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I use a broadband modem to connect to internet on my linux machine. I've used the gnome-system-monitor app that correctly displays the kbps as well as total bytes consumed in each session. Now, is there any easy way in linux for me to log all these consumptions (downloads and uploads)?

The thing is that I use a limited usage plan (n number of GBs each month), hence I want to keep track of my usage. What is the best approach to do this on linux?

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Very similar, bordering on duplicate: Is there any way to see how much data I sent via Internet? at Unix.SE – Michael Kjörling Jul 5 '13 at 15:54
up vote 12 down vote accepted

Install vnstat, it gives logs the usage on a network interface and you can display the usage over different time periods.

Here's the default output from my system

                  rx      /      tx      /     total    /   estimated
   Jun '13     14.40 GiB  /    1.70 GiB  /   16.10 GiB
   Jul '13      3.57 GiB  /    2.55 GiB  /    6.12 GiB  /   40.44 GiB
 yesterday    968.58 MiB  /    2.26 GiB  /    3.21 GiB
     today    377.88 MiB  /   26.73 MiB  /  404.61 MiB  /     582 MiB

If you get vnstati as well, you can display the data in different ways e.g.

Usage graph

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Which command did you use to get this nice image? When I use vnstati -d it only says At least output mode and file parameter needs to be given. – Martin Thoma May 12 at 11:27
The image shows a vertical summary (-vs option) and you need an output file (-o option), so the command to output the above image to foo.png is 'vnstati -vs -o foo.png' – parkydr May 12 at 20:37
Thank you. And what is rx and TX? – Martin Thoma May 12 at 21:53
Rx - receive Tx transmit – parkydr May 13 at 12:46
Thank you very much. What do you think about adding this to your answer? So how you find what your wlan interface is and vnstati -vs -i wlp3s0 -o ~/summary.png – Martin Thoma May 13 at 15:51

vnstat is probably the best way to do this. It can be installed using the following command in terminal:

sudo apt-get install vnstat

If you don't want to keep checking the data usage status every time then use:

watch -n 5 --differences vnstat -d eth0

It would display the status every 5 seconds in the open terminal with the differences that occur in the values. -d is used to display the status of each day and eth0 is the ethernet used for internet connection (wlan0 may be used for WiFi).

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Easiest to use and easiest to control output and redirect to file for continuous logging:


Probably comes with most linux distributions, and can be installed with brew on mac. Highly recommended.

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