The manual describes SIGKILL and SIGSTOP like this:

SIGKILL             9    Term    Kill signal
SIGTERM            15    Term    Termination signal
SIGSTOP      17,19,23    Term    Stop the process

and states:

The signals SIGKILL and SIGSTOP cannot be caught, blocked, or ignored.

but what's the difference between the 2 signals?


As is found on Wikipedia


The SIGKILL signal is sent to a process to cause it to terminate immediately. In contrast to SIGTERM and SIGINT, this signal cannot be caught or ignored, and the receiving process cannot perform any clean-up upon receiving this signal.


The SIGSTOP signal instructs the operating system to stop a process for later resumption.

  • You might also like to now that SIGINT is a signal that is issued when you press CTRL+C at the terminal. SIGSTOP is NOT a signal that is send when you press CTRL+Z - this one is actually SIGTSTP and contrary to SIGSTOP can by ignored by a process. – shellbro Sep 6 '16 at 9:26

SIGKILL kills a process and cannot be caught

SIGTERM kills a process but can be caught to do a graceful exit

SIGSTOP suspends the process until you do a SIGCONT

  • Was curious when SIGTERM was actually used. If a process receives SIGTERM, some other process sent that signal. source – Ben Butterworth Apr 28 '20 at 19:27

As the name suggests, SIGKILL kill the process instead of SIGSTOP which stop the process until the SIGCONT be called (to continue the process).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.