How To Recursive Chmod a Folder? (Super Easy)

In the world of computer programming and system administration, chmod is a command that is used to change the permissions of a file or folder. Understanding how to use chmod is an essential skill for anyone working with Linux or Unix-based operating systems.

In this article, we will specifically focus on the process of recursively changing the permissions of a folder using the chmod command.

What is Recursive Chmod?

Recursive chmod, also known as chmod -R, is a command that allows you to change the permissions of a directory and its contents, including all subdirectories and files within it. This command is particularly useful when you want to apply the same permissions to a folder and all of its subdirectories and files in one go.

Why would you need to use Recursive Chmod?

There are many situations where you might need to use recursive chmod. For example, when you are managing a website or a large directory structure, you may want to change the permissions of all the files and folders within a specific directory.

Recursive chmod saves you time and effort by allowing you to apply permissions to all files and directories in a single command.

How to use Recursive Chmod?

When it comes to managing file permissions in a Unix/Linux environment, understanding how to use recursive chmod is essential. This professional-grade command allows you to modify the permissions of files and directories in a recursive manner, meaning that changes made to the parent directory will automatically apply to all subdirectories and files within.

To recursively chmod a folder, follow these steps:

  1. Open your terminal or command prompt.
  2. Navigate to the parent directory of the folder you want to modify.
  3. Type the following command: chmod -R <permissions> <folder>
    • Replace <permissions> with the desired permissions you want to apply.
    • Replace <folder> with the path to the folder you want to change permissions for.

Overall, mastering this professional technique will enable you to efficiently manage file permissions across complex directory hierarchies in a Unix/Linux environment.

Recursive Chmod Example

Let’s say you have a directory named “documents” and you want to give read, write, and execute permissions to the owner, read and execute permissions to the group, and read-only permissions to others.

The command would be:

chmod -R 750 documents

In this command, “750” represents the permissions in octal notation, where 7 is for the owner, 5 is for the group, and 0 is for others. The numbers correspond to the read (4), write (2), and execute (1) permissions.

Recursive Chmod Tips & Best Practices:

Recursive Chmod not only saves time but also helps maintain consistency across multiple files and directories. As a professional, it is essential to follow best practices to ensure the security and integrity of your system.

  • Be cautious when using recursive chmod as it modifies permissions for all files and folders within the target directory.
  • Before using recursive chmod, make sure you understand the consequences of changing permissions for all files and directories.
  • Double-check the permissions you want to apply and verify the correct path to the target directory to avoid unintended changes.

For added security, consider using symbolic or numeric notation for permissions. Symbolic notation allows you to modify specific permissions without affecting others. Numeric notation provides a concise way of representing permissions.

Quick Recommendation

I’ve used to use (Recursive Chmod) command directly on the File Manager of the web hosting service I’m using. Honestly, I don’t recommend working with command lines if you’re building a basic site with WordPress or any other CMS.

The good news is that you can alter the file permissions with a click of button right from the File Manager tool. And this File Manager tool is not available with all hosts out there. Let me put together a couple of recommendations for your reference.

You don’t have to use them, offcourse. I’m just putting them here just in case you needed this based-on-experience recommendations later on 😉

  • If you’re starting out and using WordPress, Laravel, Codeignator, or any other CMS platform: Use GreenGeeks.
  • If you’re already well-established with existing traffic or a custom app: Use DigitalOcean.

I’ve been using DigitalOcean for a couple of busy apps and honestly, they’ve been doing so great. And for the server management, I’ve been using which is a great tool to manage your entire full-fledged servers with a few clicks. A great tool, really!


Understanding how to recursively chmod a folder is an essential skill for system administrators and developers working with Linux or Unix-based operating systems. With the chmod command, you can efficiently modify permissions for a directory and all of its contents.

Remember to use caution and double-check your commands before executing them. Properly managing permissions ensures the security and accessibility of your files and folders.

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