Ok, so you want to learn how to write Bash scripts on Unix/Linux. Or, it's part of a subject you're doing and so you're learning because you have to. Either way, that's great. Keep on reading my friend as you are about to harness a powerful tool that will allow you to perform complex repetitive tasks with minimal effort.
The following pages are intended to give you a solid foundation in how to write Bash scripts, to get the computer to do complex, repetitive tasks for you. You won't be a bash guru at the end but you will be well on your way and armed with the right knowledge and skills to get you there if that's what you want (which you should).
Bash scripts are used by Systems Administrators, Programmers, Network Engineers, Scientists and just about anyone else who uses a Linux/ Unix system regularly. No matter what you do or what your general level of computer proficiency is, you can generally find a way to use Bash scripting to make your life easier.
This Bash scripting tutorial is divided into 8 sections. In general I recommend you work through them in order but if you've come here just to learn about a specific topic then who am I to slow you down, just head straight on over.
You can now jump into section 1 and get started or keep reading below to learn a little more about this tutorial.
Bash scripting relies on an understanding of the Linux Command Line. If you are not confident on the Linux Command Line I suggest you start by going through our Linux Tutorial.
The best way to learn Bash Scripting is as a series of small, easy to manage steps. This tutorial is organised as such, with each section building upon the knowledge and skills learned in the previous sections. If you work through them in order, read them fully (there is a fair bit of material but it is important for getting a proper understanding) and practice on the command line as you go I believe you should have a fairly pleasant and smooth journey to Bash scripting mastery.
99 times out of 100 when a student has troubles with this stuff I find that it is not that they are incapable but that they were lazy and didn't read the material fully.
Each section is structured in the following format:
Think of the activities not as tutorial questions (such as you may get in a class at school) but as direction on where to explore in the Linux environment to benefit from your new knowledge and skills. Treat the activities as a starting point for exploration. The further you take it, the better you will do. (How well you do and how far you go depends on how unlazy you are.)
This site is also designed to work well on tablets. I know a lot of students like to be at their computer doing work and have their tablet next to them with reference material on it. If that is you then this site works quite well with that set up. Another good approach is to have your browser on one half of the screen of your computer and a terminal on the other half so you can try out the examples as you go.
If you wish to succeed with Bash scripting then there are two things you need, Problem solving and Creative thinking. Here are some basic pointers to help you along the way.
To learn more about problem solving visit our Problem Solving Skills tutorial.
Hi. My name is Ryan Chadwick and I have been teaching Linux to students for over 10 years now. It's something that I very much enjoy. In a world where we are increasingly hiding the complexities away from users (smart phones and tablets in particular), it is always satisfying to give that power back to people and allow them to do much more with their technology.
But teaching is only one of the things I do. I also develop and manage websites, and manage computer systems for a few different organisations. I feel that all my work is complementary and benefits from what I learn in the others. Combined, they give me a fairly good understanding of how technology works, and also an understanding of how people use technology, perceive technology, learn technology and work around technology.
This website is both for you, and for me. For you, it is a digital form of what I have been teaching my students over the years. For me, it is an opportunity to clarify and polish what I teach and how I deliver it. To these ends, if you have any feedback at all, be it to tell me you found a particular section confusing, or to let me know it was helpful, I would be more than happy to hear from you.
Drop us a message at
If you are a teacher, academic, manager or trainer and wish to use this material in your classes or training you are more than welcome to link to these pages and refer your students here or show them in your classes, but please do not just copy my material.
I've put a fair amount of time and effort into creating this resource so please be cool and do the right thing.
Unfortunately, in this crazy and litigous world we now live in, one has to keep themselves covered so here is my disclaimer.
To the best of my knowledge, the material contained within these pages is correct. I make no guarantees however. I also take no responsibility for any damage you may do based upon knowledge gained from here (even though the chances of doing so are relatively small at best). Please use common sense when using any of the knowledge and skills gained from using this material.