How Should Bash Scripts Be Started

Shell Programming

When it comes to starting bash scripts, there are several considerations to keep in mind. As a programmer, I’ve learned that the way a script is started can impact its performance, maintainability, and overall effectiveness. Let’s dive into the details of how bash scripts should be started.

Understanding the Shebang

One of the crucial aspects of starting a bash script is the shebang line. This line, which begins with #!, is used to indicate the interpreter that should be used to execute the script. For bash scripts, the shebang line typically looks like:


I always make sure to include this line at the beginning of my scripts to ensure they are executed using the correct interpreter. This simple line can often be overlooked, but it plays a vital role in the proper execution of bash scripts.

Executable Permission

Another important aspect is setting the executable permission for the script file. Without this permission, the script cannot be directly executed. As a best practice, I always use the following command to grant executable permission:

chmod +x

By doing so, I ensure that the script can be started without explicitly invoking the shell interpreter.

Using Explicit Shell Invocation

Sometimes, it may be necessary to explicitly invoke the shell interpreter to start a bash script. This can be done using commands like:




While this approach can be effective, I generally prefer to rely on the shebang line and executable permission as they provide a more direct and standard way to start bash scripts.

Adding to the Environment Path

If a bash script is frequently used and needs to be started from any directory, adding its location to the system’s environment path can be beneficial. This allows the script to be executed without specifying its full path. However, I always approach this with caution, as adding too many directories to the system’s path can lead to potential security and maintenance issues.


Starting bash scripts may seem like a simple task, but paying attention to the details can make a significant difference. By ensuring the shebang line is correctly set, granting executable permission, and considering the use of explicit shell invocation and path modification, I can confidently start my bash scripts for optimal performance and maintainability.