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10 lsof Command Examples in Linux

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This is our on-going series of Linux commands and in this article we are going to review lsof command with practical examples. lsof meaning ‘LiSt Open Files’ is used to find out which files are open by which process. As we all know Linux/Unix considers everything as a files (pipes, sockets, directories, devices etc). One of the reason to use lsof command is when a disk cannot be unmounted as it says the files are being used. With the help of this command we can easily identify the files which are in use.

lsof command examples

10 Linux lsof Command Examples

1. List all Open Files with lsof Command

In the below example, it will show long listing of open files some of them are extracted for better understanding which displays the columns like Command, PID, USER, FD, TYPE etc.

# lsof

COMMAND    PID      USER   FD      TYPE     DEVICE  SIZE/OFF       NODE NAME
init         1      root  cwd      DIR      253,0      4096          2 /
init         1      root  rtd      DIR      253,0      4096          2 /
init         1      root  txt      REG      253,0    145180     147164 /sbin/init
init         1      root  mem      REG      253,0   1889704     190149 /lib/libc-2.12.so
init         1      root   0u      CHR        1,3       0t0       3764 /dev/null
init         1      root   1u      CHR        1,3       0t0       3764 /dev/null
init         1      root   2u      CHR        1,3       0t0       3764 /dev/null
init         1      root   3r     FIFO        0,8       0t0       8449 pipe
init         1      root   4w     FIFO       0,8       0t0       8449 pipe
init         1      root   5r      DIR       0,10         0          1 inotify
init         1      root   6r      DIR       0,10         0          1 inotify
init         1      root   7u     unix 0xc1513880       0t0       8450 socket

Sections and it’s values are self-explanatory. However, we’ll review FD & TYPE columns more precisely.

FD – stands for File descriptor and may seen some of the values as:

  1. cwd current working directory
  2. rtd root directory
  3. txt program text (code and data)
  4. mem memory-mapped file

Also in FD column numbers like 1u is actual file descriptor and followed by u,r,w of it’s mode as:

  1. r for read access.
  2. w for write access.
  3. u for read and write access.

TYPE – of files and it’s identification.

  1. DIR – Directory
  2. REG – Regular file
  3. CHR – Character special file.
  4. FIFO – First In First Out

2. List User Specific Opened Files

The below command will display the list of all opened files of user tecmint.

# lsof -u tecmint

COMMAND  PID    USER   FD   TYPE     DEVICE SIZE/OFF   NODE NAME
sshd    1838 tecmint  cwd    DIR      253,0     4096      2 /
sshd    1838 tecmint  rtd    DIR      253,0     4096      2 /
sshd    1838 tecmint  txt    REG      253,0   532336 188129 /usr/sbin/sshd
sshd    1838 tecmint  mem    REG      253,0    19784 190237 /lib/libdl-2.12.so
sshd    1838 tecmint  mem    REG      253,0   122436 190247 /lib/libselinux.so.1
sshd    1838 tecmint  mem    REG      253,0   255968 190256 /lib/libgssapi_krb5.so.2.2
sshd    1838 tecmint  mem    REG      253,0   874580 190255 /lib/libkrb5.so.3.3

3. Find Processes running on Specific Port

To find out all the running process of specific port, just use the following command with option -i. The below example will list all running process of port 22.

# lsof -i TCP:22

COMMAND  PID    USER   FD   TYPE DEVICE SIZE/OFF NODE NAME
sshd    1471    root    3u  IPv4  12683      0t0  TCP *:ssh (LISTEN)
sshd    1471    root    4u  IPv6  12685      0t0  TCP *:ssh (LISTEN)

4. List Only IPv4 & IPv6 Open Files

In below example shows only IPv4 and IPv6 network files open with separate commands.

