Command Line

Useful Commands

Some basic, but useful commands

File & folder ownership & groups

Find all files/folders with user apache.

find . -user apache

Find all files/folders that DO NOT have user apache.

find . ! -user apache

Change owner and/or group on a file and/or folder.

chown file.txt

Find all files with user apache and change owner and/or group.

find . -user apache -exec chown {} \;


Changing file & directory folder permissions

Find all files with 777 permissions and change to 644.

find . -perm 777 -type f | xargs chmod 644

Change all file permissions to 644 recursively.

find . -type f -exec chmod 644 {} \;

Find all directory folders with 777 permissions and change to 755.

find . -perm 777 -type d | xargs chmod 755

Change all directory folder permissions to 755 recursively.

find . -type d -exec chmod 755 {} \;


Move/rename a file or directory folder

Move a file to a different directory

mv myfile.txt /path/to/different/directory

Rename a file in same directory

mv myfile.txt mynewfile.txt


Backup/copy a file or directory folder

Copy a file ‘myfile.txt’ to different directory

cp myfile.txt /path/to/different/directory

Copy a directory ‘mydirectory’ and it’s content to a new directory ‘mydirectory_backup’.

cp -avr mydirectory mydirectory_backup

Copy the contents inside a directory ‘mydirectory’ to a different directory on same server. Note only the contents of the directory will be copied, not the actually directory. The location/destination directory must exist before running the command.

cp -avr mydirectory/* /path/to/different/directory


Editing a file in VIM

Open a file in VIM

vim myfile.txt

Go to line eg:196. Hit enter after you enter the loine number


Search for string/pattern from where the cursor is in the file eg: keyword


Repeat search forward in the file


Repeat search backwards in the file


Enter insert mode (to begin editing)


Quit a file without saving (you must hit ‘Esc’ on your keyboard first)


Save/write and quit a file (you must hit ‘Esc’ on your keyboard first)