How to Restart or Reboot Linux Server from the Command Line


It’s a cliché, but true – restarting a Linux server solves a wide variety of issues.

When a system is rebooted, any malfunctioning software is purged from active memory. When the system restarts, it loads a fresh, clean copy of the software into active memory. Also, some operating systems require a restart to process updates or configuration changes.

This guide will show you how to restart a Linux server using only the command-line or prompt.

restart or reboot linux server from the command line


  • A system running a Linux operating system
  • Access to a command-line interface (also known as a terminal)
  • Root or sudo privileges
  • (optional) SSH software package for communicating with a remote server

Steps to Restart Linux using Command Prompt

Restarting Local Linux Operating System

Step 1: Open Terminal Window

If your version of Linux uses a graphical interface, you can open a terminal window by right-clicking the Desktop > left-clicking Open in terminal.

open terminal window in linux

You can also click the main menu (usually found in the lower-left or upper-left corner) and type in terminal in the search bar. Click on the Terminal icon, as in the image below.

search for terminal window in ubuntu

Step 2: Use the shutdown Command

Since powering off is one of the most basic functions of an operating system, this command should work for most distributions of Linux.

In a terminal window, type the following:

sudo shutdown -r

The sudo command tells Linux to run the command as an administrator, so you may need to type your password. The -r switch at the end indicates that you want the machine to restart.

Note: See our article for additional Linux shutdown command options.

Alternative Option: Restart Linux with reboot Command

In the terminal, type:


Many Linux versions do not require administrator privileges to reboot. If you get a message that you do not have sufficient privileges, type:

sudo reboot

Your system should close out of all open applications and restart.

Reboot Remote Linux Server

Step 1: Open Command Prompt

If you have a graphical interface, open the terminal by right-clicking the Desktop > left-clicking Open in terminal.

You can also click the main menu (usually found in the lower-left or upper-left corner), and then click Applications > System Tools > Terminal.

If you prefer using a keyboard shortcut, press Ctrl+Alt+T.

Step 2: Use SSH Connection Issue reboot Command

In a terminal window, type:

ssh -t 'sudo reboot'

Note: You may need to enter the password for the username you’ve used. Also, make sure you type the single-quote marks.

The ssh command tells your system to connect to another machine. The -t option forces the remote system to enter the command in a terminal. Replace with the username @ server name that you want to restart.

The sudo reboot command can be switched out for sudo shutdown and the above options above can be used.

That is: -r tells it to restart, hh:mm sets a specific time, +mm sets a countdown.)


In this tutorial, you have learned how to restart a Linux server from the command prompt.

Rebooting a Linux system or server is designed to be simple, so you shouldn’t have any trouble. Just make sure you have saved all your work before restarting.

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Sofija Simic
Sofija Simic is an experienced Technical Writer. Alongside her educational background in teaching and writing, she has had a lifelong passion for information technology. She is committed to unscrambling confusing IT concepts and streamlining intricate software installations.
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