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Top 20 Frequently Used Basic Linux Commands


This article gives insight into the basic commands of your Linux System. Many people think that, Linux commands are too heart to learn, but it’s not so hard. It’s simple as it is. To learn more about the various commands, it is usually possible to get additional information with the man program followed by the name of the command, for example, man ls. So, let me show you the all Basic Linux Commands via this article.

File Commands


 1. Listing Files and Directories

ls [option(s)] [file(s)]

If you run ls without any additional parameters, the program will list the contents of the current directory in short form.

                                    -l [detailed list]
                                    -a [displays hidden files]

2. Copying and Pasting

cp [option(s)] sourcefile targetfile 

Copies source file to target file.

                                  -i [Waits for confirmation, if necessary, before an existing target file is overwritten]
                                   -r [Copies recursively (includes sub directories)]

3. Moving file and directories

mv [option(s)] source file target file

Copies source file to targetfile then deletes the original sourcefile. mv stands for move source file to target file. mv is also used for rename file or directory name.

4. Changing Directories

cd [options(s)] [directory]

Changes the current directory. cd without any parameters changes to the user’s home directory.

cd ..

Switch to previous Directory or Location from Present Working Directory.

cd ~

Your home directory is the directory you’re placed in, by default, when you open a new terminal session. It’s the directory that holds all your settings, your mail, your default documents and downloads folder, and many other personal items. It has a special representation: a tilde (“~”).

5. Showing Current Date and Time

date [option(s)]

This simple program displays the current system time. If run as root, it can also be used to change the system time. Details about the program are available in date.

6. Calculate Space Occupied by Directories

du [option(s)] [path]

This command, when executed without any parameters, shows the total disk space occupied by files and sub directories in the current directory.

7. Display Current Directory Path


Display the path name for the current directory.

8. Showing Processes

ps [options]

Display a snapshot of the currently running processes.

9. Creating New Directory

mkdir [options] Directory Name

To Create a new directory.

10. Removing Empty Directory

rmdir [options] Directory Name

To Delete/Remove empty directories.

11. Displaying Help Manual

man [command name]

Display the help information for the specified command.

--help [command name]

If you’re not sure how to use a specific command, run the command with the –help switches. You’ll see usage information and a list of options you can use with the command. For example, if you want to know how to use the ls command, type ls –help

12. Creating Empty Files

touch [file name]

To Create an empty file with the specified name.

13. Removing Files and Directories

rm [file name]

To Remove (delete) file(s) and/or directories.


rm -rf [non-empty folder name]

To Remove (delete) directories which is not empty.


14. Editing Files with Nano

nano [filename]

To edit or write any text with the specified name.

15. Read Text Files

cat [file name]

To read all types of text files.

16. Display Logged in Users


Get the information on currently logged in users.

17. Display Current User


To know the current user who is in the shell.

18. Switching Users

sudo su [options] [user [arguments]]

Switch to another user account.

19. Changing Password

passwd [name [password]]

To change the password or allow (for the system administrator) to change any password.

20. Pinging a Network

ping [option(s)] host name|IP address

The ping command is the standard tool for testing the basic functionality of TCP/IP networks. It sends a small data packet to the destination host, requesting an immediate reply. If this works, ping displays a message to that effect, which indicates that the network link is basically functioning.

-c = [number Determines the total number of packages to send and ends after they have been dispatched. By default, there is no limitation set.]


By now, you should have a basic understanding of how to see the files and directories using commands in your Linux Operating System. You should also know some basic file manipulation commands that will allow you to view, copy, move, or delete files. Finally, you should be comfortable with some basic editing using the nano text editor.

Aryan is a Linux Ethusiast who loves Free and Open Source Software. He promotes and provides solution to Linux and its derivatives. He has about 7 years of experience in Linux and System Administration. As a spare time, he like to work as a Freelancer and writes articles, tutorials, news on FOSS and Linux.

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