What is Absolute and Relative Path in Linux?

A path in a computer system is a combination of /(forward slash) or \ (backward slash) and alphanumeric characters. It uniquely identifies the file or directory location in the filesystem of an operating system.

For example –

The following example shows the path in a Linux system.


On a Windows system, a path will look like as it is given below.


A path can either be an absolute path or a relative path. In this article, we will discuss the same with the help of examples.

What is an absolute path?

An absolute path starts with / i.e. root directory. It always contains the root element and the complete directory list required to locate a file or directory on a system. OR you can say the absolute path is the complete path to a file or directory in a filesystem.

The following examples show the absolute path in a system.

Example 1:


Example 2:


By using the absolute path you can move or access any file or directory from anywhere in your system. For example, currently, I am at /etc/ to move to /var/log/apache2 we will use –

What is a relative path?

The relative path starts from your current working directory Suppose my current working directory is /var/www and I want to change it to /var/www/html then by using the relative path concept we can directly use –

cd html

Instead of using the complete path i.e. –

cd /var/www/html


I hope now you understand the concept of absolute and relative paths in a Linux system. Now if you have a query then write us in the comments below.

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