Mastering the Basics: A Deep Dive into the Top 25 Linux Commands Every Developer Should Know

Naveen Metta
5 min readFeb 18, 2024
credit goes to the owner :
source :

Linux commands are the backbone of a developer’s toolkit, offering unparalleled power to navigate and manage systems efficiently. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the top 25 Linux commands, providing an in-depth exploration of each term. Real-world examples and practical use cases accompany each command, ensuring a thorough understanding and practical application in a developer’s day-to-day tasks.

ls — List Directory Contents:
The ‘ls’ command, short for “list,” is fundamental for viewing directory contents. Use it to reveal a detailed listing of files within a specified directory, including permissions, ownership, modification time, and size. For example:

ls -l /path/to/directory

This command aids developers in understanding the structure of their file system and assists in identifying relevant files for their projects.

cd — Change Directory:
The ‘cd’ command, standing for “change directory,” is indispensable for seamless navigation through the file system. By entering the desired directory path, developers can swiftly switch between project folders and streamline their workflow. For instance:

cd /desired/directory

This command is vital for efficient project management and code organization.

pwd — Print Working Directory:
The ‘pwd’ command, short for “print working directory,” reveals the absolute path of the current directory. Execute it to obtain a full understanding of your current location within the file system:


Knowing your current directory is crucial for executing commands and referencing file paths accurately.

cp — Copy:
The ‘cp’ command, or “copy,” facilitates the duplication of files or directories. Provide the source file and the destination to create a copy effortlessly:

cp source_file destination

This command is indispensable for creating backups, replicating files, or maintaining multiple versions of important documents.

mv — Move/Rename:
The ‘mv’ command, standing for “move” or “rename,” is a versatile tool for relocating files or changing their names. Use it to streamline organization and project structure:

mv old_name new_name

Developers utilize this command for efficient file management and restructuring within their projects.

rm — Remove/Delete:
The ‘rm’ command, short for “remove,” is a powerful tool for deleting files or directories. Exercise caution to avoid unintended data loss, as the command acts decisively:

rm file_name

While critical for cleaning up unnecessary files, it demands careful consideration to prevent accidental deletion.

mkdir — Make Directory:
The ‘mkdir’ command, an abbreviation for “make directory,” simplifies the creation of directories within the file system:

mkdir new_directory

This command is essential for establishing a well-organized project structure, aiding in the categorization of files.

rmdir — Remove Directory:
The ‘rmdir’ command, or “remove directory,” is employed to delete empty directories without hassle:

rmdir directory_name

Perfect for cleaning up project structures by removing unnecessary and empty directories.

touch — Create Empty File:
The ‘touch’ command creates an empty file with the specified name:

touch new_file.txt

This is especially useful for initializing configuration files or placeholders within a project.

nano/vi — Text Editors:
The ‘nano’ and ‘vi’ commands are text editors that allow developers to edit files directly within the terminal:

nano filename.txt

These editors are invaluable for making quick edits or configurations without the need for a graphical interface.

grep — Search Text:
The ‘grep’ command is a powerful tool for searching text patterns within files. Utilize it to extract relevant information:

grep pattern file.txt

This command streamlines the process of locating specific information within files, a boon for log analysis and data extraction.

chmod — Change File Permissions:
The ‘chmod’ command, short for “change mode,” enables developers to modify file permissions with precision:

chmod permissions filename

Developers leverage this command to secure sensitive files and control access rights within a project.

chown — Change File Ownership:
The ‘chown’ command is used to change the ownership of a file or directory:

chown new_owner:new_group file.txt

This is particularly useful in shared environments, allowing developers to manage access and ownership efficiently.

ps — Process Status:
The ‘ps’ command provides a snapshot of the system’s current processes:

ps aux

Developers rely on this command to gain insights into system activities, monitor resource usage, and identify potential bottlenecks.

kill — Terminate Processes:
The ‘kill’ command allows developers to stop a process by specifying its process ID:

kill -9 process_id

This command is crucial for troubleshooting and stopping unresponsive tasks that may impact system performance.

df — Disk Free:
The ‘df’ command, short for “disk free,” displays information about available disk space on mounted file systems:

df -h

Developers use this command to ensure they are aware of the disk space available for their projects.

du — Disk Usage:
The ‘du’ command, or “disk usage,” provides a detailed report on the disk space occupied by directories and subdirectories:

du -sh directory

This command is indispensable for identifying space-consuming directories and optimizing storage.

top/htop — Monitor System Resources:
The ‘top’ and ‘htop’ commands offer real-time monitoring of system resources, providing a dynamic view of CPU, memory, and process usage:


Developers rely on these commands to monitor system health, identify resource-intensive processes, and ensure optimal performance.

wget — Download Files:
The ‘wget’ command allows developers to download files from the internet directly through the terminal:

wget url

This command is particularly useful for automating file downloads and fetching external resources in a headless environment.

tar — Archive and Compress:
The ‘tar’ command facilitates the creation of archives and compression of files:

tar -czvf archive_name.tar.gz file1 file2

Developers use this command to efficiently manage and distribute files, especially when dealing with large datasets or project backups.

ssh — Secure Shell:
The ‘ssh’ command, short for “secure shell,” enables secure remote access to servers:

ssh user@remote_server

This command is essential for remote system administration, allowing developers to execute commands and manage files securely.

scp — Secure Copy:
The ‘scp’ command, or “secure copy,” allows developers to securely copy files between local and remote systems:

scp local_file user@remote_server:/path

This command is vital for securely transferring files in a networked environment, ensuring data integrity during the process.

find — Search for Files:
The ‘find’ command facilitates the search for files based on various criteria, offering a flexible and powerful search capability:

find /path -name filename

Developers use this command to locate specific files within complex directory hierarchies, streamlining the search process.

curl — Transfer Data with URLs:
The ‘curl’ command allows developers to transfer data to or from servers using URLs, making it a versatile tool for automated tasks:

curl -O

This command is invaluable for scripting, automation, and fetching data from web services directly from the terminal.

history — Command History:
The ‘history’ command provides a log of previously executed commands, allowing developers to review and repeat commands easily:


This command streamlines repetitive tasks, aids in troubleshooting, and serves as a quick reference for past commands.

Mastering these Linux commands empowers developers with the tools needed to navigate, manage, and troubleshoot effectively within a command-line environment. The enhanced explanations, real-world examples, and practical use cases ensure a thorough understanding of each command’s functionality and application in diverse scenarios. Incorporate these commands into your toolkit to elevate your Linux proficiency, streamline your workflow, and become a more proficient and effective developer.



Naveen Metta

I'm a Full Stack Developer with 2.5 years of experience. feel free to reach out for any help :