What Is Linux Shell Scripting?


Heather Bennett

What Is Linux Shell Scripting?

Linux shell scripting is a powerful tool that allows users to automate tasks and streamline their workflow on a Linux operating system. With shell scripting, users can write a series of commands and instructions, known as a script, that the computer will execute in sequence. This not only saves time but also ensures consistency and accuracy in executing repetitive tasks.

Why Use Shell Scripting?

Shell scripting can be extremely beneficial for both beginners and experienced Linux users. Here are some reasons why:

  • Saves Time: By automating repetitive tasks, shell scripting saves valuable time and effort. It eliminates the need for manual execution of commands each time.
  • Improves Efficiency: Shell scripts allow you to combine multiple commands into a single script, making it easier to execute complex operations with just one command.
  • Enhances Productivity: With shell scripting, you can create customized scripts tailored to your specific needs, increasing productivity and reducing errors.
  • Better Control: Shell scripts provide better control over system administration tasks by allowing you to execute commands in a predefined sequence.

The Basics of Shell Scripting

To start with shell scripting, you need to have a basic understanding of the Linux command line interface (CLI). The CLI is where you enter commands directly into the terminal. Here are some key concepts:

The Shell

The shell is a program that interprets your commands and executes them. There are several different shells available for Linux, such as Bash (Bourne Again SHell), Csh (C SHell), Ksh (Korn SHell), and more. Bash is the most commonly used shell and is the default on many Linux distributions.

Scripts and Shebang

A shell script is a plain text file that contains a series of commands. It typically starts with a shebang (#!)

followed by the path to the shell interpreter. For example:


This declares that the script should be interpreted by the Bash shell.


Variables in shell scripting are used to store data for later use. They can hold various types of information, including strings, integers, and arrays.

Variables are declared using an assignment operator (=). For example:

name="John Doe"

Control Structures

Control structures allow you to control the flow of execution in a script. Common control structures include if-else statements, loops (e.g., for and while loops), and case statements.

Getting Started with Shell Scripting

Now that you have a basic understanding of Linux shell scripting, it’s time to dive in and start writing your own scripts! Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:

  1. Create a New File: Open your preferred text editor and create a new file with a .sh extension (e., myscript.sh).
  2. Add Shebang: Start your script with the appropriate shebang line depending on the shell you want to use.
  3. Write Your Commands: Add the desired commands to your script, ensuring each command is on its own line.
  4. Save the File: Save the file and exit your text editor.
  5. Make the Script Executable: In the terminal, navigate to the directory containing your script and run the following command to make it executable:
chmod +x myscript.sh

To execute your script, simply type its name followed by a space in the terminal and hit Enter. For example:



Linux shell scripting is a powerful tool that can greatly simplify and automate tasks on a Linux operating system. By writing scripts, you can save time, improve efficiency, enhance productivity, and have better control over system administration tasks. With a basic understanding of shell scripting concepts and some practice, you’ll be able to create custom scripts tailored to your specific needs.

So why wait? Start exploring the world of Linux shell scripting today!

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