killall – Kill a group of processes using their names

The killall command is a Linux utility that allows users to terminate a group of processes based on their name. It sends a signal to all processes with the specified name, causing them to terminate. This command is useful for killing multiple processes that share a common name, rather than having to manually kill each process individually.


The basic syntax of the killall command is:

killall [options] name
  • name: The name of the process(es) to be killed.
  • options: Optional flags that modify the behavior of the command.

Here are some examples of how to use the killall command:

  • To kill all processes with the name firefox:
    killall firefox
  • To kill all processes with the name chrome and display verbose output:
    killall -v chrome
  • To kill all processes with the name apache2 and force them to terminate:
    killall -9 apache2
  • To kill all processes with the name java owned by a specific user:
    killall -u username java
  • To kill all processes with the name nginx except for a specific process ID:
    killall -v -e nginx -except 12345


Here are some of the most commonly used options for the killall command:

Option Description
-e, --exact Match process names exactly.
-i, --interactive Interactively ask for confirmation before killing each process.
-u, --user Kill only processes owned by the specified user.
-v, --verbose Display verbose output.
-w, --wait Wait for all killed processes to die.
-q, --quiet Suppress all output.
-s, --signal Specify the signal to send to the processes.
-p, --pidfile Read process IDs from a file instead of by name.
--help Display help information.
--version Display version information.

Troubleshooting tips

  • If you receive an error message stating that no processes were found with the specified name, double-check the spelling and ensure that the process is currently running.
  • Be cautious when using the -9 option, as it sends a SIGKILL signal that cannot be caught or ignored by the process. This can cause data loss or other issues.
  • Use the -i option if you are unsure about killing a process, as it will prompt you for confirmation before terminating the process.


  • The killall command is not available on all Linux distributions. If it is not installed on your system, you can typically install it using your package manager (e.g. apt-get install psmisc on Debian-based systems).
  • The killall command can be a powerful tool, but it should be used with caution. Make sure you understand the implications of killing a process before using this command.