Say you're curious or doing port-hardening, you'd be curious what those most common ports are. Short of opening the file & sorting, is there a command to show those ports? Another way that MAY please the desire is a command to show all ports scanned regardless of state (closed/filterd/etc)

I have

  • googled & searched on this site
  • read over the nmap documentation
  • tried scanning ports & it seems to start grouping (Not shown: 991 closed ports) around 29/30
  • found this page that seems to elude there was a function (probably in the nmap source) for gettoppts/getpts, then advises of a database sorted_services (maybe that's a file in the nmap directory)
  • If you are interested in doing hardening, you should be whitelisting specific ports you need open, instead of scanning with nmap, checking the results, and changing your configuration that way.
    – user11869
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 16:58
  • Thanks for the tip. However that was just an example, I am currently in the 'curious' phase
    – gregg
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 18:23

5 Answers 5


In addition to sorting the nmap-services file as SilverlightFox suggests, you can get this information from Nmap:

$ ./nmap --top-ports 1000 localhost -v -oG -
# Nmap 6.47SVN scan initiated Wed Jan  7 18:04:53 2015 as: ./nmap --top-ports 1000 -v -oG - localhost
# Ports scanned: TCP(1000;1,3-4,6-7,9,13,17,19-26,30,32-33,37,42-43,49,53,70,79-85,88-90,99-100,106,109-111,113,119,125,135,139,143-144,146,161,163,179,199,211-212,222,254-256,259,264,280,301,306,311,340,366,389,406-407,416-417,425,427,443-445,458,464-465,481,497,500,512-515,524,541,543-545,548,554-555,563,587,593,616-617,625,631,636,646,648,666-668,683,687,691,700,705,711,714,720,722,726,749,765,777,783,787,800-801,808,843,873,880,888,898,900-903,911-912,981,987,990,992-993,995,999-1002,1007,1009-1011,1021-1100,1102,1104-1108,1110-1114,1117,1119,1121-1124,1126,1130-1132,1137-1138,1141,1145,1147-1149,1151-1152,1154,1163-1166,1169,1174-1175,1183,1185-1187,1192,1198-1199,1201,1213,1216-1218,1233-1234,1236,1244,1247-1248,1259,1271-1272,1277,1287,1296,1300-1301,1309-1311,1322,1328,1334,1352,1417,1433-1434,1443,1455,1461,1494,1500-1501,1503,1521,1524,1533,1556,1580,1583,1594,1600,1641,1658,1666,1687-1688,1700,1717-1721,1723,1755,1761,1782-1783,1801,1805,1812,1839-1840,1862-1864,1875,1900,1914,1935,1947,1971-1972,1974,1984,1998-2010,2013,2020-2022,2030,2033-2035,2038,2040-2043,2045-2049,2065,2068,2099-2100,2103,2105-2107,2111,2119,2121,2126,2135,2144,2160-2161,2170,2179,2190-2191,2196,2200,2222,2251,2260,2288,2301,2323,2366,2381-2383,2393-2394,2399,2401,2492,2500,2522,2525,2557,2601-2602,2604-2605,2607-2608,2638,2701-2702,2710,2717-2718,2725,2800,2809,2811,2869,2875,2909-2910,2920,2967-2968,2998,3000-3001,3003,3005-3007,3011,3013,3017,3030-3031,3052,3071,3077,3128,3168,3211,3221,3260-3261,3268-3269,3283,3300-3301,3306,3322-3325,3333,3351,3367,3369-3372,3389-3390,3404,3476,3493,3517,3527,3546,3551,3580,3659,3689-3690,3703,3737,3766,3784,3800-3801,3809,3814,3826-3828,3851,3869,3871,3878,3880,3889,3905,3914,3918,3920,3945,3971,3986,3995,3998,4000-4006,4045,4111,4125-4126,4129,4224,4242,4279,4321,4343,4443-4446,4449,4550,4567,4662,4848,4899-4900,4998,5000-5004,5009,5030,5033,5050-5051,5054,5060-5061,5080,5087,5100-5102,5120,5190,5200,5214,5221-5222,5225-5226,5269,5280,5298,5357,5405,5414,5431-5432,5440,5500,5510,5544,5550,5555,5560,5566,5631,5633,5666,5678-5679,5718,5730,5800-5802,5810-5811,5815,5822,5825,5850,5859,5862,5877,5900-5904,5906-5907,5910-5911,5915,5922,5925,5950,5952,5959-5963,5987-5989,5998-6007,6009,6025,6059,6100-6101,6106,6112,6123,6129,6156,6346,6389,6502,6510,6543,6547,6565-6567,6580,6646,6666-6669,6689,6692,6699,6779,6788-6789,6792,6839,6881,6901,6969,7000-7002,7004,7007,7019,7025,7070,7100,7103,7106,7200-7201,7402,7435,7443,7496,7512,7625,7627,7676,7741,7777-7778,7800,7911,7920-7921,7937-7938,7999-8002,8007-8011,8021-8022,8031,8042,8045,8080-8090,8093,8099-8100,8180-8181,8192-8194,8200,8222,8254,8290-8292,8300,8333,8383,8400,8402,8443,8500,8600,8649,8651-8652,8654,8701,8800,8873,8888,8899,8994,9000-9003,9009-9011,9040,9050,9071,9080-9081,9090-9091,9099-9103,9110-9111,9200,9207,9220,9290,9415,9418,9485,9500,9502-9503,9535,9575,9593-9595,9618,9666,9876-9878,9898,9900,9917,9929,9943-9944,9968,9998-10004,10009-10010,10012,10024-10025,10082,10180,10215,10243,10566,10616-10617,10621,10626,10628-10629,10778,11110-11111,11967,12000,12174,12265,12345,13456,13722,13782-13783,14000,14238,14441-14442,15000,15002-15004,15660,15742,16000-16001,16012,16016,16018,16080,16113,16992-16993,17877,17988,18040,18101,18988,19101,19283,19315,19350,19780,19801,19842,20000,20005,20031,20221-20222,20828,21571,22939,23502,24444,24800,25734-25735,26214,27000,27352-27353,27355-27356,27715,28201,30000,30718,30951,31038,31337,32768-32785,33354,33899,34571-34573,35500,38292,40193,40911,41511,42510,44176,44442-44443,44501,45100,48080,49152-49161,49163,49165,49167,49175-49176,49400,49999-50003,50006,50300,50389,50500,50636,50800,51103,51493,52673,52822,52848,52869,54045,54328,55055-55056,55555,55600,56737-56738,57294,57797,58080,60020,60443,61532,61900,62078,63331,64623,64680,65000,65129,65389) UDP(0;) SCTP(0;) PROTOCOLS(0;)
Host: (localhost)     Status: Up
Host: (localhost)     Ports: 22/open/tcp//ssh///, 25/open/tcp//smtp///, 80/open/tcp//http///, 1080/open/tcp//socks///, 5432/open/tcp//postgresql///   Ignored State: closed (995)
# Nmap done at Wed Jan  7 18:04:53 2015 -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 0.10 seconds

