The following are the steps I performed:

  1. SSH to a CentOS 6.x machine that is in the local network with command

ssh [email protected]

  1. Enter the root user password
  2. I was able to successfully login to the machine, but I only get the bash terminal instead of the root user terminal.

Last login: Wed Apr 25 18:04:32 2018 from

-bash: /root/.bashrc: Permission denied


I am trying to understand what is the problem here.

Additional info:

  1. I am able to login to any other machine in the local network without having this issue.
  2. Also, from the bash terminal, I am able to switch to the super user account with "su" command.

Few command executed on the remote machine which I'm trying to login and its output.

-bash-4.1# whoami

-bash-4.1# stat /root/.bashrc
File: `/root/.bashrc'
Size: 221           Blocks: 8          IO Block: 4096   regular file
Device: 802h/2050d  Inode: 32510289    Links: 1
Access: (0644/-rw-r--r--)  Uid: (    0/    root)   Gid: (    0/      root)
Access: 2018-04-26 10:09:04.206129757 +0530
Modify: 2018-04-25 18:04:59.354903860 +0530
Change: 2018-04-25 18:04:59.389903855 +0530

-bash-4.1# file /root/.bashrc
/root/.bashrc: ASCII text

-bash-4.1# lsattr /root/.bashrc
-------------e- /root/.bashrc

Bashrc content:

#/bin/bash -x

# User specific aliases and functions

alias rm='rm -i'
alias cp='cp -i'
alias mv='mv -i'

# Source global definitions
if [ -f /etc/bashrc ]; then
        . /etc/bashrc
export PATH="/opt/postgres/postgresql:$PATH"

Can anyone please help me understand this?

  • You might need to execute the ssh comand as root too. su ; ssh [email protected] or sudo ssh [email protected]. You should also consider using privates key instead of password authentication (for your own security): digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/…
    – kcdtv
    Apr 25, 2018 at 14:14
  • Please try these commands that can help identify the issue (but won't fix the issue) and let us know what the outputs are: whoami, stat /root/.bashrc, file /root/.bashrc, lsattr /root/.bashrc
    – Deltik
    Apr 25, 2018 at 18:50
  • @Deltik I have added the output of the requested commands to the question... Apr 26, 2018 at 10:31
  • @kenorb I dont get permission denied error on executing the debug command... Apr 26, 2018 at 10:53
  • Can you add/modify the first line of that file to #/bin/bash -x, to apply tracing, and re-produce the issue again?
    – kenorb
    Apr 26, 2018 at 11:37

1 Answer 1


-bash: /root/.bashrc: Permission denied

  • Check the permissions of .bashrc file (which you did).

  • Check the permissions of all files which you're including (such as /etc/bashrc).

  • Check the permissions of all files which your global /etc/bashrc is including.

  • Check the permissions of your /etc folder (see this post). For example:

      chmod 0755 /etc # run as root
  • Consider adding -vvv when running ssh for more detailed output.


To further debug the problem, you can enable tracing (xtrace) in your shell. Here are 3 methods:

  1. Using shebang.

    Add the following line as the first one to your script:

     #!/bin/bash -x
  2. Add set -x line at the very start of your startup script file.

  3. Run bash with -x along with ssh command, e.g.

     \ssh -vvv [email protected] -t bash -x

After that, try to reproduce the issue again, then you should find the problematic line.

  • No, this isn't working... the permissions of .bashrc, /etc/bashrc are all correct and doesn't have any issues... the trace command that I added in the header is not working.. this is not a solution... Apr 26, 2018 at 13:36
  • If your shebang doesn't work for some reason, add set -x on the second line. This should work.
    – kenorb
    Apr 26, 2018 at 13:38

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