Change Mode (chmod) Meaning: What is chmod?

    February 10, 2022


    Change Mode (chmod) Meaning: What is chmod?


    Let's clarify the exact chmod meaning! In UNIX/Linux-based operating systems, chmod refers to change mode, a command for changing file access permissions.

    Change Mode (chmod) Meaning & Purpose

    The chmod, or change mode, command allows an administrator to set or modify a file’s permissions. Every UNIX/Linux file has an owner user and an owner group attached to it, and every file has permissions associated with it. The permissions are as follows: read, write, or execute.

    Change Mode (chmod) Meaning & Application

    UNIX/Linux systems have many users. In this context, a user may refer to an individual or a system operation. UNIX/Linux identifies each user with a UID, and users may be organized into groups.

    Change Mode (chmod) Syntax & Mode Parameters

    The syntax of the chmod command is:

    chmod mode file

    Example:

    chmod 720 readme.txt

    Each number in the mode parameter represents the permissions for a user or group of users:

    • The first number represents the file’s owner.
    • The second number represents the file’s group.
    • The third number represents everyone else.

    The Change Mode (chmod) Meaning & Mode Parameters Reference Table below shows the eight numbers that can be used within the chmod parameter. The rwx column specifies read, write, and execute access, offering a binary value for each operation. A "1" means "yes," a "0" means "no." If rwx reads 110, then that permission may read and write, but not execute.

    #
    Permission
    rwx
    Change Mode (chmod) Meaning & Mode Parameters Reference Table    
    0
    none
    000
    1
    execute only
    001
    2
    write only
    010
    3
    write and execute
    011
    4
    read only
    100
    5
    read and execute
    101
    6
    read and write
    110
    7
     read, write, and execute
     111

    For example, if you set your directory permissions to 720, then your permissions would function as follows:

    • The file’s owner may read, write, and execute the file.
    • The file’s group may only write the file.
    • All others cannot access the file.

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