Glances – An Advanced Real Time System Monitoring Tool for Linux

Earlier, we’ve written about many Linux System Monitor Tools that can be used to monitor performance of Linux systems, but we think that, most users prefer the default one that comes with every Linux distributions (top command).

The top command is real time task manager in Linux and the most frequently used system monitoring tool in GNU/Linux distributions to find the performance related bottlenecks in system which help us to take corrective actions. It has a nice minimalist interface, comes with few amount of reasonable options that enables us to get a better idea about overall system performance quickly.

However, sometimes its very tricky to find an application/process that consuming lots of system resources is a bit difficult under top. Because top command doesn’t have a ability to highlights programs that are eating too much of CPU, RAM, other resources.

For keeping such approach, here we are bringing a powerful system monitor program called “Glances” that automatically highlights programs that are utilizing highest system resources and providing maximum of information about Linux/Unix server.

What is Glances?

Glances is a cross-platform command-line curses-based system monitoring tool written in Python language which use the psutil library to grab informations from the system. With Glance, we can monitor CPU, Load Average, Memory, Network Interfaces, Disk I/O, Processes and File System spaces utilization.

Glances is a free tool and licensed under GPL to monitory GNU/Linux and FreeBSD operating systems. There are lots of interesting options available in Glances as well. One of the main features we have seen in Glances is that we can set thresholds (careful, warning and critical) in configuration file and informations will be shown in colors which indicates the bottleneck in the system.

Glances Features

  1. CPU Informations (user related applications, system core programs and idle programs.
  2. Total memory Information including RAM, Swap, Free memory etc.
  3. The average CPU load for the past 1min, 5mins and 15 mins.
  4. Network Download/Upload rates of network connections.
  5. Total number of processes, active ones, sleeping processes etc.
  6. Disk I/O related (read or write) speed details
  7. Currently mounted devices disk usages.
  8. Top processes with their CPU/Memory usages, Names and location of application.
  9. Shows the current date and time at bottom.
  10. Highlights processes in Red that consumes highest system resources.

Here is an example screen grab of Glances.

Install Glances Monitoring in Centos
Glances View

Installation of Glances in Linux/Unix Systems

Although it’s a very young utility, you can install “Glances” in Red Hat based systems by turning on EPEL repository and then run the following command on the terminal.

On RHEL/CentOS/Fedora
# yum install -y glances
On Debian/Ubuntu/Linux Mint
$ sudo apt-add-repository ppa:arnaud-hartmann/glances-stable
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install glances

Usage of Glances

To start, issue the basic syntax on the terminal.

# glances
Install Glances in Ubuntu
Glances Preview – Ubuntu 13.10

Press ‘q‘ or (‘ESC‘ or ‘Ctrl&C‘ also works) to quit from Glances terminal. Here, is the another screen grab taken from the CentOS 6.5 system.

Glances Monitoring Linux
Glances Preview – CentOS 6.5

By default, interval time is set to ‘1‘ second. But you can define the custom interval time while running glances from the terminal.

# glances -t 2
Glances Color Codes

Meaning of Glances color code:

  1. GREEN: OK (everything is fine)
  2. BLUE: CAREFUL (need attention)
  3. VIOLET: WARNING (alert)
  4. RED: CRITICAL (critical)

We can set thresholds in configuration file. By default thresholds set is (careful=50, warning=70 and critical=90), we can customized as per our needs. The default configuration file is located at ‘/etc/glances/glances.conf’.

Glances Options

Besides, several command line options, glances provides many more hot keys to find output information while glances is running. Below are the list of several hot keys.

  1. a – Sort processes automatically
  2. c – Sort processes by CPU%
  3. m – Sort processes by MEM%
  4. p – Sort processes by name
  5. i – Sort processes by I/O rate
  6. d – Show/hide disk I/O stats ols
  7. f – Show/hide file system statshddtemp
  8. n – Show/hide network stats
  9. s – Show/hide sensors stats
  10. y – Show/hide hddtemp stats
  11. l – Show/hide logs
  12. b – Bytes or bits for network I/Oools
  13. w – Delete warning logs
  14. x – Delete warning and critical logs
  15. x – Delete warning and critical logs
  16. 1 – Global CPU or per-CPU stats
  17. h – Show/hide this help screen
  18. t – View network I/O as combination
  19. u – View cumulative network I/O
  20. q – Quit (Esc and Ctrl-C also work)

Use Glances on Remote Systems

With the Glances, you can even monitor remote systems too. To use ‘glances‘ on remote systems, run the ‘glances -s‘ (-s enables server/client mode) command on the server.

# glances -s

Define the password for the Glances server
Password (confirm): 
Glances server is running on

Note : Once, you issue ‘glances‘ command, it will prompt you to define the password for the Glances server. Define the password and hit enter, you see glances running on port 61209.

Now, go to the remote host and execute the following command to connect to a Glances server by specifying IP address or hostname as shown below. Here ‘‘ is my glances server IP Address.

# glances -c -P

Below are few notable points that user must know while using glances in server/client mode.

* In server mode, you can set the bind address -B ADDRESS and listening TCP port -p PORT.
* In client mode, you can set the TCP port of the server -p PORT.
* Default binding address is, but it listens on all network interfaces at port 61209.
* In server/client mode, limits are set by the server side.
* You can also define a password to access to the server -P password.

Read Also: Use Glances to Monitor Remote Linux in Web Server Mode


Glances is a much resources friendly tool for most users. But if you’re a system administrator who’d like to quickly get overall “idea” about systems by just glancing at command line, then this tool will be must have tool for system administrators.

If you read this far, tweet to the author to show them you care. Tweet a thanks
Ravi Saive
I am an experienced GNU/Linux expert and a full-stack software developer with over a decade in the field of Linux and Open Source technologies

Each tutorial at TecMint is created by a team of experienced Linux system administrators so that it meets our high-quality standards.

Join the TecMint Weekly Newsletter (More Than 156,129 Linux Enthusiasts Have Subscribed)
Was this article helpful? Please add a comment or buy me a coffee to show your appreciation.

22 thoughts on “Glances – An Advanced Real Time System Monitoring Tool for Linux”

  1. Glances is available now in Ubuntu 18.04 repo; about 27 other (small) Python pieces for dependencies on my Lubuntu netbook, everyone’s says may be a little different. Cool tool!

  2. PPA not found:

    Cannot add PPA: ‘ppa:~arnaud-hartmann/ubuntu/glances-stable’.
    The user named ‘~arnaud-hartmann’ has no PPA named ‘ubuntu/glances-stable’
    Please choose from the following available PPAs:
    You have new mail.

    pip works though, please install with:
    sudo pip install glances

    • @Kiri,

      I think this PPA doesn’t support latest version of Ubuntu or Linux Mint, however, you can install Glances from the default repositories with apt as shown:

      $ sudo apt-get install glances
  3. Hii Ravi you are right in case we want to check the cpu intensive process the glance command will show the critical option but if we use dual quad core processor then we can bind the process to core by taskset command..and else we use pidstat command..reply

    • @Awais,

      No doubt that top command is all time best monitoring tool for Linux, but glances provides some fancy look with some more features..that’s it nothing extra..


Got something to say? Join the discussion.

Have a question or suggestion? Please leave a comment to start the discussion. Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated and your email address will NOT be published.