Posts Tagged ‘command tool’

iSH, the best free SSH / Telnet client for iOS iPhone, iPad equivallent of MobaXterm and fully functional Alpine Linux emulator

Wednesday, February 8th, 2023


Since few months I've switched my old BLU r1 HD Phone (a great old low budget phone for its price) to a friend's iPhone 10 ( X ) who gifted it for me. Coming from Android world, everyone who has experience with it is a pain in the ass as some of the Apps, which are into Google's play store does not have the same equivalent into Apple's install Package manager tool AppStore. Some of the crucial tools which I was interested as a freshly new migrated user from Android to iPhone was to have a decent SSH / Telnet client and Terminal, with which I can easily connect to my Linux servers both home and work. 

As Android Phone user, to connect and manage my SSH sessions I used most often some of the most popular Connectbot / SSHDroid / JuiceSSH.
On Android I've usually installed all of these tools but most frequently used Connectbot, which quickly become my favourite SSH client for Android over time.

The reasons why I really loved Connectbot and used it on Android OS in short:

  • It is Completely free
  • Ad-free
  • Open-source (too bad not Free software but still step better)
  • Copy and paste text between Applications
  • Customizable interface (i.e. font size, keyboard layout, SSH auth agent, etc.)


I've seen some people used and preferred Termius but never myself really liked this client, as it was including some Advertisements or for don't remember why reason.
Switching to iOS mobile operating system, of course was quite a shock especially the moment I found out the standard loved SSH Remote Client programs are used are not available or have only a paid version. Thus it took me quite a while of a research and googling until I found some decent stuff.


Tried for a time with Termius as well but again, its Ads and lack of some functionality pissed me off, so I've moved on to Shelly.


Shelly is really not a bad tool but has limitation over the SSH sessions you can add and other limitations, which can only be unlocked with an "Upgrade", to its paid version, thus I decided after few weeks of attempts to make it my remote server management mobile tool for iPhone, I've dropped it off as well.

Then I found the Blink Shell App – Blink Shell is a professional, desktop grade terminal for iOS. As overall the tool is really great and is easy to use but again to have it used in its full power you need the paid version and until you pay for it every now and then you got interruption of your shell for some really annoying ads.
Thus even though I used it for a times this few tools with whom basicly you can do basic remote ssh / telnet session operations eventually,  started looking for a better SSH Client Free alternative for iPhone Users.

Then came a friend at home for a dinner my dear friend Milen (Static) and he show me iOS.
The moment I saw this tool I totally loved it, for its simplicity and its resemblance to a classical TTY Physical old Linux console I used back in the days and its ability to resemble easily any improved functionaltiy through simple screen (multiple session management) command tool or tmux.

Wait, what's iSH ? And why it is the Best SSH / Telnet client to manage your servers remotely on iOS Mobiles (iPhone and IPads) ? 

iSH is a project to get a Linux shell environment running locally on your iOS device, using a usermode x86 emulator.

In other wors iSH is Linux emulator with busybox and a package ports for many of the standard Linux tools you get by simple apt-get / yum or if I have to compare you get via the MobaXterm's advanced apt-cyg (Cygwin packages) tool capabilities.

Once iSH is installed it comes with pre-installed apk command line package management tool, with which you can install stuff like openssh-client / screen / tmux / mc (midnight commander) etc. apk, is an apt like command like tool which uses as a basis for installing its packages Alpine Linux repositories.
Alpine Linux is perhaps little known as it is not one of these main stream disributions, such as Fedora or Ubuntu, but for those more concerned about security  Alpine Linux is well known as it is a security-oriented, lightweight Linux distribution based on musl libc and busybox. What makes the Linux even more attractive and perhaps the reason why the iSH developers decided to use it as a basis for their iSH emulator is it being actively developed and its tightened security makes it a good compliment to the quite closed and security focused mobile platform iOS.

iSH is available straight from AppStore , so to use it install it and run it (it is really a great news that iOS does not require iphone to be jailbreak – ed, and it is an ordinary installable software straight from AppStore):
iSH, already comes with some of the standard programs you would expect in a Linux environment such as Vi, wget, zip / unzip, and tar.
However to fit it better for my use over ssh and improve its capabilities, as well as support and use multiple Virtual windows ssh, just like you do on a Linux xterm
run from ish shell: 

# apk add openssh-client
# apk add screen
# apk add vim
# apk add mc




I also like to have a Midnight Commander and VIM Text editor installed out of the box to be able to move around in Ncurses interface through my iPhone.


Note that, just like most GNU / Linux distributions, iOS shell will run a normal bash shell.
From there on to use iSH as my default SSH client and enable my just installed GNU screen some Windowing beauty for readability whence I use the screen with multiple ssh logins to different servers as well make the screen Virtual consoles to have ability for scroll back and scroll up of console text to work, I do set up the following .screenrc inside my /home/iPhoneuser

The .screenrc to setup on the iSH to easify your work with screen is as follows:

# An alternative hardstatus to display a bar at the bottom listing the
# windownames and highlighting the current windowname in blue. (This is only
# enabled if there is no hardstatus setting for your terminal)
hardstatus on
hardstatus alwayslastline
hardstatus string "%{.bW}%-w%{.rW}%n %t%{-}%+w %=%{..G} %H %{..Y} %m/%d %C%a "
# Enable scrolling fix the annoying screen scrolling problem
termcapinfo xterm* ti@:te@
# Scroll up
bindkey -d "^[[5S" eval copy "stuff 5\025"
bindkey -m "^[[5S" stuff 5\025

# Scroll down
bindkey -d "^[[5T" eval copy "stuff 5\004"
bindkey -m "^[[5T" stuff 5\004

# Scroll up more
bindkey -d "^[[25S" eval copy "stuff \025"
bindkey -m "^[[25S" stuff \025

# Scroll down more
bindkey -d "^[[25T" eval copy "stuff \004"
bindkey -m "^[[25T" stuff \004

You can download the same .screenrc file from here straight with wget from the console:

