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Top 9 Free Network Monitoring Tools based on 1K+ Reviews in '24

Updated on May 27
6 min read
Written by
Cem Dilmegani
Cem Dilmegani
Cem Dilmegani

Cem is the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per Similarweb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.

Cem's work focuses on how enterprises can leverage new technologies in AI, automation, cybersecurity(including network security, application security), data collection including web data collection and process intelligence.

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The network monitoring tools have become indispensable for ensuring the performance, reliability, and security of IT infrastructure. ~75 billion devices are expected to be connected to networks by 2025, increasing the importance of network monitoring tools.1

Free network monitoring tools can be a great solution for SMEs aiming to enhance their network’s efficiency and security without incurring high costs. If you are working at a:

This article reviews free network monitoring software, detailing their functionalities, benefits, and comparison with paid alternatives.

Top 9 free network monitoring tools

Network monitoring tools available for free offer an excellent option for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking to improve the efficiency and security of their network without significant expenses.

NPM SoftwareRatingsEmployee SizeOpen-Source
Paessler PRTG Network Monitor (Free Version)4.6/5 based on 218 reviews201-500
Zabbix4.3/5 based on 185 reviews201-500
ManageEngine OpManager(Free Version)4.6/5 based on 161 reviews201-500
LibreNMS4.6/5 based on 13 reviews2-10
Wireshark4.7/5 based on 139 reviews51-200
Prometheus4.4/5 based on 49 reviews501-1,000
Icinga 24.4/5 based on 22 reviews501-1,000
Nagios Core4.1/ based on 34 reviews11-50
Observium4.1/ based on 23 reviews2-10

*Ratings and reviews are based on G2 and Capterra. Vendors who received more reviews are ranked first.

OS coverage of free network monitoring tools

NPM SoftwareOS
WiresharkWindows, macOS, and Linux
Paessler PRTG Network Monitor (Free Version)Windows
ManageEngine OpManager(Free Version)Windows
LibreNMSLinux, Ubuntu, Debian, Windows, FreeBSD, RHEL/CentOS
Icinga 2Windows, Ubuntu, and Linux
PrometheusWindows, Linux, NetBSD, and OpenBSD.
ZabbixLinux, IBM AIX, macOS, Solaris, and Windows
Nagios CoreOracle Linux, Ubuntu, Windows, FreeBSD, Solaris, and macOS.
ObserviumUbuntu, Debian, Windows, FreeBSD, RHEL/CentOS

For shared features of these 9 free network monitoring tools, please refer to the this section.

In-depth analysis of 9 free network monitoring tools

1. Wireshark

Wireshark supports a wide range of protocols, allowing for detailed network traffic examination. The software enables the analysis of network data in real-time and also allows for the review of previously captured data.

Free Network Monitoring Tools

Figure 1: Wireshark Main Window2

  • Pros: Deep packet inspection, supports a wide range of protocols.
  • Cons: Requires a good understanding of network protocols to be fully utilized.
Free Network Monitoring Tools

Source: Wireshark G2 User Reviews 3

Reviews

  • G2: 4.7/5 based on 139 reviews 4
  • PeerSpot: 4.5/5 based on 95 reviews5
  • TrustRadius: 9.3/10 based on 135 votes 6

2. Paessler PRTG Network Monitor (Free Version)

Paessler PRTG’s free version accommodates up to 100 sensors. It targets small networks and offers the flexibility to monitor various network elements.

  • Pros: Intuitive user interface, easy to set up.
  • Cons: Limited number of sensors in the free version.

Source: PRTG Network Monitor (Free Version) Capterra Pros & Cons 7

Reviews

  • G2: 4.6/5 based on 86 reviews 8
  • PeerSpot: 4.1/5 based on 95 reviews9
  • TrustRadius: 8.6/10 based on 236 votes 10

3. ManageEngine OpManager (Free Version)

ManageEngine OpManager Free Version offers device templates for over 2000 device types, simplifying network setup and monitoring. It features NOC View Dashboards for a single-screen network overview, enabling preemptive discrepancy detection.

Free Network Monitoring Tools

Figure 2: ManageEngine OpManager 11

Pros: The free version includes pre-configured templates for over 2000 device types, facilitating easy setup and comprehensive monitoring from the start.

