Unlocking the Secrets of Linux File Permissions

Linux file permissions play a crucial role in securing your system and controlling access to files and directories. Understanding how these permissions work is essential for every Linux user and administrator. In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of Linux file permissions and unveil the secrets to effective permission management.

The Basics of Linux File Permissions

Linux uses a permission system that consists of three levels:

  • Owner: The user who owns the file or directory.
  • Group: A group of users who share certain permissions.
  • Others: Everyone else who is not the owner or in the group.

Each file and directory has three types of permissions:

  • Read: Allows reading the content of a file or listing the contents of a directory.
  • Write: Allows modifying the content of a file or creating/deleting files in a directory.
  • Execute: Allows executing a file (if it’s a script or program) or accessing files within a directory.

Understanding Permission Notations

Linux uses a notation to represent permissions:


The above notation represents the permissions for a file in the following order: owner, group, others. In this example, the owner has read, write, and execute permissions, the group has read and execute permissions, and others have no permissions.

Changing File Permissions

You can modify file permissions using the chmod command:

  • chmod +x file: Adds execute permission.
  • chmod -w file: Removes write permission.
  • chmod u=rw file: Sets owner’s permissions to read and write.
  • chmod g=rw,o=r file: Sets group’s and others’ permissions to read.

Managing File Ownership

You can change the owner and group of a file using the chown and chgrp commands:

  • chown user:group file: Changes the owner and group of the file.
  • chgrp newgroup file: Changes only the group of the file.

Advanced Permissions: SUID, SGID, and Sticky Bit

Linux also has advanced permissions that provide additional functionality:

  • SUID (Set User ID): Executes a file with the permissions of the file owner.
  • SGID (Set Group ID): Executes a file with the permissions of the file group.
  • Sticky Bit: Restricts deletion of files in directories to the owner of the file.


Linux file permissions are the cornerstone of securing your system and managing access to files and directories. By mastering the art of permission management, you gain control over who can read, write, and execute files, ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of your data.

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Join us at Master DevOps as we uncover the mysteries of Linux and empower you with essential skills for effective system administration.

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