# wget

Run GNU screen manager


 # screen

You will end up with a screen session, to open a new session for Virtual Terminal use virtual keyboard from ISH and Press

CTRL + A + C

To open other Virtual Windows inside screen just press CTRL + A + C as many times as you need it, each session will appear ina small window on the down corner as you can see in screenshot


To move across the Screen unnamed 3 Virtual Windows 0 ash 1 ash and 2 ash use the Virtual keyboard

for next WIndow use key combination:

CTRL + A + N (where + is just to indicate you have to press them once after another and not actually press the + 🙂 )

For Previous Window use:

CTRL + A + P

Or use CTRL + A and type 

:number 3 (where number is the number of window)

The available iSH commands without adding any further packages which are part of the busybox install are as follows:

Available /bin/ directory commands:

arch  ash  base64  bbconfig  busybox  cat  chgrp  chmod  chown  conspy  cp  date  dd  df  dmesg  dnsdomainname  dumpkmap  echo  ed  egrep  false  fatattr  fdflush  fgrep  fsync  getopt  grep  gunzip  gzip  hostname  ionice  iostat  ipcalc  kbd_mode  kill  link  linux32  linux64  ln  login  ls  lzop  makemime  mkdir  mknod  mktemp  more  mount  mountpoint  mpstat  mv  netstat  nice  pidof  ping  ping6  pipe_progress  printenv  ps  pwd  reformime  rev  rm  rmdir  run-parts  sed  setpriv  setserial  sh  sleep  stty  su  sync  tar  touch  true  umount  uname  usleep  watch  zcat  

Available /usr/bin/ commands:    

awk  basename  beep  blkdiscard  bunzip2  bzcat  bzip2  cal  chvt  cksum  clear  cmp  comm  cpio  crontab  cryptpw  cut  dc  deallocvt  diff  dirname  dos2unix  du  dumpleases  eject  env  expand  expr  factor  fallocate  find  flock  fold  free  fuser  getconf  getent  groups  hd  head  hexdump  hostid  iconv  id  install  ipcrm  ipcs  killall  ldd  less  logger  lsof  lsusb  lzcat  lzma  lzopcat  md5sum  mesg  microcom  mkfifo  mkpasswd  nc  nl  nmeter  nohup  nproc  nsenter  nslookup  od  passwd  paste  patch  pgrep  pkill  pmap  printf  pscan  pstree  pwdx  readlink  realpath  renice  reset  resize  scanelf  seq  setkeycodes  setsid  sha1sum  sha256sum  sha3sum  sha512sum  showkey  shred  shuf  smemcap  sort  split  ssl_client  strings  sum  tac  tail  tee  test  time  timeout  top  tr  traceroute  traceroute6  truncate  tty  ttysize  udhcpc6  unexpand  uniq  unix2dos  unlink  unlzma  unlzop  unshare  unxz  unzip  uptime  uudecode  uuencode  vi  vlock  volname  wc  wget  which  whoami  whois  xargs  xxd  xzcat  yes  

If you're a maniac developer you can even use iSH, to do some programs development with vim with Python / Perl or PHP as these are available from the Alpine repositories and installable via a simple apk add packagename for security experts nmap and some security tools are also available but unfortunately not everything is still working as this project is in active development and iOS has some security limitations if OS is not ROOTED 🙂

Hence some of the packages you can install via apk manager will be failing actually.
There is a list of What works and what doesn't still on iSH on the project github wiki check it out here.

There is much more funny stuff you can do with it, and actually my quick research on how people use iSH on their phones lead me to some Videos talking about iOS and Ethical hacking etc, but I'll stop here as I dont have the time to dig deeper to it. 
If you know or have some good use of iSH or some other goody you are using as a hack please share in comments.

Enjoy ! 🙂

Howto create Linux Music Audio CD from MP3 files / Create playable WAV format Audio CD Albums from MP3s

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019


Recently my Mother asked me to prepare a Music Audio CD for her from a popular musician accordionist Stefan Georgiev from Dobrudja who has a unique folklore Bulgarian music.

As some of older people who still remember the age of the CD and who had most likely been into the CD burning Copy / Piracy business so popular in the countries of the ex-USSR so popular in the years 1995-2000 audio ,  Old CD Player Devices were not able to play the MP3 file format due to missing codecs (as MP3 was a proprietary compression that can't be installed on every device without paying the patent to the MP3 compression rights holder.

The revolutionary MP3 compression used to be booming standard for transferring Music data due to its high compression which made an ordinary MP3 of 5 minutes of 5MB (10+ times more compression than an ordinary classic WAV Audio the CPU intensiveness of MP3 files that puts on the reading device, requiring the CD Player to have a more powerful CPU.

Hence  due to high licensing cost and requirement for more powerful CPU enabled Audio Player many procuders of Audio Players never introduced MP3 to their devices and MP3 Neve become a standard for the Audio CD that was the standard for music listening inside almost every car out there.

Nowdays it is very rare need to create a Audio CD as audio CDs seems to be almost dead (As I heard from a Richard Stallman lecture In USA nowadays there is only 1 shop in the country where you can still buy CD or DVD drives) and only in third world as Africa Audio CDs perhaps are still in circulation.

Nomatter that as we have an old Stereo CD player on my village and perhaps many others, still have some old retired CD reading devices being able to burn out a CD is a useful thing.

Thus to make mother happy and as a learning excercise, I decided to prepare the CD for her on my Linux notebook.
Here I'll shortly describe the takes I took to make it happen which hopefully will be useful for other people that need to Convert and burn Audio CD from MP3 Album.


