Best Linux Alias Command with Examples

In this article, we are going to discuss on Linux alias command. Alias is nothing but another related simple name of something (Something in the sense it can be anything like it can be a device, human being or maybe something else). Here in Linux the alias means you can give a simple name to a command or we can say a command which is complex/lengthy to type each time for which we can set a simple name so that we don’t need to type the whole command again and again. just type the alias that you set for that command and at back end the alias will execute the command. In simple words, we can use alias to create a shortcut for command and set a simple string or a word for that command to remember that as per our convenience. The benefit of alias is you can set a simple string/word for a frequently used command. But mind it that alias doesn’t replace the command, it’s just a shortcut to that command.

Best Linux Alias Command with Examples

Best Linux Alias Command with Examples

Follow the below Best Linux Alias Command with Examples:

Here I will show you how to create an alias for command and how to use alias command in Linux.

To list current aliases just run the command alias without any option or argument. Refer to the command below.

[root@localhost ~]# alias   # To list current aliases
alias cp='cp -i'
alias l.='ls -d .* --color=auto'
alias list='ls -l'
alias ll='ls -l --color=auto'
alias ls='ls --color=auto'
alias mv='mv -i'
alias rm='rm -i'
alias which='alias | /usr/bin/which --tty-only --read-alias --show-dot --show-tilde'

we can create a new alias using alias command, The syntax would look like this :

Syntax: alias [alias_name]=[“Command for which you want to set alias”]

For example, we know that ifconfig command is used to check IP Address information. Here I am going to set an alias for ifconfig as showip. That means when I type showip instead of ifconfig it will show the IP Address information. So lets to that.

[root@localhost ~]# alias showip="ifconfig"   # Set alias for "ifconfig" command

Now type the alias i.e. showip to check the IP Address Information.

[root@localhost ~]# showip
eth1      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:0C:29:BE:FE:04  
          inet addr:192.168.0.104  Bcast:192.168.0.255  Mask:255.255.255.0
          inet6 addr: fe80::20c:29ff:febe:fe04/64 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:12 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:19 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:2649 (2.5 KiB)  TX bytes:1945 (1.8 KiB)

lo        Link encap:Local Loopback  
          inet addr:127.0.0.1  Mask:255.0.0.0
          inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
          UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:16436  Metric:1
          RX packets:16 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:16 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0 
          RX bytes:960 (960.0 b)  TX bytes:960 (960.0 b)

Let’s take another example :

To configure IP address in linux we have to type the below command.

nano /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0

Instead of a type such a long command, again and again, you can set an alias for the whole command. Here I am giving alias name as confip. Refer to the below command.

[root@localhost ~]# alias confip="nano /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0"  # Set alias for IP Configuration

Now run the alias i.e. confip to confirm if it’s working or not.

[root@localhost ~]# confip
Best Linux Alias Command with Examples

Alias Command Examples

You can also set an alias for command with its arguments, for example, rm -rf, where rm is the command, and -rf is its an argument. To set an alias for such commands you have to enclose the command with its argument in quotes. Refer to the sample output below.

[root@localhost ~]# alias deleteit="rm -rf"
[root@localhost ~]# deleteit test.txt   # Delete a file using alias

To list all configured aliases just run the alias command without any argument.

[root@localhost ~]# alias   # Check current aliases
alias confip='nano /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0'
alias cp='cp -i'
alias l.='ls -d .* --color=auto'
alias list='ls -l'
alias ll='ls -l --color=auto'
alias ls='ls --color=auto'
alias mv='mv -i'
alias rm='rm -i'
alias which='alias | /usr/bin/which --tty-only --read-alias --show-dot --show-tilde'

To remove or delete an alias you can use unalias command. Refer to the command below.

Syntax : unalias [alias name]

[root@localhost ~]# unalias showip   # Removing a alias

To remove all listed aliases use the unalias with the argument -a.

[root@localhost ~]# unalias -a   # Removing all listed aliases

No doubt alias is a very useful command but still, there is a problem in alias command i.e. if you are logoff/restart the system then all your aliases will lose and you have to set all those aliases again. To avoid this you have to save all your aliases in the .bashrc (It’s a hidden file that is located at the home directory of each user) file to use it permanently.

you can check hidden files by using the ls -a command.

