Linux Commands to Troubleshoot Performance Issues

Posted by

Linux systems may experience performance problems for a number of reasons, including excessive CPU utilisation, memory leaks, disc IO bottlenecks, or network congestion. Linux comes with a number of strong command-line tools that can be used to diagnose and fix these problems efficiently. These tools provide insights into various elements of system behaviour. This is a reference for key Linux commands that will aid in system performance optimisation and troubleshooting.

1. Top : Description: top is a command-line tool that provides a dynamic real-time view of system processes. It displays CPU usage, memory utilization, and a list of running processes sorted by various criteria.


2. htop

Description: Similar to top but with an enhanced interactive interface, htop allows for easier process management and provides a clearer visualization of system resources.


3. vmstat

Description: vmstat reports information about system processes, memory, paging, block IO, traps, and CPU activity. It’s useful for monitoring overall system performance and identifying bottlenecks.

vmstat 1

4. iostat

Description: iostat reports CPU utilization and I/O statistics for disks and partitions. It helps in understanding disk performance and identifying I/O-related issues.

iostat -x 1

5. iotop

Description: iotop displays I/O usage by processes in real-time, allowing you to pinpoint which processes are generating significant disk I/O.


6. sar

Description: sar collects, reports, and saves system activity information (CPU, memory, disks, network) over time. It’s invaluable for historical analysis of system performance.

sar -u 1

7. strace

Description: strace traces system calls and signals for a specific process. It helps in debugging and understanding application-level issues causing performance degradation.

strace -p PID

8. tcpdump

Description: tcpdump captures network packets and allows detailed inspection of network traffic. Useful for diagnosing network-related performance problems.

tcpdump -i eth0

9. netstat

Description: netstat displays network connections, routing tables, interface statistics, masquerade connections, and multicast memberships.

netstat -s

10. lsof

Description: lsof lists open files and the processes that opened them. It’s helpful for checking file-related issues impacting system performance.

lsof -p PID

These fundamental Linux commands offer a comprehensive arsenal for identifying and resolving Linux system performance problems. Regardless of the issue—heavy CPU utilisation, memory leakage, disc difficulties, or network congestion—these tools provide insightful information about system behaviour and aid in performance optimisation. Gaining proficiency with these commands and understanding their output will help you locate and fix performance bottlenecks so your Linux system runs as efficiently as possible.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x