You shouldn't concern yourself with becoming a FreeBSD UNIX guru to manage your Virtual Private Servers, you simply need a basic knowledge of a few easy-to-use UNIX commands. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it should be enough to get you started.

cd [directory] The cd command changes your current working directory to the directory you specify.

Example: % cd ~/www/htdocs

DOS Equivalent: cd
pwd The pwd command prints your current (or present) working directory.

Example: % pwd

Usage: Simply type pwd and hit return to display your current working directory.
ls [directory] The ls command is used to list the file in the directory specified, or if you do not specify a directory, the current working directory. You can also add some additional arguments to customize the list display.

Usage: If you type ls -F it will append a forward slash to the subdirectory names so you can easily distinguish them from file names.

If you type ls -a it will show all hidden files. Hidden files begin with a dot (.), such as .htaccess files.

If you type ls -l it will show detailed information about each file and directory, including permissions, ownership, file size, and when the file was last modified.

You can also mix the arguments. If you type ls -aF you will see a list of all file names (including hidden files) and a forward slash will be appended to directory names.

DOS Equivalent: dir

Example: % ls -al
cat [filename] The cat command displays the contents of the filename you specify. If you want to display the file one screen at a time try cat [filename] | more or simply more [filename].

DOS Equivalent: type

Example: % cat ~/var/log/messages
mkdir [directory] The mkdir command makes a new directory with the name, directory, that you specify.

DOS Equivalent: md or mkdir

Example: % mkdir myfiles
rmdir [directory] The rmdir command removes the directory that you specify.

DOS Equivalent: rd or rmdir

Example: % rmdir myfiles
cp [source-file] [target-file] The cp command creates a copy of source-file with the name target-file. You can specify pathnames as part of the file specification. If target-file exists it is overwritten.

DOS Equivalent: copy

Example: % cp index.html ~/www/htdocs/index.html
mv [source-file] [target-file] The mv command renames a file or moves it to a new location. You can specify pathnames as part of the file specification. If target-file exists it is overwritten.

DOS Equivalent: rename

Example: % mv ~/www/htdocs/index.html ~/www/vhosts/mydomain/index.html
rm [filename] The rm command deletes (removes) a file. To remove a directory and eveyrthing inside, you can use the -r (recursive) flag (e.g. rm -r filename). You can specify pathnames as part of the file name specification.

DOS Equivalent: del

Example: % rm ~/www/htdocs/old-index.html
grep [pattern] [filenames] The grep command finds lines in files that match specified text patterns. You can specify pathnames as part of the file specification. For example if you want to search for the pattern gif in all html files in your current working directory, you would type grep gif *.html and hit return. The grep command would then list all occurrences of gif it finds in .html files in the current working directory.

DOS Equivalent: find

Example: % grep href *.html
tar [options] [tarfile] [files] The tar command copies a file or files to or from an archive. To put all the files in a directory into one tar format file, simply type tar -cvf tarfile directory at a telnet command prompt and replace tarfile with the name you want to call your archived file, and replace directory with the name of the directory that contains the files you want to compress.

To extract the files from a tar format archive, simply type tar -xvf tarfile at a telnet command prompt and replace tarfile with the name of the archived file you are extracting.

For example, you could type tar -cvf pages.tar htdocs at a telnet command prompt to archive the files in the htdocs directory to a tar format file called pages.tar. To view the contents of the pages.tar tarfile without extracting them, type tar -tvf pages.tar. This will display all files that are included in the tar archive. You could also type tar -xvf pages.tar at a telnet command prompt to extract the files in the archive pages.tar into your current directory.

Example: % tar -cvf mysite.tar ~/www/htdocs/
zip [options] [zipfile] [files] The zip command compresses a file or list of files into a zip format archive file. Zip files are a common archive format used on PCs (using programs such as PKZip or WinZip), so the zip utiltity is ideal to compress large files or several files for transfer between your Virtual Private Server and your PC.

DOS Equivalent: pkzip

Example: % zip ~/www/htdocs/
unzip [options] [zipfile] unzip extracts the contents of a zip file made using the zip command or using WinZip or PKZip on your PC.

Example: % unzip ~/www/htdocs/

Additional Documentation

If you would like to know more about a particular command, you can consult the online manual page (manpage) by connecting to your Virtual Private Server via Telnet or SSH and issuing the following command.


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