Using the -oG - (greppable output to stdout) and -v (verbose) options, you can get a complete list of all the ports Nmap scanned (see the second line of output, beginning with # Ports scanned:). Unfortunately, you also need to do a port scan at the same time, so I used localhost to scan my own machine (usually much faster than any network scan will be). This is also useful for more complicated cases like nmap -sSU --port-ratio .2 (3 TCP and 10 UDP ports).

EDIT: Based on comments below, it looks like you might just want a full, verbose output of all ports and their states for every host scanned. You can get this with -d3 or higher debug levels.

EDIT 2: Recently discovered that localhost in this command is unnecessary. You can run the exact same command without specifying any targets, which will fail with a warning but still produce the "Ports scanned" output line: ./nmap --top-ports 1000 -v -oG -

  • 1
    I think you nailed my primary question best. Leave it to me (I over think things) to not try verbose. Scanning localhost got me the ports I was looking for, however it still grouped them when scanning a remote server. This now falls into 'how to show all ports scanned regardless of state'; I'd be curious if you had an answer :)
    – gregg
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 18:33
  • @gregg See the second line of output, # Ports scanned:. It has a list of all scanned ports, regardless of state. Edit to answer coming for another aspect of your question... Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 18:41
  • You are correct. I was omitting the -oG as the output was all jumbled together & I thought you had included that because you personally like to do additional processing in grep. I was also confused about the additional dash, its telling it to output to stdout (screen) instead of a file; see (search for hypen) nmap.org/book/man-output.html
    – gregg
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 19:32
  • @gregg Thanks for the feedback. I clarified my answer, too. Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 19:48

sort -r -k3 /usr/share/nmap/nmap-services should give you what you need.

