Linux: Find Out Which Process Is Listening Upon a Port

How do I find out running processes were associated with each open port? How do I find out what process has open tcp port 111 or udp port 7000 under Linux?

You can the following programs to find out about port numbers and its associated process:

  1. netstat – a command-line tool that displays network connections, routing tables, and a number of network interface statistics.
  2. fuser – a command line tool to identify processes using files or sockets.
  3. lsof – a command line tool to list open files under Linux / UNIX to report a list of all open files and the processes that opened them.
  4. /proc/$pid/ file system – Under Linux /proc includes a directory for each running process (including kernel processes) at /proc/PID, containing information about that process, notably including the processes name that opened port.

You must run above command(s) as the root user.

netstat example

Type the following command:
# netstat -tulpn
Sample outputs:

Active Internet connections (only servers)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State       PID/Program name
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      1138/mysqld     
tcp        0      0   *               LISTEN      850/portmap     
tcp        0      0    *               LISTEN      1607/apache2    
tcp        0      0 *               LISTEN      910/rpc.statd   
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      1467/dnsmasq    
tcp        0      0    *               LISTEN      992/sshd        
tcp        0      0 *               LISTEN      1565/cupsd      
tcp        0      0  *               LISTEN      3813/transmission
tcp6       0      0 :::22                   :::*                    LISTEN      992/sshd        
tcp6       0      0 ::1:631                 :::*                    LISTEN      1565/cupsd      
tcp6       0      0 :::7000                 :::*                    LISTEN      3813/transmission
udp        0      0   *                           850/portmap     
udp        0      0   *                           910/rpc.statd   
udp        0      0*                           1467/dnsmasq    
udp        0      0    *                           1467/dnsmasq    
udp        0      0    *                           3697/dhclient   
udp        0      0  *                           3813/transmission
udp        0      0 *                           910/rpc.statd

TCP port 3306 was opened by mysqld process having PID # 1138. You can verify this using /proc, enter:
# ls -l /proc/1138/exe
Sample outputs:

lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 0 2010-10-29 10:20 /proc/1138/exe -> /usr/sbin/mysqld

You can use grep command to filter out information:
# netstat -tulpn | grep :80
Sample outputs:

tcp        0      0    *               LISTEN      1607/apache2

fuser command

Find out the processes PID that opened tcp port 7000, enter:
# fuser 7000/tcp
Sample outputs:

7000/tcp:             3813

Finally, find out process name associated with PID # 3813, enter:
# ls -l /proc/3813/exe
Sample outputs:

lrwxrwxrwx 1 vivek vivek 0 2010-10-29 11:00 /proc/3813/exe -> /usr/bin/transmission

/usr/bin/transmission is a bittorrent client, enter:
# man transmission
# whatis transmission
Sample outputs:

transmission (1)     - a bittorrent client

Task: Find Out Current Working Directory Of a Process

To find out current working directory of a process called bittorrent or pid 3813, enter:
# ls -l /proc/3813/cwd
Sample outputs:

lrwxrwxrwx 1 vivek vivek 0 2010-10-29 12:04 /proc/3813/cwd -> /home/vivek

OR use pwdx command, enter:
# pwdx 3813
Sample outputs:

3813: /home/vivek

Task: Find Out Owner Of a Process

Use the following command to find out the owner of a process PID called 3813:
# ps aux | grep 3813
ps aux | grep '[3]813'
Sample outputs:

vivek     3813  1.9  0.3 188372 26628 ?        Sl   10:58   2:27 transmission

OR try the following ps command:
# ps -eo pid,user,group,args,etime,lstart | grep '[3]813'
Sample outputs:

3813 vivek    vivek    transmission                   02:44:05 Fri Oct 29 10:58:40 2010

Another option is /proc/$PID/environ, enter:
# cat /proc/3813/environ
# grep --color -w -a USER /proc/3813/environ
Sample outputs (note –colour option):

Fig.01: grep output
Fig.01: grep output

lsof Command Example

Type the command as follows:

lsof -i :portNumber 
lsof -i tcp:portNumber 
lsof -i udp:portNumber 
lsof -i :80
lsof -i :80 | grep LISTEN

Sample outputs:

apache2   1607     root    3u  IPv4   6472      0t0  TCP *:www (LISTEN)
apache2   1616 www-data    3u  IPv4   6472      0t0  TCP *:www (LISTEN)
apache2   1617 www-data    3u  IPv4   6472      0t0  TCP *:www (LISTEN)
apache2   1618 www-data    3u  IPv4   6472      0t0  TCP *:www (LISTEN)
apache2   1619 www-data    3u  IPv4   6472      0t0  TCP *:www (LISTEN)
apache2   1620 www-data    3u  IPv4   6472      0t0  TCP *:www (LISTEN)

Now, you get more information about pid # 1607 or 1616 and so on:
# ps aux | grep '[1]616'
Sample outputs:
www-data 1616 0.0 0.0 35816 3880 ? S 10:20 0:00 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
I recommend the following command to grab info about pid # 1616:
# ps -eo pid,user,group,args,etime,lstart | grep '[1]616'
Sample outputs:

1616 www-data www-data /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start     03:16:22 Fri Oct 29 10:20:17 2010


  • 1616 : PID
  • www-date : User name (owner – EUID)
  • www-date : Group name (group – EGID)
  • /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start : The command name and its args
  • 03:16:22 : Elapsed time since the process was started, in the form [[dd-]hh:]mm:ss.
  • Fri Oct 29 10:20:17 2010 : Time the command started.

Help: I Discover an Open Port Which I Don’t Recognize At All

The file /etc/services is used to map port numbers and protocols to service names. Try matching port numbers:
$ grep port /etc/services
$ grep 443 /etc/services

Sample outputs:

https		443/tcp				# http protocol over TLS/SSL
https		443/udp

Check For rootkit

I strongly recommend that you find out which processes are really running, especially servers connected to the high speed Internet access. You can look for rootkit which is a program designed to take fundamental control (in Linux / UNIX terms “root” access, in Windows terms “Administrator” access) of a computer system, without authorization by the system’s owners and legitimate managers. See how to detecting / checking rootkits under Linux.

Keep an Eye On Your Bandwidth Graphs

Usually, rooted servers are used to send a large number of spam or malware or DoS style attacks on other computers.


See the following man pages for more information:
$ man ps
$ man grep
$ man lsof
$ man netstat
$ man fuser

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.