Finding a Linux Network Monitor tool or Software package for your Critical servers and services that are running on those systems in one of the most (if not the most) important things you should have on your to-do list.
With the ever growing need for high performance Linux systems in our every day network infrastructures, monitoring their network connections has become a priority for many of us network admins.
Here's our list of the Top Linux Network Monitor Tools & Software:
- NetFlow Traffic Analyzer by SolarWinds – EDITOR'S CHOICE A network bandwidth analyzer that can extract traffic data from switches and routers. Runs on Windows Server. Start 30-day free trial.
- ManageEngine OpManager – FREE TRIAL A package of network and server monitoring tools that can operate across a network or even across the internet to monitor remote sites. Available for Windows Server and Linux. Download a 30-day free trial.
- Paessler PRTG Linux Network Monitor – FREE TRIAL A package of monitoring systems for networks, servers, and applications that can track network device health, traffic statistics, and Linux endpoint metrics over a network. Runs on Windows Server. Download a 30-day free trial.
- Zabbix A free monitoring system for networks, servers, and applications that can monitor on-premises resources and also cloud services. Available for Linux.
- Nagios Core A free monitoring system for networks, servers, and applications that can be extended by thousands of plugins. Runs on Linux or over a hypervisor on Windows.
- OpenNMS A free monitoring system for networks that runs on Linux hosts.
- Zenoss Core A free monitoring system for networks, servers, and applications that can be extended by Zen Packs and Nagios plugins. Runs on Linux.
- Cacti A free network monitor based around charts of network performance that are based on SNMP reports. Installs on Linux.
- ntopNG A free network monitoring system that is based on a packet sniffer. Available for Linux, FreeBSD, Windows, macOS, and RaspbianOS.
Some of these packages have other capabilities and options, such as monitoring Windows based servers as well as your Routers and Firewall devices. Click on their Official sites to read more about them.
Some critical Linux Network Services that you should consider monitoring include (but not limited too):
- Network Interfaces & Ports
- Critical Network Services (DNS, DHCP, Bindings, etc)
- Firewall/IPTable Logs/Rules
- Linux Web Server Services (Nginx/Apache, etc)
- Network Bandwidth
- Network Usage/Traffic Stats
- and much more!
Related Post: Best Network Traffic Generator and Stress Testing Tools
What should you look for in Linux network monitoring systems?
We reviewed the market for Linux monitoring tools and analyzed the options based on the following criteria:
- A package that will run on Linux or install on other operating systems but monitor Linux devices across a network
- A tool that includes a service for tracking endpoint performance
- A live display of all resource activity
- A tool that can monitor networks as well as Linux hosts
- Systems for network traffic analysis and network device performance monitoring
- A risk-free assessment period or a free tool
- Free tools that are worth installing or paid tools that offer value for money
With these selection criteria in mind, we have identified monitoring packages that can track the performance of networks and applications as well as endpoints.
The Best Linux Monitor Tools & Software
SolarWinds creates a suite of complete network monitoring and management software. Among their products, NetFlow is one of the most popular. Netflow Traffic Analyzer (NTA) is a complete traffic diagnostic and bandwidth monitoring software.
The tool allows you to monitor your Linux-based network, find new traffic patterns and avoid bandwidth hogs using NTA with a User Device Tracker. The best thing about this tool is that it can analyze your network in real-time down to the interface level.
- Excellent user interface, easy to navigate and remains uncluttered even when used on high volume networks
- Supports multiple networking technologies such as Cisco Netflow, Juniper Networks J-Flow, and Huawei Netstream, making it a hardware-agnostic solution
- Pre-built templates allow you to pull insights from packet capture right away
- Installs on Windows as well as on multiple flavors of Linux
- Built for the enterprise, offers SLA tracking and monitoring features
- Built for enterprise companies who process a lot of data, not the best fit for small LANs or home users
Official Website: https://www.solarwinds.com/netflow-traffic-analyzer
Download a 30-day free trial: https://www.solarwinds.com/netflow-traffic-analyzer/registration
SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer is our top pick for a network monitoring software package because it communicates with network devices using NetFlow but it also has the capabilities of using IPFIX, J-Flow, sFlow, and NetStream. This comprehensive package can even communicate with VMWare vSwitches to gather statistics on performance. The 30-day free trial shows that SolarWinds is confident this tool will win in head-to-head real-world comparisons.