1. First I downloaded the Album in Mp3 format from Torrent tracker

My homeland Bulgaria and specific birth place place the city of Dobrich has been famous its folklore:  Galina Durmushlijska and Stefan Georgiev are just 2 of the many names along with Оркестър Кристал (Orchestra Crystal) and the multitude of gifted singers. My mother has a santiment for Stefan Georgiev, as she listened to this gifted accordinist on her Uncle's marriage.

Thus In my case this was (Стефан Георгиев Хора и ръченици от Добруджа) the album full song list here If you're interested to listen the Album and Enjoy unique Folklore from Dobrudja (Dobrich) my home city, Stefan Georgiev's album Hora and Rachenica Dances is available here


I've downloaded them from Bulgarian famous torrent tracker in MP3 format.
Of course you need to have a CD / DVD readed and write device on the PC which nowdays is not present on most modern notebooks and PCs but as a last resort you can buy some cheap External Optical CD / DVD drive for 25 to 30$ from Amazon / Ebay etc.


2. You will need to install a couple of programs on Linux host (if you don't have it already)

To be able to convert from command line from MP3 to WAV you will need as minimum ffmpeg and normalize-audio packages as well as some kind of command line burning tool like cdrskin  wodim which is
the fork of old good known cdrecord, so in case if you you're wondering what happened with it just
use instead wodim.

Below is a good list of tools (assuming you have enough HDD space) to install:


root@jeremiah:/ # apt-get install –yes dvd+rw-tools cdw cdrdao audiotools growisofs cdlabelgen dvd+rw-tools k3b brasero wodim ffmpeg lame normalize-audio libavcodec58


Note that some of above packages I've installed just for other Write / Read operations for DVD drives and you might not need that but it is good to have it as some day in future you will perhaps need to write out a DVD or something.
Also the k3b here is specific to KDE and if you're a GNOME user you could use Native GNOME Desktop app such brasero or if you're in a more minimalistic Linux desktop due to hardware contrains use XFCE's native xfburn program.

If you're a console / terminal geek like me you will definitely enjoy to use cdw

root@jeremiah:/ # apt-cache show cdw|grep -i description -A 1
Description-en: Tool for burning CD's – console version
 Ncurses-based frontend for wodim and genisoimage. It can handle audio and

Description-md5: 77dacb1e6c00dada63762b78b9a605d5


3. Selecting preferred CD / DVD / BD program to use to write out the CD from Linux console

cdw uses wodim (which is a successor of good old known console cdrecord command most of use used on Linux in the past to burn out new Redhat / Debian / different Linux OS distro versions for upgrade purposes on Desktop and Server machines.

To check whether your CD / DVD drive is detected and ready to burn on your old PC issue:


root@jeremiah:/# wodim -checkdrive
Device was not specified. Trying to find an appropriate drive…
Detected CD-R drive: /dev/cdrw
Using /dev/cdrom of unknown capabilities
Device type    : Removable CD-ROM
Version        : 5
Response Format: 2
Capabilities   :
Vendor_info    : 'HL-DT-ST'
Identification : 'DVDRAM GT50N    '
Revision       : 'LT20'
Device seems to be: Generic mmc2 DVD-R/DVD-RW.
Using generic SCSI-3/mmc   CD-R/CD-RW driver (mmc_cdr).
Supported modes: TAO PACKET SAO SAO/R96P SAO/R96R RAW/R16 RAW/R96P RAW/R96R

You can also use xorriso (whose added value compared to other console burn cd tools is is not using external program for ISO9660 formatting neither it use an external or an external burn program for CD, DVD or BD (Blue Ray) drive but it has its own libraries incorporated from libs.

Below output is from my Thinkpad T420 notebook. If the old computer CD drive is there and still functional in most cases you should not get issues to detect it.

cdw ncurses text based CD burner tool's interface is super intuitive as you can see from below screenshot:


CDW has many advanced abilities such as “blanking” a disk or ripping an audio CD on a selected folder. To overcome the possible problem of CDW not automatically detecting the disk you have inserted you can go to the “Configuration” menu, press F5 to enter the Hardware options and then on the first entry press enter and choose your device (by pressing enter again). Save the setting with F9.

4. Convert MP3 / MP4 Files or whatever format to .WAV to be ready to burn to CD

Collect all the files you want to have collected from the CD album in .MP3 a certain directory and use a small one liner loop to convert files to WAV with ffmpeg:

cd /disk/Music/Mp3s/Singer-Album-directory-with-MP3/

for i in $( ls *.mp3); do ffmpeg -i $i $i.wav; done

If you don't have ffmpeg installed and have mpg123 you can also do the Mp3 to WAV conversion with mpg123 cmd like so:


for i in $( ls ); do mpg123 -w $i.wav $i.mp3; done

Another alternative for conversion is to use good old lame (used to create Mp3 audio files but abling to also) decode
mp3 to wav.


lame –decode somefile.mp3 somefile.wav

In the past there was a burn command tool that was able to easily convert MP3s to WAV but in up2date Linux modern releases it is no longer available most likely due to licensing issues, for those on older Debian Linux 7 / 8 / 9 / Ubuntu 8 to 12.XX / old Fedoras etc. if you have the command you can install burn and use it (and not bother with shell loops):

apt-get install burn


yum install burn

Once you have it to convert


$ burn -A -a *.mp3


5. Fix file naming to remove empty spaces such as " " and substitute to underscores as some Old CD Players are
unable to understand spaces in file naming with another short loop.


for f in *; do mv "$f" `echo $f | tr ' ' '_'`; done


6. Normalize audio produced .WAV files (set the music volume to a certain level)

In case if wondering why normalize audio is needed here is short extract from normalize-audio man page command description to shed some light.