This will sort the nmap-services file by open-frequency.

http    80/tcp  0.484143    # World Wide Web HTTP
ipp 631/udp 0.450281    # Internet Printing Protocol
snmp    161/udp 0.433467    # Simple Net Mgmt Proto
netbios-ns  137/udp 0.365163    # NETBIOS Name Service
ntp 123/udp 0.330879    # Network Time Protocol
netbios-dgm 138/udp 0.297830    # NETBIOS Datagram Service
ms-sql-m    1434/udp    0.293184    # Microsoft-SQL-Monitor
microsoft-ds    445/udp 0.253118
msrpc   135/udp 0.244452    # Microsoft RPC services
dhcps   67/udp  0.228010    # DHCP/Bootstrap Protocol Server
telnet  23/tcp  0.221265
domain  53/udp  0.213496    # Domain Name Server
https   443/tcp 0.208669    # secure http (SSL)
ftp 21/tcp  0.197667    # File Transfer [Control]
netbios-ssn 139/udp 0.193726    # NETBIOS Session Service
ssh 22/tcp  0.182286    # Secure Shell Login
  • Got any magic for windows (short of cygwin)? Their switch /+# is character based & the whitespace/tabbing in the file throws it off
    – gregg
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 18:23
  • There are some comments at the beginning of the file which needs to be discarded, so your command should look like this grep -v '^#' /usr/share/nmap/nmap-services | sort -r -k3
    – GMaster
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 13:14

Easiest way is:

nmap -oX - --top-ports 1000 x

This will print the XML output to the terminal which includes the exact ports. You don't need to specify a real host list either.

  • The fake host x can be omitted and it will still work. (The exit code $? will still be 0)
    – GMaster
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 13:29

I prefer awk '$2~/tcp$/' /usr/share/nmap/nmap-services | sort -r -k3 | head -n 100 because I scan TCP separately from UDP.


nmap --script banner -iL block --min-rate 10 --min-parallelism 20 --defeat-rst-ratelimit -n -Pn -g 88 -p-
nmap -iL block --min-rate 450 --min-parallelism 20 -n -Pn -sUV --version-all -g 53 -p-

I'd replace the -p- with the specific ports you are looking to test.

In order to verify other characteristics, especially for found TCP ports, I'd likely next try:

nmap --script qscan -iL block -v -O --osscan-guess --max-os-tries 1 -n -Pn -sV -p-
nmap --script firewalk --traceroute -iL block -n -Pn -p-
nmap --script firewalk --traceroute -iL block -n -Pn -p- --data-length 100
nmap --script firewall-bypass -iL block -n -Pn -p-

Again, replacing -p- with more-specific ports and following with bnat-suite (search msfconsole for bnat or check out its GitHub page), fragroute, osstmm-afd, 0trace, etc for a complete analysis of firewall/IPS.

--reason will show all states for either TCP or UDP.

There is a lot more you can do with nmap or otherwise, but I'm keeping this conversation to layer 4 which may or may not be an oversimplification.

  • What is the meaning of $2~/tcp$ in awk?
    – Wolf
    Commented Mar 14, 2021 at 1:28
  • patterns in awk. if the 2nd field matches tcp with an end of line, then execute the rest.
    – atdre
    Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 16:34

For default 1000 ports, you can also try:

nmap -oG - -v

or if you prefer to type less

nmap -oX -

If you want to customize the port, let say the first 10 ports, use --top-ports 0`

nmap -oG - -v --top-ports 10

or nmap -oX - --top-ports 10

Use grep to minimize the output

nmap -oG - -v --top-ports 10 2>/dev/null | grep Po


nmap -oX - --top-ports 10 2>/dev/null | grep info

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