How to find a file’s Inode in Linux


Files written to Linux filesystems are assigned an inode. These unique IDs are used by the filesystem’s database in order to keep track of files. In this tutorial, you are going to learn how to view the inode number assigned to a file or directory.

There are two commands that can be used to view a file or directory’s inode, and they are ls and stat. Both of which are covered below.

The ls command is useful for discovering the inode number for a list of files in a directory, while the state command is better suited for single files or directories.

Using ls command

The simplist method of viewing the assigned inode of files on a Linux filesystem is to use the ls command. When used with the -i flag the results for each file contains the file’s inode number.

ls -li
276944 drwxr-xr-x 16 www-data www-data     4096 Jun  4  2019 html
405570 drwxr-xr-x  5 www-data www-data     4096 Jun 10 21:48 wordpress

In the example above two directories are returned by the ls command. The first column of the returned listing is the assigned inode.

  • the html directory was assigned inode 276944
  • the wordpress directory was assigned inode 405570

Using stat command

Another method of viewing a file’s inode is to use the stat command. This method is generally used against a single file, while the ls command is used against a list of files.

The example will stat the html directory seen above.

stat ./html
  File: ./html
  Size: 4096            Blocks: 8          IO Block: 4096   directory
Device: 801h/2049d      Inode: 276944      Links: 16
Access: (0755/drwxr-xr-x)  Uid: ( 33/www-data)   Gid: (33/www-data)
Access: 2019-12-06 13:33:13.194964943 +0000
Modify: 2019-06-04 01:47:16.000000000 +0000
Change: 2019-12-06 13:33:05.246318669 +0000

As you can see from the output of state the inode value returned is the same as the one from the ls command: 276944.