navigating linux directory

Linux Basics: Navigating the Linux Directory Structure

Introduction to the linux file system

The Linux file system is hierarchical and organized into a tree-like directory structure. Understanding this structure is crucial for effectively navigating and managing files in Linux. This article further explores the significance of specific directories in the Linux file system.


This guide takes you through the key directories in the Linux file system such as /, /home, /root, /etc, explaining their functions and importance. For a foundational understanding, you may refer to our article on Understanding the Linux File System Structure.

Key Directories Explained

/ (Root Directory)

The root directory is the top level of the file system hierarchy. All other directories branch from this root.


Contains essential command binaries required to boot or repair the system.


Home directories for regular users are stored here. For example, /home/purevoltage would be a user’s personal space.


The root user’s home directory. This is separate from other users’ directories to maintain security.


Stores system-wide configuration files and shell scripts.


Contains variable data files such as logs and databases.


Holds binaries, libraries, documentation, and source-code for second level programs.


Temporary space used by the system and users.


Contains the files needed to boot the system.

Navigating Directories

Use the cd command to change directories. For example:

cd /home/purevoltage


Understanding and navigating the Linux directory structure is vital for anyone working with a Linux system. Familiarity with the key directories ensures efficient file management and system operation. For more in-depth insight into the Linux file system, refer to our article on Linux Basics: Understanding the Linux File System Structure.

Explore more Linux Basics in our comprehensive series.