You can view the documentation below, or browse our GitHub Repository, where you can contribute to user manual and FAQ.


Table Of Contents



clamd is a multi-threaded daemon that uses libclamav to scan files for viruses. Scanning behaviour can be fully configured to fit most needs by modifying clamd.conf.

As clamd requires a virus signature database to run, we recommend setting up ClamAV’s official signatures before running clamd using freshclam.

The daemon works by listening for commands on the sockets specified in clamd.conf. Listening is supported over both unix local sockets and TCP sockets.

IMPORTANT: clamd does not currently protect or authenticate traffic coming over the TCP socket, meaning it will accept any and all of the following commands listed from any source. Thus, we strongly recommend following best networking practices when setting up your clamd instance. I.e. don’t expose your TCP socket to the Internet.

Here is a quick list of the commands accepted by clamd over the socket.

  • PING
  • SCAN file/directory
  • RAWSCAN file/directory
  • CONTSCAN file/directory
  • MULTISCAN file/directory
  • ALLMATCHSCAN file/directory

As with most ClamAV tools, you can find out more about these by invoking the command:

$ man clamd

The daemon also handles the following signals as so:

  • SIGTERM - perform a clean exit
  • SIGHUP - reopen the log file
  • SIGUSR2 - reload the database

It should be noted that clamd should not be started using the shell operator & or other external tools which would start it as a background process. Instead, you should run clamd which will load the database and then daemonize itself (unless you have specified otherwise in clamd.conf). After that, clamd is ready to accept connections and perform file scanning.

Once you have set up your configuration to your liking, and understand how you will be sending commands to the daemon, running clamd itself is simple. Simply execute the command:

$ clamd


clamdscan is a clamd client, which greatly simplifies the task of scanning files with clamd. It sends commands to the clamd daemon across the socket specified in clamd.conf and generates a scan report after all requested scanning has been completed by the daemon.

Thus, to run clamdscan, you must have an instance of clamd already running as well.

Please keep in mind, that as a simple scanning client, clamdscan cannot change scanning and engine configurations. These are tied to the clamd instance and the configuration you set up in clamd.conf. Therefore, while clamdscan will accept many of the same commands as its sister tool clamscan, it will simply ignore most of them as (by design) no mechanism exists to make ClamAV engine configuration changes over the clamd socket.

Again, running clamdscan, once you have a working clamd instance, is simple:

$ clamdscan [*options*] [*file/directory/-*]


clamdtop is a tool to monitor one or multiple instances of clamd. It has a colorized ncurses interface, which shows each job queued, memory usage, and information about the loaded signature database for the connected clamd instance(s). By default it will attempt to connect to the local clamd as defined in clamd.conf. However, you can specify other clamd instances at the command line.

To learn more, use the commands

$ man clamdtop


$ clamdtop --help

On-Access Scanning

The ClamAV daemon can be configured to perform On-Access Scanning under Linux. ClamAV’s On-Access Scanning runs alongside the clamd instance, and shares the same engine and virus signature database with the daemon used to kick it off. The On-Access Scanner is capable of blocking access to/from any malicious files it discovers, but by default it is configured to only alert the user if it detects a malicious file.

You can can set-up On-Access Scanning through clamd.conf and learn more about the options available to you by reading the On-Access Scanning User Guide.

Once you have set up the On-Access Scanner (and clamd) to your liking, you will need to run clamd as root (or another user with elevated permissions) to start it:

$ sudo clamd

One-Time Scanning


clamscan is a command line tool which uses libclamav to scan files and/or directories for viruses. Unlike clamdscan, clamscan does not require a running clamd instance to function. Instead, clamscan will create a new engine and load in the virus database each time it is run. It will then scan the files and/or directories specified at the command line, create a scan report, and exit.

By default, when loading databases, clamscan will check the location to which freshclam installed the virus database signatures. This behaviour, along with a myriad of other scanning and engine controls, can be modified by providing flags and other options at the command line.

There are too many options to list all of them here. So we’ll only cover a few common and more interesting ones:

  • --log=FILE - save scan report to FILE
  • --database=FILE/DIR - load virus database from FILE or load all supported db files from DIR
  • --official-db-only[=yes/no(*)] - only load official signatures
  • --max-filesize=#n - files larger than this will be skipped and assumed clean
  • --max-scansize=#n - the maximum amount of data to scan for each container file
  • --leave-temps[=yes/no(*)]- do not remove temporary files
  • --file-list=FILE - scan files from FILE
  • --quiet - only output error messages
  • --bell - sound bell on virus detection
  • --cross-fs[=yes(*)/no] - scan files and directories on other filesystems
  • --move=DIRECTORY - move infected files into DIRECTORY
  • --copy=DIRECTORY - copy infected files into DIRECTORY
  • --bytecode-timeout=N - set bytecode timeout (in milliseconds)
  • --heuristic-alerts[=yes(*)/no] - toggles heuristic alerts
  • --alert-encrypted[=yes/no(*)] - alert on encrypted archives and documents
  • --nocerts - disable authenticode certificate chain verification in PE files
  • --disable-cache - disable caching and cache checks for hash sums of scanned files

To learn more about the options available when using clamscan please reference:

$ man clamscan


$ clamscan --help

Otherwise, the general usage of clamscan is:

clamscan [options] [file/directory/-]