Best 22 Essential SysAdmin Tools You Need in 2021

Best 22 Essential SysAdmin Tools You Need in 2021

Upkeeping and configuring hundreds of computer systems and monitoring networks is not easy. But with the right tools, the job becomes less tedious as many of a SysAdmin’s tasks can be automated.

Whether you need to maintain the network and computers of a school, the server of a small business, or the very complex infrastructure of an enterprise, these are the must-have SysAdmin tools.

The list contains everything you’ll need for testing, troubleshooting, and communication. And the best part is that most of these tools are free or open-source, so you have no excuse not to include them in your toolkit.

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1. mRemoteNG

What it’s for: this tool enables SysAdmins to manage systems remotely by using protocols such as VNC, RDP, ICA, Telnet, or SSH. Other useful features include saving credentials and the connection database.

Price: free, open-source

Is it essential? Not if you use something similar (like Remote Desktop Manager).

Where to get: mRemoteNG Download

2. WireShark

What it’s for: this is a SysAdmin monitoring tool that can check network traffic at a granular level across multiple platforms (Windows, macOS, Unix). Because of its well-developed features, WireShark is not only popular among System Administrators, but it’s used for educational purposes as well.

Price: free

Is it essential? Yes, not only for what it does but how it does it as well. WireShark has the best filtration capabilities compared to other similar tools.

Where to get: WireShark Download

3. Notepad++

What it’s for: this is the best text editor alternative to the original Notepad app (or similar applications) because it’s fast, lightweight, fully customizable, and automatically formats code in a very easy-to-read manner.

Price: free

Is it essential? We highly recommend using Notepad++ instead of other text editors.

Where to get: Notepad++ Download

4. ISPConfig3

What it’s for: you can manage multiple servers from the same control panel. The latest version (3.2) supports CentOS 8 and Ubuntu 20.04.

Price: free

Is it essential? Not if you only have one server to manage.

Where to get: ISPConfig3.2 Download

5. CloneZilla

What it’s for: this tool enables SysAdmins to clone disks and hard drives. It’s especially useful if you need to push a master disk image on multiple devices. It can also be used for backup and restore.

Price: free

Is it essential? Not if you use something similar (like Win32 Disk Imager or Rescuezilla), but this is the best free alternative.

Where to get: CloneZilla Download

6. FileZilla

What it’s for: this is an FTP solution that enables you to connect to secured hosts using the SSH protocol. Because it has a GUI interface instead of CLI, it’s more user-friendly than other similar tools.

Price: free

Is it essential? Yes

Where to get: FileZilla Download

7. TreeSize Free

What it’s for: this tool helps SysAdmins free up disk space by highlighting the biggest “consumers”. It’s only compatible with Windows starting with Vista / Server 2008 (32-bit and 64-bit).

Price: free

Is it essential? No

Where to get: TreeSize Free Download

8. Fiddler

What it’s for: this is a network proxy used for debugging web applications. Because it captures network traffic between the Internet and test computers, it can be used to modify requests before they reach the browser.

Price: free

Is it essential? No

Where to get: Fiddler Download

9. Sysinternals Suite

What it’s for: this is a suite of over 40 tools that enable system administrators to manage, troubleshoot, and diagnose Windows systems.

Price: free

Is it essential? Not if you use other operating systems than Windows.

Where to get: Sysinternals Suite Download

10. Slack

What it’s for: this is not exactly a SysAdmin tool, but it’s by far the most popular messaging tool for developers. Thanks to its many integrations and its ability to format code within a chat message, it helps teams share resources and communicate more efficiently.

Price: free

Is it essential?  No

Where to get: Slack Download

11. Mosh

What it’s for: remote sessions are extremely vulnerable to intermittent connectivity. So this tool enables SysAdmins to resume sessions if they unexpectedly go down.

Price: free

Is it essential?  Yes, it saves lots of time when you need to restart a session.

Where to get: Mosh Download

12. MailFlow Monitor

What it’s for: it’s a tool that enables SysAdmins to receive a notification if there’s an issue with the email flow. It’s particularly useful because you can get notified and solve problems before customers notice them.

Price: free

Is it essential? Yes, this should be in every SysAdmin’s toolkit.

Where to get: MailFlow Monitor Download

13. 7-Zip

What it’s for: file archiving. It’s better than other similar solutions thanks to its high data compression and speed. It can be used either through the GUI or CLI.

Price: free, open-source

Is it essential? Not if you use something similar.

Where to get: 7-Zip Download

14. PDQ Inventory and Deploy

What it’s for: this software deployment tool enables System Administrators to keep Windows devices up-to-date without the end-users input. It can also be used to track and organize configuration data.

Price: starting $1000

Is it essential? No

Where to get: PDQ Inventory and Deploy Download

15. Netwrix Lockout Examiner

What it’s for: this tool lets SysAdmins know when users get locked out of their accounts and provides the necessary details. It’s very helpful for identifying the root cause and getting things going again.

Price: on-demand

Is it essential? No

Where to get: Netwrix Lockout Examiner Download

16. KeePass

What it’s for: password management. It helps generate strong passwords and store them for future use. SysAdmins juggle with hundreds of passwords, so a tool like this is really helpful.

Price: free, open-source

Is it essential? No

Where to get: KeePass Download

17. Ansible

What it’s for: automation tool for system administration. This tool enables SysAdmins to automate IT provisioning and manage system configuration and application deployment from the command line.

Price: on-demand

Is it essential? No, but we recommend using something like this to cut down the time required to do the same tasks manually.

Where to get: Ansible Download

18. Netcat

What it’s for: network monitoring. This tool is especially helpful for handling port information, transferring files directly, and connecting to other networked systems. It can replace several other tools.

Price: free

Is it essential? No

Where to get: Netcat Download

19. Process Hacker

What it’s for: this is a great open-source task manager alternative to the built-in app that comes with Windows thanks to its additional features such as malware detection and software debugging and customizability.

Price: free

Is it essential? No, it only works on Windows.

Where to get: Process Hacker Download

20. Uptime Robot

What it’s for: this tool sends a ping to a website every few minutes and alerts you immediately if it’s down. Most system administrators prefer it because of its intuitive interface.

Price: free

Is it essential? No

Where to get: Uptime Robot Download

21. Attack Surface Analyzer

What it’s for: this tool enables SysAdmins to snapshot a system state before and after software installation. It’s especially useful when installing software from untrusted sources as most installation processes require elevated privileges that can lead to vulnerabilities. The only downside of this tool is that it’s developed by Microsoft for Windows systems only.

Price: free, open-source

Is it essential? No

Where to get: Attack Surface Analyzer Download

22. PuTTy

What it’s for: remote connection to servers. This is a Telnet and SSH client and terminal emulator that enables you to connect to servers via a text-based interface. You can use it to transfer files securely or to automate processes remotely (via Plink).

Price: free, open-source

Is it essential? No, but it’s very useful for SysAdmins that are always on-the-go.

Where to get: PuTTy Download

Summing Up

These are just a few of the hundreds of SysAdmin tools available, but new utilities launch every day.

If you’re looking for a solution that can bring multiple tools into one single dashboard, why not give Bunnyshell a try? Here’s what Bunnyshell can do for you:

  • Speed: configure and maintain your infrastructure in minutes;
  • Zero downtime: eliminate crashes;
  • Safety: patches are automatically applied to keep your infrastructure safe.