Best Open Source Network Monitoring Tools & Software (linux/win) of 2022 (2022)

You may have been involved in the design and implementation of a network or maybe you came on-board after the network had been built. No matter the case, one thing that becomes quickly apparent is that there is a need to make sure the network is operating as it should and one of the ways to ensure that is Monitoring.

Network Monitoring gives administrators a clear view of the devices, services, applications running on their network and the opportunity to track the availability/performance of these resources. This provides proactive management rather than reacting to issues as they happen.

Top Open-Source Network Monitoring Tools of 2022:

What should you look for in an open-source network monitoring tool? 

  • We reviewed the market for open source network monitoring software and analyzed options based on the following criteria:
  • A service that includes autodiscovery and a device inventory
  • A system that polls network devices for status reports
  • Live activity feedback, shown in tables, charts, and graphs
  • Integrations that enable the system to extra data from software and devices
  • The ability to create a live tropology map
  • A free trial or a demo for a no-cost assessment opportunity or a free tool
  • Value for money from a monitor that is comprehensive and reasonably priced or a free service that is worth installing.

With these selection criteria in mind, we identified a number of open source packages for network monitoring and we included both free and paid systems.

Here is our list of the four best open source network monitoring tools:

  1. Nagios – EDITOR’S CHOICE A free system called Nagios Core and a paid edition called Nagios XI, this open source package is one of the leading network monitoring systems in the world and it can also monitor servers and applications. Available for Linux, Unix, and macOS but you can run it on Windows over a hypervisor. Get Nagios XI on a 30-day free trial.
  2. Zabbix This attractive free monitoring tool for networks, servers, and applications has some great graphs and charts for live performance data. The core package runs on Unix, Linux, and macOS.
  3. Icinga A fork of Nagios that is completely free to use and can monitor networks, servers, and applications. Runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  4. LibreNMS This free network monitoring tool includes autodiscovery and offers graph views of various performance statistics. Runs on Linux, Docker, or its own hypervisor.
  5. Pandora FMS This open source package is available in free and paid versions and it will monitor servers and applications as well as networks. Runs on Linux or Docker.

While it is possible to manually monitor a network (depending on the size of the network and how critical the resources on the network are), you will probably be better off using tools specifically designed for such a purpose.

Best Open Source Network Monitoring Tools & Software (linux/win) of 2022 (1)

Generally speaking, there are a couple of things that network monitoring tools will/should provide for you:

  • Configuration:
    At the minimum, Windows or Linux network monitoring software will provide a way to add the hosts and services to be monitored.
  • Status reports:
    The tool should provide a means of viewing the status of monitored resources e.g. availability (up/down status), CPU usage, etc.
  • Alerts and notifications:
    Some tools are able to send alerts when an event occurs. Event Log Monitoring and Alerts could be sent via SMS, Email, etc.
  • Graphs:
    Knowing the current status of a resource is good but even more beneficial is being able to see that status over time. Such information is best displayed in graphs and most monitoring tools provide various graphs for monitored parameters.
  • Reports:
    Reports are not only important for administrators but also for management. Different tools have varying level of reporting capability.

Network monitoring tools can be categorized in several ways, from those that only work on Windows systems to those that require a paid license to operate.

For the purposes of this article, we will focus on open source (usually free) network monitoring tools that operate on Linux/Unix systems, although some of them have Windows versions available.

We will be discussing some of the most widely used tools in the windows/linux monitoring realm, looking at their characteristics and comparisons, to help you make a decision on which one is best for you.

1. Nagios Core (FREE)

(Video) Best Open-Source Network Monitoring Tools 2022 - 2023

The best way to describe Nagios is the grandfather of network monitorsbecause it has been around for so long (18 years). In fact, the company behind Nagios calls it the “Industry Standard In IT Infrastructure Monitoring”.

Note: Nagios comes in two flavours: Nagios Core(which is free and open source) and Nagios XI (paid Enterprise edition). Since this article is about open source monitors, we will focus on Nagios Core.

By default, all the configuration (e.g. adding hosts and services to be monitored) for Nagios is done through text files. This can take some time to get used to resulting in a steep learning curve and thus, reduces its attractiveness to new users. However, once you get past that and become familiar with the system, you can unlock the great power available in Nagios.

Out of the box, Nagios is not great – text-based configuration coupled with an outdated web interface (for monitoring). However, the numerous pluginsand scripts available for Nagios makes it highly customizable, which options to monitor Netflow and sFlow and other flow protocols as well. For example, Adagiosis a web based configuration interface for Nagios. It also has a large community base meaning that you are likely to find the answer to your question or a plugin that already does what you need.

Considering that Nagios is the most-popular open-source monitoring platform, it also has a Virtual Appliance for those looking to deploy as a VM.

