I can see the data transferred (internet Download/Upload) in the current session from the System Monitor. But I want something that keeps track of all the data transferred and I can see how much data was used in a month or two. Preferably a GUI tool.

  • my router has this functionality build into it...even breaks it down by device...might be worth looking into it...
    – TheXed
    Nov 2, 2016 at 1:46
  • 1
    @TheXed let me know when you aren't home, I'll break in and take a screwdriver to your router to look inside it :p Nov 7, 2016 at 4:59

3 Answers 3


Install vnstat

sudo apt-get install vnstat

Now you want to configure your interface

sudo vnstat -u -i <interface>


sudo vnstat -u -i eth0

Now to see the usage type vnstat in terminal



karthick@Ubuntu-desktop:~/Desktop$ vnstat
Database updated: Thu Dec  2 13:06:21 2010

   eth0 since 11/29/10

          rx:  624.84 MiB      tx:  285.97 MiB      total:  910.80 MiB

                     rx      |     tx      |    total    |   avg. rate
       Nov '10    412.00 MiB |  239.16 MiB |  651.16 MiB |    2.06 kbit/s
       Dec '10    212.83 MiB |   46.81 MiB |  259.64 MiB |   15.92 kbit/s
     estimated      4.15 GiB |     922 MiB |    5.05 GiB |

                     rx      |     tx      |    total    |   avg. rate
     yesterday    150.05 MiB |   30.82 MiB |  180.87 MiB |   17.15 kbit/s
         today     62.78 MiB |   15.99 MiB |   78.77 MiB |   13.68 kbit/s
     estimated       113 MiB |      27 MiB |     140 MiB |

To see the monthly status alone type vnstat -m to see the daily status type vnstat -d

  • I mostly use 3G data card which connects to USB, what about that? Does it have a Graphical frontend? thanks for the quick reply :) Dec 2, 2010 at 7:53
  • 2
    For 3g usb modem sudo vnstat -u -i ppp0
    – karthick87
    Dec 2, 2010 at 8:02
  • Yes there is a frontend but i have never used.You can try sourceforge.net/projects/vnstatsvg
    – karthick87
    Dec 2, 2010 at 9:40
  • 1
    I think this should be considered the real accepted answer. And this is also a solution for those of us on AWS EC2 instances that need individual instance usage information for client billing purposes.
    – jschrab
    Sep 24, 2015 at 14:34
  • 1
    This 2010 answer needs an update otherwise Error: The "-u" parameter is not supported in this version. Jan 26, 2021 at 16:10

#vnStat - Light Weight Console-based Network Monitor

vnStat is a console-based network traffic monitor for Linux and BSD that keeps a log of network traffic for the selected interface(s). It uses the network interface statistics provided by the kernel as information source. This means that vnStat won't actually be sniffing any traffic and also ensures light use of system resources.

In this tutorial we'll review:

  • Features
  • Installation
  • Configuration
  • Start Systemd Service
  • Usage (from command line)
  • Conky example


  • quick and simple to install and get running
  • gathered statistics persists through system reboots
  • can monitor multiple interfaces at the same time
  • several output options
  • summary, hourly, daily, monthly, weekly, top 10 days
  • optional png image output (using libgd)
  • months can be configured to follow billing period
  • light, minimal resource usage
  • same low cpu usage regardless of traffic
  • can be used without root permissions
  • online color configuration editor


nvStat is in the official repositories so no need to link to a new ppa. To install create a Terminal instance using Ctrl+Alt+T and type at the prompt:

sudo apt-get install vnstat

After installation, keep your Terminal open for the following sections. There is no need to reboot.


Pick a preferred network interface and edit the Interface variable in the /etc/vnstat.conf accordingly. To the list all interfaces available to vnstat, use:

vnstat --iflist

To start monitoring a particular interface you must initialize a database first. Each interface needs its own database. The command to initialize one for the eth0 interface is:

sudo vnstat -u -i eth0 

#Start Systemd Service

After introducing the interface(s) and checking the config file. You can start the monitoring process via systemd:

sudo systemctl start vnstat.service

To make this service permanent use:

sudo systemctl enable vnstat.service

From now on vnstat will be gathering network usage in the background using such a small percentage of CPU it doesn't show up on conky's (system monitor's) top 9 list of processes (on my machine).

#Usage (from Command Line)

Query the network traffic:

vnstat -q

Viewing live network traffic usage:

vnstat -l

To find more options, use:

vnstat --help

#Monthly Totals

To see monthly totals, use:

rick@dell:~$ vnstat -m

 eth0  /  monthly

       month        rx      |     tx      |    total    |   avg. rate
      Nov '16     76.31 MiB |    2.03 MiB |   78.35 MiB |   10.45 kbit/s
    estimated      3.13 GiB |      84 MiB |    3.21 GiB |

#Conky example

Conky is a popular light-weight System Monitor used across many Linux distributions. You can vnStat bandwidth totals to your conky display like this:

enter image description here

Note when picture was taken Yesterday was Sunday which explains why the Weekly total is less.

The conky code to achieve this is:

${color orange}${voffset 2}${hr 1}
${color1}Network using vnStat "-i", "-w" and "-m"
${color}${goto 5}Today ${goto 100}Yesterday ${goto 225}Week ${goto 325}Month ${color green}
${execi 300 vnstat -i eth0 | grep "today" | awk '{print $8" "substr ($9, 1, 1)}'} ${goto 110}${execi 300 vnstat -i eth0 | grep "yesterday" | awk '{print $8" "substr ($9, 1, 1)}'} ${goto 220}${execi 300 vnstat -i eth0 -w | grep "current week" | awk '{print $9" "substr ($10, 1, 1)}'} ${goto 315}${execi 300 vnstat -i eth0 -m | grep "`date +"%b '%y"`" | awk '{print $9" "substr ($10, 1, 1)}'}
${color orange}${voffset 2}${hr 1}

To save space on my narrow window I used "G" instead of "GiB", "M" instead of "MiB", etc. If you have more screen realestate change substr ($10, 1, 1) to $10 and the same for $9.

You may have to change eth0 to wlan0 or eth1, etc. depending on your network name reported by ifconfig.

  • 1
    Wonderful walkthrough, thanks! I'd like to mention that --json output is available as well.
    – Ben
    Jun 6, 2019 at 1:13
  • For non-eth0 machines, vnstat -l becomes something like vnstat -l -i eth1 depending on your network name reported by vnstat --iflist. Aug 2, 2020 at 15:29
  • 1
    Error: The "-u" parameter is not supported in this version.
    – Bersan
    Aug 30, 2021 at 10:22

If you like a nice GUI try NTM - Network Traffic Monitor. It's not in the repos but you can easily download a deb package from their website: http://netramon.sourceforge.net/eng/index.html

Should work for all *buntu variants.


  • Choice of the interface to monitoring.
  • Period to monitoring: Day, Week, Month, Year or Custom Days. With autoupdate.
  • Threshold: Autodisconnection if a limit is reached (by NetworkManager).
  • Traffic Monitoring: Inbound, outbount and total traffic; Show the traffic speed.
  • Time Monitoring: Total time of connections in the period.
  • Time Slot Monitoring: Number of sessions used.
  • Reports: Show of average values and daily traffic of a configurable period.
  • Online checking with NetworkManager or by "Ping Mode".
  • The traffic is attributed to the day when the session began.
  • Not need root privilege.
  • Not invasive, use a system try icon.
  • For a non gui option, see the other, much more upvoted answer <sigh SO>
    – rogerdpack
    Jul 28, 2016 at 2:19

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