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Keep an Eye on Your Linux Systems with Netstat - page 2

Using Netstat For Surveillance And Troubleshooting

  • November 4, 2004
  • By Carla Schroder

"Proto" is short for protocol, which is either TCP or UDP. "Recv-Q" and "Send-Q" mean receiving queue and sending queue. These should always be zero; if they're not you might have a problem. Packets should not be piling up in either queue, except briefly, as this example shows:

tcp   0   593  192.168.1.5:34321 venus.euao.com:smtp ESTABLISHED

That happened when I hit the "check mail" button in KMail; a brief queuing of outgoing packets is normal behavior. If the receiving queue is consistently jamming up, you might be experiencing a denial-of-service attack. If the sending queue does not clear quickly, you might have an application that is sending them out too fast, or the receiver cannot accept them quickly enough.

"Local address" is either your IP and port number, or IP and the name of a service. "Foreign address" is the hostname and service you are connected to. The asterisk is a placeholder for IP addresses, which of course cannot be known until a remote host connects. "State" is the current status of the connection. Any TCP state can be displayed here, but these three are the ones you want to see:

LISTEN- waiting to receive a connection
ESTABLISHED- a connection is active
TIME_WAIT- a recently terminated connection;
this should last only a minute or two, then change back to LISTEN. The socket pair cannot be re-used as long the TIME_WAIT state persists.

UDP is stateless, so the "State" column is always blank.

A socket pair is both sides of a TCP/IP connection, like this example for a locally-attached printer:

localhost:ipp               localhost:34493             ESTABLISHED

Or a telnet connection to a remote server:

192.168.1.5:34437           65.106.57.106.pt:telnet    ESTABLISHED

A socket is any hostname-port combination, or IP address-port.

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