Apr 30 2013

My Favorite Linux Command Line Programs

I am fairly new to managing a Linux server but I am learning more and more every day. As I learn I thought that you could learn along with me! Today I have for you a list of awesome Linux tools that I use everyday to help me keep on eye on my servers. What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!


I have gone through a few web hosts where it is clear that their services are poor. Most of the time it is due to poor hard drive performance which can lead to a lot of IOWait. Now to keep an eye on iowait I found a utility called sysstat. It will monitor my server’s CPU load in regular intervals that I can later view by typing sar into a terminal.




I love using the large Internet connections on some of my VPS’s. Nothing like moving files at gigabit speeds across the world. On a few of my servers I like to monitor this bandwidth. To do this I use a tool called iftop. It will monitor data speeds on a per IP basis and display this information in a nice diagram.


iftop Website


The top command is awesome, only issue is that it is a bit limited and not very user friendly (but hey, we’re talking about Linux here). htop is a nice tool that displays processes in a nice formatted window and allows for navigation and control over the processes via a simple to use function key shortcuts.


htop Website


Last but not least, the most useful command; Screen. Every find that you want to run a program that requires an active shell (like a Minecraft Server) but you didn’t want to leave your SSH client open? Well Screen allows you to start separate shells and disconnect from them. They will continue to run, even if you close your client. Then later when you want to check up on the program, you can just reconnect to the screen and pick up where you left off.


There are dozens of other awesome tools for getting though the administration of a Linux server. I have only listed my favorites so far, I’m sure over time I’ll pick up many others.

So my question to you is, what command could you not live without? I’d love to learn some more neat tricks to make using Linux even better!