You can find more information about Nagios on their site:

https://www.nagios.org/

2. Zabbix

Zabbix is a strong contender of Nagios. Even though they started later than Nagios, interest for Zabbix has steadily increasedover time. This is probably because Zabbix is generally easier to manage than Nagios – out of the box, Zabbix already provides many of the features that you will need plugins for in Nagios.

Configuration on Zabbix is done through a web interface that is definitely better than the default web interface provided by Nagios. There are also monitoring templates available through this web interface which make setting up monitoring easier and quicker.

Zabbix also has an Auto-discovery feature which is especially useful on large networks. Finally, graphs are natively supported in Zabbix unlike on Nagios. We've recently compared PRTG vs Zabbix and their strengths & weaknesses as well.

Unlike Nagios, Zabbix is all free – there is no separate Enterprise edition. However, the folks at Zabbix offer several paid support services.

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To learn more about Zabbix and download this tool, visit their site:

http://www.zabbix.com/

3. Icinga

Icinga started off as a fork (branched out development) of Nagios. According to those who decided to branch out, they wanted to add more functionality to Nagios Core than the owner of Nagios Core was willing to accommodate and at the same time, do this faster.

As such, Icinga 1 was born. The team worked on a better user interface, added support for more databases (Oracle, PostgreSQL) and made it easier to extend the Core.

Interestingly, Icinga 1 is compatible with Nagios and all Nagios plugins.

However, a couple of years ago, Icinga 2 was released and in this version, the team completely rewrote the core (bye Nagios Core) in a bid to make configuration less complicated and also address scalability issues.

Icinga has a nice and responsive web interface although configuration is still done through text files (except you use a plugin).

The fact that you still have to use text-based configuration files coupled with the robustness of Icinga, means that there is also a steep learning curve for Icinga as with Nagios. On the plus side, Icinga has very detaileddocumentationto help you along the way.

To learn more about Icinga, visit their site:

https://www.icinga.com/

They also have an online demothat you can play around with.

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4. LibreNMS

I was initially going to write about Observium; however, several users have complained about the less than par supportthey received from the guys at Observium. Therefore, I decided to go with LibreNMS which is a fork of Observium and also provides awesome graphs (which is one thing I really like about Observium).

One of the differences between LibreNMS and the other tools we have highlighted in this article is that LibreNMS is based on SNMP which means that devices to be monitored must have SNMP agents installed/enabled on them.

This makes LibreNMS quite suitable for devices like routers (Cisco and other brands), switches and firewalls.

Configuration on LibreNMS can be done either through the command line interface or through the web interface. Unlike the community version of Observium, alerting is available by default in LibreNMS, making it a full fledged network monitoring solution.

You can learn more about LibreNMS here:

http://www.librenms.org/

There is also a live demoavailable for you to try out before installing.

5. Pandora FMS

Pandora FMS community edition has the ability to monitor and manage many facets of your network infrastructure, including Bandwidth usage/monitoring of Switches, Routers, Modem's and other gateway and network devices.

On top of just monitoring bandwidth usage, Pandora offers a server monitoring solution with their wide-array of plugins for popular programs and systems including Microsoft Exchange Server, Oracle, Tomcat, JMV, JBOX, IIS, and SPA/R3 systems.

They even boast software agents for Android platforms as well. According to their website, Pandora can also scale beyond 10,000 Servers using the Community edition without the need for the enterprise, paid version.

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Along with their wide array and support of systems/software they can monitor, Pandora offers a robust Alerting and Notification system.

Alerts and notifications can be configured using SMS, Online Applications (including Slack, Jabber, etc), Email, Syslog, and custom scripts.

You can learn more about Pandora FMS Community at their official website here:

https://pandorafms.org/en/

Best Open Source Network Monitoring Tools & Software (linux/win) of 2022 (7)

Conclusion

In this article, we have looked at several open source network monitoring tools including Nagios, Zabbix, Icinga, LibreNMS, and Pandora FMS. Just because we focused on these tools as the “best” does not necessarily mean they are the best for your need.

For example, there are many other open source monitoring tools that exist such as OpenNMS, Cacti, and Zennos and you have to consider the benefits of each one from the perspective of your requirement.

Moreover, there are other tools that may be better suited for your need that are not open source.

For example, PRTG Network Monitoris a simple to use network monitoring tool and is free for up to 100 sensors – you can read our full Review of PRTG here. If your looking for specific Active Directory tools, we've compiled a list of them here for your viewing.

Solarwinds Network Performance Monitor is another Great monitoring tool that has a large community behind it and has updates almost every year.

We prefer to stick with paid monitoring solutions, as issues and problems do arise from time to time with configuration and other issues – So having a support team that stands behind their product really makes all the differences for businesses who need a complete monitoring solution.

In summary, consider your needs before choosing a network monitoring solution.

