Linux: Find Out Which Process Is Listening Upon a Port

Posted on in Categories last updated June 25, 2012

How do I find out running processes were associated with each open port? How do I find out what process has open tcp port 111 or udp port 7000 under Linux?

You can the following programs to find out about port numbers and its associated process:

  1. netstat – a command-line tool that displays network connections, routing tables, and a number of network interface statistics.
  2. fuser – a command line tool to identify processes using files or sockets.
  3. lsof – a command line tool to list open files under Linux / UNIX to report a list of all open files and the processes that opened them.
  4. /proc/$pid/ file system – Under Linux /proc includes a directory for each running process (including kernel processes) at /proc/PID, containing information about that process, notably including the processes name that opened port.

You must run above command(s) as the root user.

netstat example

Type the following command:
# netstat -tulpn
Sample outputs:

Active Internet connections (only servers)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State       PID/Program name
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      1138/mysqld     
tcp        0      0   *               LISTEN      850/portmap     
tcp        0      0    *               LISTEN      1607/apache2    
tcp        0      0 *               LISTEN      910/rpc.statd   
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      1467/dnsmasq    
tcp        0      0    *               LISTEN      992/sshd        
tcp        0      0 *               LISTEN      1565/cupsd      
tcp        0      0  *               LISTEN      3813/transmission
tcp6       0      0 :::22                   :::*                    LISTEN      992/sshd        
tcp6       0      0 ::1:631                 :::*                    LISTEN      1565/cupsd      
tcp6       0      0 :::7000                 :::*                    LISTEN      3813/transmission
udp        0      0   *                           850/portmap     
udp        0      0   *                           910/rpc.statd   
udp        0      0*                           1467/dnsmasq    
udp        0      0    *                           1467/dnsmasq    
udp        0      0    *                           3697/dhclient   
udp        0      0  *                           3813/transmission
udp        0      0 *                           910/rpc.statd   

TCP port 3306 was opened by mysqld process having PID # 1138. You can verify this using /proc, enter:
# ls -l /proc/1138/exe
Sample outputs:

lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 0 2010-10-29 10:20 /proc/1138/exe -> /usr/sbin/mysqld

You can use grep command to filter out information:
# netstat -tulpn | grep :80
Sample outputs:

tcp        0      0    *               LISTEN      1607/apache2

Video demo

fuser command

Find out the processes PID that opened tcp port 7000, enter:
# fuser 7000/tcp
Sample outputs:

7000/tcp:             3813

Finally, find out process name associated with PID # 3813, enter:
# ls -l /proc/3813/exe
Sample outputs:

lrwxrwxrwx 1 vivek vivek 0 2010-10-29 11:00 /proc/3813/exe -> /usr/bin/transmission

/usr/bin/transmission is a bittorrent client, enter:
# man transmission
# whatis transmission
Sample outputs:

transmission (1)     - a bittorrent client

Task: Find Out Current Working Directory Of a Process

To find out current working directory of a process called bittorrent or pid 3813, enter:
# ls -l /proc/3813/cwd
Sample outputs:

lrwxrwxrwx 1 vivek vivek 0 2010-10-29 12:04 /proc/3813/cwd -> /home/vivek

OR use pwdx command, enter:
# pwdx 3813
Sample outputs:

3813: /home/vivek

Task: Find Out Owner Of a Process

Use the following command to find out the owner of a process PID called 3813:
# ps aux | grep 3813
# ps aux | grep '[3]813'
Sample outputs:

vivek     3813  1.9  0.3 188372 26628 ?        Sl   10:58   2:27 transmission

OR try the following ps command:
# ps -eo pid,user,group,args,etime,lstart | grep '[3]813'
Sample outputs:

3813 vivek    vivek    transmission                   02:44:05 Fri Oct 29 10:58:40 2010

Another option is /proc/$PID/environ, enter:
# cat /proc/3813/environ
# grep --color -w -a USER /proc/3813/environ
Sample outputs (note –colour option):

Fig.01: grep output
Fig.01: grep output

lsof Command Example

Type the command as follows:

lsof -i :portNumber 
lsof -i tcp:portNumber 
lsof -i udp:portNumber 
lsof -i :80
lsof -i :80 | grep LISTEN

Sample outputs:

apache2   1607     root    3u  IPv4   6472      0t0  TCP *:www (LISTEN)
apache2   1616 www-data    3u  IPv4   6472      0t0  TCP *:www (LISTEN)
apache2   1617 www-data    3u  IPv4   6472      0t0  TCP *:www (LISTEN)
apache2   1618 www-data    3u  IPv4   6472      0t0  TCP *:www (LISTEN)
apache2   1619 www-data    3u  IPv4   6472      0t0  TCP *:www (LISTEN)
apache2   1620 www-data    3u  IPv4   6472      0t0  TCP *:www (LISTEN)

