How to change permissions for a folder and file in Linux?

Check the -R option

chmod -R <permissionsettings> <dirname>

In the future, you can save a lot of time by checking the man page first:

man <command name>

So in this case:

man chmod

How to change permissions for a folder and file in Linux?

If you want to set permissions on all files to a+r, and all directories to a+x, and do that recursively through the complete subdirectory tree, use:

chmod -R a+rX *

The X (that is capital X, not small x!) is ignored for files (unless they are executable for someone already) but is used for directories.

Answer #3:

The other answers are correct, in that chmod -R 755 will set these permissions to all files and subfolders in the tree. But why on earth would you want to? It might make sense for the directories, but why set the execute bit on all the files?

I suspect what you really want to do is set the directories to 755 and either leave the files alone or set them to 644. For this, you can use the find command. For example:

To change all the directories to 755 (drwxr-xr-x):

find /opt/lampp/htdocs -type d -exec chmod 755 {} \;

To change all the files to 644 (-rw-r--r--):

find /opt/lampp/htdocs -type f -exec chmod 644 {} \;

Some splainin’: 

  • chmod 755 {} specifies the command that will be executed by find for each directory
  • chmod 644 {} specifies the command that will be executed by find for each file
  • {} is replaced by the path
  • ; the semicolon tells find that this is the end of the command it’s supposed to execute
  • \; the semicolon is escaped, otherwise, it would be interpreted by the shell instead of find

Answer #4:

You can use -R with chmod for recursive traversal of all files and subfolders.

You might need sudo as it depends on LAMP being installed by the current user or another one:

sudo chmod -R 755 /opt/lampp/htdocs

How to change permissions for a folder and its subfolders/files in Linux?

The correct recursive command is:

sudo chmod -R 755 /opt/lampp/htdocs

-R: change every sub folder including the current folder

Answer #5:

Here’s another way to set directories to 775 and files to 664.

find /opt/lampp/htdocs \
\( -type f -exec chmod ug+rw,o+r {} \; \) , \
\( -type d -exec chmod ug+rwxs,o+rx {} \; \)

It may look long, but it’s pretty cool for three reasons:

  1. Scans through the file system only once rather than twice.
  2. Provides better control over how files are handled vs. how directories are handled. This is useful when working with special modes such as the sticky bit, which you probably want to apply to directories but not files.
  3. Uses a technique straight out of the man pages (see below).

Note that I have not confirmed the performance difference (if any) between this solution and that of simply using two find commands (as in Peter Mortensen’s solution). However, seeing a similar example in the manual is encouraging.

Example from man find page:

find / \
\( -perm -4000 -fprintf /root/suid.txt %#m %u %p\n \) , \
\( -size +100M -fprintf /root/big.txt %-10s %p\n \)

Traverse the filesystem just once, listing setuid files and direct‐
tories into /root/suid.txt and large files into /root/big.txt.

How to change permissions for a folder and its subfolders in Linux?


sudo chmod 755 -R /whatever/your/directory/is

However, be careful with that. It can really hurt you if you change the permissions of the wrong files/folders.

Answer #7:

You want to make sure that appropriate files and directories are chmod-ed/permissions for those are appropriate. For all directories you want

find /opt/lampp/htdocs -type d -exec chmod 711 {} \;

And for all the images, JavaScript, CSS, HTML…well, you shouldn’t execute them. So use

chmod 644 img/* js/* html/*

But for all the logic code (for instance PHP code), you should set permissions such that the user can’t see that code:

chmod 600 file

Answer #8:

For anyone still struggling with permission issues, navigate up one directory level cd .. from the root directory of your project, add yourself (user) to the directory and give permission to edit everything inside (tested on macOS).

To do that you would run this command (preferred):

sudo chown -R username: foldername .*

Note: for currently unsaved changes, one might need to restart the code editor first to be able to save without being asked for a password.

Also, please remember you can press Tab to see the options while typing the username and folder to make it easier for yourself.

Or simply:

sudo chmod -R 755 foldername

but as mentioned above, you need to be careful with the second method.

Answer #9:

Linux File Permissions

Every file and directory in your UNIX/Linux system has following 3 permissions defined for all the 3 owners discussed above.

  • Read: This permission give you the authority to open and read a file. Read permission on a directory gives you the ability to lists its content.
  • Write: The write permission gives you the authority to modify the contents of a file. The write permission on a directory gives you the authority to add, remove and rename files stored in the directory. Consider a scenario where you have to write permission on file but do not have write permission on the directory where the file is stored. You will be able to modify the file contents. But you will not be able to rename, move or remove the file from the directory.
  • Execute: In Windows, an executable program usually has an extension “.exe” and which you can easily run. In Unix/Linux, you cannot run a program unless the execute permission is set. If the execute permission is not set, you might still be able to see/modify the program code(provided read & write permissions are set), but not run it.

Changing file/directory permissions in Linux Using ‘chmod’ command

Say you do not want your colleague to see your personal images. This can be achieved by changing file permissions.

We can use the ‘chmod’ command which stands for ‘change mode’. Using the command, we can set permissions (read, write, execute) on a file/directory for the owner, group and the world.


chmod permissions filename

Hope you learned something from this post.

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Linux and Python enthusiast, in love with open source since 2014, Writer at, India.

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