"normalize-audio  is  used  to  adjust  the volume of WAV or MP3 audio files to a standard volume level.  This is useful for things like creating mp3 mixes, where different recording levels on different albums can cause the volume to  vary  greatly from song to song."

cd /disk/Music/Mp3s/Singer-Album-directory-with-MP3/

normalize-audio -m *.wav


7. Burn the produced normalized Audio WAV files to the the CD


wodim -v -fix -eject dev='/dev/sr0' -audio -pad *.wav

Alternatively you can conver all your MP3 files to .WAV with anything be it audacity
or another program or even use 
GNOME's CDBurn tool brasero (if gnome user) or KDE's CDBurn which in my opinion is
the best CD / DVD burning application for Linux K3B.

Burning Audio CD with K3b is up to few clicks and super easy and even k3b is going to handle the MP3 to WAV file Conversion itself. To burn audio with K3B just run it and click over 'New Audio CD Project'.


For those who want to learn a bit more on CD / DVD / Blue-Ray burning on GNU / Linux good readings are:
Linux CD Burning Mini Howto, is Linux's CD Writing Howto on ibiblio (though a bit obsolete) or Debian's official documentation on BurnCD.

8. What we learned here

Though the accent of this tutorial was how to Create Audio Music CD from MP3 on GNU / Linux, the same commands are available in most FreeBSD / NetBSD / OpenBSD ports tree so you can use the same method to build prepare Audio Music CD on *BSDs.

In this article, we went through few basic ways on how to prepare WAV files from MP3 normalize the new created WAV files on Linux, to prepare files for creation of Audio Music CD for the old mom or grandma's player or even just for fun to rewind some memories. For GUI users this is easily done with  k3b,  brasero or xfburn.

I've pointed you to cdw a super useful text ncurses tool that makes CD Burninng from plain text console (on servers) without a Xorg / WayLand  GUI installed super easy. It was shortly reviewed what has changed over the last few years and why and why cdrecord was substituted for wodim. A few examples were given on how to handle conversion through bash shell loops and you were pointed to some extra reading resources to learn a bit more on the topic.
There are plenty of custom scripts around for doing the same CD Burn / Covnersion tasks, so pointing me to any external / Shell / Perl scripts is mostly welcome.

Hope this learned you something new, Enjoy ! 🙂

Check your Server Download / Upload Internet Speed from Console on Linux / BSD / Unix howto

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

If you've been given a new dedicated server from a New Dedicated-Server-Provider or VPS with Linux and you were told that a certain download speed to the Server is guaranteed from the server provider, in order to be sure the server's connection to the Internet told by service provider is correct it is useful to run a simple measurement console test after logging in remotely to the server via SSH.

Testing connection from Terminal is useful because as you probably know most of Linux / UNIX servers doesn't have a GUI interface and thus it is not possible to test Internet Up / Down Bandwidth through

1. Testing Download Internet Speed given by ISP / Dedi-Server Provider from Linux Console

For the download speed (internet) test the historical approach was to just try downloading the Linux kernel source code from with some text browser such as lynx or links count the seconds for which the download is completed and then multiple the kernel source archive size on the seconds to get an approximate bandwidth per second, however as nowdays internet connection speeds are much higher, thus it is better to try to download some Linux distribution iso file, you can still use kernel tar archive but it completed too fast to give you some good (adequate) statistics on Download bandwidth.

If its a fresh installed Linux server probably you will probably not have links / elinks and lynx text internet browers  installed so install them depending on deb / rpm distro with:

If on Deb Linuz distro:


root@pcfreak:/root# apt-get install –yes links elinks lynx


On RPM Based Linuz distro:


[root@fedora ~]# yum install -y lynx elinks links


Conduct Internet  Download Speed with links
root@pcfreak:/root# links


(Note that the kernel link is current latest stable Kernel source code archive in future that might change, so try with latest archive.)

You can also use non-interactive tool such as wget curl or lftp to measure internet download speed

To test Download Internet Speed with wget without saving anything to disk set output to go to /dev/null 


root@pcfreak:~# wget -O /dev/null



You see the Download speed is 104 Mbit/s this is so because I'm conducting the download from my local 100Mbit network.

For the test you can use my mirrored version of Hirens BootCD

2. Testing Uplink Internet speed provided by ISP / Server Provider from Linux (SSH) Console

To test your uplink speed you will need lftp or iperf command tool.


root@pcfreak:~# apt-cache show lftp|grep -i descr -A 12
Description: Sophisticated command-line FTP/HTTP client programs
 Lftp is a file retrieving tool that supports FTP, HTTP, FISH, SFTP, HTTPS
 and FTPS protocols under both IPv4 and IPv6. Lftp has an amazing set of
 features, while preserving its interface as simple and easy as possible.
 The main two advantages over other ftp clients are reliability and ability
 to perform tasks in background. It will reconnect and reget the file being
 transferred if the connection broke. You can start a transfer in background
 and continue browsing on the ftp site. It does this all in one process. When
 you have started background jobs and feel you are done, you can just exit
 lftp and it automatically moves to nohup mode and completes the transfers.
 It has also such nice features as reput and mirror. It can also download a
 file as soon as possible by using several connections at the same time.


root@pcfreak:/root# apt-cache show iperf|grep -i desc -A 2
Description: Internet Protocol bandwidth measuring tool
 Iperf is a modern alternative for measuring TCP and UDP bandwidth performance,
 allowing the tuning of various parameters and characteristics.


