Top 12 Command Line Tools to Monitor Linux System Performance

Do you need to keep track of the performance of your Linux server? These built-in commands, as well as a few add-on tools, are worth a shot. The majority of Linux distributions include a plethora of Linux monitoring tools. 

Every System or Network administrator has a difficult task monitoring and debugging linux system performance issues on a daily basis. As a linux administrator with years of experience, you would understand how difficult it is to monitor and maintain systems.

command line tools for linux monitoring

We’ve produced a list of the top 10 frequently used command line tools that every Linux/Unix system administrator might find handy.

The tools mentioned here are available for all Linux distributions and, not to mention, can be used to track down and diagnose performance issues. This list of the best command line tools should be sufficient for you to select the one that best suits your monitoring needs.

So, without any further ado, let’s jump right to the list of best command line tools that will help you monitor your Linux in no time. 

List of Best Command Line Tools To Monitor Linux

#1 top

First in the list of top command line tools is Top. This one is famous to show you what’s going on in Linux. It displays a dynamic real-time view of a running system. In other words, your current process activity. It is best to track the most CPU-intensive tasks operating on the server and you will have a list prepared in just a few seconds.

Many system administrators use the Linux Top command to monitor Linux performance. The good news is, it is available on many Linux/Unix-like operating systems.

The top command displays an ordered list of all operating and active real-time processes and updates it on a regular basis. CPU, Memory, Swap Memory, Cache Size, Buffer Size, Process PID, User, Commands, and much more are all displayed right on your dashboard.

#2 lsof

Many Linux/Unix-like systems utilize the Lsof tool to display a list of all open files and processes. Disk files, network sockets, pipes, devices, and processes are among the open files.

When a disk cannot be unmounted and displays the error that files are being utilized or opened, one of the most common uses for this command is. This tool makes it simple to see which files are in use.

#3 acct/asacct

Next up we have Acct/Psacct. This one is undoubtedly an excellent software for monitoring user and application activity in a multi-user environment like Linux.

Its users monitor every application’s activities and resource consumption in the background. It shows the length of a user’s access to the server, the commands that are being used, and the processes that are now running.

To use, utilize your Linux system’s package manager to install the program. The acct program requires you to start the accounting process by using the accton command to enable the option, and it then saves the information in the /var/account/pacct file.

You can use it alongside other command-line programs like ps or who to identify many additional system resource-related issues.

#4 iotop

IOTOP is a Python-based application that monitors the input/output use of system threads and processes using kernel accounting functionality.

It’s a useful tool for identifying processes with significant disc utilization, input/output reads or writes. To monitor real-time I/O utilization, install this utility and run it with root capabilities.

IOTOP is similar to the top command and the htop software, but it has an accounting function for monitoring and displaying real-time Disk I/O and processes.

This one is quite useful for determining the precise process and the processes’ most often utilized disc read/writes.

Besides, it may be quite useful in detecting processes that use a lot of swap memory and use a lot of disc space.

#5 ccpdump


The most often used network troubleshooting tool among Linux network administrators is TCPdump. It’s a command-line packet sniffer/analyzer that collects TCP/IP packets sent and received over a network over a defined interface.

The utility is native to Linux distributions and has a wide range of features, including filters and flags.

The Tcpdump software allows you to capture, write, and read data using a variety of filtering options to save just the information you need, such as traffic on a specified port and protocol, into and out of a pcap file.

To get the most out of Tcpdump, you need to be familiar with packet analysis.

#6 netstat

Is a sophisticated command-line program for network statistics that gives extensive network configuration and troubleshooting information, as the name indicates. Incoming/outgoing connections, interface statistics, listening/open ports, routing table, and so on are all displayed. 

With the aid of the -s flag, you may inspect network information organized by protocol to discover and fix problems. 

Similarly, statistics for a specific protocol (just TCP) may be retrieved and viewed. Despite the fact that it has been deprecated in favor of the ss/IP route command, it is a powerful yet simple-to-use utility that each Linux network administrator should have on hand.

#7 IPTraf


IPTraf is a free and open-source real-time network (IP LAN) monitoring tool for Linux. It captures a range of information from the network, such as IP traffic monitor, TCP flag information, ICMP data, TCP/UDP traffic breakdowns, TCP connection packets, and byte counts.

It also collects basic and comprehensive interface data for TCP, UDP, IP, ICMP, non-IP, IP checksum problems, interface activity, and so on.

In comparison to other programs such as iftop, IPTraf gives a more complete breakdown and data. Iptraf is not included in the standard OS installation.

#8 iftop

The Iftop command line utility comes in at number 12 on our list. It is a simple command-line utility that displays bandwidth use on your Linux system’s Ethernet devices. This utility is used by the system and network administrators to monitor bandwidth. With Iftop, you may see the source and destination of the first network interface that it listens to.

Iftop is another terminal-based free open source system monitoring software that provides a regularly updated list of network bandwidth consumption (source and destination hosts) that are traveling via your system’s network interface.

If ‘top’ is used for network consumption, what does ‘top’ do for CPU utilization? Iftop is a utility from the ‘top’ family that monitors a certain interface and displays the current bandwidth usage between two hosts.

#9 Collectl


The goal of collectl has always been to collect performance data efficiently and show it on a single system. Colplot is a web-based charting tool that utilises gnuplot to make plots against collectl-generated files in plot format.

Most distributions (Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, suse, openSUSE, Arch Linux, Manjaro, Mageia, and so on) contain the collectl package by default, so we can easily install it from the distribution’s official repository.

Collectl, unlike other monitoring software, tries to accomplish everything. It concentrates on a small set of statistics, prepares its output only once, and operates either interactively or as a daemon, but not both.

Only a handful of the subsystems that may be monitored include buddyinfo, CPU, disc, inodes, Infiniband, lustre, memory, network, nfs, processes, quadrics, slabs, sockets, and tcp.

#10 Monitorix 


Monitorix is a free lightweight software designed to operate and monitor as many systems and network resources as possible on Linux/Unix systems.

It includes an HTTP web server that collects system and network data on a regular basis and presents it in graphs. It tracks the average and utilization of system load, memory allocation, disc driver health, system services, network ports, mail statistics (Sendmail, Postfix, Dovecot, and so on), MySQL statistics, and many other things.

It is intended to monitor overall system performance and aid in the detection of problems, bottlenecks, anomalous activity, and so on.

Conclusion: Are These Command Line Tools Worth Trying?

So those are our recommendations for the top Linux performance command line tools. We hope you found the list useful and that it assisted you in locating the correct program to monitor your system utilization and resource consumption. As you can see, we have kept a varied range of tools and programs.

We’ve covered everything from programs that come pre-installed with your Linux distribution to third-party solutions.

Some of these programs have their own graphical user interface (GUI), some are web-based, and yet others are lightweight command-line utilities. For example, New Relic is a great SaaS based monitoring tool that can keep you away from messing with command line to monitor performance. On the other hand, a several Newrelic alternatives are there to solve the same problem.

You will also discover a wide range of the features and functions they bring to the table. With all of these alternatives, you’re likely to discover the best Linux performance monitoring tools for your individual needs and requirements.

If you haven’t got one, then try out these top command line tools to monitor your server effectively.

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