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How to Monitor System Processes Using htop Command (Server Monitoring)
How to Monitor System Processes Using htop Command (Server Monitoring)
Rapyd Team avatar
Written by Rapyd Team
Updated over a week ago

For anyone managing a server, having a comprehensive view of your system's performance is invaluable. The htop command offers an interactive, real-time system-monitoring tool for Linux systems. Unlike the basic top command, htop provides a full list of processes running, as well as other important stats and friendly visuals. Dive into the essentials of htop and how it can be your go-to tool for server monitoring.

The htop command takes server monitoring to a new level, offering intuitive visuals and an easy-to-use interface. This article demystifies htop, guiding you from installation to efficient usage, ensuring you can effectively monitor and manage your server's resources.

Introduction to htop

htop is an interactive process viewer for Unix systems, providing a more user-friendly and visually appealing alternative to the top command. With its colorful display, you can easily understand and manage system processes, CPU usage, memory consumption, and more.

Installing htop

  • **For Debian and Ubuntu:**Use the command sudo apt-get install htop.

  • **For Fedora:**Execute sudo dnf install htop.

  • **For CentOS:**You might first need to enable the EPEL repository. Then, run sudo yum install htop.

Navigating the htop Interface

  • Launch htop simply by typing htop in your terminal.

  • The main interface is divided into sections: system metrics (CPU, memory usage) at the top, the list of processes in the middle, and a menu with command options at the bottom.

Key Features and Commands of htop

  • Process Sorting: By default, processes are sorted by CPU usage. You can change the sort criteria using the F6 key.

  • Process Searching: Press F3 and type the name of the process to find it quickly.

  • Killing Processes: Select a process using arrow keys and press F9 to kill it.

  • Tree View: Press F5 to see processes in a tree view, showcasing parent-child relationships.

Tips for Effective Monitoring with htop

  • Customizing Appearance: Navigate to the 'Setup' menu to change the display, like the color scheme.

  • Understanding Colors: By default, htop uses different colors to signify the nature of processes (e.g., user-owned, system processes). Familiarize yourself with these for a quicker understanding.

  • Check Memory Usage: Besides CPU, keep an eye on the memory bars. If your system is consistently using a large portion of its memory, it might be time to upgrade or optimize.


The htop command is an essential tool for anyone tasked with server monitoring. With its interactive visuals and ease of use, it simplifies system management tasks, making monitoring a breeze. By understanding and leveraging htop, you can ensure that your server runs smoothly, and you can preemptively address issues before they escalate.

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