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ps-top - a top-like program for MySQL

ps-top is a program which collects information from MySQL 5.6+'s performance_schema database and uses this information to display server load in real-time. Data is shown by table or filename and the metrics also show how this is split between select, insert, update or delete activity. User activity is now shown showing the number of different hosts that connect with the same username and the activity of those users. There are also statistics on mutex and sql stage timings.

ps-stats is a similar utility which provides output in stdout mode.


Install each binary by doing: go get -u or go get -u

The sources will be downloaded together with the dependencies and the binary will be built and installed into $GOPATH/bin/. If this path is in your PATH setting then the program can be run directly without having to specify any specific path.


The following Non-core Go dependencies are:

  • for connecting to MySQL via a defaults file.
  • a library for creating cross-platform text-based interfaces.


MySQL Access

Access to MySQL can be made by one of the following methods:

  • Default: use a defaults-file named ~/.my.cnf.
  • use an explicit defaults-file with --defaults-file=/path/to/.my.cnf.
  • connect to a host with --host=somehost --port=999 --user=someuser --password=somepass, or
  • connect via a socket with --socket=/path/to/mysql.sock --user=someuser --password=somepass

The user if not specified will default to the contents of $USER. The port if not specified will default to 3306.

  • If you use the command line option --use-environment ps-top or ps-stats will look for the credentials in the environment variable MYSQL_DSN and connect with that. This is a GO DSN and is expected to be in the format: user:pass@tcp(host:port)/performance_schema and currently all fields must be filled in. With a suitable wrapper function this allows you to access one of many different servers without making the credentials visible on the command line.

MySQL/MariaDB configuration

performance_schema MUST be enabled for ps-top to work. By default on MySQL this is enabled but on MariaDB >= 10.0.12 it is disabled. So please check your settings. Simply configure in /etc/my.cnf:

performance_schema = 1

If you change this setting you'll need to restart MariaDB for it to take effect.


ps-top and ps-stats need SELECT access to performance_schema tables. They will not run if access to the required tables is not available.

setup_instruments: To view mutex_latency or stages_latency ps-top will try to change the configuration if needed and if you have grants to do this. If the server is --read-only or you do not have sufficient grants to change these tables these views may be empty. Pior to stopping ps-top will restore the setup_instruments configuration back to its original settings if it had successfully updated the table when starting up.


ps-top and ps-stats can show 7 different views of data, the views are updated every second by default. The views are named:

  • table_io_latency: Show activity by table by the time waiting to perform operations on them.
  • table_io_ops: Show activity by number of operations MySQL performs on them.
  • file_io_latency: Show where MySQL is spending it's time in file I/O.
  • table_lock_latency: Show order based on table locks
  • user_latency: Show ordering based on how long users are running queries, or the number of connections they have to MySQL. This is really missing a feature in MySQL (see: to provide higher resolution query times than seconds. It gives some info but if the queries are very short then the integer runtime in seconds makes the output far less interesting. Total idle time is also shown as this gives an indication of perhaps overly long idle queries, and the sum of the values here if there's a pile up may be interesting.
  • mutex_latency: Show the ordering by mutex latency [1].
  • stages_latency: Show the ordering by time in the different SQL query stages [1].

You can change the polling interval and switch between modes (see below).

[1] See Grants above. These views may appear empty if setup_instruments is not configured correctly.


When in ps-top mode the following keys allow you to navigate around the different ps-top displays or to change it's behaviour.

  • h - gives you a help screen.
      • reduce the poll interval by 1 second (minimum 1 second)
      • increase the poll interval by 1 second
  • q - quit
  • t - toggle between showing the statistics since resetting ps-top started or you explicitly reset them (with 'z') [REL] or showing the statistics as collected from MySQL [ABS].
  • z - reset statistics. That is counters you see are relative to when you "reset" statistics.
  • - change display modes between: latency, ops, file I/O, lock, user, mutex and stage modes.
  • left arrow - change to previous screen
  • right arrow - change to next screen

Stdout mode

ps-stats has the same views as ps-top but the output is sent periodically to stdout. If you don't specify the view to use it will default to table_io_latency. You can adjust the interval of collection and the number of times to collect data in the same way as using vmstat. That is the first parameter is delay (default 1 second) and the second parameter is the number of iterations to make, which if not provided means run forever. This mode is intended to be used for watching and maybe collecting data from ps-top using stdout as the output medium.

Relevant command line options are:

--count=<count> Limit the number of iterations (default: runs forever) --interval=<seconds> Set the default poll interval (in seconds) --limit=<rows> Limit the number of lines of output (excluding headers) --stdout Send output to stdout (not a screen) --view=<view> Determine the view you want to see when ps-top starts (default: table_io_latency) Possible values: table_io_latency, table_io_ops, file_io_latency, table_lock_latency, user_latency, mutex_latency and stages_latency. --totals Only show the totals lines and not the details.

See also

See also:

Incompatible Changes

As of v0.5.0 the original utility was renamed from pstop which could work in stdout or top mode into two utilities named ps-top and ps-stats. This change of name was triggered to avoid the name conflict with the Oracle command pstop(1). See While the two commands are not related it was felt better to avoid the name overload, and while ps-top is reasonably young this change should not yet cause too much trouble.


This program was started as a simple project to allow me (Simon) to learn go, which I'd been following for a while, but hadn't used in earnest. This probably shows in the code so suggestions on improvement are most welcome.

You may find "Contributing to Open Source Git Repositories in Go" by Katrina Owen to be useful:


BSD 2-Clause License


Feedback and patches welcome. I am especially interested in hearing from you if you are using ps-top, or if you have ideas of how I can better use other information from the performance_schema tables to provide a more complete vision of what MySQL is doing or where it's busy.

Simon J Mudd

Code Documenton


pstop - a top-like program for MySQL



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