5 Best Terminal Based Linux Monitoring Tools

Below discussed terminal based monitoring tools helps you to monitor all kinds of system resources on your Linux box.

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Linux Monitoring Tools

We are going to explore the 5 best terminal based monitoring tools that you can use on your Linux systems to keep you fully aware of their status.

Everyone will agree that Linux monitoring tools are required to ensure a healthy Linux infrastructure. Hence, a performance monitoring solution becomes important to observe the health, activities, and capability of your Linux systems.

Fortunately, there are many Linux monitoring tools available out there. In this article we are going to talk about 5 lightweight terminal-based and free-to-use tools to monitors servers and desktops running Linux.

1. top

The top (table of processes) command is one of the main system and process monitoring tools on Linux. By default, top shows a list of running processes alongside standard CPU metrics and memory usage.

top

Running this command will open an interactive command mode window where the top half portion will contain the statistics of processes and resource usage. The lower half contains a list of the currently running processes.

The top command is a simple but useful way to see what programs are currently running on the system and how heavily they are using system resources. The good news is that this utility comes pre-installed with all Linux distros.

For more information visit the top command manpage.

2. htop

The htop command in Linux system is a command line utility that allows the user to interactively monitor the system’s vital resources or server’s processes in real time. It can be considered as a Linux counterpart of Windows Task Manager.

htop

The command offers many improvements over top command. For example, you can interact with the htop using mouse. You can scroll vertically to view the full process list, and scroll horizontally to view the full command line of the process.

In addition to, htop uses color in its output and gives visual indications about CPU, memory and swap usage.

For more information visit the htop website.

Install htop on Ubuntu / Debian

htop package for Ubuntu and Debian is available in the default repositories, so just type:

sudo apt install htop

Install htop on CentOS / Rocky Linux / AlmaLinux

First you must install the EPEL repo on your system, if not installed, and then install the htop package:

sudo dnf install epel-release
sudo dnf install htop

3. btop

btop is a cross-platform command line utility which comes with support for mouse controls so that you can fully navigate it through mouse inputs only. It displaying real-time usage and stats for CPU, memory, storage, network, and processes. 

btop

With btop, you can quickly view detailed stats for processes, easily switch between sorting options, send SIGTERM, SIGKILL, SIGINT to a selected process, view current read and write speeds for your storage devices, and much more.

For more information visit the btop github’s page.

Install btop on Ubuntu / Debian

The easiest way to install btop on Ubuntu or Debian is to install it as a Snap package. So, first install snapd, if not installed, and the install the btop package using snap:

sudo apt install snapd
sudo snap install btop

Install btop on CentOS / Rocky Linux / AlmaLinux

First, you need to enable EPEL repo, if not installed, and then install Snap:

sudo dnf install epel-repo
sudo dnf install snapd

Once installed, the systemd unit that manages the main snap communication socket needs to be enabled:

sudo systemctl enable --now snapd.socket

To enable classic Snap support, enter the following to create a symbolic link between /var/lib/snapd/snap and /snap:

sudo ln -s /var/lib/snapd/snap /snap

Either log out and back in again, or restart your system, to ensure snap’s paths are updated correctly.

And then install the btop package:

sudo snap install btop

4. nmon

nmon is a system’s administrator tuner and benchmark tool that displays performance about the CPU, memory, network, disks, file system, NFS, top processes, resources, and power micro-partition.

nmon Linux monitoring tool

In addition to display the system resource usage in a real-time, you can also write the data generated by nmon in a file, which is extremely helpful in some situations. In other words, nmon is able to snapshots the data to a .csv file to work with later on.

For more information visit the nmon website.

Install nmon on Ubuntu / Debian

nmon package for Ubuntu and Debian is available in the default repositories, so just type:

sudo apt install nmon

Install nmon on CentOS / Rocky Linux / AlmaLinux

First you must install the EPEL repo on your system, if not installed, and then install the nmon package:

sudo dnf install epel-release
sudo dnf install nmon

5. glances

Written in Pythonglances is a cross-platform monitoring tool that provides a wealth of information about your system’s performance. It is used to monitor system resources in standalone mode (results are displayed on the terminal), client/server mode, or web server mode (results displayed in web browser).

glances Linux monitoring tool

All of the above-mentioned Linux monitoring tools can monitor CPU, memory usage, and list information about running processes. However, in addition to, glances also monitors filesystem I/O, network I/O, and sensor readouts that can display CPU and other hardware temperatures as well as fan speeds and disk usage by hardware device and logical volume.

For more information visit the glances website.

Install glances on Ubuntu / Debian

glances package for Ubuntu and Debian is available in the default repositories, so just type:

sudo apt install glances

Install glances on CentOS / Rocky Linux / AlmaLinux

First you must install the EPEL repo on your system, if not installed, and then install the glances package:

sudo dnf install epel-release
sudo dnf install glances

Conclusion

Terminal monitoring provides that quick and easy way to immediately look into what is happening on your Linux system.

So, these were our picks for the best Linux terminal-based monitoring tools. We hope the list was useful and that it helped you in finding the right tool to keep an eye on your system usage and resource consumption.

So, what would you pick to monitor your Linux system?

7 Comments

  1. Well they all do the same thing, what you should improve is your ability to interpret what is showing after that it is really just what interface you like more

  2. There writer asked them wrong question. There best app to monitor our Linux system is not terminal based. It of a GUI with a silly menu system, at this moment: GKRELLM.
    The best version of this is currently on PCLOS. GKRELLM has very basic versions on most other Linux operating systems, and one very simpler version for Microsoft Windows.
    Gkrellm is so good, when expertly configured, that it is better than a set of three best of Windows other, realtime desktop monitors.

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