[root@localhost ~]# pwd
/root

[root@localhost ~]# ls -a
.                .config    .gconf           .gvfs               Pictures
..               .cshrc     .gconfd          .ICEauthority       Public
anaconda-ks.cfg  data       .gnome2          install.log         .pulse
.bash_history    .dbus      .gnome2_private  install.log.syslog  .pulse-cookie
.bash_logout     Desktop    .gnote           .local              .ssh
.bash_profile    Documents  .gnupg           .mozilla            .tcshrc
.bashrc          Downloads  .gstreamer-0.10  Music               Templates
.cache           .esd_auth  .gtk-bookmarks   .nautilus           Videos

So let’s go ahead and edit the .bashrc file then enter your required aliases (Highlighted in Blue color below) in that file and save it. Refer to the snapshot below.

[root@localhost ~]# nano .bashrc
Best Linux Alias Command with Examples

Save Alias in the .bashrc file

One more thing we must notice is the alias is working in that user profile only in which we created it. For example, I created the showip alias in root user login. Now let’s try to run that alias in some other user login.

Here I am logging with user itsmarttricks.

[root@localhost ~]# su - itsmarttricks
[itsmarttricks@localhost ~]$ showip
-bash: showip: command not found

As you can see above system unable to find the alias. the reason behind that is we saved the alias in .bashrc file of root user and each and every user has its own .bashrc file. That means we saved the alias in .bashrc file of root user which is not a concern with user itsmarttricks . If you want to use that alias by logging in itsmarttricks then either add the alias in .bashrc file of user itsmarttricks or add it on the/etc/bashrc file. Once you add the alias in /etc/bashrc file then it will be available for all users that you have in your Linux system and you don’t need to manually add for each and every user.

So to do so follow the below steps. First, edit the /etc/bashrc file.

[root@localhost ~]# nano /etc/bashrc 

After editing the file just goes to the end of the file and enter your alias (Highlighted in blue color). Refer to the snapshot below.

Best Linux Alias Command with Examples

Save Alias in bashrc file

Now again login in to user itsmarttricks and try to run the alias, I am sure you will able to get the required output. Refer to the sample output below.

[root@localhost Desktop]# su - itsmarttricks 
[itsmarttricks@localhost ~]$ showip
eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:0C:29:0F:7F:A8  
          inet addr:192.168.0.103  Bcast:192.168.0.255  Mask:255.255.255.0
          inet6 addr: fe80::20c:29ff:fe0f:7fa8/64 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:698 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:492 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:888135 (867.3 KiB)  TX bytes:38006 (37.1 KiB)

lo        Link encap:Local Loopback  
          inet addr:127.0.0.1  Mask:255.0.0.0
          inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
          UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:16436  Metric:1
          RX packets:16 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:16 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0 
          RX bytes:960 (960.0 b)  TX bytes:960 (960.0 b)

Let’s Try some more Examples of alias command so that your concept will get more clear.

Example: 1

Create an alias for passwd command. Refer to the command below.

[root@localhost ~]# alias p="passwd"

Now set the password of any user using the alias of passwd command i.e. p

[root@localhost ~]# p itsmarttricks # Set Password using alias
Changing password for user itsmarttricks.
New password: 
Retype new password: 
passwd: all authentication tokens updated successfully.

Example: 2

Create an alias to check swap space.

[root@localhost proc]# alias swaps="cat /proc/swaps"

[root@localhost proc]# swaps
Filename                                Type            Size    Used    Priority
/dev/sda3                               partition       2097144 0       -1

Example : 3

Create an alias to ping to some host, Here I am pinging to localhost.

[root@localhost proc]# alias pingme="ping -c 3 localhost"
[root@localhost proc]# pingme
PING localhost (127.0.0.1) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from localhost (127.0.0.1): icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.195 ms
64 bytes from localhost (127.0.0.1): icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=0.083 ms
64 bytes from localhost (127.0.0.1): icmp_seq=3 ttl=64 time=0.099 ms

--- localhost ping statistics ---
3 packets transmitted, 3 received, 0% packet loss, time 2000ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 0.083/0.125/0.195/0.051 ms

You can check all the above alias using the alias command without any argument.

[root@localhost ~]# alias
alias cp='cp -i'
alias l.='ls -d .* --color=auto'
alias listpart='fdisk -l'
alias ll='ls -l --color=auto'
alias ls='ls --color=auto'
alias mv='mv -i'
alias p='passwd'
alias pingme='ping -c 3 localhost'
alias rm='rm -i'
alias showip='ifconfig'
alias startftp='/etc/init.d/vsftpd start'
alias swaps='cat /proc/swaps'
alias which='alias | /usr/bin/which --tty-only --read-alias --show-dot --show-tilde'

Also Read – Useful RPM Command With Examples In Linux

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Mangesh Dhulap

This is Mangesh Dhulap the Founder and Editor of IT SMART TRICKS have 6+ years of Industrial Experience. We expect from our visitors to like, share, and comment on our posts.

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