# lsof -i 4

COMMAND    PID    USER   FD   TYPE DEVICE SIZE/OFF NODE NAME
rpcbind   1203     rpc    6u  IPv4  11326      0t0  UDP *:sunrpc
rpcbind   1203     rpc    7u  IPv4  11330      0t0  UDP *:954
rpcbind   1203     rpc    8u  IPv4  11331      0t0  TCP *:sunrpc (LISTEN)
avahi-dae 1241   avahi   13u  IPv4  11579      0t0  UDP *:mdns
avahi-dae 1241   avahi   14u  IPv4  11580      0t0  UDP *:58600

# lsof -i 6

COMMAND    PID    USER   FD   TYPE DEVICE SIZE/OFF NODE NAME
rpcbind   1203     rpc    9u  IPv6  11333      0t0  UDP *:sunrpc
rpcbind   1203     rpc   10u  IPv6  11335      0t0  UDP *:954
rpcbind   1203     rpc   11u  IPv6  11336      0t0  TCP *:sunrpc (LISTEN)
rpc.statd 1277 rpcuser   10u  IPv6  11858      0t0  UDP *:55800
rpc.statd 1277 rpcuser   11u  IPv6  11862      0t0  TCP *:56428 (LISTEN)
cupsd     1346    root    6u  IPv6  12112      0t0  TCP localhost:ipp (LISTEN)

5. List Open Files of TCP Port ranges 1-1024

To list all the running process of open files of TCP Port ranges from 1-1024.

# lsof -i TCP:1-1024

COMMAND  PID    USER   FD   TYPE DEVICE SIZE/OFF NODE NAME
rpcbind 1203     rpc   11u  IPv6  11336      0t0  TCP *:sunrpc (LISTEN)
cupsd   1346    root    7u  IPv4  12113      0t0  TCP localhost:ipp (LISTEN)
sshd    1471    root    4u  IPv6  12685      0t0  TCP *:ssh (LISTEN)
master  1551    root   13u  IPv6  12898      0t0  TCP localhost:smtp (LISTEN)
sshd    1834    root    3r  IPv4  15101      0t0  TCP 192.168.0.2:ssh->192.168.0.1:conclave-cpp (ESTABLISHED)
sshd    1838 tecmint    3u  IPv4  15101      0t0  TCP 192.168.0.2:ssh->192.168.0.1:conclave-cpp (ESTABLISHED)
sshd    1871    root    3r  IPv4  15842      0t0  TCP 192.168.0.2:ssh->192.168.0.1:groove (ESTABLISHED)
httpd   1918    root    5u  IPv6  15991      0t0  TCP *:http (LISTEN)
httpd   1918    root    7u  IPv6  15995      0t0  TCP *:https (LISTEN)

6. Exclude User with ‘^’ Character

Here, we have excluded root user. You can exclude a particular user using ‘^’ with command as shown above.

# lsof -i -u^root

COMMAND    PID    USER   FD   TYPE DEVICE SIZE/OFF NODE NAME
rpcbind   1203     rpc    6u  IPv4  11326      0t0  UDP *:sunrpc
rpcbind   1203     rpc    7u  IPv4  11330      0t0  UDP *:954
rpcbind   1203     rpc    8u  IPv4  11331      0t0  TCP *:sunrpc (LISTEN)
rpcbind   1203     rpc    9u  IPv6  11333      0t0  UDP *:sunrpc
rpcbind   1203     rpc   10u  IPv6  11335      0t0  UDP *:954
rpcbind   1203     rpc   11u  IPv6  11336      0t0  TCP *:sunrpc (LISTEN)
avahi-dae 1241   avahi   13u  IPv4  11579      0t0  UDP *:mdns
avahi-dae 1241   avahi   14u  IPv4  11580      0t0  UDP *:58600
rpc.statd 1277 rpcuser    5r  IPv4  11836      0t0  UDP *:soap-beep
rpc.statd 1277 rpcuser    8u  IPv4  11850      0t0  UDP *:55146
rpc.statd 1277 rpcuser    9u  IPv4  11854      0t0  TCP *:32981 (LISTEN)
rpc.statd 1277 rpcuser   10u  IPv6  11858      0t0  UDP *:55800
rpc.statd 1277 rpcuser   11u  IPv6  11862      0t0  TCP *:56428 (LISTEN)

7. Find Out who’s Looking What Files and Commands?

Below example shows user tecmint is using command like ping and /etc directory .

