BASH Shell Redirect Output and Errors To /dev/null

by on February 11, 2009 · 23 comments· LAST UPDATED February 2, 2015

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How do I redirect output and errors to /dev/null under bash / sh shell scripting? How do I redirect the output of stderr to stdout, and then redirect this combined output to /dev/null device? In Unix, how do I redirect error messages to /dev/null?

You can send output to /dev/null, by using command >/dev/null syntax. However, this will not work when command will use the standard error (FD # 2).
Tutorial details
DifficultyEasy (rss)
Root privilegesNo
Estimated completion time1m
So you need to modify >/dev/null as follows to redirect both output and errors to /dev/null.

Syntax to redirect error and output messages to /dev/null

The syntax discussed below works with Bourne-like shells, such as sh, ksh, and bash:

$ command > /dev/null 2>&1
$ ./ > /dev/null 2>&1
$ ./ > /dev/null 2>&1


command &>/dev/null
job arg1 arg2 &>/dev/null
/path/to/script arg1 &>/dev/null

You can also use the same syntax for all your cronjobs to avoid emails and output / error messages:
@hourly /scripts/backup/nas.backup >/dev/null 2>&1
@hourly /scripts/backup/nas.backup &>/dev/null

Redirect both standard error and standard out messages to a log file

You can always redirect both standard error (stdin) and standard out (stdout) text to an output file or a log file by typing the following command:

command > file 2>&1
/path/to/my/cool/appname > myapp.log 2>&1

Want to close stdout and stderr for the command being executed on a Linux/Unix/BSD/OSX bash shell?

Try the following syntax:

## Thanks ##
command 1>&- 2>&-
## Note: additional '&' at the end of job to put it in backgrounds ##
job 1>&- 2>&-  &
command 1>&- 2>&-  &

See man pages: bash(1), ksh(1)

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sherikrot February 11, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Another way to do it:

$ command &>/dev/null


2 Giuseppe February 12, 2009 at 8:12 am

Or you can close stdout and stderr for the command being executed:

$ command 1>&- 2>&-


3 Jose Torres October 15, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Remember to add an additional & at the end of the statement to run the command in the background. Thank you Giuseppe for the tip.


4 Jonathan May 26, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Thanks! I was searching how resolve this problem, and your solution work perfect for me!


5 Frank June 30, 2009 at 5:15 pm

need a command in my bash script to remove some (not all) of the contents of directory2.
The script does NOT run as root, which works because it removes the correct files but not the root-level stuff in directory2 (that I don’t want to remove).
Problem is users get confused by the “permission denied” msgs output by the “rm”. So…
I tried to redirect the stderror & stdout to /dev/null this way:
rm * /directory1/directory2/ > 2&>1 /dev/null
kept changing /dev/null form a special file & other users need crw-rw-rw-
Will the recommended approaches allow me to redirect to /dev/null without messing it up for others?


6 Martin June 2, 2014 at 4:23 am

You could use find instead to filter out the files you don’t want to delete, or only delete files matching a patter:

Delete all files except those with “attachments” in the name:
# find . ! -name '*attachments*' -exec rm -v {} \;

Delete all files with “attachments” in the name:
# find . -name '*attachments*' -exec rm -v {} \;

Find is very versitile, it’s pretty cool what you can acheive with find.


7 Henry April 14, 2010 at 4:53 pm

how does one redirect output from text file processing to a script file that uses the command line variable $1.

file iplist has a long list of IP’s on the network and i need to send this to a script that creates a file with the ping info.

script says: ping $1 > $1
Please assist if possible


8 SilversleevesX July 20, 2010 at 4:16 am

How reliable, if that’s the word I’m looking for, is ending a particular command in a script with a redirect like “2>/dev/null” ? What have folks’ experiences been with the different commands and bash/sh versions when trying it this way?

I know it’s not recommended, but for someone like myself, with scripts they either run daily or don’t run for months and then go through a spate of executing them two and three times a day (only to go back to seldom running them until the next time it happens), it would be very convenient and not too too anxiety-producing to run a script and know that whatever passable or critical errors it comes up with are being suppressed.

I’m much more inclined to put up with circumstances after the fact, and I seldom write anything that’s too destructive (on the system or OS/hardware install and performance level, at any rate) for a little error like Exiv2 complaining about some JPG file’s Photoshop IFD entry being out of bounds.

So share up, coders and newbies. :)



9 Saartube January 19, 2011 at 10:31 am

Thank you :))


10 ciccio October 2, 2011 at 9:11 am

how can I redirect output to /dev/null BUT errors on sdout.
I mean: I want to launch a command:
– if all goes good —> no output
– if something goes wrong —> output of errors



11 SilversleevesX October 2, 2011 at 4:07 pm

ciccio –
I think it would be the opposite of sending errors to the bucket.

Something like:
(your_command) 1>/dev/null
should leave errors alone, that is, going to stout where you can see them. I’m sure you have something in mind where both good and bad output would normally go to stdout.



12 josch October 5, 2011 at 11:16 pm

ciccio, the order of the redirection counts.
command 2>&1 1>/dev/null


13 nixCraft October 6, 2011 at 12:54 am

No, it does not matters. So following two are the same command:

command 2>&1 1>/dev/null


command 1>/dev/null 2>&1


14 Anonymous August 25, 2012 at 7:33 pm


The order is important :

$ ls non_existing_folder 1>/dev/null 2>&1

(no output)

$ ls non_existing_folder 2>&1 1>/dev/null
ls: non_existing_folder: No such file or directory


15 smilyface October 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm

echo “open 8080″| telnet | grep –color=auto “Connected to”
gives the following output:
Connection closed by foreign host.
Connected to (

How can I get rid of “Connection closed by foreign host.” ?


16 neonatus October 17, 2012 at 7:29 pm


you can close (omit) the stderr output from telnet command
echo “open 8080″| telnet 2>&- | grep –color=auto “Connected to”


17 siva September 13, 2013 at 6:21 am


I tried like below

ping > /dev/null 2>&1
“but i am getting out as ” Ambiguous output redirect”
Please suggest me


18 ap April 26, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Put in bash script:
exec 2>/dev/null
before your commands. And avoid redirection in the command itself.


19 Hugues November 12, 2013 at 4:33 pm

l often do the following and I do not want an error (just a 0 length file)
You get a valid output if the command works, otherwise the error is sent to /dev/null

file=`ls doesthisfileexist 2>/dev/null`
if [ -n $file ] ; then
do something


20 LiPi March 4, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Why not:

if [ ! -f $FILE ]
    echo "File does not exist"


21 Tom December 27, 2014 at 6:20 pm

I just stumbled upon this article… FYI ‘command > /dev/null 2>&1` won’t work in every scenario. For example, this will still output an error message:

ps -ef | grep | grep ps > /dev/null 2>&1


22 nixCraft February 2, 2015 at 8:14 pm


(ps -ef | grep | grep ps) > /dev/null 2>&1


23 ma thesh February 2, 2015 at 6:16 pm

How to get the error help in shell window


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