Official Site: solarwinds.com/netflow-traffic-analyzer/registration
OS: Windows Server
ManageEngine OpManager tool is a great all-around monitoring tool that you can implement into a Windows or Linux network infrastructure!
This tool provides deep insights in your Linux Servers and Machines and allows you to monitor them quickly and efficiently within one single dashboard!
Get a thorough and deep analysis of your Linux systems, as well as monitor major interfaces and system vitals from one location
Features & Capabilities include:
- Real-Time Performance and Network Monitoring
- Monitor Physical & Virtual Servers
- Monitor Perimeter WAN Links
- Customize Dashboards and more!
- Setup Alerting and Reports
- Monitor Vital Hardware Components and More!
- Designed to work right away, features over 200 customizable widgets to build unique dashboards and reports
- Features traffic management options alongside DPI tools
- Uses intelligent alerting to reduce false positives and eliminate alert fatigue across larger networks
- Supports email, SMS, and webhook for numerous alerting channels
- Can set up SLAs based on network, application, or process
- Is a feature-rich tool that will require a time investment to properly learn
Click the Link below to download now and get started monitoring your infrastructure within hours with a 30-day free trial download!
PRTG (Paessler Router Traffic Grapher) creates innovative and easy-to-use network and bandwidth monitoring software. PRTG Network Monitor can manage Linux-based networks in a secure and efficient way.
The PRTG dashboard displays an overview of the status of your Linux network. It also shows the performance, hard drives, memory and NTP.
With PRTG, you can define threshold values for certain parameters such as bandwidth, and set automatic notifications when those values are exceeded.
- Designed to be an infrastructure monitoring tool that supports multiple sensors types such as NetFlow, sFlow, and J-Flow
- Offers additional monitoring on the same platform, supporting infrastructure, network, and application performance monitoring
- Supports multiple channels and integrations for alerts
- Uses easy to read graphing for traffic visualization
- Very detailed platform, takes time to learn and fully utilize all of the features available
Official Website: https://www.paessler.com/linux_network_monitoring
Download 30-day FREE Trial: https://www.paessler.com/download/prtg-download
Zabbix is an enterprise-type open source advanced network and application monitoring solution that handles millions of different metrics. It can be used in your Linux servers, network devices, and network services. Zabbix is commonly known for being easy to install, configure and use.
This tool is based on a server-agent system; You install the agent on a client and this is monitored by the Zabbix Server. All the data is gathered by the Zabbix agent running on the host and sent over to the server, where it is stored in a relational database.
- Open-source transparent tool
- Uses both SNMP and IPMP for a broader monitoring range
- Can detect new devices and configuration changes immediately
- Offers useful templates for quick insights
- Robust notification system supports SMS, email, custom script, and webhook
- Could use updated and modernized
- Would like to see better-alerting features, specifically more intelligent alerting features
Official Website: https://www.zabbix.com/
5. Nagios Core
Nagios is a 100% free and open-source tool used for monitoring infrastructure, networks, and systems. When monitoring elements, Nagios Core can schedule events, process the events, and alert when a certain threshold is reached.
When comparing with other monitoring tools, Nagios Core has been designed especially for flexibility and scalability. The provided APIs allow easy expandability through the use of additional add-ons and plug-ins. Another benefit is that Nagios Core also offers forum support for free.
