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Linux file and directory structure

GNU and Tux
An important part of knowing your Linux server is knowing where directories and files are. Most Linux distributions organize files in a similar manner, following specific standards. It is very different from the Windows file and directory structure, but once you know one Linux setup, you will pretty much know the basic layout of every Linux distribution.

/ The root directory, under which all other directories reside.

/boot Here Linux stores information about booting, including the kernel itself and the bootloader.

/etc Most system-wide configuration files are kept in this directory, particularly those you use for your web server.

/bin, /usr/bin, /sbin All of these are where Linux stores executable files. This is one area where it differs depending on the software and distribution.

/usr Most user applications are stored in various locations throughout /usr. Documentation, graphics, and others are also stored here, but only those installed by applications.

/lib, /usr/lib The shared system libraries are found in one of these directories.

/root This is the system administrator’s home directory, different from the root (/) directory.

/home Local users will have home directories within this one.

/var Variable data, such as log files, databases, and mail server queues is stored here.

/tmp Linux uses this directory to store system files.

/dev Devices are setup in this directory. Normally, on a remotely hosted server, you will not need to worry about this.

/mnt Mount points, particularly removable devices, are linked here when mounted.

/proc This is a virtual directory containing information about the kernel.

If you ever lose files or have something come up missing after a crash or file system check, Linux might have recovered it here.

In future posts, we will explore each of these directories to find out more about them and the subdirectories within them.

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