Now, you get more information about pid # 1607 or 1616 and so on:
# ps aux | grep '[1]616'
Sample outputs:
www-data 1616 0.0 0.0 35816 3880 ? S 10:20 0:00 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
I recommend the following command to grab info about pid # 1616:
# ps -eo pid,user,group,args,etime,lstart | grep '[1]616'
Sample outputs:

1616 www-data www-data /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start     03:16:22 Fri Oct 29 10:20:17 2010


  • 1616 : PID
  • www-date : User name (owner – EUID)
  • www-date : Group name (group – EGID)
  • /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start : The command name and its args
  • 03:16:22 : Elapsed time since the process was started, in the form [[dd-]hh:]mm:ss.
  • Fri Oct 29 10:20:17 2010 : Time the command started.

Help: I Discover an Open Port Which I Don’t Recognize At All

The file /etc/services is used to map port numbers and protocols to service names. Try matching port numbers:
$ grep port /etc/services
$ grep 443 /etc/services

Sample outputs:

https		443/tcp				# http protocol over TLS/SSL
https		443/udp

Check For rootkit

I strongly recommend that you find out which processes are really running, especially servers connected to the high speed Internet access. You can look for rootkit which is a program designed to take fundamental control (in Linux / UNIX terms “root” access, in Windows terms “Administrator” access) of a computer system, without authorization by the system’s owners and legitimate managers. See how to detecting / checking rootkits under Linux.

Keep an Eye On Your Bandwidth Graphs

Usually, rooted servers are used to send a large number of spam or malware or DoS style attacks on other computers.

See also:

See the following man pages for more information:
$ man ps
$ man grep
$ man lsof
$ man netstat
$ man fuser

47 comment

  1. I cannot figure out why I cannot connect to any services on my linux server. I get error message “failed to connect the services on server IP”
    My server is running, as well as my services;
    xms1:/home/ket> ps -eaf | grep drd
    bin 2719 1 0 Mar05 ? 00:00:41 /usr/local/sbin/ipcmdrd
    bin 2764 1 0 Mar05 ? 00:00:08 /usr/local/sbin/cfmcmdrd
    bin 2805 1 0 Mar05 ? 00:00:01 /usr/local/sbin/cfmproxycmdrd
    bin 2831 1 0 Mar05 ? 00:00:46 /usr/local/sbin/dnscmdrd
    bin 2879 1 0 Mar05 ? 00:00:14 /usr/local/sbin/mpscmdrd
    eti 10123 8708 0 12:04 pts/3 00:00:00 grep drd
    xms1:/home/ket> ps -eaf | grep -i jimc
    eti 10125 8708 0 12:04 pts/3 00:00:00 grep -i jimc
    root 31718 1 0 Mar07 ? 00:00:00 /bin/sh ./jimc start

    Where can I check for problem?

    1. This really depends on a whole lot of factors, like what port the services are running on and if you are connecting remotely, firewall rules can come into play. There’s nowhere near enough information to troubleshoot connectivity to a service included unfortunately.

  2. Thanks it is really helpful ..
    All networking engineers working on Linux boxes should save this for their day to day work.

  3. Hi,
    Im trying this on a mac. the first command netstat -tulpn does not work. Is there an equivalent command for the mac ?

    1. How about:

      netstat -nat | grep LISTEN

      Or try lsof command

      lsof -i
      lsof -i TCP
      lsof -i UDP
      lsof -i TCP @host:port
      lsof -p PID_HERE 
      lsof -c COMMAND_HERE
      lsof -u username_here
  4. Process that is using port 10000 (with all it’s launch parameters)

    netstat -tulpn 2> /dev/null | grep 10000 | awk '{print $NF}' | awk -F'/' '{print $1}' | xargs ps -f | cat
  5. I just want to say: Thank you .. really thank you from my heart for all the help that you offer through your website. I love you .. really love you and love your website style and (most importantly) the accuracy of the information and simplicity of presentation. I only have one consideration .. why and 1000 why the name (nixCraft) does not match the domain?

  6. Great info, what if you don’t know when the process will be run. The methods above seem like they would help when the process is running, but I have someone using an old DNS address from a server. We know the OS has been updated, so there is an app somewhere on the system with the old DNS server entered into it and server owner has no idea what it could be. When I run the command I don’t see anything on port 53, but know at least a couple times a day it reaches out. Other than have it output to text file every 5 seconds, is there a way to trigger this when the port is used?

Leave a Comment