How to use top sort by cpu and by memory in linux

Linux top command plays a vital role in daily monitoring of server status.

This linux tutorial mainly shares with you how to sort the linux system CPU usage or memory usage when using the linux top command.

top sort by CPU in linux

A leading ‘+’ will force sorting high to low, whereas a ‘-” will ensure a low to high ordering.

# high to low
➜  ~ top -o +%CPU

# low to high
➜  ~ top -o -%CPU

top sort by memory in linux

➜  ~ top -o +%MEM

top sort by pid in linux

➜  ~ top -o +PID

top command supports sorted fields

Descriptions of fields

  • PID: Shows task’s unique process id.
  • USER: User name of owner of task.
  • PR: Stands for priority of the task.
  • NI: Represents a Nice Value of task. A Negative nice value implies higher priority, and positive Nice value means lower priority.
  • VIRT: Total virtual memory used by the task.
  • RES: Resident Memory Size (KiB).
  • SHR: Represents the Shared Memory size (kb) used by a task.
  • S : Process Status. The status of the task which can be one of:
    • D = uninterruptible sleep
    • I = idle
    • R = running
    • S = sleeping
    • T = stopped by job control signal
    • t = stopped by debugger during trace
    • Z = zombie
  • %CPU: Represents the CPU usage.
  • %MEM: Shows the Memory usage of task.
  • TIME+: CPU Time, the same as ‘TIME’, but reflecting more granularity through hundredths of a second.
  • COMMAND: Command Name or Command Line.

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