An Introduction to the ss Command

An Introduction to the ss Command

by Jack Wallen

Linux includes a fairly massive array of tools available to meet almost every need. From development to security to productivity to administration…if you have to get it done, Linux is there to serve. One of the many tools that admins frequently turned to was netstat. However, the netstat command has been deprecated in favor of the faster, more human-readable ss command.

The ss command is a tool used to dump socket statistics and displays information in similar fashion (although simpler and faster) to netstat. The ss command can also display even more TCP and state information than most other tools. Because ss is the new netstat, we’re going to take a look at how to make use of this tool so that you can more easily gain information about your Linux machine and what’s going on with network connections.

The ss command-line utility can display stats for the likes of PACKET, TCP, UDP, DCCP, RAW, and Unix domain sockets. The replacement for netstat is easier to use (compare the man pages to get an immediate idea of how much easier ss is). With ss, you get very detailed information about how your Linux machine is communicating with other machines, networks, and services; details about network connections, networking protocol statistics, and Linux socket connections. With this information in hand, you can much more easily troubleshoot various networking issues.

Let’s get up to speed with ss, so you can consider it a new tool in your administrator kit.