Need to monitor Linux server performance? Try these built-in commands and a few add-on tools. Most distributions come with tons of Linux monitoring tools. These tools provide metrics which can be used to get information about system activities. You can use these tools to find the possible causes of a performance problem. The commands discussed below are some of the most fundamental commands when it comes to system analysis and debugging Linux server issues such as:
- Finding out system bottlenecks
- Disk (storage) bottlenecks
- CPU and memory bottlenecks
- Network bottleneck.
1. top – Process activity monitoring command
top command display Linux processes. It provides a dynamic real-time view of a running system i.e. actual process activity. By default, it displays the most CPU-intensive tasks running on the server and updates the list every five seconds.
Commonly Used Hot Keys With top Linux monitoring tools
Here is a list of useful hot keys:
|t||Displays summary information off and on.|
|m||Displays memory information off and on.|
|A||Sorts the display by top consumers of various system resources. Useful for quick identification of performance-hungry tasks on a system.|
|f||Enters an interactive configuration screen for top. Helpful for setting up top for a specific task.|
|o||Enables you to interactively select the ordering within top.|
|r||Issues renice command.|
|k||Issues kill command.|
|z||Turn on or off color/mono|
2. vmstat – Virtual memory statistics
The vmstat command reports information about processes, memory, paging, block IO, traps, and cpu activity.
# vmstat 3
procs -----------memory---------- ---swap-- -----io---- --system-- -----cpu------ r b swpd free buff cache si so bi bo in cs us sy id wa st 0 0 0 2540988 522188 5130400 0 0 2 32 4 2 4 1 96 0 0 1 0 0 2540988 522188 5130400 0 0 0 720 1199 665 1 0 99 0 0 0 0 0 2540956 522188 5130400 0 0 0 0 1151 1569 4 1 95 0 0 0 0 0 2540956 522188 5130500 0 0 0 6 1117 439 1 0 99 0 0 0 0 0 2540940 522188 5130512 0 0 0 536 1189 932 1 0 98 0 0 0 0 0 2538444 522188 5130588 0 0 0 0 1187 1417 4 1 96 0 0 0 0 0 2490060 522188 5130640 0 0 0 18 1253 1123 5 1 94 0 0
Display Memory Utilization Slabinfo
# vmstat -m
Get Information About Active / Inactive Memory Pages
3. w – Find out who is logged on and what they are doing
w command displays information about the users currently on the machine, and their processes.
# w username
# w vivek
17:58:47 up 5 days, 20:28, 2 users, load average: 0.36, 0.26, 0.24 USER TTY FROM LOGIN@ IDLE JCPU PCPU WHAT root pts/0 10.1.3.145 14:55 5.00s 0.04s 0.02s vim /etc/resolv.conf root pts/1 10.1.3.145 17:43 0.00s 0.03s 0.00s w
4. uptime – Tell how long the Linux system has been running
uptime command can be used to see how long the server has been running. The current time, how long the system has been running, how many users are currently logged on, and the system load averages for the past 1, 5, and 15 minutes.
18:02:41 up 41 days, 23:42, 1 user, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00
1 can be considered as optimal load value. The load can change from system to system. For a single CPU system 1 – 3 and SMP systems 6-10 load value might be acceptable.
5. ps – Displays the Linux processes
ps command will report a snapshot of the current processes. To select all processes use the -A or -e option:
# ps -A
PID TTY TIME CMD 1 ? 00:00:02 init 2 ? 00:00:02 migration/0 3 ? 00:00:01 ksoftirqd/0 4 ? 00:00:00 watchdog/0 5 ? 00:00:00 migration/1 6 ? 00:00:15 ksoftirqd/1 .... ..... 4881 ? 00:53:28 java 4885 tty1 00:00:00 mingetty 4886 tty2 00:00:00 mingetty 4887 tty3 00:00:00 mingetty 4888 tty4 00:00:00 mingetty 4891 tty5 00:00:00 mingetty 4892 tty6 00:00:00 mingetty 4893 ttyS1 00:00:00 agetty 12853 ? 00:00:00 cifsoplockd 12854 ? 00:00:00 cifsdnotifyd 14231 ? 00:10:34 lighttpd 14232 ? 00:00:00 php-cgi 54981 pts/0 00:00:00 vim 55465 ? 00:00:00 php-cgi 55546 ? 00:00:00 bind9-snmp-stat 55704 pts/1 00:00:00 ps
ps is just like top but provides more information.
