How to Free Swap Linux?


Welcome to the world of Linux, where freedom and flexibility go hand in hand. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of how to free swap Linux effectively. Whether you’re a seasoned Linux user or just starting on your Linux journey, this article will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to optimize your system’s swap space, ensuring smooth and efficient performance.

How to Free Swap Linux?

Linux is renowned for its stability and performance, but even the most robust systems can benefit from some fine-tuning. Let’s explore the world of Linux swap space and learn how to optimize it for the best results.

Understanding Swap Space

Before we dive into the optimization process, it’s essential to understand what swap space is and why it matters. Swap space is a dedicated area on your hard drive that Linux uses as virtual memory when your physical RAM (Random Access Memory) is exhausted. This allows your system to continue running smoothly even when it’s handling more tasks than your RAM can handle.

Checking Your Current Swap Usage

To start optimizing your swap space, you need to know your system’s current status. Let’s examine how to check your Linux system’s swap usage.

Using the swapon Command

One way to check your current swap usage is by using the swapon command. Open your terminal and enter the following command:

swapon --show

This command will display detailed information about your swap space, including its size and usage.

Analyzing Swap Usage Patterns

Understanding how your system uses swap space is crucial for effective optimization. It’s essential to monitor your system’s performance over time and identify any recurring patterns of high swap usage. This can help you pinpoint the root causes of performance issues.

Optimizing Swap Space

Now that you’ve assessed your system’s swap usage let’s move on to the optimization steps. Follow these expert recommendations to ensure your Linux system operates at its best.

Adjusting Swapiness

Swapiness is a kernel parameter that determines how often your system swaps data between RAM and swap space. By default, most Linux distributions set the swapiness value to 60, which means the system starts swapping when RAM usage reaches 40%. Adjusting this value can have a significant impact on your system’s performance.

To change the swapiness value, follow these steps:

Open the /etc/sysctl.conf file in your preferred text editor.

Add the following line at the end of the file to set the swapiness value to a desired level (e.g., 10 for more conservative swapping):


Save the file and exit your text editor.

To apply the changes, run the following command:

sudo sysctl -p

Creating a Swap File

In addition to optimizing swapiness, you can create a swap file to increase your swap space. Here’s how you can do it:

Determine the size of the swap file you want to create (e.g., 1GB):

sudo fallocate -l 1G /swapfile

Set appropriate permissions on the swap file to secure it:

sudo chmod 600 /swapfile

Configure the file as swap space:

sudo mkswap /swapfile

Enable the swap file:

sudo swapon /swapfile

Make the swap file permanent by adding it to your /etc/fstab file:

echo '/swapfile none swap sw 0 0' | sudo tee -a /etc/fstab

Swappiness in Action

With these optimizations in place, you’ll experience a noticeable improvement in your Linux system’s performance. Swappiness adjustments and additional swap space can make your system more responsive and reliable, even during resource-intensive tasks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to disable swap space completely?

While it’s generally not recommended to disable swap space entirely, you can set its size to a minimal value, effectively reducing its impact on your system.

Can I use a separate partition for swap space?

Yes, you can create a dedicated swap partition when installing Linux. However, using a swap file, as mentioned earlier, offers more flexibility.

What is the ideal size for a swap file?

The ideal size of a swap file depends on your system’s RAM and intended use. A common recommendation is to allocate 1-2 times the amount of RAM you have.

Is it safe to change the swappiness value?

Yes, changing the swappiness value is safe and reversible. Experiment with different values to find what works best for your system.

Will optimizing swap space affect my existing data?

Optimizing swap space should not affect your existing data. However, it’s always a good practice to back up important data before making significant system changes.

Are there any risks associated with creating a swap file?

Creating a swap file is a straightforward process and carries minimal risks. Just ensure you follow the instructions correctly.

How to free swap in Linux?

To free swap in Linux, you can use the “swapoff” command followed by the swap device or file path.

How do I free up swap space in Linux?

To free up swap space in Linux, you can use the “swapoff” command to deactivate the swap, and then use “swapon” to


In this guide, we’ve explored the ins and outs of how to free swap Linux for optimal system performance. By understanding swap space, checking your current usage, and implementing key optimizations, you can ensure that your Linux system runs smoothly even under heavy workloads.

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