Learn what netstat command and some of the real-time examples are.

netstat (network statistics) is a command-line tool that displays network connections (both incoming and outgoing), routing tables, and a number of network interface statistics.

It is available on Linux, Unix-like, and Windows operating systems. netstat is powerful and can be a handy tool to troubleshoot network-related issues and verify connection statistics.

If you type netstat -help, you will get the following usage guidelines.

[[email protected] ~]# netstat -help
usage: netstat [-vWeenNcCF] [<Af>] -r         netstat {-V|--version|-h|--help}
       netstat [-vWnNcaeol] [<Socket> ...]
       netstat { [-vWeenNac] -I[<Iface>] | [-veenNac] -i | [-cnNe] -M | -s [-6tuw] } [delay]

        -r, --route              display routing table
        -I, --interfaces=<Iface> display interface table for <Iface>
        -i, --interfaces         display interface table
        -g, --groups             display multicast group memberships
        -s, --statistics         display networking statistics (like SNMP)
        -M, --masquerade         display masqueraded connections

        -v, --verbose            be verbose
        -W, --wide               don't truncate IP addresses
        -n, --numeric            don't resolve names
        --numeric-hosts          don't resolve host names
        --numeric-ports          don't resolve port names
        --numeric-users          don't resolve user names
        -N, --symbolic           resolve hardware names
        -e, --extend             display other/more information
        -p, --programs           display PID/Program name for sockets
        -o, --timers             display timers
        -c, --continuous         continuous listing

        -l, --listening          display listening server sockets
        -a, --all                display all sockets (default: connected)
        -F, --fib                display Forwarding Information Base (default)
        -C, --cache              display routing cache instead of FIB
        -Z, --context            display SELinux security context for sockets

  <Socket>={-t|--tcp} {-u|--udp} {-U|--udplite} {-S|--sctp} {-w|--raw}
           {-x|--unix} --ax25 --ipx --netrom
  <AF>=Use '-6|-4' or '-A <af>' or '--<af>'; default: inet
  List of possible address families (which support routing):
    inet (DARPA Internet) inet6 (IPv6) ax25 (AMPR AX.25) 
    netrom (AMPR NET/ROM) ipx (Novell IPX) ddp (Appletalk DDP) 
    x25 (CCITT X.25) 
[[email protected] ~]#

Let me show you some of the examples of the command. The following are tested on RHEL/CentOS, but I don’t see any reason not to work on another distro like Ubuntu.

Established Connection

If you are looking for all established connections from the server.

[[email protected] ~]# netstat -natu | grep 'ESTABLISHED'
tcp        0     21 68.183.37.102:22        222.186.31.135:21714    ESTABLISHED
tcp        0     36 68.183.37.102:22        52.148.155.182:49859    ESTABLISHED
tcp        0      0 68.183.37.102:22        61.177.142.158:55481    ESTABLISHED
[[email protected] ~]#

If you many established connections and interested in looking for one of the IPs, then you can use another grep.

[[email protected] ~]# netstat -natu | grep 'ESTABLISHED' | grep 61.177.142.158
tcp        0   1280 68.183.37.102:22        61.177.142.158:33932    ESTABLISHED
[[email protected] ~]#

Listening Connection

Let’s say you’ve started some service, and that is supposed to listen on a particular IP:Port, this would be handy to verify.

[[email protected] ~]# netstat -an | grep 'LISTEN'
tcp        0      0 127.0.0.1:25            0.0.0.0:*               LISTEN     
tcp        0      0 0.0.0.0:111             0.0.0.0:*               LISTEN     
tcp        0      0 0.0.0.0:22              0.0.0.0:*               LISTEN     
tcp6       0      0 :::111                  :::*                    LISTEN     
tcp6       0      0 :::80                   :::*                    LISTEN     
tcp6       0      0 :::22                   :::*                    LISTEN     
[[email protected] ~]#

Or, you can use -l argument to show all the listening sockets.

