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Listing Open Ports on Ubuntu

Whether you’re an IT professional, a developer, or just a Linux enthusiast, knowing how to list open ports on an Ubuntu system can be crucial. Open ports can be doorways for potential attackers, so understanding which ports are open and which services are listening can give you an edge when it comes to securing your system. In this guide, we'll explore various methods to list open ports on Ubuntu Linux.


One of the most widely-used tools, netstat (Network Statistics), provides a quick way to view network connections, routing tables, interface statistics, and more.


To use netstat to list all open ports:

$ netstat -tuln

The flags used are:

-t - Displays TCP ports.
-u - Displays UDP ports.
-l - Only shows listening sockets.
-n - Shows numerical addresses.

Note: netstat may not be installed by default on newer systems. You can install it by running:

$ sudo apt install net-tools

ss (Socket Statistics)

ss is a utility to investigate sockets and is considered a modern replacement for netstat.


$ ss -tuln

The flags have similar meanings as they do in netstat.

lsof (List Open Files)

lsof is a powerful tool that, among other things, can list open ports.


To list all open ports:

$ lsof -i -n


-i - Lists all network files.
-n - Displays numerical addresses.

Nmap (Network Mapper)

Nmap is a versatile tool for network discovery and security auditing. Although it’s often used to scan remote machines, you can also use it to scan your local machine.


To list open ports on your local machine:

$ nmap -sT -O localhost

This command uses the TCP connect scan (-sT) on localhost.

Note: If nmap isn't installed, you can get it with:

$ sudo apt install nmap

UFW (Uncomplicated Firewall)

While primarily a firewall configuration tool, ufw also offers a way to check open ports.


$ sudo ufw status

Tips for Securing Open Ports

Minimize Open Ports: Only open ports that are absolutely necessary. Close all others.

Update Regularly: Ensure your system and software are updated. Many updates address security vulnerabilities.

Use a Firewall: Tools like ufw or iptables can help restrict access to open ports.

Monitor: Regularly check which ports are open and what services are listening. Audit logs and consider tools like fail2ban to block suspicious activity.

In conclusion, understanding how to list open ports on Ubuntu Linux is a fundamental skill for system diagnostics and security. Regularly checking and managing open ports can help you keep your system safe and optimized.

About this post

Posted: 2023-08-10
By: dwirch
Viewed: 189 times








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