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.
- 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.
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.
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
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org ‘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.
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
email@example.com with the username @ server name that you want to restart.
sudo reboot command can be switched out for
sudo shutdown and the above options above can be used.
-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.