Skip to main content

Kill unix processes by name

Project description


killproc is a command-line utility to terminate or killl Unix processes by name. The standard Unix kill command identifies processes by process id, rather than by process name. For example, to terminate instances of the script, one might use the following sequence:

$  ps -ef | grep | grep -v grep
501 20060     1   0   0:00.11 ttys001    0:00.38 python runserver
501 20063 20060   0   0:00.35 ttys001    0:01.07 python runserver
$ kill -TERM 20060 20063
$ ps -ef | grep | grep -v grep

Running the extra ps command and picking out process ids from its output can get rather tedious.

killproc automates this sequence: you provide part of a process name and it executes ps, filtering the results by matching the process name fragment with the CMD column of the ps output. For each match, the user is prompted whether they wish to terminate the process (the prompting can be turned off via a command line option). Accomplishing the above task with killproc might look as follows:

python runserver
Kill process 20106? [y] y
Sending signal SIGTERM to process 20106
python runserver
Kill process 20109? [y] y
Sending signal SIGTERM to process 20109
Sent signal SIGTERM to 2 processes

Supported Platforms

killproc has been tested on Mac OSX and Ubuntu Linux. It is expected to work on most Linux and BSD variants.


killproc is written in Python and packaged using setuptools. It has been registered on PyPi under killproc. Thus, if you have Python and setuptools installed on your machine, you can run install it via easy_install:

easy_install killproc

or pip:

pip killproc

Either command will place the Python package in your Python environment and create the killproc script in your Python’s binary directory (thus making it available in your PATH).

The file can function as a standalone command line utility. Thus, as an alternative installation approach, you can grab the file out of the source distribution, place it in a directory on your executable path, rename it to killproc, and add execute permissions.


The command line format for killproc is:

killproc [options] process_name

The available options are:

-h, --help            show help message and exit
-k, --with-extreme-prejudice
                       If specified, use SIGKILL (default is SIGTERM)
-s SIGNAL_NO, --signal=SIGNAL_NO
                       Use the specified signal. Defaults to 15 (SIGTERM)
-n, --non-interactive
                       If specified, don't ask user for confirmation

Caveats, Limitations and Future Enhancements

Matching processes are not filtered by user. If the processes of other users match the process name fragment, the killproc user will be prompted for those users as well, and the termination of those processes will fail. As a future enhancement, killproc should return only matching processes of the current user by default, with a command line option to return matches for all users (useful when running as root or sudo).

It would be nice to interpret the process name fragment as a regular expression to be matched against running commands. However, this should not be the default behavior.

Project details

Download files

Download the file for your platform. If you're not sure which to choose, learn more about installing packages.

Source Distribution

killproc-1.0.1.tar.gz (8.1 kB view hashes)

Uploaded source

Supported by

AWS AWS Cloud computing Datadog Datadog Monitoring Fastly Fastly CDN Google Google Object Storage and Download Analytics Microsoft Microsoft PSF Sponsor Pingdom Pingdom Monitoring Sentry Sentry Error logging StatusPage StatusPage Status page