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Change Mode (chmod) Meaning: What is chmod?

September 10, 2019

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


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.

Change Mode (chmod) Meaning & Mode Parameters Reference Table    
execute only
write only
write and execute
read only
read and execute
read and write
 read, write, and execute

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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We also have a variety of Nexcess support articles about WordPressincluding how to get your site going with a number of different configuration options. These resources include a great article on setting this up for Migrating to Nexcess with managed WordPress and managed WooCommerce hosting

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Resources for More Information

Need more help? With regards to security topics, The File Management, Database, FTPand Backups sections within the Nexcess Knowledge Base are important resources. The Applications section contains valuable insights for those seeking additional knowledge about our various hosted applications and platforms. Check out our related video playlists and articles below:

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