Understanding the Linux chattr Command: A Comprehensive Guide


This guide introduces you to the chattr command in Linux. While many Linux users know about file permissions, few discuss the additional control attributes offer. You can manipulate these attributes using the chattr command.

What is chattr?

The chattr command allows you to change file attributes on a Linux file system. These attributes can enhance your files’ and directories’ security, optimize performance, and add functionalities.

Common Uses of chattr

  • Immutable Files: This setting prevents any deletion, alteration, or overwriting of files.
  • No Dump: This setting ensures no backup of the file during a disk backup.
  • Append Only: You can only add data to the file; you can’t remove or alter existing data.

Basic Syntax

When using the chattr command in Linux, follow this basic syntax:

chattr [operator] [flags] [filename]

Examples of Using chattr

Setting a File as Immutable

sudo chattr +i myfile.txt

This command makes myfile.txt immutable. You can’t delete or modify the file until you remove the immutable flag.

Removing the Immutable Flag

sudo chattr -i myfile.txt

This command removes the immutable attribute, allowing modification or deletion of the file.

When to Use chattr

System administrators looking to add an extra layer of security to files will find the chattr command in Linux incredibly useful. It also benefits you when creating log files that you can append but not alter or delete.


As we’ve explored, the chattr command in Linux serves as an invaluable tool for managing file attributes. Whether you are a system administrator, developer, or advanced Linux user, using chattr can significantly improve your file management skills.