Show Long Format Output
# ps -Al
To turn on extra full mode (it will show command line arguments passed to process):
# ps -AlF
Display Threads ( LWP and NLWP)
# ps -AlFH
Watch Threads After Processes
# ps -AlLm
Print All Process On The Server
# ps ax
# ps axu
Want To Print A Process Tree?
# ps -ejH
# ps axjf
Get Security Information of Linux Process
# ps -eo euser,ruser,suser,fuser,f,comm,label
# ps axZ
# ps -eM
Let Us Print Every Process Running As User Vivek
# ps -U vivek -u vivek u
Configure ps Command Output In a User-Defined Format
# ps -eo pid,tid,class,rtprio,ni,pri,psr,pcpu,stat,wchan:14,comm
# ps axo stat,euid,ruid,tty,tpgid,sess,pgrp,ppid,pid,pcpu,comm
# ps -eopid,tt,user,fname,tmout,f,wchan
Try To Display Only The Process IDs of Lighttpd
# ps -C lighttpd -o pid=
# pgrep lighttpd
# pgrep -u vivek php-cgi
Print The Name of PID 55977
# ps -p 55977 -o comm=
Top 10 Memory Consuming Process
# ps -auxf | sort -nr -k 4 | head -10
Show Us Top 10 CPU Consuming Process
# ps -auxf | sort -nr -k 3 | head -10
Show All Running Processes in Linux
6. free – Show Linux server memory usage
free command shows the total amount of free and used physical and swap memory in the system, as well as the buffers used by the kernel.
total used free shared buffers cached Mem: 12302896 9739664 2563232 0 523124 5154740 -/+ buffers/cache: 4061800 8241096 Swap: 1052248 0 1052248
- Linux Find Out Virtual Memory PAGESIZE
- Linux Limit CPU Usage Per Process
- How much RAM does my Ubuntu / Fedora Linux desktop PC have?
7. iostat – Montor Linux average CPU load and disk activity
iostat command report Central Processing Unit (CPU) statistics and input/output statistics for devices, partitions and network filesystems (NFS).
Linux 2.6.18-128.1.14.el5 (www03.nixcraft.in) 06/26/2009 avg-cpu: %user %nice %system %iowait %steal %idle 3.50 0.09 0.51 0.03 0.00 95.86 Device: tps Blk_read/s Blk_wrtn/s Blk_read Blk_wrtn sda 22.04 31.88 512.03 16193351 260102868 sda1 0.00 0.00 0.00 2166 180 sda2 22.04 31.87 512.03 16189010 260102688 sda3 0.00 0.00 0.00 1615 0
8. sar – Monitor, collect and report Linux system activity
sar command used to collect, report, and save system activity information. To see network counter, enter:
# sar -n DEV | more
The network counters from the 24th:
# sar -n DEV -f /var/log/sa/sa24 | more
You can also display real time usage using sar:
# sar 4 5
Linux 2.6.18-128.1.14.el5 (www03.nixcraft.in) 06/26/2009 06:45:12 PM CPU %user %nice %system %iowait %steal %idle 06:45:16 PM all 2.00 0.00 0.22 0.00 0.00 97.78 06:45:20 PM all 2.07 0.00 0.38 0.03 0.00 97.52 06:45:24 PM all 0.94 0.00 0.28 0.00 0.00 98.78 06:45:28 PM all 1.56 0.00 0.22 0.00 0.00 98.22 06:45:32 PM all 3.53 0.00 0.25 0.03 0.00 96.19 Average: all 2.02 0.00 0.27 0.01 0.00 97.70
- How to collect Linux system utilization data into a file
- How To Create sar Graphs With kSar To Identifying Linux Bottlenecks
