How to Increase Virtual Memory Areas for Optimal Performance: A Guide to Setting vm.max_map_count to [262144]

If you're a developer or system administrator, you may have encountered issues with virtual memory areas (VMAs) on your system. VMAs are the blocks of virtual memory that a process uses to store its data and code. When you run out of VMAs, your system can slow down or even crash.

One way to increase the number of VMAs available to your system is to adjust the vm.max_map_count kernel parameter. In this guide, we'll show you how to do just that.


Before we get started, make sure that you have:

  • Root access to your system
  • A text editor

Step 1: Check the Current Value of vm.max_map_count

To check the current value of vm.max_map_count, open a terminal and run the following command:

sysctl vm.max_map_count

This will output the current value of vm.max_map_count on your system.

Step 2: Set vm.max_map_count to [262144]

To set the vm.max_map_count kernel parameter to [262144], open the /etc/sysctl.conf file in your favorite text editor and add the following line at the end of the file:


Save the file and exit the text editor.

Step 3: Apply the Changes

To apply the changes you made to /etc/sysctl.conf, run the following command:

sudo sysctl -p

This will reload the kernel parameters from /etc/sysctl.conf and apply the changes you made.


Q1: What is the default value of vm.max_map_count?

The default value of vm.max_map_count varies depending on your system. To check the default value on your system, run the sysctl vm.max_map_count command.

Q2: What happens if I set vm.max_map_count too high?

Setting vm.max_map_count too high can cause your system to run out of memory or crash. It's important to set this parameter to a value that is appropriate for your system's resources.

Q3: Can I set vm.max_map_count to a value higher than 262144?

You can set vm.max_map_count to a value higher than 262144, but it's important to make sure that your system has enough resources to handle the increased number of VMAs.

Q4: Do I need to reboot my system after changing vm.max_map_count?

No, you do not need to reboot your system after changing vm.max_map_count. Running the sudo sysctl -p command will apply the changes immediately.

Q5: Can I set vm.max_map_count for individual processes?

No, vm.max_map_count is a kernel parameter that applies to the entire system, not individual processes.


By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can increase the number of virtual memory areas available to your system and improve its performance. Just be sure to set vm.max_map_count to a value that is appropriate for your system's resources.

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