12- BASH Scripting – I/O Redirection

Hello Linux-fanatics, in our previous tutorials we have discussed how we can redirect output of a script to a file or use a file as input in our scripts. We will now discuss I/O redirection in little more depth.

I/O redirection

As we know Linux treated every object as files & every file is identified as a file descriptor with each process having upto 0 file descriptors. BASH  reserves 3 of total 9 file descriptors. List of these reserved descriptors is as follow

File Descriptor Number                                                                             Purpose

  •          0                                                                                                   STDIN (Standard Input)
  •          1                                                                                                    STOUT (Standard output)
  •          2                                                                                                   STDERR (Standard Error)

STDIN refers to standard Input for the shell, which by default is the keyboard. But we can a file as standard input using “>” symbol.

STDOUT refers to standard output for the shell, which is monitor by default. But we can redirect output to a file with “<” symbol.

STDERR refers to standard error output to the shell, which is monitor by default. But are also redirected to a file when we redirect STOUT to a file.

Now, we will learn to redirect STDERR/errors to a file without redirecting  STDOUT/output of a script or redirecting both STDERR & STDOUT to different files. But first let create a simple script named “redirection.sh” to show how we can do the same


#showing redirection
ls –a /home/phony_directory
echo “Welcome dan”

Here, ls –a /home/phony_directory  will give us an error since there is no directory by that name &  echo “Welcome dan”  will print “Welcome dan ” to screen. Now let’s use redirection for this script.


  • Redirection of errors only

Run the script as follows

$ sh redirection.sh 2> errors.txt

Now the errors for the script will be written inside “errors.txt ” file with use of  2>, where 2 is the file descriptor number for STDERR and  > is the redirecting symbol. Successful output will be printed to screen.


  • Redirection of errors & output to different files

Run the script as follow

$ sh redirection.sh 2> errors.txt 1> output.txt

Here, 2> will redirect errors for the script to “errors.txt” &  1> will redirect output to “output.txt”


So, using this way we can redirect out output & errors. This concludes our tutorial. In our next tutorial, we will move to some advanced part of BASH scripting & will learn to create Functions for our script.

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