9. mpstat – Monitor multiprocessor usage on Linux
mpstat command displays activities for each available processor, processor 0 being the first one. mpstat -P ALL to display average CPU utilization per processor:
# mpstat -P ALL
Linux 2.6.18-128.1.14.el5 (www03.nixcraft.in) 06/26/2009 06:48:11 PM CPU %user %nice %sys %iowait %irq %soft %steal %idle intr/s 06:48:11 PM all 3.50 0.09 0.34 0.03 0.01 0.17 0.00 95.86 1218.04 06:48:11 PM 0 3.44 0.08 0.31 0.02 0.00 0.12 0.00 96.04 1000.31 06:48:11 PM 1 3.10 0.08 0.32 0.09 0.02 0.11 0.00 96.28 34.93 06:48:11 PM 2 4.16 0.11 0.36 0.02 0.00 0.11 0.00 95.25 0.00 06:48:11 PM 3 3.77 0.11 0.38 0.03 0.01 0.24 0.00 95.46 44.80 06:48:11 PM 4 2.96 0.07 0.29 0.04 0.02 0.10 0.00 96.52 25.91 06:48:11 PM 5 3.26 0.08 0.28 0.03 0.01 0.10 0.00 96.23 14.98 06:48:11 PM 6 4.00 0.10 0.34 0.01 0.00 0.13 0.00 95.42 3.75 06:48:11 PM 7 3.30 0.11 0.39 0.03 0.01 0.46 0.00 95.69 76.89
10. pmap – Montor process memory usage on Linux
pmap command report memory map of a process. Use this command to find out causes of memory bottlenecks.
# pmap -d PID
To display process memory information for pid # 47394, enter:
# pmap -d 47394
47394: /usr/bin/php-cgi Address Kbytes Mode Offset Device Mapping 0000000000400000 2584 r-x-- 0000000000000000 008:00002 php-cgi 0000000000886000 140 rw--- 0000000000286000 008:00002 php-cgi 00000000008a9000 52 rw--- 00000000008a9000 000:00000 [ anon ] 0000000000aa8000 76 rw--- 00000000002a8000 008:00002 php-cgi 000000000f678000 1980 rw--- 000000000f678000 000:00000 [ anon ] 000000314a600000 112 r-x-- 0000000000000000 008:00002 ld-2.5.so 000000314a81b000 4 r---- 000000000001b000 008:00002 ld-2.5.so 000000314a81c000 4 rw--- 000000000001c000 008:00002 ld-2.5.so 000000314aa00000 1328 r-x-- 0000000000000000 008:00002 libc-2.5.so 000000314ab4c000 2048 ----- 000000000014c000 008:00002 libc-2.5.so ..... ...... .. 00002af8d48fd000 4 rw--- 0000000000006000 008:00002 xsl.so 00002af8d490c000 40 r-x-- 0000000000000000 008:00002 libnss_files-2.5.so 00002af8d4916000 2044 ----- 000000000000a000 008:00002 libnss_files-2.5.so 00002af8d4b15000 4 r---- 0000000000009000 008:00002 libnss_files-2.5.so 00002af8d4b16000 4 rw--- 000000000000a000 008:00002 libnss_files-2.5.so 00002af8d4b17000 768000 rw-s- 0000000000000000 000:00009 zero (deleted) 00007fffc95fe000 84 rw--- 00007ffffffea000 000:00000 [ stack ] ffffffffff600000 8192 ----- 0000000000000000 000:00000 [ anon ] mapped: 933712K writeable/private: 4304K shared: 768000K
The last line is very important:
- mapped: 933712K total amount of memory mapped to files
- writeable/private: 4304K the amount of private address space
- shared: 768000K the amount of address space this process is sharing with others
11. netstat – Linux network and statistics monitoring tool
netstat command displays network connections, routing tables, interface statistics, masquerade connections, and multicast memberships.
