Calista Lai
By Calista Lai

Linux File Permissions

Linux File Permissions

File Permissions

File permissions determine who can read, write, or execute a file. In Linux,

these details can be viewed by using the ls -l command.

On the very left of the list, you will see text that looks similar to this:


These are your file permissions.

What do These rwx- Characters Mean?

  • r read - user is allowed to view the file’s contents

  • w write - user is allowed to edit the file’s contents

  • x execute - user is allowed to execute the file (or in the case of a directory, view its contents)

  • - no permission - used in place when a permission is not granted

File type

The very first character specifies the file type. In this case, - indicates a regular file. Different characters represent different types:

  • b block device

  • c character device

  • d directory

  • l symbolic link

  • p named pipe

  • s socket file

Owner, Groups, and Others

The next nine characters determine what permissions the owner, groups in ownership, and other users have.

The first three characters after the file type indicate the ower’s permissions. In -rwxrw-r--, the owner’s file permissions are rwx. They are allowed to read,

write, and execute the file.

The following three characters determine permissions for members of groups that own the file. In this case, group permissions are rw-. They are allowed to

read and write to the file, but cannot execute it.

The last three characters are permissions for all other users that do not fit into the previous two categories. This example’s permissions for other users are

r--. They are only allowed to read the file.