3 ways to Check CPU usage in Linux

CPU is one of the most important component in any computer. It is a physical component that executes instructions and performs computations to carry out various tasks. CPU uses memory to store data and commands on it, known as registers. A register can be thought of as a small amount of memory, but it actually exists within the CPU itself rather than in external RAM chips like normal computer memory does. Indeed, each CPU has many such registers that are used to store temporary information while the CPU performs its operations. When you run a program or command on your Linux machine, there will be some processes running in background which consume some amount of CPU cycles for certain tasks like compiling code or doing other operations that require more processing power than others do.

Understanding CPU usage in Linux

CPU usage is the percentage of time that a CPU spends on executing a particular task. The CPU is the brain of your computer, so it makes sense that it would be used as much as possible. It’s not uncommon for a modern CPU to be running at 100% during normal usage, but if you notice your processor utilization going over 70% consistently, it may be time for you to upgrade or replace your hardware components.

When thinking about how to check CPU usage in Linux, keep in mind that there are two different types of processes: userland and kernel mode processes. Userland processes run at userland level while kernel mode processes run at kernel level. Userland programs can send signals to each other without having access rights (as opposed to kernel mode), which makes them easier for users who don’t want root access privileges because they’re managing multiple users’ systems (or simply because they’re responsible for one user’s computer).

Understanding top command in Linux

The top command is a Linux command that’s used to monitor the performance of a Linux system. The top command can be used to monitor CPU, memory, and swap usage; load average, uptime, and users; processes running on the system.

In this section we will look at how we can use the top command to view CPU usage by process in Linux.

How to use top command in Linux to check CPU usage?

Top command is a command line tool which displays system information in a dynamic list. Top command displays system information in a long format. Top command displays system information in a short format.

Top Command reads from the /proc file system and it shows you real time CPU usage with percentage of each core/thread as well as total CPU usage, total RAM usage and swap stats for your entire machine or for individual processors. If you want to know more about top (like help pages or exit codes), then just type “top -h” or “man top”, depending on your distro’s default shell prompt (Bash, sh, ksh).

1. Using top command

The top command is a command line utility. It is used to monitor the processes running in Linux. Top command provides a real time view of the system resource usage, including CPU load and memory usage.

The first thing you need to do is open up a new terminal window and then type in “top” and press enter. You will see a list of processes currently running on your system with their respective CPU usage listed next to them. Here we can check which process has high processor usages by looking at those with more than 70% CPU usage

2. Using htop command

  • Using htop command

htop is a command line utility for Linux, BSD and other Unix-like operating systems. htop is a text-based process viewer much like top command but more user friendly. htop is an interactive process viewer for Linux/UNIX systems, providing similar information to the standard top utility but in a ncurses (text-based) interface. It features color coded entry and exit times, automatic task detection/killing with signal bypid or pid naming, customizable columns and output sorting using regular expressions on selected fields (e.g., priority).

It also allows one to view interprocess communication between all running processes on a system at once, regardless of whether they have been scheduled onto the same CPU or not; this feature makes it easy to see how busy each CPU is at any given time as well as how much load average there currently is on each one — i.e., if you see your CPU core temperatures reach 100C then something’s wrong!

3. Using mpstat command

mpstat is a command for monitoring CPU statistics. It can be used to find out the CPU usage of a system.

mpstat shows the CPU (core) utilization in percentage and total number of CPUs.

You can use this command to monitor CPU usage, find out which process is using most of your CPU resources, etc..


If you’re looking for a way to check CPU usage on Linux, top command and htop command is the best tool. Both of them will show you the CPU usage in real time as well as give you an overview of CPU usage over time. If this isn’t enough, mpstat command can be used to get even more details about your system resources such as memory, swap space, disk space etc.


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