Sometimes you may need to create directory only if it doesn’t exist in Linux. You can easily do this using mkdir command. In this article, we will learn how to create directory if it doesn’t exist.
How to mkdir Only if Directory Does Not Exist
Generally, if you create directory that already exists, you will get an error. Here is an example.
$ mkdir var/data/backup mkdir: cannot create directory ‘data/backup’: File exists
If you are running a script that requires creation of directory, then this kind of error can make your script stop running.
mkdir command provides -p option that automatically checks if the parent folder exists. It is used to crate multilevel nested directories by checking parents. You can also use this command to check if the directory exists, before creating it. In this case, if the specified directory already exists, mkdir command will skip it.
Here is an example.
$ mkdir -p var/data/backup
Alternatively, you can suppress this error by redirecting the error message to /dev/null.
$ mkdir /var/data/backup >/dev/null 2>&1
You can also use -d flag to check if a directory exists, and create directory only if it doesn’t exist. Here is an example. We have used an OR conditional operator with first condition checking if the directory exists or not. If the directory does not exist, it will return False and then the second condition is executed.
[ -d /var/data/backup ] || mkdir var/data/backup
On the other hand, if directory exists, the first condition evaluates to True and the second condition is not executed.
In this article, we have learnt how to create directory only if it doesn’t exist.
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