How to Increase Swap RAM in Ubuntu

In computing, optimizing system performance is a crucial aspect of ensuring smooth operations. One way to enhance the performance of your Ubuntu system is by increasing the Swap RAM. In this article, we will delve into the details of Swap RAM, its significance, and step-by-step instructions on how to grow it in Ubuntu. By the end, you’ll have a solid understanding of optimizing your system’s memory management for improved performance.

Understanding Swap RAM

Swap RAM, also known as virtual memory, is vital in managing a computer’s memory resources. It acts as an extension to the physical RAM, allowing the operating system to allocate more memory than what is physically available. When the physical RAM becomes insufficient to handle the workload, Swap RAM comes into play by temporarily storing data that would otherwise be stored in the RAM. This helps prevent system crashes and allows for smooth multitasking.

Checking Swap Space

Before diving into increasing Swap RAM, checking the current swap space on your Ubuntu system is essential. To do this, open a terminal and enter the command “swapon –show.” This command will display the current swap space, if any, along with its size.

Creating a Swap File

We’ll create a swap file on the Ubuntu system to increase Swap RAM. This file will act as additional virtual memory. Begin by determining the desired size for the swap file. Setting the size based on your system’s requirements and available disk space is recommended. A general rule of thumb is to allocate twice the size of your physical RAM.

To create the swap file, open a terminal and execute the following commands:

1. Create a file of the desired size using the “fallocate” command:

sudo fallocate -l [swap_file_size]G /swapfile

2. Set the permissions of the swap file to restrict access:

sudo chmod 600 /swapfile

3. Format the file as swap space:

sudo mkswap /swapfile

4. Activate the swap file:

sudo swapon /swapfile


Making Swap Permanent

By default, the swap file we created will be active until the next system reboot. We need to modify the system’s fstab (file system table) to make it permanent. Open the fstab file using a text editor:

sudo nano /etc/fstab

Add the following line at the end of the file to enable the swap file on boot:

/swapfile none swap sw 0 0

Save the changes and exit the text editor.

Verifying Swap Space

To ensure the swap file is active and working correctly, execute the command “swapon –show” again. It should now display the swap file with its allocated size. Additionally, you can use the “free” command to check the overall memory usage, including the swap space.

Optimizing Swap Settings

While increasing Swap RAM can enhance system performance, optimizing the swap settings for optimal results is also essential. By default, Ubuntu uses a swappiness value of 60, which determines the tendency of the system to use swap space. To adjust this value, open the sysctl.conf file:

sudo nano /etc/sysctl.conf

Add the following line at the end of the file to set the swappiness value to a desired level (e.g., 10 for less swapping):


Save the changes and exit the text editor. Reboot your system for the changes to take effect.


Increasing Swap RAM in Ubuntu can significantly improve system performance by providing additional virtual memory when the physical RAM is insufficient. Following the step-by-step instructions outlined in this article, you can quickly increase Swap RAM and optimize its settings. Remember to allocate an appropriate size for the swap file, make it permanent, and fine-tune the swappiness value to suit your system’s requirements. With these optimizations in place, you’ll experience smoother multitasking and better overall performance on your Ubuntu system.