Does Bash Exit With Exec

Shell Programming

As a developer who frequently works in the command line, I often encounter questions about the behavior of the Bash shell. One common query that arises is whether Bash exits with the exec command. In this article, I’ll explore this topic in detail and provide insights into the behavior of Bash when using the exec command.

Understanding the exec Command in Bash

The exec command in Bash is used to replace the current shell process with a new command. When a command is executed with exec, the current process is replaced, and the new command becomes the primary process for the shell. This means that any code or commands following the exec will not be executed, as the current shell process is effectively “replaced” by the new command.

Does Bash Exit with exec?

Now, the big question: Does Bash exit when the exec command is used? The answer is yes. When exec is invoked, the current shell process is replaced by the new command, and therefore, the shell effectively exits. This behavior is important to keep in mind when using the exec command, as any subsequent commands or code in the script will not be executed.


echo "This line will be executed"
exec echo "This line will replace the shell and be the last line executed"
echo "This line will not be executed"

Personal Experience

Having encountered situations where I needed to use the exec command, I’ve learned to be cautious about its implications. The fact that Bash exits when exec is used can have significant consequences, especially when working on scripts where subsequent commands are crucial. Therefore, it’s essential to carefully consider the use of exec and ensure that its behavior aligns with the intended script flow.


In conclusion, the exec command in Bash indeed causes the shell to exit. Understanding this behavior is crucial for writing scripts and executing commands in the command line. By being mindful of the implications of exec, developers can effectively utilize this command while avoiding unexpected script termination.