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kill Command Examples and Usages

With this guide you have some useful kill command examples which help you termite a process in Linux. The first step in killing the unresponsive process is locating it. There are two commands I use to locate a process: top and ps. Top is a tool every administrator should get to know. With top, you get a full listing of currently running process. From the Linux command line, issue top to see a list of your running processes


kill - send a signal to a process


kill [options] […]


The default signal for kill is TERM. Use -l or -L to list available signals. Particularly useful signals include HUP, INT, KILL, STOP, CONT, and 0. Alternate signals may be specified in three ways: -9, -SIGKILL or -KILL. Negative PID values may be used to choose whole process groups; see the PGID column in ps command output. A PID of -1 is special; it indicates all processes except the kill process itself and init.



Send signal to every listed.

   -s <signal>
   --signal <signal>

Specify the signal to be sent. The signal can be specified by using name or number. The behavior of signals is explained in signal(7) manual page.

-l, --list [signal]

List signal names. This option has optional argument, which will convert signal number to signal name, or other way round.

-L, --table

List signal names in a nice table.


Your shell (command line interpreter) may have a built-in kill command. You may need to run the command described here as /bin/kill to solve the conflict.5

Kill Command Examples

To list the signal names, pass the -l option as follows:

kill -l
Kill Command Examples in Linux - Enlinux
Kill Command Examples in Linux – Enlinux

The kill privileged process/PID owned by root.

su -
pgrep httpd
# kill 3915

Kill all processes you can kill.

kill -9 -1

Translate number 11 into a signal name.

kill -l 11

List the available signal choices in a nice table.

kill -L

Send the default signal, SIGTERM, to all those processes.

kill 123 543 2341 3453


kill(2), killall(1), nice(1), pkill(1), renice(1), signal(7), skill(1)


This command meets appropriate standards. The -L flag is Linux-specific.

Linux Command Basics: 7 commands for process management

Updated on September 18, 2021

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