3 Ways To Check RAM Usage Via Linux Command Line

Here are 3 simple ways to check your systems current RAM usage, when working via command line.

The free command has multiple options. Free on its own will provide you the ram usage in bytes. This is probably useless to most so adding -m after it will give you the value in megabytes.

The output should be something like this

total used free shared buffers cached

An alternative is to use top. This will give you the specific applications that are using the memory along with CPU usage. The best thing about this command is it’s in real time. The data is very much like that displayed in task manager for Windows.

This should output something like this

vmstat is another simple way to check RAM usage. This isn’t quite as useful if you want to quicky check. It will display most of what the free command displays along with a few extra details.


While on the subject of RAM the following commands will give you the technical information about the RAM that is installed on the system you are working on. dmidecode will get you the max capacity, number of devices and some other basic information.

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