- Open-source transparent tool
- Simple, yet informative interface
- Flexible alerting options support SMS and email
- Available on both Windows and Linux operating systems
- Open-source version lacks quality support found in paid products
- Installation can be technical and complex
Official Website: https://www.nagios.org/projects/nagios-core/
OpenNMS is a free and open source network management system that monitors Linux servers, applications, and services. The tool is useful when initially installed but it can be highly customized to work in different network environments.
As soon as a new device enters the network, the auto-discovery function will add it to the management system. OpenNMS can be configured to raise alarms and/or notify its users through emails, SMS, or XMPP when an event occurs.
- Open source projects, lots of room for customization, and personalized add-ons
- Has a large amount of documentation available
- Features two versions, a stable version and a beta test version for new features
- Offers a wide range of monitoring options and flexible alert notifications
- Is more complicated to set up than paid tools that focus on streamlining the onboarding process
- Users rely on help documents and forums for support, which isn’t always the quickest way to resolve issues
- It can take a long time to get things working the way you want them on the platform
Official Website: https://www.opennms.org/
Related Post: Best Open Source NMS Software and Tools
7. Zenoss Core
It is a free and open-source basic network monitoring software especially for small to medium businesses. The software can be used to manage up to 500 devices through its web interface. The administrator can monitor the network’s availability, configuration, inventory, performance, and events.
When initially setting up the tool, or when bringing a new device into the network, Zenoss Core has the ability to auto-discover the new element including (device, server, OS, configuration, application, and process), and update the inventory accordingly.
- Open-source, completely free tool with two paid options
- Uses network discovery to automatically pull in new devices that enter the network
- Can support multi-site networks encompassing both LAN and WAN
- Support only for paid tiers
- Dashboard interface needs improvement, specifically the nested menu options on the home screen
- Free version is limited to 100 devices
Official Website: https://www.zenoss.com/get-started
A comprehensive open-source network graphing and web-based monitoring tool, designed to be the front-end application for data storage tool, RDDTool. Among the most important features of Cacti, are its adjustable fast poller and the graph of the resulting data based on templates.
The user interface makes it easy to manage small-medium and large networks. Cacti is commonly used to graph metrics that are based on time, like network utilization and CPU load.
- Highly customizable monitor with a focus on data visualization
- Large dedicated community of over 20,000 members
- Simple interface
- Ideal for researchers looking for more flexibility in their data collection
- Has a steer learning curve than competing products
- Like most open source products, Cacti lacks a paid support option
Official Website: https://www.cacti.net/
It is an open-source, high-speed web-based traffic analyzer, and security monitoring software. ntopng is the next-generation version of ntop (from 1998), now renovated with higher performance, more usability and better features.
This tool allows deep browsing of the historic and real-time traffic information from its encrypted web user interface. ntopng is a top player for traffic analysis because it can allow you sort out traffic according to different criteria, such as IP, Port, Layer 7 protocol, bandwidth and traffic Throughput, and AS (Autonomous System), among many other features.
- Open-source project with full transparency
- Free version available alongside the enterprise version
- Special licensing options for nonprofits and educational institutions
- Not the best option for larger multi-site networks
- Packet capture features are a bit limited
- User interface is easy to use, but could be improved upon
Official Website: https://www.ntop.org/products/traffic-analysis/ntop/
Htop is a project by Hisham Muhammad. It is an interactive process viewer and manager for Unix systems. Htop was designed to be an alternative for the UNIX program top (Table of Process Tool). Htop is a more advanced process tracking Linux tool than “top”, because it is more complete, interactive and in real-time.
This tool has an easy to use UI for managing processes, vertical and horizontal viewing of processes, shortcut keys, etc.
Official Website: http://hisham.hm/htop/
It is an interactive Linux bandwidth monitor which gives you access to real-time statistics on the utilization of the network. The tool is not graphical; it works through a console app with a CLI.
It is commonly used to view received, sent and the total bandwidth of each network interface in a Linux system, in KBps or Kbps. It can also determine and show the added value of all the interfaces.