To test Upload Speed to Internet connect remotely and upload any FTP file:


root@pcfreak:/root# lftp -u hipo -e 'put; bye'



On Debian Linux to install iperf:


root@pcfreak:/root# apt-get install –yes iperf


On latest CentOS 7 and Fedora (and other RPM based) Linux, you will need to add RPMForge repository and install with yum


[root@centos ~]# rpm -ivh  rpmforge-release-0.5.3-1.el7.rf.x86_64.rpm

[root@centos ~]# yum -y install iperf


Once having iperf on the server the easiest way currently to test it is to use speedtest server –  located at the Serverius datacenters, AS50673 and is running on a 10GE connection with 5GB cap.


root@pcfreak:/root# iperf -c -P 10
Client connecting to, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 16.0 KByte (default)
[ 12] local port 54258 connected with port 5001
[  7] local port 54252 connected with port 5001
[  5] local port 54253 connected with port 5001
[  9] local port 54251 connected with port 5001
[  3] local port 54249 connected with port 5001
[  4] local port 54250 connected with port 5001
[ 10] local port 54254 connected with port 5001
[ 11] local port 54255 connected with port 5001
[  6] local port 54256 connected with port 5001
[  8] local port 54257 connected with port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  9]  0.0-10.2 sec  4.05 MBytes  3.33 Mbits/sec
[ 10]  0.0-10.2 sec  3.39 MBytes  2.78 Mbits/sec
[ 11]  0.0-10.3 sec  3.75 MBytes  3.06 Mbits/sec
[  4]  0.0-10.3 sec  3.43 MBytes  2.78 Mbits/sec
[ 12]  0.0-10.3 sec  3.92 MBytes  3.18 Mbits/sec
[  3]  0.0-10.4 sec  4.45 MBytes  3.58 Mbits/sec
[  5]  0.0-10.5 sec  4.06 MBytes  3.24 Mbits/sec
[  6]  0.0-10.5 sec  4.30 MBytes  3.42 Mbits/sec
[  8]  0.0-10.8 sec  3.92 MBytes  3.03 Mbits/sec
[  7]  0.0-10.9 sec  4.03 MBytes  3.11 Mbits/sec
[SUM]  0.0-10.9 sec  39.3 MBytes  30.3 Mbits/sec


You see currently my home machine has an Uplink of 30.3 Mbit/s per second, that's pretty nice since I've ordered a 100Mbits from my ISP (Unguaranteed Bandwidth Connection Speed) and as you might know it is a standard practice for many Internet Proviers to give Uplink speed of 1/4 from the ISP provided overall bandwidth 1/4 would be 25Mbi/s, meaning my ISP (Bergon.NET) is doing pretty well providing me with even more than promised (ordered) bandwidth.

Iperf is probably the choice of most sysadmins who have to do regular bandwidth in local networks speed between 2 servers or test  Internet Bandwidth speed on heterogenous network with Linux / BSDs / AIX / HP-UX (UNIXes). On HP-UX and AIX and other UNIXes for which iperf doesn't have port you have to compile it yourself.

If you don't have root /admin permissions on server and there is python language enterpreter installed you can use script to test internet throughput connectivity
speedtest_cli uses to test server up / down link just in case if script is lost in future I've made ownload mirror of is here

Quickest way to test net speed with


$ lynx -dump >
$ chmod +x


WordPress Plugins to monitor and debug WP enabled plugins – Find Errors / Warnings and Remove WP problematic plugins slowing down your Website (blog) database

Thursday, February 19th, 2015


Recent days, I'm spending a lot of time again trying to optimize my wordpress blog. Optimizing WP for better efficiency is becoming harder and harder task day by day as the website file content data is growing along with SQL databases. Moreover situation gets even worse because the number of plugins enabled on my blog is incrementally growing with time because, there is more and more goodies I'd like to add.
Optimizing WordPress to run for Speed on a server is a whole a lot of art and its a small universe in itself, because as of time of writting this post the count (number) of WordPress available PLUGINS is 36,197 ! 

1. Manually Tracking WordPress  Plugins causing Slow SQL Queries (MySQL bottleneck) issues directly using console / SSH

Because of its open source development and its nice modular design wordpress has turned into a standard for building small, middle sized and large websites (some WordPress based blogs and sites have from 50 000 to 100 000 unique pages!). My blog is still a small WordPress site with only 1676 posts, so I still haven't reached the high volume traffic optimization requirements but still even though I have a relatively good server hardware  8GB RAM / (2×2.70 Ghz Intel CPU) / 500 GB (7400 RPM HDD) at times I see Apache Webservers is unable to properly serve coming requests because of MySQL database (LEFT JOIN) requests being slow to serve (taking up to few seconds to complete) and creating a MySQL table lock, putting all the rest SQL queries to stay in a long unserved queues line, I've realized about this performance issue by using a a mysql cli (command) client and few commands and console command (tool) called mytop (also known as mtop). MyTop refreshes every 3 seconds, so the slow query will immediately stay on screen to view moer info about it press "f" and type the  in query ID.



Finally it is very useful to run  for a while MySQL server logging to /var/log/mysql/slow-query.log:
Slow query is enabled (on my Debian 7 Wheezy host) by adding to /etc/mysql/my.cnf
after conf section


vim /etc/mysql/my.cnf
# * Logging and Replication
# Both location gets rotated by the cronjob.
# Be aware that this log type is a performance killer.
# As of 5.1 you can enable the log at runtime!
#general_log_file        = /var/log/mysql/mysql.log
#general_log             = 1
# Error logging goes to syslog due to /etc/mysql/conf.d/mysqld_safe_syslog.cnf.
# Here you can see queries with especially long duration




slow_query_log = 1
slow_query_log_file = /var/log/mysql/slow-query.log
long_query_time = 2


And then to make new mysql configuration load restarted mysql server:


debian-server:~# /etc/init.d/mysql restart
Stopping MySQL database server: mysqld.
Starting MySQL database server: mysqld ..
Checking for tables which need an upgrade, are corrupt or were
not closed cleanly..


Leaving mysql-slow.log to be enabled for 30 minutes to an 1 hrs is a good time to track most problematic slow queries and based on this queries, I took parts of  SQL UPDATE / SELECT / INSERT etc. Db queries which was problematic and grepped throughout /var/www/blog/wp-content/plugin files in order to determine which WordPress Plugin is triggering the slow query, causing blog to hang when too many clients try to see it in browser.