# lsof -i -u tecmint

COMMAND  PID    USER   FD   TYPE DEVICE SIZE/OFF NODE NAME
bash    1839 tecmint  cwd    DIR  253,0    12288   15 /etc
ping    2525 tecmint  cwd    DIR  253,0    12288   15 /etc

8. List all Network Connections

The following command with option ‘-i’ shows the list of all network connections ‘LISTENING & ESTABLISHED’.

# lsof -i

COMMAND    PID    USER   FD   TYPE DEVICE SIZE/OFF NODE NAME
rpcbind   1203     rpc    6u  IPv4  11326      0t0  UDP *:sunrpc
rpcbind   1203     rpc    7u  IPv4  11330      0t0  UDP *:954
rpcbind   1203     rpc   11u  IPv6  11336      0t0  TCP *:sunrpc (LISTEN)
avahi-dae 1241   avahi   13u  IPv4  11579      0t0  UDP *:mdns
avahi-dae 1241   avahi   14u  IPv4  11580      0t0  UDP *:58600
rpc.statd 1277 rpcuser   11u  IPv6  11862      0t0  TCP *:56428 (LISTEN)
cupsd     1346    root    6u  IPv6  12112      0t0  TCP localhost:ipp (LISTEN)
cupsd     1346    root    7u  IPv4  12113      0t0  TCP localhost:ipp (LISTEN)
sshd      1471    root    3u  IPv4  12683      0t0  TCP *:ssh (LISTEN)
master    1551    root   12u  IPv4  12896      0t0  TCP localhost:smtp (LISTEN)
master    1551    root   13u  IPv6  12898      0t0  TCP localhost:smtp (LISTEN)
sshd      1834    root    3r  IPv4  15101      0t0  TCP 192.168.0.2:ssh->192.168.0.1:conclave-cpp (ESTABLISHED)
httpd     1918    root    5u  IPv6  15991      0t0  TCP *:http (LISTEN)
httpd     1918    root    7u  IPv6  15995      0t0  TCP *:https (LISTEN)
clock-app 2362   narad   21u  IPv4  22591      0t0  TCP 192.168.0.2:45284->www.gov.com:http (CLOSE_WAIT)
chrome    2377   narad   61u  IPv4  25862      0t0  TCP 192.168.0.2:33358->maa03s04-in-f3.1e100.net:http (ESTABLISHED)
chrome    2377   narad   80u  IPv4  25866      0t0  TCP 192.168.0.2:36405->bom03s01-in-f15.1e100.net:http (ESTABLISHED)

9. Search by PID

The below example only shows whose PID is 1 [One].

# lsof -p 1

COMMAND PID USER   FD   TYPE     DEVICE SIZE/OFF   NODE NAME
init      1 root  cwd    DIR      253,0     4096      2 /
init      1 root  rtd    DIR      253,0     4096      2 /
init      1 root  txt    REG      253,0   145180 147164 /sbin/init
init      1 root  mem    REG      253,0  1889704 190149 /lib/libc-2.12.so
init      1 root  mem    REG      253,0   142472 189970 /lib/ld-2.12.so

10. Kill all Activity of Particular User

Sometimes you may have to kill all the processes for a specific user. Below command will kills all the processes of tecmint user.

# kill -9 `lsof -t -u tecmint`

Note: Here, it’s not possible to give example of all available options, this guide is only to show how lsof command can be use. You may refer man page of lsof command to know more about it. Please share it if you find this article is useful through our comment box below.

He has over 10 years of rich IT experience which includes various Linux Distros, FOSS and Networking. Narad always believes sharing IT knowledge with others and adopts new technology with ease.

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2 Responses

  1. Such a helpful post.

  2. Terrence says:

    Thanks for the post here. I love this I am learning Linux and to have things like this make it so much easier to learn. Again thanks.

    TK

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