# netstat -tulpn
# netstat -nat
12. ss – Network Statistics
ss command use to dump socket statistics. It allows showing information similar to netstat. Please note that the netstat is mostly obsolete. Hence you need to use ss command. To ss all TCP and UDP sockets on Linux:
# ss -t -a
# ss -u -a
Show all TCP sockets with process SELinux security contexts:
# ss -t -a -Z
See the following resources about ss and netstat commands:
- ss: Display Linux TCP / UDP Network and Socket Information
- Get Detailed Information About Particular IP address Connections Using netstat Command
13. iptraf – Get real-time network statistics on Linux
iptraf command is interactive colorful IP LAN monitor. It is an ncurses-based IP LAN monitor that generates various network statistics including TCP info, UDP counts, ICMP and OSPF information, Ethernet load info, node stats, IP checksum errors, and others. It can provide the following info in easy to read format:
- Network traffic statistics by TCP connection
- IP traffic statistics by network interface
- Network traffic statistics by protocol
- Network traffic statistics by TCP/UDP port and by packet size
- Network traffic statistics by Layer2 address
14. tcpdump – Detailed network traffic analysis
tcpdump command is simple command that dump traffic on a network. However, you need good understanding of TCP/IP protocol to utilize this tool. For.e.g to display traffic info about DNS, enter:
# tcpdump -i eth1 'udp port 53'
View all IPv4 HTTP packets to and from port 80, i.e. print only packets that contain data, not, for example, SYN and FIN packets and ACK-only packets, enter:
# tcpdump 'tcp port 80 and (((ip[2:2] - ((ip&0xf)<<2)) - ((tcp&0xf0)>>2)) != 0)'
Show all FTP session to 188.8.131.52, enter:
# tcpdump -i eth1 'dst 184.108.40.206 and (port 21 or 20'
Print all HTTP session to 192.168.1.5:
# tcpdump -ni eth0 'dst 192.168.1.5 and tcp and port http'
Use wireshark to view detailed information about files, enter:
# tcpdump -n -i eth1 -s 0 -w output.txt src or dst port 80
15. iotop – Linux I/O monitor
iotop command monitor, I/O usage information, using the Linux kernel. It shows a table of current I/O usage sorted by processes or threads on the server.
$ sudo iotop
Linux iotop: Check What’s Stressing And Increasing Load On Your Hard Disks
16. htop – interactive process viewer
htop is a free and open source ncurses-based process viewer for Linux. It is much better than top command. Very easy to use. You can select processes for killing or renicing without using their PIDs or leaving htop interface.
17. atop – Advanced Linux system & process monitor
atop is a very powerful and an interactive monitor to view the load on a Linux system. It displays the most critical hardware resources from a performance point of view. You can quickly see CPU, memory, disk and network performance. It shows which processes are responsible for the indicated load concerning CPU and memory load on a process level.
18. ac and lastcomm –
You must monitor process and login activity on your Linux server. The psacct or acct package contains several utilities for monitoring process activities, including:
- ac command : Show statistics about users’ connect time
- lastcomm command : Show info about about previously executed commands
- accton command : Turns process accounting on or off
- sa command : Summarizes accounting information
19. monit – Process supervision
Monit is a free and open source software that acts as process supervision. It comes with the ability to restart services which have failed. You can use Systemd, daemontools or any other such tool for the same purpose. This tutorial shows how to install and configure monit as Process supervision on Debian or Ubuntu Linux.
20. nethogs- Find out PIDs that using most bandwidth on Linux
NetHogs is a small but handy net top tool. It groups bandwidth by process name such as Firefox, wget and so on. If there is a sudden burst of network traffic, start NetHogs. You will see which PID is causing bandwidth surge.
$ sudo nethogs
Linux: See Bandwidth Usage Per Process With Nethogs Tool
21. iftop – Show bandwidth usage on an interface by host
iftop command listens to network traffic on a given interface name such as eth0. It displays a table of current bandwidth usage by pairs of hosts.
$ sudo iftop
22. vnstat – A console-based network traffic monitor
- Keeping a Log Of Daily Network Traffic for ADSL or Dedicated Remote Linux Server
- CentOS / RHEL: Install vnStat Network Traffic Monitor To Keep a Log Of Daily Traffic
- CentOS / RHEL: View Vnstat Graphs Using PHP Web Interface Frontend
23. nmon – Linux systems administrator, tuner, benchmark tool
nmon is a Linux sysadmin’s ultimate tool for the tunning purpose. It can show CPU, memory, network, disks, file systems, NFS, top process resources and partition information from the cli.