Cons: Limited to monitoring a specific number of devices, which may necessitate upgrading to a paid version for larger networks.

Free Network Monitoring Tools

Source: G212

Reviews

  • Capterra: 4.4/5 based on 206 reviews 13
  • PeerSpot: 4/5 based on 44 reviews14
  • TrustRadius: 8.9/10 based on 82 votes 15

Read: Top +10 ManageEngine Alternatives in ’24: 4k+ Reviews Analyzed

4.LibreNMS

The LibreNMS is a full-stack, open-source network monitoring system developed for auto-discovered monitoring of devices in your network to follow their performance and health while giving you deeply derived analysis of your network traffic, bandwidth consumption, and device status.

LibreNMS dashboard, free network monitoring tools

Source: LibreNMS 16

Pros: LibreNMS is vendor-agnostic, meaning it can monitor servers from various manufacturers and running different operating systems. This flexibility allows organizations with diverse server environments to use LibreNMS effectively for server monitoring.

Cons: LibreNMS may lack support for advanced Wi-Fi features and configurations offered by some enterprise-grade access point management solutions.

A LibreNMS review, free network monitoring tools

Source: G2 17

Reviews

  • G2: 4.6/5 based on 13 reviews 18

5. Icinga 2

Icinga 2, an open-source monitoring tool. It collects SNMP Object Identifiers for detailed device monitoring and integrates with Logstash for efficient SNMP Trap handling.

Free Network Monitoring Tools

Figure 3: Icinga 2 19

  • Pros: Flexible and extensible, excellent for custom monitoring scenarios.
  • Cons: Can be complex to configure and manage.

Source: Icingca 2 Capterra Pros & Cons 20

Reviews

  • Capterra: 4.5/5 based on 16 reviews 21
  • PeerSpot: 3.8/5 based on 16 reviews22
  • TrustRadius: 8.1/10 based on 22 votes 23

6. Prometheus

Prometheus, part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, is designed for monitoring the services in microservices architecture. It’s especially well-suited for monitoring cloud-native environments.

free network monitoring tools, Prometheus

Figure 4: Prometheus Demo Dashboard 24

  • Pros: Highly scalable, great for dynamic or cloud-based environments.
  • Cons: Query language can be complex for new users.

Source: Prometheus Capterra Pros & Cons 25

Reviews

  • G2: 4.4/5 based on 19 reviews 26
  • PeerSpot: 4.1/5 based on 27 reviews27
  • TrustRadius: 8.1/10 based on 92 votes 28

7. Zabbix

Zabbix offers a centralized web interface that simplifies monitoring management and provides native monitoring agents for a spectrum of operating systems and devices.

free network monitoring tools, zabbix

Figure 5: Zabbix29

  • Pros: Highly scalable, supports custom scripts for monitoring.
  • Cons: Steeper learning curve for new users.
Free Network Monitoring Tools

Source: Zabbix Capterra Pros & Cons 30

Reviews

  • G2: 4.3/5 based on 185 reviews 31
  • PeerSpot: 4.1/5 based on 96 reviews32
  • TrustRadius: 8.5/10 based on 165 votes 33

8. Nagios Core

Nagios Core allows for the use of customized add-ons for specific device monitoring with vendor-specific monitoring plugins.

free network monitoring tools, zabbix

Source: Nagios Core34

  • Pros: Extensive plugin ecosystem, strong community support.
  • Cons: Configuration can be complex and time-consuming.

Source: Nagios Core Capterra Pros & Cons 35

Reviews

  • Capterra: 4.3/5 based on 185 reviews 36
  • PeerSpot: 4/5 based on 46 reviews37
  • TrustRadius: 7/10 based on 164 votes 38

9.Observium

Observium is a network monitoring and management platform designed to provide network visibility into the performance and health of IT infrastructure. Observium supports network mapping through various discovery protocols such as SNMP , ICMP, and LLDP.

Linux Device Details, free network monitoring tools

Source: Observium39

Pros: Observium provides near real-time alerts for various events such as power failures or device downtime, enhancing proactive monitoring and response capabilities.

