Who’s SSHed Into My Server?

So you know how to ssh into your server. We at Liquid Web do too. Sometimes, in the course of supporting you, we need to ssh into the server to figure out what the problem is.

But how do you know if we have shelled into your server? If more than one person is shelled into a server, and all are trying to fix a problem, it is possible that they could step on each others’ toes. It would be grand if the shell provided a simple yet mighty command that displayed all of the users who are shelled in.

As it turns out, Linux does have such a command:


That’s right: simply typing the small and mighty w into your shell and hitting enter will give you a wealth of information on who is doing what on the server at a given time.

root@host [~]# w
18:19:42 up 350 days, 14:14, 1 user, load average: 0.15, 0.05, 0.01
root ttyp0 18:19 749days 0.01s 0.00s w

A lot of information is packed into a few lines; let’s unpack it.

  • The first line shows what you would see if you ran the uptime command. While uptime is a fast way to find out what the load on a server is, w is even faster.
  • The next line lists the information that you’ll see below:
  • USER lists the linux user that is logged in
  • TTY shows the terminal type that the user is using. It is usually a ttyp#, but could also be a screen.
  • FROM is the most useful; it shows either the IP address or the hostname of the user that’s logged in. If you see IPs that are not yours, that most likely means that a support technician is logged in to your server and working on an issue.
  • LOGIN@, IDLE, JCPU, and PCPU may not be accurate if you are on a virtual environment. The above example is on a VPS, so it is not accurate.
  • WHAT shows the command that that user is currently running. In the above example, I am running w.

If You See Us In Your Server, Please Call Us

When your server is being worked on by one of our Heroic Support Technicians, communication with us can be key. Please call our support line to find out just what is going on, or to let us know what you intend to do. Keeping an open line of communication will help both you and us solve issues faster, and prevent future problems.


Liquid Web’s Heroic Support is always available to assist customers with this or any other issue. If you need our assistance please contact us:
Toll Free 1.800.580.4985
International 517.322.0434

Tagged with:

Published by

Be Sociable, Share!