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If you are familiar with Linux/Unix and need a highly configurable solution, perhaps you should consider Nagios. If you want Nagios level of customization but with a better web interface, look at Zabbix or Icinga. If your network relies heavily on SNMP then consider LibreNMS.

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FAQs

What Linux tool captures network traffic? ›

Tcpdump is a command line utility that allows you to capture and analyze network traffic going through your system. It is often used to help troubleshoot network issues, as well as a security tool. A powerful and versatile tool that includes many options and filters, tcpdump can be used in a variety of cases.

Which is better Nagios vs zabbix? ›

Dashboard and User Interface

High-quality dashboard. The Nagios Core dashboard provides basic information such as the status of devices but it doesn't offer the same level of clarity and display quality as Zabbix. High-quality dashboard. Zabbix has the edge based on its production value.

Which open source tool is used for monitoring network events? ›

Zabbix is a powerful and popular open-source networking monitoring tool. It uses simple agents to collect SNMP and IPMP data to provide insights into different networks, applications, hosts, and cloud-based services.

Which is the best software for monitoring? ›

List of the Top System Monitoring Software:
  • 1) ManageEngine OpManager.
  • 2) Sematext.
  • 3) Auvik.
  • 4) System monitoring.
  • 5) PRTG Network Monitor.
  • 6) Network Bandwidth Analyzer.
  • 7) Nagios.
  • 8) Amazon CloudWatch.
12 Oct 2022

How do I capture network packets in Linux? ›

Working with tcpdump command
  1. To capture the packets of current network interface. ...
  2. To capture packets from a specific network interface sudo tcpdump -i wlo1. ...
  3. To capture specific number of packets sudo tcpdump -c 4 -i wlo1. ...
  4. To print captured packets in ASCII format sudo tcpdump -A -i wlo1.
14 Sept 2022

What is the difference between tcpdump and Wireshark? ›

Wireshark is a graphical user interface tool that helps you to catch data packets. Tcpdump is a CLI-based packet capturing tool. It does packet analysis, and it can decode data payloads if the encryption keys are identified, and it can recognize data payloads from file transfers such as smtp, http, etc.

Is Grafana better than Zabbix? ›

Grafana has a broader approval, being mentioned in 559 company stacks & 314 developers stacks; compared to Zabbix, which is listed in 46 company stacks and 23 developer stacks.

Is Prometheus better than Zabbix? ›

Prometheus provides a lightning-fast, internal time-series database solution; Zabbix provides easy-to-use, out-of-the-box metrics monitoring. If you need a time-series database solution that's fast and easy to query, choose Prometheus.

Can Prometheus replace Nagios? ›

Prometheus and Nagios are very different in their designs, their audiences, and their capabilities. Prometheus is useful for monitoring app functionality, while Nagios is a very powerful platform for application networks and security. However, Prometheus has the edge in performance metrics.

What are the eight 8 famously used network management tools? ›

Selecting a network monitoring tool
  • SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor.
  • Paessler PRTG.
  • ManageEngine OpManager.
  • Nagios XI.
  • Spiceworks Network Monitor.
  • WhatsUp Gold.
16 Apr 2019

Which are the three basic tools for monitoring? ›

There are three basic categories of monitoring; technical monitoring, functional monitoring and business process monitoring.

What is the seven monitoring tools? ›

Recognizing the need is easy, but choosing which monitoring tool or set of tools to use can be difficult. The seven tools I wrote about here – Datadog, Ruxit, OverOps, Rollbar, Sensu, ELK Stack, and Graphite – are worthwhile tools to check out.

Is Nagios free to use? ›

Nagios Core /ˈnɑːɡiːoʊs/, formerly known as Nagios, is a free and open-source computer-software application that monitors systems, networks and infrastructure.

What are the 5 different types of network management? ›

These operational areas are fault management, configuration management, accounting management, performance management and security management, also known as FCAPS.

Is PRTG still free? ›

The Freeware Edition is available for both personal and commercial use for free, but is limited to monitoring 100 sensors. If you want to monitor more sensors, you need one of the commercial editions. Our licensing model is based on the number of sensors and core server installations.

What is tcpdump in Linux? ›

tcpdump is a packet analyzer that is launched from the command line. It can be used to analyze network traffic by intercepting and displaying packets that are being created or received by the computer it's running on. It runs on Linux and most UNIX-type operating systems.

What is the use of netstat command in Linux? ›

The network statistics ( netstat ) command is a networking tool used for troubleshooting and configuration, that can also serve as a monitoring tool for connections over the network. Both incoming and outgoing connections, routing tables, port listening, and usage statistics are common uses for this command.

What is eth0 in Linux? ›

eth0 is the first Ethernet interface. (Additional Ethernet interfaces would be named eth1, eth2, etc.) This type of interface is usually a NIC connected to the network by a category 5 cable. lo is the loopback interface. This is a special network interface that the system uses to communicate with itself.

