18.04 Ubuntu 20.04
Package Managerapk apt
Processes Managementbg chroot cron disown fg jobs killall kill pidof pstree pwdx time
Searchinggrep whereis which
User Informationgroups id lastcomm last lid/libuser-lid logname members users whoami who w
WireGuard VPNAlpine CentOS 8 Debian 10 Firewall Ubuntu 20.04
3 comments… add one
  • Vonskippy Jul 27, 2016 @ 3:36

    Installing apps that are not in the PFSense Package Manager comes with some risk. Adding programs that are not tested by the PFSense team can have an impact on the security of the firewall. Personally, I wouldn’t risk it.

    • Penny Gibson Jul 28, 2016 @ 5:07

      I can’t get into my account what do i do

    • ThanksATon Jul 31, 2016 @ 10:12

      htop installed from PFSense repo and not from the official FreeBSD repo. So I don’t see how this is going to provide some risk. The official FreeBSD repo are disabled for pkg.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Use HTML <pre>...</pre> for code samples. Still have questions? Post it on our forum