Understanding the Basic Commands in FreeBSD for Beginners

Jul 17, 2023 • FreeBSDSoftware

FreeBSD is an advanced operating system for modern servers, workstations, and desktop computers. It’s based directly on Unix, which makes it an extremely powerful and stable system. In light of the nature of FreeBSD, it’s highly recommended for you to consult our guides boost system freebsd performance and common freebsd error to gain higher efficacy and efficiency while working with FreeBSD. This guide acts as an introductory course to the most basic commands of FreeBSD.

Setting Up Your FreeBSD Environment

The first step any beginner should take is to check the version of FreeBSD you have installed. This is done by typing the following command into the terminal:

uname -a

File Operations

FreeBSD file operations mirror those of Unix; therefore, if you have a Unix background, the commands should be familiar.

To list directory contents:


To change the working directory:

cd <directory name>

To create a directory:

mkdir <directory name>

To remove a directory:

rmdir <directory name>

To create a new file:

touch <file name>

Just like Unix, FreeBSD operates with a similar structure and command syntax.

Managing Processes

FreeBSD uses the same basic structure as Unix for managing processes. This portion of the guide explains how to view processes running on your system, and how to shut them down.

To view all running processes:


To shut down a process:

kill <PID>

In this command, “PID” stands for Process ID and it can be found in the process list from the ‘top’ command.

Networking Commands

Beginners who are planning on setting up FreeBSD as a server may find the following networking commands useful. For a more detailed guide, visit our post on choose a freebsd server

To display all networking information:


To ping a network host:

ping <hostname/IP address>

FreeBSD Package Management

Finally, understanding how to manage packages and install software are key aspects of working with FreeBSD.

To search for a package:

pkg search <package name>

To install a package:

pkg install <package name>

To update the package list:

pkg update

To upgrade all installed packages:

pkg upgrade

Understanding these basic commands should provide beginners with a good foundation to start working with FreeBSD. The system’s stability, advanced networking features, and resemblance to Unix make it worth the efforts to master. The next stage would be to explore more advanced features which FreeBSD has to offer.

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