What Wireshark Cannot do? ›

Second, Wireshark can't grab traffic from all of the other systems on the network under normal circumstances. On modern networks that use devices called switches, Wireshark (or any other standard packet-capturing tool) can only sniff traffic between your local computer and the remote system it is talking to.

Can Wireshark be used remotely? ›

In remote capture mode, traffic is sent to the computer running Wireshark through one of the network interfaces. Depending on where the Wireshark tool is located, the traffic can be sent on an Ethernet interface or one of the radios.

What is the difference between Wireshark and fiddler? ›

Wireshark can be installed on operating systems such as Windows, Mac, and Linux, whereas the Fiddler can only be set up on Windows. Fiddler is a program for debugging websites, and Wireshark interactively glances at the traffic executing on a computer network.

› article › network-monitoring-tools ›

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How do I monitor Ethernet traffic? ›

Access your router by entering your router's IP address into a web browser. Once you sign in, look for a Status section on the router (you might even have a Bandwidth or Network Monitor section depending on the type of router). From there, you should be able to see the IP addresses of devices connected to your network.

What is the use of netstat command in Linux? ›

The network statistics ( netstat ) command is a networking tool used for troubleshooting and configuration, that can also serve as a monitoring tool for connections over the network. Both incoming and outgoing connections, routing tables, port listening, and usage statistics are common uses for this command.

What is Linux tcpdump command? ›

tcpdump is a packet analyzer that is launched from the command line. It can be used to analyze network traffic by intercepting and displaying packets that are being created or received by the computer it's running on. It runs on Linux and most UNIX-type operating systems.

What is Iftop in Linux? ›

Much like top and htop, the iftop command is used to resource usage on your system. Specifically, it monitors the bandwidth of active ethernet interfaces. When applied to the situation I described above, you can run the iftop command to see what is actually using the bandwidth across the data replication interface.

Can Wireshark monitor all network traffic? ›

By default, Wireshark only captures packets going to and from the computer where it runs. By checking the box to run Wireshark in promiscuous mode in the capture settings, you can capture most of the traffic on the LAN.

What type of software monitors network traffic? ›

What type of software monitors network traffic? Network traffic monitoring can be made easier with tools such as NetFlow Analyzer that uses flow technology. Compared to packet capture, flow-based software provides traffic information by source IP, destination IP, ports, protocols, and conversations.

How can I monitor network activity? ›

What to Know
  1. To locate your router's IP address, in Windows, open a Command Prompt and run ipconfig. ...
  2. Using a router, open browser and enter router IP address > Enter > locate Device List > Status, or Bandwidth or Network Monitoring.
3 Dec 2021

What is the difference between netstat and netstat? ›

netstat will display all of the TCP connections in every State except for LISTENING. netstat -a will display all of the TCP connections in every State (including LISTENING), and it will also display the UDP listening ports.

Does Linux have netstat? ›

The netstat command provides important insight into your Linux server, both for monitoring and network troubleshooting.

How can I see active network connections in Linux? ›

ss command is a tool that is used for displaying network socket related information on a Linux system. The tool displays more detailed information that the netstat command which is used for displaying active socket connections.

How can I read pcap files without Wireshark? ›

To get them, visit the Wireshark Download page. pcap format was originally created for tcpdump, not Wireshark, so it's older than Wireshark. There are other programs, such as tcpdump and other programs that use libpcap to read files, and recent versions of Microsoft Network Monitor, that can read pcap files.

What is WinDump used for? ›

WinDump is the Windows version of tcpdump, the command line network analyzer for UNIX. WinDump is fully compatible with tcpdump and can be used to watch, diagnose and save to disk network traffic according to various complex rules.

How is netcat used? ›

netcat can be used to make any process a network server. It can listen on a port and pipe the input it receives to that process. The -e option spawns the executable with its input and output redirected via network socket. For example, it is possible to expose a bourne shell process to remote computers.

What is Nload? ›

nload is a console application which monitors network traffic and bandwidth usage in real time. It visualizes the in- and outgoing traffic using two graphs and provides additional info like total amount of transfered data and min/max network usage.

What is SS Linux? ›

The ss (socket statistics) tool is a CLI command used to show network statistics. The ss command is a simpler and faster version of the now obsolete netstat command. Together with the ip command, ss is essential for gathering network information and troubleshooting network issues.

How check high network utilization Linux? ›

17 Useful Bandwidth Monitoring Tools to Analyze Network Usage in...
  1. Site24x7's NetFlow Analyzer.
  2. ManageEngine Netflow Analyzer.
  3. Vnstat Network Traffic Monitor Tool.
  4. Iftop Display Bandwidth Usage.
  5. nload – Monitor Network Usage.
  6. NetHogs – Monitor Network Usage Per User.
  7. Bmon – Bandwidth Monitor and Rate Estimator.
11 May 2022

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