How to Check Open Ports in Linux: A Step-by-Step Guide

Checking open ports in Linux can be easily done using a couple of simple commands in the terminal. Knowing which ports are open is crucial for managing network security and troubleshooting potential issues. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps on how to check open ports in Linux, so let’s dive in!

Step by Step Tutorial: Checking Open Ports in Linux

Before we start, it’s good to know that open ports are like doors through which your Linux system can communicate with the outside world. Understanding how to check them is key for maintaining a secure and efficient system.

Step 1: Open the Terminal

Open your Linux terminal. You can usually do this by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T or searching for ‘Terminal’ in your application menu.

The terminal is the gateway to your Linux system’s inner workings. Here, you can execute various commands, including those for checking open ports.

Step 2: Use the netstat command

Type netstat -tuln and press Enter.

Netstat is a powerful tool that displays network connections, routing tables, interface statistics, masquerade connections, and multicast memberships. The flags -tuln specifically list TCP and UDP ports that are currently listening for incoming connections.

Step 3: Use the ss command

Alternatively, type ss -tuln and press Enter.

The ss command is a modern replacement for netstat. It’s faster and provides more detailed information about connections.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll have a clear view of all the open ports on your Linux system. This information is vital for network security, as unauthorized open ports can be entry points for attackers.

Tips for Checking Open Ports in Linux

  • Always run these commands as a superuser (using sudo) to ensure you get a complete list of ports.
  • Regularly checking open ports can help you detect suspicious activities early.
  • If you find an open port that shouldn’t be open, investigate what service is using it and consider closing it.
  • Use grep in combination with netstat or ss to filter and find specific ports quickly.
  • Remember that not all open ports are a security risk; some are necessary for your system and applications to function correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a port in Linux?

A port in Linux is an endpoint to a logical connection used by programs and services to exchange information.

Why do I need to check open ports?

By checking open ports, you can manage your system’s security and detect any unauthorized access that could lead to potential threats.

Is it safe to close an open port?

Yes, it is safe to close an open port if it is not required for any service or application currently running on your system.

Can I check open ports without superuser privileges?

You can, but you may not see all open ports. It’s best to check as a superuser to get a full picture.

How often should I check for open ports?

It depends on your security needs, but it’s a good practice to check them regularly, perhaps once a month or after any significant changes to your system.


  1. Open the Terminal.
  2. Use the netstat -tuln command.
  3. Use the ss -tuln command.


In the world of Linux, checking open ports is much like taking a peek into the secret conversations your computer is having with the world. It’s a thrilling glimpse into the digital chatter, the handshakes, and waves across the cyber sea. Once you’ve mastered how to check open ports in Linux, you’ve unlocked a new level of understanding and control over your system’s interactions with the vast web of networks.

Remember, open ports aren’t inherently bad, but they are doorways that need sturdy locks. Keep a keen eye on these digital thresholds, ensure they’re guarded, or close them if they’re not needed. Stay vigilant, and you’ll keep the digital rogues at bay.

For those who’ve walked through these steps and fear not the terminal’s blinking cursor, you’re now armed with knowledge—a sentinel standing watch over the ports in the Linux fortress. Go forth, and let no unwelcome traffic slip by unnoticed. Keep learning, keep exploring, and most importantly, keep your system safe.