My main problematic SQL query having long execution time  (about 2 to 3 seconds!!!) most commonly occuring in slow-query.log was:


SELECT DISTINCT post_title, ID, post_type, post_name FROM wp_posts wposts LEFT JOIN wp_postmeta wpostmeta ON wposts.ID = wpostmeta.post_id LEFT JOIN wp_term_relationships ON (wposts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) LEFT JOIN wp_term_taxonomy ON (wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id = wp_term_taxonomy.term_taxonomy_id) WHERE (post_type='page' OR (wp_term_taxonomy.taxonomy = 'category' AND wp_term_taxonomy.term_id IN(11))) AND post_status = 'publish' AND LENGTH(post_title)>=5 ORDER BY LENGTH(post_title) ASC LIMIT 500

Because above query uses SQL Column names and Tables which are not hard coded in PHP code, to find out which plugins is most probably to launch this complex LEFT JOIN query, I used a quick bash one-liner:


# cd /var/www/blog/wp-content/plugins


# for i in $(grep -rli 'SELECT DISTINCT' *); do grep -rli 'LEFT JOIN' $i; done 


I wanted to put less load on CPU during grep so looked for string only in .PHP extensioned files with:


 # for i in $(find . -iname '*.php' -exec grep -rli 'SELECT DISTINCT' '{}' \;); do grep -rli 'LEFT JOIN' $i; done

As you can see the complex query is being called from PHP file belonging to one of 3 plugins

  • SEO Automatic Links – this is SEO Smart Links WP plugin (Does internal bliog interlinking in order to boast SEA)
  • WP PostViews – WordPress Post Views plugin (Which allows me to show how many times an article was read in WP Widget menu)
  • Yet Another Related Posts – Which is WP plugin I installed / enabled to show Related posts down on each blog post

2. Basic way to optimize MySQL slow queries (EXPLAIN / SHOW CREATE TABLE)

Now as I have a basic clue on plugins locking my Database, I disabled them one by one while keeping enabled mysql slow query log and viewing queries in mytop and I figure out that actually all of the plugins were causing a short time overheat (lock) on server Database because of LEFT JOINs. Though I really like what this plugins are doing, as they boast SEO and attract prefer to disable them for now and have my blog all the time responsible light fast instead of having a little bit better Search Engine Optimization (Ranking) and loosing many of my visitors because they're annoyed to wait until my articles open

Before disabling I tried to optimize the queries using MySQL EXPLAIN command + SHOW CREATE TABLE (2 commands often used to debug slow SQL queries and find out whether a Column needs to have added INDEX-ing to boast MySQL query).

Just in case if you decide to give them a try here is example on how they're used to debug problematic SQL query:

  1. mysql> explain SELECT DISTINCT post_title, ID, post_type, post_name
  2.     -> FROM wp_posts wposts LEFT JOIN wp_postmeta wpostmeta
  3.     -> ON wposts.ID = wpostmeta.post_id LEFT JOIN wp_term_relationships
  4.     -> ON (wposts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) LEFT JOIN wp_term_taxonomy
  5.     -> ON (wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id = wp_term_taxonomy.term_taxonomy_id)
  6.     -> WHERE (post_type='page'
  7.     -> OR (wp_term_taxonomy.taxonomy = 'category'
  8.     -> AND wp_term_taxonomy.term_id IN(11,15,17)))
  9.     -> AND post_status = 'publish'
  10.     -> AND LENGTH(post_title)>=5
  11.     -> ORDER BY LENGTH(post_title) ASC
  12.     -> LIMIT 500;
  13. +—-+————-+———————–+——–+——————+———+———+———————————————+——+———————————————-+
  14. | id | select_type | table                 | type   | possible_keys    | key     | key_len | ref                                         | rows | Extra                                        |
  15. +—-+————-+———————–+——–+——————+———+———+———————————————+——+———————————————-+
  16. |  1 | SIMPLE      | wposts                | ALL    | type_status_date | NULL    | NULL    | NULL                                        | 1715 | Using where; Using temporary; Using filesort |
  17. |  1 | SIMPLE      | wpostmeta             | ref    | post_id          | post_id | 8       | blog.wposts.ID                              |   11 | Using index; Distinct                        |
  18. |  1 | SIMPLE      | wp_term_relationships | ref    | PRIMARY          | PRIMARY | 8       | blog.wposts.ID                              |   19 | Using index; Distinct                        |
  19. |  1 | SIMPLE      | wp_term_taxonomy      | eq_ref | PRIMARY          | PRIMARY | 8       | blog.wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id |    1 | Using where; Distinct                        |
  20. +—-+————-+———————–+——–+——————+———+———+———————————————+——+———————————————-+
  21. 4 rows in set (0.02 sec)
  23. mysql>



