Compare top and htop

top is the default command-line utility that comes pre-installed on Linux distributions and Unix-like operating systems. It is used for displaying information about the system and its top CPU-consuming processes as well as RAM usage.

htop is interactive process-viewer and process-manager for Linux and Unix-like operating system based on ncurses. If you take top and put it on steroids, you get htop.

Let's see how top and htop compare on various factors and features.

top

htop

Overall

Type

Type
Interactive system-monitor, process-viewer and process-manager
Type
Interactive system-monitor, process-viewer and process-manager

Author

Operating System

Operating System
Linux distributions, macOS
Operating System
Linux distributions, macOS

Installation

Installation
Built-in and is always there. Also has more adoption due to this fact.
Installation
Doesn't come preinstalled on most Linux distros. Manual installation is needed

Release Date

Release Date
1984
Release Date
2004

License

License
BSD
License
GNU General Public License (GPL-2.0)

Website

Website
Website
Features

Screenshot

Screenshot
top output on webserver
Output of top on a webserver
Screenshot
Htop output on Ubuntu
Output of htop on Ubuntu

User Interface

User Interface
2.5 Stars
Basic text only
User Interface
5 Stars
Colorful and nicer text-graphics interface

Scrolling Support

Scrolling Support
No
Scrolling Support
Yes, supports horizontal and vertical scrolling

Mouse Support

Mouse Support
No
Mouse Support
Yes

Process utilization

Process utilization
Displays processes but not in tree format
Process utilization
Yes, including user and kernel threads

Network Utilization

Network Utilization
No
Network Utilization
No

Disk Utilization

Disk Utilization
No
Disk Utilization
No

Comments

Comments
Has a learning curve for some advanced options like searching, sending messages to processes, etc. It is good to have some knowledge of top because it is the default process viewer on many systems.
Comments
Easier to use and supports vi like searching with `/`. Sending messages to processes (kill, renice) is easier and doesn't require typing in the process number like top. Personally, it is my favorite tool.

Did we miss anything? Do you agree with the comparison? Please share your opinion or feedback below to help others. Thanks.

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Comments (4)


dtmfdoom

This stuff is so inaccurate. Open top and press Z to turn on color, A for advanced mode, press 1, t, and m to enable cool charts for your cpu and memory, c for full command, V for forest then B, x and y to highlight. It sounds like a lot, but then you write your config with W and its shareable. You can even browse your processes to renice or kill. Why learn this? It’s built in and you don’t always have a system you can customize when you get into heavier linux system administration. Run through that and tell me top is less info than htop.


soumya

These commands didn’t do anything for me on a mac.


mnk

Thanks for bringing a light to this! I prefer to use what’s already installed as well. This makes top more intuitive and easier to read.


frozenjim

I think I would use TOP for the same reason I use VIM: it’s going to be available already and you don’t have an entire team wanting to install new things on every client’s server. “USE TOP AND VIM” is a great in-house rule for efficiency. Everyone learns one set of tools.

If you’re worried about missing all of those nice HTOP features - just press “h” in TOP and suddenly they’re all available in TOP.

I believe we’re seeing a breakdown in the UNIX rule of “Do one thing and do it well”. Lately it seems like everyone wants to change everything - and it is almost never for the better. Folks seemed smarter in the 1980’s UNIX world than today; more focused on being efficient.


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