The Linux fuser command is usually used to help identify what processes are using a specific file, unix socket, or file system. In this guide we plan to teach you a couple examples to demonstrate how you can use the fuser command on a Linux VPS.
In order to be able to run fuser commands, you will require SSH access to the server. Connect to your server via SSH and run fuser.
No process specification given Usage: fuser [-fMuvw] [-a|-s] [-4|-6] [-c|-m|-n SPACE] [-k [-i] [-SIGNAL]] NAME... fuser -l fuser -V Show which processes use the named files, sockets, or filesystems. -a,--all display unused files too -i,--interactive ask before killing (ignored without -k) -k,--kill kill processes accessing the named file -l,--list-signals list available signal names -m,--mount show all processes using the named filesystems or block device -M,--ismountpoint fulfill request only if NAME is a mount point -n,--namespace SPACE search in this name space (file, udp, or tcp) -s,--silent silent operation -SIGNAL send this signal instead of SIGKILL -u,--user display user IDs -v,--verbose verbose output -w,--writeonly kill only processes with write access -V,--version display version information -4,--ipv4 search IPv4 sockets only -6,--ipv6 search IPv6 sockets only - reset options udp/tcp names: [local_port][,[rmt_host][,[rmt_port]]]
This output should notify you that no process specification is provided, it will also give you some basic usage examples and options.
The –v or –verbose is used commonly and gives a verbose output. An example of this is to list every process which uses the current directory.
fuser -v .
In the case that your current directory is the root directory, you will receive an output similar to the one below.
# fuser -v .
USER PID ACCESS COMMAND ... root 37 .rc.. bash root 64 .rc.. systemd-journal root 65 .rc.. systemd-udevd root 193 .rc.. rpcbind root 197 .rc.. systemd-logind root 199 .r... cron messagebus 200 .rc.. dbus-daemon syslog 211 .rc.. rsyslogd root 296 .r... saslauthd root 297 .r... saslauthd root 299 .rc.. sshd bind 304 .r... named root 321 .r... dovecot root 329 .r... log root 334 .r... config mysql 336 .r... mysqld root 370 .rc.. agetty root 371 .rc.. agetty root 396 .rc.. xinetd root 429 .r... sendmail-mta root 449 .rc.. apache2 www-data 455 .rc.. apache2 www-data 456 .rc.. apache2 www-data 457 .rc.. apache2 www-data 458 .rc.. apache2 www-data 459 .rc.. apache2 ...
In the output above you will see information such as the USER, PID, ACCESS, and the COMMAND which was used to initiate the procedure.
ACCESS reveals letters denoting the type of access; there are multiple types of these:
c - current directory e - executable being run r - root directory f - open file (omitted in default display mode) F - open file for writing (omitted in default display mode) m - mmap’ed file or shared library
A different usage for fuser is to list every process which uses UDP and TCP sockets on your Linux VPS.
In our example, we list every process which uses the TCP port 80. You can run the command below to find this.
fuser -v -n tcp 80
In the case that you have Apache installed and running on your server, you will receive an output similar to the following.
# fuser -v -n tcp 80 USER PID ACCESS COMMAND 80/tcp: root 449 F.... apache2 www-data 455 F.... apache2 www-data 456 F.... apache2 www-data 457 F.... apache2 www-data 458 F.... apache2 www-data 459 F.... apache2 www-data 511 F.... apache2 www-data 512 F.... apache2 www-data 513 F.... apache2
Fuser can be used to destroy particular processes as well. For example, to kill the processes which are using the TCP port 80, you can use the command shown below.
fuser -k 80/tcp
Keep in mind that this is going to kill your Apache service if it is running currently.
You can also use fuser is to kill every process which accesses the ‘/home’ directory in any way, as shown below.
fuser -km /home
If you’re looking for more options and usage examples for fuser, you can refer to the fuser main page.