Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Someone setup a server and has FFMPEG is trying to encode a video and it has effectively killed the web server. I didn't set it up but have sudo access and need to kill FFMPEG so that the web server starts responding again. How can I do this? Thank you!

It is an Ubuntu 11.10 server with a standard LAMP stack.

share|improve this question
up vote 13 down vote accepted

On Linux, you can use sudo killall ffmpeg to kill every process called "ffmpeg" or ps -ef | grep ffmpeg to get the process ids and then sudo kill <PID> to kill each one individually.

If they don't die, sudo kill -9 <PID> will terminate them.

If you don't want to kill ffmpeg, you can pause a running process with sudo kill -s SIGSTOP <PID> and start them again with sudo kill -s SIGCONT <PID>.

Beware: On Solaris, killall doesn't take arguments. It just kills everything.

share|improve this answer
I'd also possibly chmod a-x `which ffmpeg` to stop them doing it again. – Tom O'Connor Apr 2 '12 at 17:46
This worked out for me, thank you. I will be revisiting with the team to make sure they get a system in place to not let FFMPEG do this again. – gokujou Apr 2 '12 at 17:51

Not quite what you're asking, but if it's important for the ffmpeg job to finish, it might be enough to renice it to give it a lower priority than the web server processes.

Run something like ps auxw |grep ffmpeg to get the PID of the ffmpeg process, then issue sudo renice -n 19 PID to change the process priority, for process PID from the first command.

This strategy might work a little better than outright killing ffmpeg. It'll give you breathing room for the web processes, but will allow the original job to finish. Also, if there's some sort of job queuer running, it may just start up ffmpeg again after it sees that the original job did not complete successfully.

share|improve this answer
ps -ef | grep ffmpeg

Take note of PID's of different ffmpeg processes, then for each PID

kill -9 PID
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.