  1. mysql> show create table wp_posts;
  2. +———-+————————–+
  3. | Table    | Create Table                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 |
  4. +———-+————————–+
  5. | wp_posts | CREATE TABLE `wp_posts` (
  6.   `ID` bigint(20) unsigned NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
  7.   `post_author` bigint(20) unsigned NOT NULL DEFAULT '0',
  8.   `post_date` datetime NOT NULL DEFAULT '0000-00-00 00:00:00',
  9.   `post_date_gmt` datetime NOT NULL DEFAULT '0000-00-00 00:00:00',
  10.   `post_content` longtext NOT NULL,
  11.   `post_title` text NOT NULL,
  12.   `post_excerpt` text NOT NULL,
  13.   `post_status` varchar(20) NOT NULL DEFAULT 'publish',
  14.   `comment_status` varchar(20) NOT NULL DEFAULT 'open',
  15.   `ping_status` varchar(20) NOT NULL DEFAULT 'open',
  16.   `post_password` varchar(20) NOT NULL DEFAULT '',
  17.   `post_name` varchar(200) NOT NULL DEFAULT '',
  18.   `to_ping` text NOT NULL,
  19.   `pinged` text NOT NULL,
  20.   `post_modified` datetime NOT NULL DEFAULT '0000-00-00 00:00:00',
  21.   `post_modified_gmt` datetime NOT NULL DEFAULT '0000-00-00 00:00:00',
  22.   `post_content_filtered` longtext NOT NULL,
  23.   `post_parent` bigint(20) unsigned NOT NULL DEFAULT '0',
  24.   `guid` varchar(255) NOT NULL DEFAULT '',
  25.   `menu_order` int(11) NOT NULL DEFAULT '0',
  26.   `post_type` varchar(20) NOT NULL DEFAULT 'post',
  27.   `post_mime_type` varchar(100) NOT NULL DEFAULT '',
  28.   `comment_count` bigint(20) NOT NULL DEFAULT '0',
  29.   PRIMARY KEY (`ID`),
  30.   KEY `post_name` (`post_name`),
  31.   KEY `type_status_date` (`post_type`,`post_status`,`post_date`,`ID`),
  32.   KEY `post_parent` (`post_parent`),
  33.   KEY `post_author` (`post_author`),
  34.   FULLTEXT KEY `post_related` (`post_title`,`post_content`)
  36. +———-+———————-+
  37. 1 row in set (0.00 sec)
  39. mysql>

By the way above output is a paste from the the new PasteBin Open Source (Stikked powered) service I started on – ( 🙂

Before I took final decision to disable slow WP plugins, I've experimented a bit trying to add INDEX to Table Column (wposts) in hope that this would speed up SQL queries with:




But this didn't improve query speed even on the contrary it make execution time worse.

3. Tracking WordPress Plugin PHP Code Execution time and Plugins causing Slow SQL Queries (MySQL bottleneck) issues through WP itself

Well fine, I'm running my own hosted Blog and WordPress sites, but for people who have wordpress sites on shared hosting, there is usually no SSH (Terminal) Access to server, those people will be happy to hear there are 2 Free easy installable WordPress plugins which can be used to Debug Slow WordPress Plugins SQL Queries as well as plugin to Track which plugin takes most time to execute, this are:


a) P3 Plugin Performance Profiler  

runs a scan over your site to determine what resources your plugins are using, and when, during a standard page request. P3 PPP Can even create reports in a beatiful Excel like Pie chart sheet.


Another useful thing to see with P3 PPP is Detailed Timeline it shows when the plugins are being loaded during new page request so you can see if there is a certain sequence in time when a plugin slows down the website.


The pictures says it all as P3 PPP is Godaddy's work, congrats to GoDaddy, they've done great job.


b) WordPress memory Viewer WP plugins

Is useful to check how much memory each of WordPress plugin is taking on user (visitor) request.
Memory Viewer is allows you to view WordPress’ memory utilization at several hooks during WordPress’ execution. It also shows a summary of MySQL Queries that have ran as well as CPU time.
To use it download it to plugins/ folder as usual enable it from:

Installed Plugins -> (Inactive) -> Memory Viewer (Enable)

To see statistics from Memory Viewer open any post from your blog website and scroll down to the bottom you will notice the statistics, showing up there, like on below screenshot.


Though WP Memory Viewer is said to work only up to WP version 3.2.1, I've tested it and it works fine on my latest stable WordPress 4.1 based blog.

c) WordPress Query Monitor


Query Monitor is a debugging plugin for anyone developing with WordPress but also very helpful for anyone who want to track issues with plugins who use the database unefficient.
It has some advanced features not available in other debugging plugins, including automatic AJAX debugging and the ability to narrow down things by plugin or theme.
You can view plenty of precious statistics on how enabled plugins query the database server, here is a short overview on its Database Queries capabilities:

  • Shows all database queries performed on the current page
  • Shows affected rows and time for all queries
  • Show notifications for slow queries and queries with errors
  • Filter queries by query type (SELECT, UPDATE, DELETE, etc)
  • Filter queries by component (WordPress core, Plugin X, Plugin Y, theme)
  • Filter queries by calling function
  • View aggregate query information grouped by component, calling function, and type
  • Super advanced: Supports multiple instances of wpdb on one page
  • Once enabled from Plugins you will see it appear as a new menu on bottom Admin raw.

An important note to make here is latest Query Monitor extension fails when loaded on current latest Wordpress 4.1, to use it you will have to download and useolder Query Monitor plugin version 2.6.8 you can download it from here

d) Debug Bar

If you want you want a Memory Viewer like plugin for more complex used components memory debugging, reporting if (WP_DEBUG is set in wp-config.php) also check out Debug Bar .
For me Debug Bar was very useful because it show me depreciated functions some plugins used, so I substituted the obsoleted function with new one.



4. Server Hardware hungry (slow) WordPress plugins that you better not use

While spending time to Google for some fixes to WP slow query plugins – I've stumbled upon this post giving a good list with WordPress Plugins better off not to use because they will slow down your site
This is a publicly well known list of WP plugins every WordPress based site adminstrator should avoid, but until today I didn't know so my assumption is you don't know either ..

Below plugins are extremely database intensive mentioned in article that we should better (in all cases!) avoid:

  • Dynamic Related Posts
  • SEO Auto Links & Related Posts
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
  • Similar Posts
  • Contextual Related Posts
  • Broken Link Checker — Overwhelms even our robust caching layer with an inordinate amount of HTTP requests.
  • MyReviewPlugin — Slams the database with a fairly significant amount of writes.
  • LinkMan — Much like the MyReviewPlugin above, LinkMan utilizes an unscalable amount of database writes.
  • Fuzzy SEO Booster — Causes MySQL issues as a site becomes more popular.
  • WP PostViews — Inefficiently writes to the database on every page load. To track traffic in a more scalable manner, both the stats module in Automattic’s Jetpack plugin and Google Analytics work wonderfully.
  • Tweet Blender — Does not play nicely with our caching layer and can cause increased server load.

