Previously we took a look at top, atop, and indirectly (due to its popularity as top’s alternative) htop (the last screenshot on this page). But are there other alternatives worth looking at? As it pertains to system health and performance, this is largely a matter of preference regarding what data is most important to you. We all prefer different ways of viewing the same thing.
htop and top alternatives
Since the three aforementioned system monitoring tools can hold their own quite easily, I’ll focus on two alternatives, which I believe can hold their own as replacements or at least compliment top and htop. They are Glances and nmon.
Glances – system monitor
Glances is open-source software to monitor and collect operating system statistics. Glances aims to present the max amount of information in the minimum amount of space. Glances is a good htop alternative as it can adapt dynamically when displaying system information, depending on the terminal size. Remote monitoring can be done via terminal, Web interface, or API (XMLRPC and RESTful). Glances is written in Python and uses the psutil library to get information from your system. Stats can also be exported to external time/value databases.
nmon – Nigel’s performance Monitor
nmon is another htop alternative system administrator tool for server tuning, benchmarking, or viewing detailed system performance information. It outputs data in two ways. Either on the screen (command line) or after saving data to a comma-separated file for analysis and longer-term data capture. Honestly, one screenshot isn’t enough for nmon. Have a look at additional screenshots with explanations.
Even more top and htop alternatives: net-tools, iptraf, collectl, dstat, iostat, sar, saidar, and vmstat. Looking for more insight and/or APM tools? Also, read my 50 Top Server Monitoring & Application Performance Monitoring (APM) Solutions post (includes free and paid solutions).
Originally published: Jun 15th, 2017.
Last updated: Oct 19th, 2020.