Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Just wondering why a directory would need this.

Or, is it possible to get files from the directory without having to read them directly?

share|improve this question
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The executable permission on directories allows you to traverse the directory without being able to read its contents. This effectively allows you to place a directory you do want others to have access to, beneath a directory you do not want them to have access to.

A common use you'll see for this is having a website document root inside a home directory. You do not necessarily want to allow access to the home directory contents (not even viewing the files) but need to allow the webserver user access to the 'public_html' directory inside the home directory.

share|improve this answer
Thanks, that makes sense! – user473973 Oct 5 '13 at 18:59

Yes, having just +x still allows you to access the directory's contents if you know filenames. You only need +r to list (i.e. read) the directory itself.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.