A good Complete list of known WordPress slow plugins that will hammer down your wordpress performance is here

There are few alternatives to this plugins and when I have some free time I will download and test their alternatives but for now I plan the plugins to stay disabled.

For the absolute WP Performance Optimization Freaks, its good to check out the native way to Debug a wordpress installation through using few embedded


define('WP_DEBUG', true);
define('WP_DEBUG', false);
define('WP_DEBUG_LOG', true);
define('WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false);
define('SAVEQUERIES', true);


An article describing how you can use native WP debug variables is here

Happy Optimizing  ! 🙂

How to play Audio music CDs in GNU/Linux and Free/Net/Open BSDs

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

If you still have some old dusty CDs left on the CD shelf, its quite cool to give it a ride in a rainy morning.

As I enjoy working in console so much, I thought it might be interesting to share how music audio CDs can be listened in plain text mode console.

For all console / terminal geeks Linux and BSDs can be equipped with a number of text/console audio cd console players.

There are plenty of free software console cd audio players on the net, however I found cdplay , cdcd and dcd to be the most popular ones.

On Debian and Ubuntu G*/Linuces cdplay and cdcd are installable via apt. To install cdtool:

root@xubuntu-desktop:~# apt-get install cdtool

cdtool package, contains a number of commands enabling you to listen/stop/shuffle/eject/get info about cd audio volumes. cdtool provides the following binaries:


Install cdcd on Debian and alike by typing:

root@xubuntu-desktop:~# apt-get install cdcd

cdcd has shell like interface the most basic use of it is with:

root@xubuntu-desktop:~# cdcd
cdcd> play

To play audiocds in console on FreeBSD , a command tool dcd is available and installable through ports.
To install it issue:

root@freebsd# cd /usr/ports/audio/dcd
root@freebsd# make install clean

dcd is also available for Linux but on most GNU/Linuxes it has to be built from source.

Lets say you'd like to Play the 5th song from audio CD:

freebsd# dcd 5

dcd has plenty of great arguments, to get some fun with it check the man page.

Another program that can be used to play audio CDs on both Linux and BSDs is the "classical" mplayer .

To play AUDIO CD with mplayer the command line to use is:

root@debian:~# mplayer -cdrom-device /dev/sr0 cdda:// -cache 5000

The argument -cache 5000 has to be passed to to work around choppy sound (if for example audio playback interruptions every few milliseconds).

For people who are keen on ncurses (Midnight Commander) like command line interfaces you might enjoy Herrie a minimalistic music player that supports plenty of sound formats, including audiocds.

Herrie is available for Debian and most deb based modern distros via apt, e.g.:

root@xubuntu-desktop:~# apt-get install herrie

Herrie Minimalistic Music player for Linux and BSD

Ports are also available for FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD.
To install on FreeBSD:

root@freebsd# cd /usr/ports/audio/herrie
root@freebsd# make install clean

I'll be happy to hear feedback and recommendations on any other console audio cd players I might forgot to mention.
Which is your favourite console text based cd audio player?

How to encrypt files with GPG and OpenSSL on GNU / Linux

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Encrypt files and directories with OpenSSL and GPG (GNUPG), OpenSSL and GPG encryption logo

I have just recently found out that it is possible to use openssl to encrypt files to tighten your security.
Why would I want to encrypt files? Well very simple, I have plain text files where I write down my passwords for servers or account logins for services I use on the internet.

Before this very day I use gpg to encrypt and decrypt my sensitive information files and archives. The way to encrypt files with GPG is very simple, here is an example:

server:~# ls -al test.txt
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 12 Nov 25 16:50 test.txt
server:~# gpg -c test.txt > test.txt.gpg
Enter passphrase:
Repeat passphrase:

Typing twice the same password produces the encrypted file test.txt.gpg . In order to later decrypt the gpg password protected file I use cmd:

server:~# gpg -d test.txt.gpg >test.txt
Enter passphrase:
Repeat passphrase:
gpg: CAST5 encrypted data
gpg: encrypted with 1 passphrase
gpg: WARNING: message was not integrity protected

As one can see from above output by default gpg uses the CAST5 algorithm to encrypt the data. For all those curious on what kind of encryption does CAST5 provide and where the CAST5 origins are, in short CAST5 is a GNU invented cryptographic algorithm, the short description of the algorithm is as follows:

“…a DES-like Substitution-Permutation Network (SPN) cryptosystem which appears to have good resistance to differential cryptanalysis, linear cryptanalysis, and related-key cryptanalysis. This cipher also possesses a number of other desirable cryptographic properties, including avalanche, Strict Avalanche Criterion (SAC), Bit Independence Criterion (BIC), no complementation property, and an absence of weak and semi-weak keys.”

Anyways, for all those who trust more the DES128 encryption as an encryption algorithm to keep your data secret, the openssl command tool provides another mean to encrypt sensitive data.
To encrypt a file using the openssl’s DES encryption capabilities:

server:~# openssl des -salt -in test.txt -out test.txt.des
enter des-cbc encryption password:
Verifying - enter des-cbc encryption password:

As you can see to encrypt with the DES-CBC its necessery to type twice the secret password “salt” keyword which will be used as an encryption key.

To decrypt later on the DES encrypted file the cmd is:

server:~# openssl des -d -salt -in file.des -out file

In order to encrypt a whole directory earlier compressed with tar zip:

server:~# tar -czf - directory | openssl des -salt -out directory.tar.gz.des

Where directory is the name of directory which will be tarred and crypted.

To later decrypt with openssl the above encrypted tar.gz.des file:

server:~# openssl des -d -salt -in directory.tar.gzdes | tar -x