[[email protected] ~]# netstat -l
Active Internet connections (only servers)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State      
tcp        0      0 localhost:smtp          0.0.0.0:*               LISTEN     
tcp        0      0 0.0.0.0:sunrpc          0.0.0.0:*               LISTEN     
tcp        0      0 0.0.0.0:ssh             0.0.0.0:*               LISTEN     
tcp6       0      0 [::]:sunrpc             [::]:*                  LISTEN     
tcp6       0      0 [::]:webcache           [::]:*                  LISTEN     
tcp6       0      0 [::]:ssh                [::]:*                  LISTEN     
udp        0      0 0.0.0.0:805             0.0.0.0:*                          
udp        0      0 0.0.0.0:sunrpc          0.0.0.0:*                          
udp        0      0 localhost:323           0.0.0.0:*                          
udp6       0      0 [::]:805                [::]:*                             
udp6       0      0 [::]:sunrpc             [::]:*                             
udp6       0      0 ip6-localhost:323       [::]:*                             
Active UNIX domain sockets (only servers)
Proto RefCnt Flags       Type       State         I-Node   Path
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     15108    /run/dbus/system_bus_socket
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     8202     /run/systemd/journal/stdout
unix  2      [ ACC ]     SEQPACKET  LISTENING     12813    /run/udev/control
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17542    public/pickup
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     15165    /var/run/rpcbind.sock
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17546    public/cleanup
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     15605    /var/lib/gssproxy/default.sock
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     12706    /run/systemd/private
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17549    public/qmgr
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17571    public/flush
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17553    private/tlsmgr
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17586    public/showq
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17556    private/rewrite
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17559    private/bounce
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17562    private/defer
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17565    private/trace
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17568    private/verify
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17574    private/proxymap
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17577    private/proxywrite
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17580    private/smtp
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17583    private/relay
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17589    private/error
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17592    private/retry
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17595    private/discard
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17598    private/local
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17601    private/virtual
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17604    private/lmtp
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17607    private/anvil
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     17610    private/scache
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     15606    /run/gssproxy.sock
[[email protected] ~]#

Take advantage of grep to filter the results.

Port Number used by PID

You know your application started and aware of PID (Process Identifier) but not sure what’s the port number it’s using. Below example is for PID 3937

[[email protected] ~]# netstat -anlp |grep 3937
tcp6       0      0 :::80                   :::*                    LISTEN      3937/httpd          
unix  3      [ ]         STREAM     CONNECTED     2442387  3937/httpd           
[[email protected] ~]#

As you can see, port 80 is being used for PID 3937.

All Protocols Statistics

Having frequent disconnections due to packet discarded? -s argument will show you overall stats where you can pay attention to packets discarded messages.

[[email protected] ~]# netstat -s
Ip:
    731422 total packets received
    0 forwarded
    0 incoming packets discarded
    731399 incoming packets delivered
    787732 requests sent out
    16 dropped because of missing route
Icmp:
    5277 ICMP messages received
    120 input ICMP message failed.
    InCsumErrors: 6
    ICMP input histogram:
        destination unreachable: 193
        timeout in transit: 16
        echo requests: 5060
        echo replies: 2
    9355 ICMP messages sent
    0 ICMP messages failed
    ICMP output histogram:
        destination unreachable: 4295
        echo replies: 5060
IcmpMsg:
        InType0: 2
        InType3: 193
        InType8: 5060
        InType11: 16
        OutType0: 5060
        OutType3: 4295
Tcp:
    42 active connections openings
    35226 passive connection openings
    1693 failed connection attempts
    645 connection resets received
    2 connections established
    646705 segments received
    648037 segments send out
    99463 segments retransmited
    27377 bad segments received.
    150893 resets sent
    InCsumErrors: 27377
Udp:
    74547 packets received
    4814 packets to unknown port received.
    56 packet receive errors
    74584 packets sent
    0 receive buffer errors
    0 send buffer errors
    InCsumErrors: 56
UdpLite:
TcpExt:
    177 invalid SYN cookies received
    1693 resets received for embryonic SYN_RECV sockets
    316 TCP sockets finished time wait in fast timer
    3 packets rejects in established connections because of timestamp
    70248 delayed acks sent
    6 delayed acks further delayed because of locked socket
    Quick ack mode was activated 3082 times
    17 SYNs to LISTEN sockets dropped
    28179 packets directly queued to recvmsg prequeue.
    9802 bytes directly received in process context from prequeue
    72106 packet headers predicted
    94182 acknowledgments not containing data payload received
    40094 predicted acknowledgments
    332 times recovered from packet loss by selective acknowledgements
    8 congestion windows recovered without slow start by DSACK
    1173 congestion windows recovered without slow start after partial ack
    1029 timeouts after SACK recovery
    8 timeouts in loss state
    329 fast retransmits
    3 forward retransmits
    32 retransmits in slow start
    44785 other TCP timeouts
    TCPLossProbes: 9763
    TCPLossProbeRecovery: 1732
    54 SACK retransmits failed
    3144 DSACKs sent for old packets
    4 DSACKs sent for out of order packets
    695 DSACKs received
    1 DSACKs for out of order packets received
    44 connections reset due to unexpected data
    76 connections reset due to early user close
    6079 connections aborted due to timeout
    TCPDSACKIgnoredNoUndo: 448
    TCPSpuriousRTOs: 5
    TCPSackShiftFallback: 465
    IPReversePathFilter: 11
    TCPRcvCoalesce: 32369
    TCPOFOQueue: 4313
    TCPOFOMerge: 4
    TCPChallengeACK: 2
    TCPSynRetrans: 43670
    TCPOrigDataSent: 208010
    TCPACKSkippedSeq: 12
IpExt:
    InNoRoutes: 12
    InOctets: 133789295
    OutOctets: 151093769
    InNoECTPkts: 731338
    InECT1Pkts: 3
    InECT0Pkts: 1568
    InCEPkts: 108
[[email protected] ~]#

