Top 5 tools every Linux server should have

We operate a LOT of servers. Over the years we’ve been forced to troubleshoot and interact with many different facets of systems. In the course of doing so, we’ve established a list of common tools we employ to make our job easier and get to the bottom line.

    1. oh-my-zsh

First on our list is oh-my-zsh, an tool to manage configuration of the zsh shell. It comes bundled with many useful plugins for integrating with rails, node, redis, yum and more, including all sorts of auto-completion, typo corrections, and source code management integration with git and svn. This is a must have on any linux server.


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    1. mtr

Next is mtr, Matt’s traceroute. This tool is imperative for diagnosing network path information and jitter. Its a simple tool that builds on the premise of traceroute which is included in nearly all UNIX/Linux distributions since the 90s, but adds a visual element as well as providing information over time. This tool provides crucial information for identifying where network issues are occurring as well as what the true impact is in terms of packet loss, high latency, jitter, etc.


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    1. vnStat

Next is vnStat. This one rules. The easiest way to get real-time information about how much traffic a particular interface is sending/receiving. On top of that, it runs as a daemon in the background which can tell you how much traffic has been used in the past day/week/month, etc. Very useful tool!



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    1. htop

Htop builds on that UNIX/Linux standard ‘top‘ command by allowing more interactive ways to drill into particular processes or resource consumption. See per CPU level utilization in a graphical way as well as act on any individual process to adjust its nice value, or even kill it.


tmux has quickly come to prominence and taken over for its step-uncle, screen. It is a shell based window manager (or terminal multiplexer). With a whole lot of customizations including colors, shell based scripting ease and lots of split window enhancements, this tool is extremely useful for keeping what you need in your face as well as being able to quickly switch windows to what you were just doing.


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