My CLI Cheat Sheet

Basic Operations

sudo: “Super User Do”… run command as root

man: manual… an interface to the system reference manuals

df -h: report file system disk space usage in a human readable format

du -h: estimates file size within a directory

free -h: display amount of free an used memory in the system

uname: “Unix Name”

top: display Linux processes

ps axc: display currently running programs

pidof: get a program’s process ID

kill: terminate a process

history: view command history

echo: display a line of text

date: today’s date

cal: calendar

clear: clear the terminal screen

exit: exit the terminal screen

tmux: terminal multiplexer. allows for multiple windows inside of a single terminal window


CTRL+C: stop any command that is currently running

CTRL+Z: pause any command that is currently running

File Operations

pwd: print working directory… outputs current absolute path

cd: change directory

ls: list directory contents

mkdir: make directory

touch: create a file

cp: copy

mv: move (also used to rename files)

rm: remove… delete a file

rm -rf: remove recursive force… delete a directory and it’s contents

cat: concatenate files / print content of file on the standard output

diff: show the difference between two files

locate: find files by name (use -i to ignore case)

find: search for files in a directory hierarchy

zip, unzip: compress / uncompress files in a zip archive

tail -f: output the last part of files and follow the appended data as the file grows

  • log files are the main use case

tar: an archiving utility

archive multiple files into a tarball — a common Linux file format that is similar to zip format, with compression being optional.

Extract a gzipped tarball:

tar -xvzf tarballname.tar.gz
-x --extract = extract files from an archive
-v, --verbose = verbosely list files processed
-z, --gzip = gzipped files eg. for tar.gz packages
-f, --file ARCHIVE = use archive file or device ARCHIVE

chmod: change the read, write, and execute permissions of files and directories

chown: change or transfer the ownership of a file to the specified username

sed: commonly used for find and replace tasks

  • Example: find and replace (first instance on every line):
sed 's/find/replace' <oldfile >newfile
  • Global find/replace (replaces every instance on every line in a file):
sed "s/c/C/g" filename
  • Write directly to the file:
sed -i '' filename.txt

grep: searches for PATTERNS in each FILE. PATTERNS is one or more patterns separated by newline characters, and grep prints each line that matches a pattern.

  • Example:
grep 'string' path/to/file

‘string’, [list], ^linestart,

  • Exact match:
grep -w 'string' filename

Network Connectivity

wget: the non-interactive network downloader… pass in a link to download a file

curl: transfer a URL.. transfer data to/from servers, with many more options than only HTTP/HTTPS

ping: send ICMP ECHO_REQUEST to network hosts… check your connectivity status to a server

ssh: OpenSSH remote client login. Remote into servers on a network

scp: secure file copy. copies files between hosts on a network

hostname -i: displays hostname and IP address


Linux Man Pages

10 basic Linux commands you need to know | Enable Sysadmin

17 Linux commands every sysadmin should know | Enable Sysadmin

34 Linux Basic Commands Every User Should Know (Cheat Sheet)