Updated: 03/05/2023 by Computer Hope
Fictional Execute key in place of the Enter key on a keyboard.

Execute and execution describes running a computer program, script, or command. For example, when you open your Internet browser, you execute the program. In Windows, to execute a program, double-click the executable file or double-click the shortcut icon pointing to the executable file. If you have difficulty double-clicking an icon, click the icon once to highlight it, and press Enter on the keyboard.

What happens when a file is executed?

When executed, a command, program, or script runs multiple instructions that tell the computer how to operate. What the computer does depends on these instructions. For example, one program may tell the computer to draw a circle, and a different program may tell the computer to draw a square.

What is an execute permission?

On Linux computers, the execute permission is a permission setting that allows a file (e.g., a script) to be executed. Without this permission, the file can only be read as a file and not executed like a script or program. Through the command line, the execute permissions can be added and removed using the chmod command. It's also possible to change the permission through FTP.

Users new to Linux or setting up a website may run into this requirement when attempting to add a server-side script to their server. After a file is uploaded to the server, the file on the server must have the execute permission added.

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