March 15, 2016

Absolute Path vs Relative Path in Linux/Unix

One of this blog follower asked us that whatâs the difference between absolute and relative path?

To understand this we have to know what is a path in Linux.

What is a path?

A path is a unique location to a file or a folder in a file system of an OS. A path to a file is a combination of / and alpha-numeric characters.

What is an absolute path?

An absolute path is defined as the specifying the location of a file or directory from the root directory(/). In other words we can say absolute path is a complete path from start of actual filesystem from / directory.

Some examples of absolute path:


If you see all these paths started from / directory which is a root directory for every Linux/Unix machines.

What is the relative path?


Relative path is defined as path related to the present working directory(pwd). Suppose I am located in /var/log and I want to change directory to /var/log/kernel. I can use relative path concept to change directory to kernel


changing directory to /var/log/kernel by using relative path concept.


pwd/var/logcd kernel


Note: If you observe there is no / before kernel which indicates itâs a relative directory to present working directory.


Changing directory to /var/log/kernel using absolute path concept.


cd /var/log/kernel


Note: We can use an absolute path from any location where as if you want to use relative path we should be present in a directory where we are going to specify relative to that present working directory.


Examples of relative path and absolute path for the same operation.

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