How to free a lot of memory and drop caches

In my Web Analytics company, I occasionally had problems with Linux servers, because they tended to cache a lot of stuff. Especially, this problem occured, when I was manually copied a lot of files or was doing a tar backups for one of our clients. Well, there is an easy  solutions for this issue now

Kernels 2.6.16 and newer provide a mechanism to have the kernel drop the page cache and/or inode and dentry caches on command, which can help free up a lot of memory. Now you can throw away that script that allocated a ton of memory just to get rid of the cache…

To use /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches, just echo a number to it.

To free page cache:

# echo 1 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches

To free dentries and inodes:

# echo 2 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches

To free pagecache, dentries and inodes:

echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches

As this is a non-destructive operation and dirty objects are not freeable, the user should run “sync” command first!

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