There are different commands on Ubuntu server to see what TCP/UDP ports are listening or open on your server. You can use netstat command, which prints network connections, routing tables, interface statistics, masquerade connections, and multicast memberships, etc. Another (and suggested) option is to use the lsof command, which lists open files, and ports on Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris and other Unixish systems.

Since you can’t have two services listening on the same port, it’s a good chance that you may have ports that you’re probably not using and you’ll want to close them…

Network port is identified by its number, the associated IP address, and the type of the communication protocol such as TCP or UDP.

To identify listening ports on Ubuntu follow the steps below:

Use the netstat Command

netstat is a command-line tool that can provide information about network connections, including IP addresses, ports and services communicating on these ports..

If you don’t already netstat tool installed, use the commands below to install it…

sudo apt install net-tools

If you want to list all ports available on a server, you run the commands below:

sudo netstat -tunlp

For detail command options, view the bullet below:

  • -t Show TCP ports.
  • -u Show UDP ports.
  • -n Show numerical addresses instead of resolving hosts.
  • -l Show only listening ports.
  • -p Show the PID and name of the listener’s process.

When you run the command above with the options, you should see similar lines as below:

Active Internet connections (only servers)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State       PID/Program name    
tcp        0      0 *               LISTEN      486/systemd-resolve 
tcp        0      0 *               LISTEN      2851/cupsd          
tcp6       0      0 ::1:631                 :::*                    LISTEN      2851/cupsd          
udp        0      0 *                           486/systemd-resolve 
udp        0      0    *                           782/dhclient        
udp        0      0   *                           2853/cups-browsed   
udp        0      0  *                           632/avahi-daemon: r 
udp        0      0 *                           632/avahi-daemon: r 
udp6       0      0 :::34687                :::*                                632/avahi-daemon: r 
udp6       0      0 :::5353                 :::*                                632/avahi-daemon: r

That should give you a lot of information…

However, if you only want to see a specific service name or port, you can use the netstat command with the option above with grep…

Example below shows you to scan for open ports and only list port 22..

sudo netstat -tnlp | grep :22

You should see similar line as below:

tcp        0      0    *               LISTEN      25538/sshd          
tcp6       0      0 :::22                   :::*                    LISTEN      25538/sshd

The command above using grep shows port 22 only and sshd service is listening on that port…

Use the ss Command

netstat is not install on Ubuntu by default… the ss command is installed as a replacement for netstat.. As with netstat, the ss command is use to display network information on Linux systems…

netstat and ss command share almost the same command options… so if you’re use to netstat, ss command should work almost the same..

To view all listening ports on Ubuntu using the ss command, run the command below:

sudo ss -tunlp

You should see similar screen as shown below:

NetidState  Recv-Q Send-Q  Local Address:Port   Peer Address:Port                                            
udp  UNCONN 0      0*     users:(("systemd-resolve",pid=486,fd=12)) 
udp  UNCONN 0      0   *     users:(("dhclient",pid=782,fd=6))         
udp  UNCONN 0      0   *     users:(("cups-browsed",pid=2853,fd=7))    
udp  UNCONN 0      0   *     users:(("avahi-daemon",pid=632,fd=12))    
udp  UNCONN 0      0   *     users:(("avahi-daemon",pid=632,fd=14))    
udp  UNCONN 0      0                [::]:34687          [::]:*     users:(("avahi-daemon",pid=632,fd=15))    
udp  UNCONN 0      0                [::]:5353           [::]:*     users:(("avahi-daemon",pid=632,fd=13))    
tcp  LISTEN 0      128*     users:(("systemd-resolve",pid=486,fd=13)) 
tcp  LISTEN 0      128 *     users:(("sshd",pid=25538,fd=3))           
tcp  LISTEN 0      5 *     users:(("cupsd",pid=2851,fd=7))           
tcp  LISTEN 0      128              [::]:22             [::]:*     users:(("sshd",pid=25538,fd=4))           
tcp  LISTEN 0      5               [::1]:631            [::]:*     users:(("cupsd",pid=2851,fd=6))

The output above is similar to the netstat command we ran previously…

Use the lsof Command

The lsof command is another powerful utility available to Linux systems that allows you display networking information..

To list all listening TCP ports using the lsof command, run it with the options below:

sudo lsof -nP -iTCP -sTCP:LISTEN

You should see similar lines as shown below:

systemd-r   486 systemd-resolve   13u  IPv4  15733      0t0  TCP (LISTEN)
cupsd      2851            root    6u  IPv6  36958      0t0  TCP [::1]:631 (LISTEN)
cupsd      2851            root    7u  IPv4  36959      0t0  TCP (LISTEN)
sshd      25538            root    3u  IPv4  77978      0t0  TCP *:22 (LISTEN)
sshd      25538            root    4u  IPv6  77980      0t0  TCP *:22 (LISTEN)

That should list open ports as well.

Now you know how to list listing ports on Ubuntu, you can use any of the commands above to find ports that are not in use and disable services to them.