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Linux Commands That Can Improve Your Productivity

Linux Commands That Can Improve Your Productivity

Sometimes it’s hard to be a programmer, the tasks you’ll have to do are sometimes repetitive and boring, especially if you don’t know much about the terminal.

1. Curl

Have you ever struggled to test your API endpoint?. Well, curl can help you test a URL endpoint. Curl can be used for determining whether your application can ping another service on a particular domain name, such as a database, or diagnosing if your web services are working as intended.

For example, Testing if your API can be riched from a frontend.

curl -I -s

The -I option shows the header information and the -s option silences the response body.

You can test your website API or healthy using Curl. However, if you want to test with curl and return JSON data, it will be well unreadable. So, we can use another python command to prettify the JSON response.

$ cat test.json | python -m json.tool
    "properties": {
        "age": {
            "description": "Age years",
            "minimum": 0,
            "type": "integer"
        "firsn_Name": {
            "type": "string"
        "last_name": {
            "type": "string"
    "required": [
    "title": "Person",
    "type": "object"

2. ls

ls lists files in a directory. It is also a handy tool for examining directory files permissions if used as ls -l

3. tail

The tail command displays the last part of a file. Imagine you want to check the Nginx log file, you don’t really need to read the whole content of a file but rather the last part of recent request logs.

Try running

tail -f /var/log/httpd/access_log

The -f (follow) option is used to output the lines as they’re written to the file. Another option for tails is using the -n option which indicates the last lines you want to display.

4. cat

cat is used for printing the contents of a file. This is a handy command for checking files without the need to write the file.

5. grep

grep is a file pattern search tool.

6. env

env is used to check the environment variables in the system

$ env

7. top

This command displays the top processes in your system. You can see which processes are running and how much memory are they using.

vibrus@nerdlify:~/$ top
top - 20:25:32 up 2 days,  8:53,  1 user,  load average: 0.84, 0.70, 0.70
Tasks: 332 total,   1 running, 330 sleeping,   0 stopped,   1 zombie
%Cpu(s):  1.4 us,  0.8 sy,  0.0 ni, 97.5 id,  0.3 wa,  0.0 hi,  0.0 si,  0.0 st
MiB Mem :  15901.9 total,   1353.2 free,   3480.5 used,  11068.2 buff/cache
MiB Swap:   2048.0 total,   2015.8 free,     32.2 used.  11401.5 avail Mem

    PID USER      PR  NI    VIRT    RES    SHR S  %CPU  %MEM     TIME+ COMMAND
   2193 vibrus    20   0 1270948 113132  65540 S   6.3   0.7  78:43.11 Xorg
   2345 vibrus    20   0 5344148 370332  93132 S   3.6   2.3  73:22.17 gnome-s+
  60363 vibrus    20   0  823244  50580  39028 S   2.6   0.3   0:10.76 gnome-t+
    235 root     -51   0       0      0      0 S   1.7   0.0   1:58.62 irq/128+
  67689 vibrus    20   0   36.6g 276528 114964 S   1.7   1.7   6:14.77 chrome
   2444 vibrus    20   0  320608   7640   6576 S   1.0   0.0   0:06.43 gsd-hou+
  55215 vibrus    20   0   32.4g 118500  89604 S   0.7

8. df

This is a command you can run to check your disk space. Sometimes as a developer, you might get the need to check the free space in your system. When used with the -h option, this command will print the human-readable disk usage statistics.

vibrus@nerdlify:~/$ df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
udev            7.8G     0  7.8G   0% /dev
tmpfs           1.6G  2.3M  1.6G   1% /run
/dev/sda2       916G   99G  770G  12% /
tmpfs           7.8G  109M  7.7G   2% /dev/shm
tmpfs           5.0M  4.0K  5.0M   1% /run/lock
tmpfs           7.8G     0  7.8G   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/loop0       99M   99M     0 100% /snap/core/11081

9. du

du is used to view information about file disk usage. This command can be issued with -h option for human readable details and also with -s for the file total size.

When run on ubuntu 20.04 this is what you'll get:

vibrus$nerdlify:~/$ du -sh *
1.7G	android-studio-ide-201.7199119-linux
883M	android-studio-ide-201.7199119-linux.tar.gz
5.1M	anydesk_6.1.0-1_amd64.deb
73M	google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb
137M	local-5.4.1-linux.deb
85M	mongodb-compass_1.26.1_amd64.deb
63M	Termius.deb

10. chmod

If you're a seasoned Linux user you have encountered the permission denied error when you tried to run an application binary file. chmod can help you correct the permission of your file. If your application is you can correct the permission by running.

vibrus$nerdlify:~/$ chmod +x

+x is the option used to grand execution rights to the file.

11. history

As a server administrator, you might have forgotten which command you issued an hour ago. The Linux shell can help you navigate all the command history and find the ones useful since the start of the session.


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