Official Website: http://ibmonitor.sourceforge.net/
Bandwidth Monitor NG (Next Generation) is an upgrade of the old “bwm” which was too simple and had many problems with modern and fast interfaces. Bwm-ng is basically an easy-to-use network bandwidth and Disk I/O monitoring console with real-time network and disk information for Linux (and other UNIX distributions).
This tool is pretty straightforward; the installation is a 2-minute process and the CLI very easy to use. You can display the output information in KBps, MBps, packets, errors, avg, max and total sum.
Official Website: http://sourceforge.net/projects/bwmng/
It is a monitoring tool for overseeing network, memory, utilization and processing performance of a Linux system. Dstat is an adjustable metrics tool. It basically combines the power of traditional Linux system components, vmstat, iostat, netstat, and ifstat.
Dstat overcomes the weaknesses of all these components and improves the performance with more metric counters and flexibility (with external plugins). An improvement is that this tool can allow you to view the resources in real-time.
Official Website: http://dag.wiee.rs/home-made/dstat/
It is a free and open source network monitoring tool which periodically checks services and system resources and uses its web interface to display the data in graphs.
With Monitorix you can check overall system performance, find traffic bottlenecks, and flow failures. The tool is ultra-light so it can be used in embedded devices to monitor as many system resources as it can.
Official Website: http://www.monitorix.org/
It is an open source and simple CLI network monitoring tool that provides statistics of Linux systems. With IPTraf you can oversee inbound and outbound connections of traffic passing through a network interface.
IPTraf works by gathering interface information and showing the detailed statistics of IP, TCP, UDP, packet size, counts, and IP checksum errors. You can also monitor other information such as ICMP details and OSPF packet types.
Official Website: http://iptraf.seul.org/
It is an open source CLI Linux/BSD utility used to monitor and store network statistics. vnStat can monitor traffic and keep logs of a specific interface. The tool is popular because it is ultra-light and consumes light resources to run. It is also easy to install and use.
VnStat can monitor many interfaces at the same time and collect statistics accordingly. There are multiple output options, like summary, time-based, or image.
Official Website: http://humdi.net/vnstat/
It is a free and open source CLI monitoring UNIX tool that generates an updated list of the network interfaces and its connections. Iftop listens to traffic on an interface (or all interfaces) and displays the bandwidth usage on each one.
To run iftop you require libpcap, libcurses, and sufficient permissions. You can create filters to show determined output information. For example, Iftop by default will display Hostname information on all packets, but you can remove DNS information by creating a filter code.
Official Website: http://www.ex-parrot.com/pdw/iftop/
It is a free and open-source graphical network monitoring software developed especially for UNIX systems. It graphically displays layer 2, 3 and 4 (Data Link, IP, and TCP/UDP) activity. In the graphical interface, each host is represented by a node and the connections by links.
The different types of traffic on a network are generated by different protocols so EtherApe color codes each node and links differently according to the protocol. The nodes and links grow and shrink dynamically to represent an increase or decrease in the traffic volume.
Official Website: https://etherape.sourceforge.io/
It is an open-source high-performance logging and graphing tool, used for time series data, like network bandwidth and CPU load. RRDTool stands for “Round-Robin Database Tool”, because it stores the data in a circular buffer, making it a very efficient storage system.
The data logged by RRDTool can be extracted and displayed in a graphical layout. The tool can be integrated into shell scripts applications running with ruby, perl, python, tcl, lua and PHP.
Official Website: https://oss.oetiker.ch/rrdtool
Whew – That was a ton of tools to go through – we hope you find a good Linux Network Monitoring Tool/Software that suits your needs. There's quite a few of them and I'm sure we've missed some. If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to send us an email and we'll be sure to add it to the list!
If you're looking for a fully supported, paid solution that not only monitors Linux Network Traffic, we suggest your Download Solarwinds NPM or PRTG by Paessler – They are both extremely well known in the community have a strong reputation for having great products. If you don't mind getting your hands dirty, then give Nagios Core, Zabbix or OpenNMS a try for an open-source solution.