Check load


On the No Sheep blog, Zachary Tirrell defines the load average on GNU/Linux operating system:

In short it is the average sum of the number of processes waiting in the run-queue plus the number currently executing over 1, 5, and 15 minutes time periods.

Alerts on load average are only set on 15 minutes time period. For this, the check gets the number of CPU cores to normalize load values automatically. Loads are computed by dividing the 15 minutes average load per CPU(s) count. For example, if you have 3 CPUs and the 15 minutes load is 6.0, then you get a warning because of (6 / 3) >= 1.15, where 1.15 is the default warning threshold. Main advantage of this method is to make machines comparable and making the design of Grafana panels easier.

Fact Sheet

Check Plugin Download

Check Interval Recommendation

Once a minute

Can be called without parameters


Compiled for


3rd Party Python modules



usage: load [-h] [-V] [--always-ok] [-c CRIT] [-w WARN]

Return the average system load per cpu over the last 1, 5 and 15 minutes.

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -V, --version         show program's version number and exit
  --always-ok           Always returns OK.
  -c CRIT, --critical CRIT
                        Set the critical threshold for load15 per cpu.
                        Default: 5.0
  -w WARN, --warning WARN
                        Set the warning threshold for load15 per cpu. Default:

Usage Examples

./load --warning 1.15 --critical 5.0


Avg per CPU: 0.11 0.12 0.09


  • WARN if load15 >= 1.15 (default)

  • CRIT if load15 >= 5.00 (default)

Perfdata / Metrics

  • load1

  • load5

  • load15

A value below 1 indicates satisfactory resource utilization and minimal wait times. A value above 1 indicates resource saturation and some amount of processing delay.

Credits, License