Cons: The platform’s documentation could be improved to enhance clarity and accessibility, facilitating better understanding and utilization for users.

  • G2: 4.1/5 based on 11reviews 40
  • TrustRadius: 9.1/10 based on 13 votes 41
  • Capterra: 4.1/5 based on 11reviews 42

Enterprise-focused network monitoring tools

For those seeking advanced solutions tailored to enterprise-level network monitoring, consider exploring our detailed insights and reviews. Discover in depth evaluations of industry-leading tools like AKIPS (sponsored), Auvik, Atera, and others. Dive into our expert analyses through articles such as:

Shared Features of Network Monitoring Tools

These shared features form the backbone of free network monitoring tools and are a testament to what users have come to expect from top-tier solutions.

  1. Real-time monitoring: All tools provide real-time insights into network performance, allowing IT professionals to identify and address issues.
  2. Alerts and notifications: They come equipped with customizable alerts to notify administrators about critical issues, ensuring that potential problems are flagged.
  3. Device and service monitoring: Monitoring of devices and services is a standard feature, covering everything from routers and switches to servers and applications.
  4. Performance analytics: Each tool offers performance analytics capabilities enables users to track network health, utilization trends, and other performance metrics over time.
  5. Dashboards: With intuitive dashboards and visualization options, these tools present data in an easily digestible format, simplifying the task of network management.
  6. Automated device discovery: Identifies devices within the network automatically, simplifying setup.
  7. Visualization tools: Offers dashboards and maps for a visual representation of network statuses and performance.
  8. Multi-platform support: Compatible with a range of operating systems including Windows, Linux, and Unix. While all selected solutions are multi-platform, free versions of some proprietary solutions only support Windows.

What are the benefits of using free network monitoring tools?

Free network monitoring tools provide cost-effective solutions for organizations looking to monitor their network infrastructure without investing in expensive software licenses. They offer essential monitoring features such as device discovery, performance metrics, alerting, and reporting, helping organizations maintain network health and uptime.

What features do free network monitoring tools typically offer?

Free network monitoring tools often offer a range of features, including device discovery, SNMP monitoring, bandwidth utilization tracking, uptime and downtime monitoring, alerting, customizable dashboards, reporting, and sometimes limited support for advanced features such as network mapping and application monitoring.

Can free network monitoring tools monitor both wired and wireless networks?

Yes, all the tools listed can monitor both wired and wireless network components, though the extent of features may vary.

Are there any limitations to using free network monitoring tools?

Free network monitoring tools may come with limitations such as restricted features, scalability constraints, limited support options, and sometimes less frequent updates compared to commercial solutions. Additionally, some free tools may require more manual configuration and setup compared to paid alternatives.

For more on network monitoring

Access Cem's 2 decades of B2B tech experience as a tech consultant, enterprise leader, startup entrepreneur & industry analyst. Leverage insights informing top Fortune 500 every month.
Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
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Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst

Cem is the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per Similarweb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.

Cem's work focuses on how enterprises can leverage new technologies in AI, automation, cybersecurity(including network security, application security), data collection including web data collection and process intelligence.

Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.

Cem's hands-on enterprise software experience contributes to the insights that he generates. He oversees AIMultiple benchmarks in dynamic application security testing (DAST), data loss prevention (DLP), email marketing and web data collection. Other AIMultiple industry analysts and tech team support Cem in designing, running and evaluating benchmarks.

Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised enterprises on their technology decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.

He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.

Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Sources:

AIMultiple.com Traffic Analytics, Ranking & Audience, Similarweb.
Why Microsoft, IBM, and Google Are Ramping up Efforts on AI Ethics, Business Insider.
Microsoft invests $1 billion in OpenAI to pursue artificial intelligence that’s smarter than we are, Washington Post.
Data management barriers to AI success, Deloitte.
Empowering AI Leadership: AI C-Suite Toolkit, World Economic Forum.
Science, Research and Innovation Performance of the EU, European Commission.
Public-sector digitization: The trillion-dollar challenge, McKinsey & Company.
Hypatos gets $11.8M for a deep learning approach to document processing, TechCrunch.
We got an exclusive look at the pitch deck AI startup Hypatos used to raise $11 million, Business Insider.

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