How to check disk space on Unix servers

I recently switched from a Windows server 2016 to a FreeBSD Unix server. I need to check disk space on Unix command line. How do I find out disk space utilization information using the Unix command-line option?

Unix family of operating systems offer the following commands to check disk space usage as per your needs.

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Check disk space on Unix operating system

Unix command to check disk space:

  1. df command – Shows the amount of disk space used and available on Unix file systems.
  2. du command – Display disk usage statistic for each directory on Unix server.

How to display Unix disk usage statistics

See disk usage for all files in the current directory. Run:
du -a
To get the disk usage of a directory tree and each of its subtrees for /home/vivek, enter:
du /home/vivek
However, it is possible to see outout 1024-byte blocks if you pass the -k switch, enter:
du -k /home/vivek
Want to see total disk usage of a directory tree? Try:
du -s /home/vivek

248088	/home/vivek

One can summarize disk usage for a specific directory as follows:
du -hs /home

1.4G	/home

Next let us show name and size of all py (Python) files in a specific directory. Also display grand total at the end:
du -ch /home/vivek/project/mgt1.2/*.py

Getting help about du command

Try running the following man command or see online man page here:
man du
whatis du

How to display free disk space info on Unix

To view the amount of free space in the file system, try df command:
df
Check disk space on Unix using df command
Want to show information about /jails/www/ file system in 1024-byte blocks format, run:
df -k /jails/www/

Filesystem      1024-blocks    Used       Avail Capacity  Mounted on
zroot/jails/www 10745194355 3152328 10742042027     0%    /jails/www

Similarly, to show information about /jails/www file system in MB blocks format, enter:
df -m /jails/www/

Filesystem      1M-blocks Used    Avail Capacity  Mounted on
zroot/jails/www  10493353 3078 10490275     0%    /jails/www

How about GB blocks format for /jails/www file system?, Try:
df -g /jails/www/

Filesystem      1G-blocks Used Avail Capacity  Mounted on
zroot/jails/www     10247    3 10244     0%    /jails/www

Display a grand total

Pass the -c option:
df -c
Some version of Unix operating systems can display output in human readable format. In other words, Use unit suffixes: Byte, Kibibyte, Mebibyte, Gibibyte, Tebibyte and Pebibyte:
df -H
Sample outputs:

Filesystem                                 Size    Used   Avail Capacity  Mounted on
zroot/ROOT/default                          11T    4.2G     11T     0%    /
devfs                                      1.0k    1.0k      0B   100%    /dev
fdescfs                                    1.0k    1.0k      0B   100%    /dev/fd
zroot/iocage                                11T    148k     11T     0%    /iocage
zroot/iocage/download                       11T    131k     11T     0%    /iocage/download
zroot/iocage/download/11.2-RELEASE          11T    285M     11T     0%    /iocage/download/11.2-RELEASE
zroot/iocage/images                         11T    131k     11T     0%    /iocage/images
zroot/iocage/jails                          11T    131k     11T     0%    /iocage/jails
zroot/iocage/log                            11T    131k     11T     0%    /iocage/log
zroot/iocage/releases                       11T    131k     11T     0%    /iocage/releases
zroot/iocage/releases/11.2-RELEASE          11T    131k     11T     0%    /iocage/releases/11.2-RELEASE
zroot/iocage/releases/11.2-RELEASE/root     11T    1.2G     11T     0%    /iocage/releases/11.2-RELEASE/root
zroot/iocage/templates                      11T    131k     11T     0%    /iocage/templates
zroot/jails                                 11T    131k     11T     0%    /jails
zroot/jails/fullbasejail                    11T    364M     11T     0%    /jails/fullbasejail
zroot/jails/rsnapshot                       11T    209G     11T     2%    /jails/rsnapshot
zroot/jails/www                             11T    3.2G     11T     0%    /jails/www
zroot/tmp                                   11T    131k     11T     0%    /tmp
zroot/usr/home                              11T    220k     11T     0%    /usr/home
zroot/usr/ports                             11T    1.0G     11T     0%    /usr/ports
zroot/usr/src                               11T    1.7G     11T     0%    /usr/src
zroot/var/audit                             11T    131k     11T     0%    /var/audit
zroot/var/crash                             11T    131k     11T     0%    /var/crash
zroot/var/log                               11T    4.2M     11T     0%    /var/log
zroot/var/mail                              11T    131k     11T     0%    /var/mail
zroot/var/tmp                               11T    131k     11T     0%    /var/tmp
zroot                                       11T    131k     11T     0%    /zroot
devfs                                      1.0k    1.0k      0B   100%    /jails/rsnapshot/dev
devfs                                      1.0k    1.0k      0B   100%    /jails/www/dev

Filesystem Size Used Avail Capacity Mounted on
zroot/ROOT/default 11T 4.2G 11T 0% /
devfs 1.0k 1.0k 0B 100% /dev
fdescfs 1.0k 1.0k 0B 100% /dev/fd
zroot/iocage 11T 148k 11T 0% /iocage
zroot/iocage/download 11T 131k 11T 0% /iocage/download
zroot/iocage/download/11.2-RELEASE 11T 285M 11T 0% /iocage/download/11.2-RELEASE
zroot/iocage/images 11T 131k 11T 0% /iocage/images
zroot/iocage/jails 11T 131k 11T 0% /iocage/jails
zroot/iocage/log 11T 131k 11T 0% /iocage/log
zroot/iocage/releases 11T 131k 11T 0% /iocage/releases
zroot/iocage/releases/11.2-RELEASE 11T 131k 11T 0% /iocage/releases/11.2-RELEASE
zroot/iocage/releases/11.2-RELEASE/root 11T 1.2G 11T 0% /iocage/releases/11.2-RELEASE/root
zroot/iocage/templates 11T 131k 11T 0% /iocage/templates
zroot/jails 11T 131k 11T 0% /jails
zroot/jails/fullbasejail 11T 364M 11T 0% /jails/fullbasejail
zroot/jails/rsnapshot 11T 209G 11T 2% /jails/rsnapshot
zroot/jails/www 11T 3.2G 11T 0% /jails/www
zroot/tmp 11T 131k 11T 0% /tmp
zroot/usr/home 11T 220k 11T 0% /usr/home
zroot/usr/ports 11T 1.0G 11T 0% /usr/ports
zroot/usr/src 11T 1.7G 11T 0% /usr/src
zroot/var/audit 11T 131k 11T 0% /var/audit
zroot/var/crash 11T 131k 11T 0% /var/crash
zroot/var/log 11T 4.2M 11T 0% /var/log
zroot/var/mail 11T 131k 11T 0% /var/mail
zroot/var/tmp 11T 131k 11T 0% /var/tmp
zroot 11T 131k 11T 0% /zroot
devfs 1.0k 1.0k 0B 100% /jails/rsnapshot/dev
devfs 1.0k 1.0k 0B 100% /jails/www/dev

See df command man page here or by typing the following command for more info:
man df

Conclusion

You learned how to see free and used disk space as well as disk usage statistics on Unix systems.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

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