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.