While administrating a box, you may wanted to find out what a processes is doing and find out how many file descriptors (fd) are being used. You will surprised to find out that process does open all sort of files:
=> Actual log file

=> /dev files

=> UNIX Sockets

=> Network sockets

=> Library files /lib /lib64

=> Executables and other programs etc

In this quick post, I will explain how to to count how many file descriptors are currently in use on your Linux server system.

Step # 1 Find Out PID

To find out PID for mysqld process, enter:
# ps aux | grep mysqld
# pidof mysqld


Step # 2 List File Opened By a PID # 28290

Use the lsof command or /proc/$PID/ file system to display open fds (file descriptors), run:
# lsof -p 28290
# lsof -a -p 28290

# cd /proc/28290/fd
# ls -l | less

You can count open file, enter:
# ls -l | wc -l

Tip: Count All Open File Handles

To count the number of open file handles of any sort, type the following command:
# lsof | wc -l
Sample outputs:


List File Descriptors in Kernel Memory

Type the following command:
# sysctl fs.file-nr
Sample outputs:

fs.file-nr = 1020	0	70000


  1. 1020 The number of allocated file handles.
  2. 0 The number of unused-but-allocated file handles.
  3. 70000 The system-wide maximum number of file handles.

You can use the following to find out or set the system-wide maximum number of file handles:
# sysctl fs.file-max
Sample outputs:

fs.file-max = 70000

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