List of essential Linux commands for server management

Table of contents

Generate SSH key
ssh-keygen -t ed25519 -C ""

# when no support for Ed25519 present
ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C ""

Note: By default SSH keys get stored to /home/<username>/.ssh/ folder.

Login to host via SSH
# connect to host as your local username
ssh host

# connect to host as user
ssh <user>@<host>

# connect to host using port
ssh -p <port> <user>@<host>
Execute command on a server through SSH
# execute one command
ssh root@ "ls /root"

# execute many commands
ssh root@ "cd /root;touch file.txt"
Displays currently logged in users in the system
Displays Linux system information
Displays kernel release information
uname -r
Shows the system hostname
Shows system reboot history
last reboot
Displays information about the user
sudo apt install finger
finger <username>
Displays IP addresses and all the network interfaces
ip addr show
Downloads a file from an online source

Note: If URL contains ?, & enclose the URL in double quotes.

Compress a file with gzip
# will not keep the original file
gzip file.txt

# will keep the original file
gzip --keep file.txt
Interactive disk usage analyzer
sudo apt install ncdu

ncdu <path/to/directory>
Install Node.js using the Node Version Manager
curl -o- | bash
source ~/.bashrc

nvm install v13
Too long; didn’t read
npm install -g tldr

tldr tar
Combine all Nginx access logs to one big log file
zcat -f /var/log/nginx/access.log* > /var/log/nginx/access-all.log
Set up Redis server
sudo apt install redis-server redis-tools

# check if server is running
sudo service redis status

# set and get a key value
redis-cli set mykey myvalue
redis-cli get mykey

# interactive shell
Generate statistics of your webserver
sudo apt install goaccess

# check if installed
goaccess -v

# combine logs
zcat -f /var/log/nginx/access.log* > /var/log/nginx/access-all.log

# export to single html
goaccess \
  --log-file=/var/log/nginx/access-all.log \
  --log-format=COMBINED \
  --exclude-ip= \
  --ignore-crawlers \
  --real-os \

# cleanup afterwards
rm /var/log/nginx/access-all.log
Search for a given pattern in files
grep -r ‘pattern’ files
Find proccess ID for a specific program
pgrep nginx
Creates a blank new file
touch newfile.txt
Displays first lines in a file
# -n <x> presents the number of lines (10 by default)
head -n 20 somefile.txt
Displays last lines in a file
# -n <x> presents the number of lines (10 by default)
tail -n 20 somefile.txt

# -f follows the changes in file (doesn't closes)
tail -f somefile.txt
Count lines in a file
wc -l somefile.txt
Find all instances of the file
sudo apt install mlocate

locate somefile.txt
Find file names that begin with ‘index’ in /home folder
find /home/ -name "index"
Find files larger than 100MB in the home folder
find /home -size +100M
Displays free space on mounted systems
df -h
Displays free and used memory in the system
free -h
Displays all active listening ports
sudo apt install net-tools

netstat -pnltu
Kill a process violently
kill -9 <pid>
List files opened by user
lsof -u <user>
Execute “df -h”, showing periodic updates
# -n 1 means every second
watch -n 1 df -h

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