Install and Use nmon Tool To Monitor Linux Systems Performance
24. glances – Keep an eye on Linux system
glances is an open source cross-platform monitoring tool. It provides tons of information on the small screen. It can also work in client/server mode.
Linux: Keep An Eye On Your System With Glances Monitor
25. strace – Monitor system calls on Linux
Want to trace Linux system calls and signals? Try strace command. This is useful for debugging webserver and other server problems. See how to use to trace the process and see What it is doing.
26. /proc/ file system – Various Linux kernel statistics
/proc file system provides detailed information about various hardware devices and other Linux kernel information. See Linux kernel /proc documentations for further details. Common /proc examples:
# cat /proc/cpuinfo
# cat /proc/meminfo
# cat /proc/zoneinfo
# cat /proc/mounts
27. Nagios – Linux server/network monitoring
Nagios is a popular open source computer system and network monitoring application software. You can easily monitor all your hosts, network equipment and services. It can send alert when things go wrong and again when they get better. FAN is “Fully Automated Nagios”. FAN goals are to provide a Nagios installation including most tools provided by the Nagios Community. FAN provides a CDRom image in the standard ISO format, making it easy to easilly install a Nagios server. Added to this, a wide bunch of tools are including to the distribution, in order to improve the user experience around Nagios.
28. Cacti – Web-based Linux monitoring tool
Cacti is a complete network graphing solution designed to harness the power of RRDTool’s data storage and graphing functionality. Cacti provides a fast poller, advanced graph templating, multiple data acquisition methods, and user management features out of the box. All of this is wrapped in an intuitive, easy to use interface that makes sense for LAN-sized installations up to complex networks with hundreds of devices. It can provide data about network, CPU, memory, logged in users, Apache, DNS servers and much more. See how to install and configure Cacti network graphing tool under CentOS / RHEL.
29. KDE System Guard – Real-time Linux systems reporting and graphing
KSysguard is a network enabled task and system monitor application for KDE desktop. This tool can be run over ssh session. It provides lots of features such as a client/server architecture that enables monitoring of local and remote hosts. The graphical front end uses so-called sensors to retrieve the information it displays. A sensor can return simple values or more complex information like tables. For each type of information, one or more displays are provided. Displays are organized in worksheets that can be saved and loaded independently from each other. So, KSysguard is not only a simple task manager but also a very powerful tool to control large server farms.
See the KSysguard handbook for detailed usage.
30. Gnome Linux system monitor
The System Monitor application enables you to display basic system information and monitor system processes, usage of system resources, and file systems. You can also use System Monitor to modify the behavior of your system. Although not as powerful as the KDE System Guard, it provides the basic information which may be useful for new users:
- Displays various basic information about the computer’s hardware and software.
- Linux Kernel version
- GNOME version
- Installed memory
- Processors and speeds
- System Status
- Currently available disk space
- Memory and swap space
- Network usage
- File Systems
- Lists all mounted filesystems along with basic information about each.
Bonus: Additional Tools
A few more tools:
- nmap – scan your server for open ports.
- lsof – list open files, network connections and much more.
- ntop web based tool – ntop is the best tool to see network usage in a way similar to what top command does for processes i.e. it is network traffic monitoring software. You can see network status, protocol wise distribution of traffic for UDP, TCP, DNS, HTTP and other protocols.
- Conky – Another good monitoring tool for the X Window System. It is highly configurable and is able to monitor many system variables including the status of the CPU, memory, swap space, disk storage, temperatures, processes, network interfaces, battery power, system messages, e-mail inboxes etc.
- GKrellM – It can be used to monitor the status of CPUs, main memory, hard disks, network interfaces, local and remote mailboxes, and many other things.
- mtr – mtr combines the functionality of the traceroute and ping programs in a single network diagnostic tool.
- vtop – graphical terminal activity monitor on Linux
- gtop – Awesome system monitoring dashboard for Linux/macOS Unix terminal
Did I miss something? Please add your favorite system motoring tool in the comments.