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How to use htop to track System Processes on Linux - HOSTVN Blog

Htop is a command-line utility that allows users to monitor interactions with System Processes on Linux in real time. In this article, HOSTVN will guide you to using htop to monitor System Processes on Linux.

1. Install and launch Htop

Step 1: Install Htop

To install Htop you first need to connect to the VPS via SSH. If you do not know how to connect to SSH see PuTTY instructions to SSH into VPS of the HOSTVN.

After SSH into VPS you can run the following command to install htp

Step 2: Launch htop

After installing htop you can run the following command to launch htop

htop - Instructions for using htop

2. Instructions for htop use

2.1. Parts of the htop command

After running the htop command we can see the htop display is divided into 3 parts:

Header Section - htop user guide

The header shows system metrics including CPU, Ram, Swap, running tasks, average load and uptime (Uptime).

2.1.2. Body

This section lists all running processes.

Body - htop manual

This section displays the menu options of the htop

footer - htop manual

2.2. Htop user guide

2.2.1. CPU usage


  • Blue: Process with low priority
  • Green: User progress
  • Red: The kernel process
  • Yellow: IRQ time
  • Magenta: Soft IRQ time
  • Gray: IO timeout
2.2.2. RAM usage

ram usage

  • Green: Memory used
  • Blue: Caching
  • Yellow: Cache
2.2.3. Load average

Load average

Load average is a measure of the amount of work the system does. Load average shows you the average amount of system work that must be processed in each time period 1 minute, 5 minutes and 15 minutes. Average load parameters also depend on how many CPUs the server has. For example, the server has a CPU with an average load of 1.0 which indicates a 100% utilization.

2.2.4. Information process


The Htop will list all processes running on the system with information on the amount of cpu, memory used by each process as well as the command used to start the process.

  • PID: The ID number of the process.
  • USER: The process owner.
  • PR: The priority of the process. The lower the number, the higher the priority.
  • NI: The nice value of the process, affecting its priority.
  • VIRT: Process of using how much virtual memory.
  • RES: How much physical RAM is used, measured in kilobytes.
  • SHR: The shared memory that the process is using.
  • S: The current status of the process (zombied, sleeping, running, uninterruptedly sleeping, traced).
  • % CPU: The percentage of CPU used by the process.
  • % MEM: The percentage of physical RAM used by the process.
  • TIME +: How much time did the processing take.
  • COMMAND: Name of the command to start the process.

2.2.5. Some shortcuts

  • Move the prompt in the list of processes vertically or horizontally with the arrow keys
  • Kill a process by pressing the key F9
  • Renice a process by pressing the key F7 or F8
  • List the files used by a process by pressing the key I
  • Only show a user's progress by pressing the key U
  • Display the processes sorted in any column by pressing the key F6
  • Display processes in the tree view by pressing the key F5


Htop is a great tool for monitoring System Processes on Linux. HOSTVN Hopefully this article will help you easier in managing your VPS. If you have any comments you can leave a comment below. Also you can see more other articles about VPS here.

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