Top Basic Linux Commands for Beginners

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This guide lists out all the top most used basic Linux commands every day on your Linux system. You can use the following commands on any Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, Fedora, RedHat, ArcLinux.

The following commands are executed in Command Line which is referred as Linux-shell. Let’s get to the common commands used everyday.

Basic Linux Commands

You can get help for any command using the following syntax.

command_name --help

There is a manual for each command, you can use the man command to get more details about the command.

man command_name

1. pwd – Print Working Directory

pwd command is used to find the path the current directory you were currently working on.



2. ls – List

ls command outputs all the directories, files that are located on the current directory.


file1.txt     folder-1
file2.txt     folder-2

3. cd – Change Directory

cd command is used to navigate to a new directory. When used without any arguments it will take you to your home directory.

# takes you to your home directory
# To navigate to the parent directory
cd ../
# To change to previous working directory
cd ~

4. mkdir – Make Directory

mkdir command is used to create new directories in a specific location.

# Create new directory
mkdir directory_name
# Create nested directories
mkdir -p directory_name/child_directory_name

5. touch – Timestamps

touch command is used to update timestamps of an existing file or create a new file with the current timestamp.

touch file1.txt

6. mv – Move

mv command is used to move a file or directory to another location or change the directory name to a different one.

# Renaming a file
mv file1.txt file2.txt

# Renaming a directory
mv folder1 folder2

# move file from one directory to another directory
mv folder1/test.txt folder2/test.txt

7. cp – Copy

cp command is used to copy file to another file on same location or another location.

You can use the -R option copy all files from one location to another location.

# copy file to a new file
cp file1.txt file2.txt

# copy file to new loaction
cp file.txt /home/username

# copy all contents of directories to another directory
cp -R directory /home/username/public

8. rm – Remove

rm command is used to remove a specific file or set of files with specific extension or remove a directory with all contents.

You need to be careful while using this command.

# remove a specific file
rm /home/username/filename.txt

# remove files with specific extension
rm -rf *.txt

# remove a directory with contents in it
rm -rf directory_name

9. chmod – Change Mode

chmod command is used to change mode of an object so that it can have read, or read write or read write and execute permissions.

  • The first number stands for the user who is associated with the file.
  • The second number is for the group associated with the file.
  • The third number is associated with everyone else who is not a part of the user or group.
Octal NotationPermissionSymbolic Representation
0No Permission
1Execute Permission Only–x
2Write Permission Only-w-
3Write and Execute Permissions (1+2)=3-wx
4Read Permission Onlyr–
5Read and Execute Permissions (1+4)=5r-x
6Read and Write Permissions (2+4)=6rw-
7Read, Write and Execute Permissions, Means Full Permissions (1+2+4)=7rex
chmod 644 private-key.pem

10. cat – Concatenate

cat command is one of the most commonly used command to create single or multiple files, view contents of file, concatenate files and redirect output in terminal or files.

cat file.txt

This command will outputs the content of the file.

Prepare yourself for a role working as an Information Technology Professional with Linux operating system


Now you have learned the basic commands that are used every day.

Thanks for your time. If you face any problem or any feedback, please leave a comment below.

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