Kernel routing information

Having a routing issue? or, connectivity is not working as expected due to connection is traveling through a different route?

Quickly check the routing table.

[[email protected] ~]# netstat -r
Kernel IP routing table
Destination     Gateway         Genmask         Flags   MSS Window  irtt Iface
default         gateway         0.0.0.0         UG        0 0          0 eth0
10.16.0.0       0.0.0.0         255.255.0.0     U         0 0          0 eth0
68.183.32.0     0.0.0.0         255.255.240.0   U         0 0          0 eth0
link-local      0.0.0.0         255.255.0.0     U         0 0          0 eth0
[[email protected] ~]#

PID used by Port Number

Very handy to troubleshoot port conflict issue. Lets’s say you are trying to start Apache or Nginx server, which listens on port 80 but can’t because some other process already using port 80.

[[email protected] ~]# netstat -anlp |grep 80 | grep LISTEN
tcp6       0      0 :::80                   :::*                    LISTEN      3937/httpd          
[[email protected] ~]#

And, you can see the PID 3937 is using that port.

If you are using AIX, then

netstat -Aan | grep $portnumber

This will display the address of the Protocol Control Block in hexadecimal

Once you have hexadecimal, then can execute below to get wich process is holding a port number.

rmsock $address_of_pcb tcpcb

List of network interfaces

Having multiple ethernet interfaces? or not sure and want to find out?

[[email protected] ~]# netstat -i
Kernel Interface table
Iface             MTU    RX-OK RX-ERR RX-DRP RX-OVR    TX-OK TX-ERR TX-DRP TX-OVR Flg
eth0             1500   793026      0      0 0        849443      0      0      0 BMRU
lo              65536        6      0      0 0             6      0      0      0 LRU
[[email protected] ~]#

Continuous Listening

An excellent option when troubleshooting services crash related issues. Let’s say an application is crashing randomly every few minutes. But, not sure when exactly. You can use -c argument which will continuously show the results.

[[email protected] ~]# netstat -anlpc |grep 8080
tcp6       0      0 :::8080                 :::*                    LISTEN      11766/httpd         
tcp6       0      0 :::8080                 :::*                    LISTEN      11766/httpd         
tcp6       0      0 :::8080                 :::*                    LISTEN      11766/httpd         
tcp6       0      0 :::8080                 :::*                    LISTEN      11766/httpd

When it stops updating, then you know its crashed.

Conclusion

netstat is one of the widely used commands by sysadmin and I hope the above examples give you an idea about what you can do with it. If you are looking to learn more about Linux administration, then check out this Udemy course.