Bash Error Handling

Error handling in Bash involves managing and responding to errors that may occur during the execution of a script. Proper error handling ensures that your script can smoothly handle unexpected situations and provide useful feedback to users. Here are some common techniques for error handling in Bash:

Exit Codes

each command returns an exit code upon completion. Conventional coding practices dictate that an exit code of 0 signifies successful execution, while any non-zero value indicates an error. This system forms the basis for error detection and handling, guiding script behavior based on command outcomes.

You can check the exit code of the last command using the $? variable.

command if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then echo "Error: Command failed" fi

Conditional Statements

Employ conditional statements like if, elif, and else in Bash scripting to assess command exit codes and execute corresponding actions based on success or failure. These constructs allow scripts to dynamically respond to varying outcomes, enhancing adaptability and enabling tailored error handling procedures.

if command; then echo "Command succeeded" else echo "Error: Command failed" fi

Exit on Error

Utilize the set -e option in Bash scripting to prompt immediate script termination upon any command encountering a non-zero status. This approach streamlines error handling by preventing subsequent commands from executing, promoting a straightforward and efficient response to the initial error, enhancing script reliability and maintainability.

You can check the exit code of the last command using the $? variable.

#!/bin/bash set -e command1 command2

Trap Command

Utilize the trap command in Bash scripting to establish a function that executes when an error signal, such as ERR or EXIT, is received. This mechanism allows for custom error handling, enabling cleanup actions or specific responses to be triggered upon the occurrence of errors during script execution.

#!/bin/bash function cleanup() { echo "Cleaning up..." } trap cleanup ERR command1 command2


Implement logging in Bash scripting by redirecting error output to a log file. This practice facilitates comprehensive analysis, aiding in the identification and troubleshooting of issues. By capturing error information in a log, script authors can gain insights into the script's behavior and address potential problems more effectively.

command 2> error.log

Error Messages

Enhance Bash script usability by incorporating descriptive error messages, offering users valuable insights into encountered issues. Clear and informative error messages contribute to a more user-friendly experience, aiding users in understanding the nature of the problem and facilitating efficient troubleshooting and resolution processes.

if [ ! -f "file.txt" ]; then echo "Error: File not found - file.txt" fi

Error Handling Functions

Enhance the modularity of Bash scripts by implementing error handling functions tailored to specific error types. This approach streamlines code organization, making it more readable and maintainable. Error-handling functions encapsulate logic related to distinct errors, promoting a structured and efficient approach to managing script exceptions.

function handle_error() { echo "Error: $1" exit 1 } # Usage command handle_error "Command failed"

Try-Catch (using eval)

Emulate try-catch characteristic in Bash scripts via the pipeline command to attract errors. This way of execution provides running the code within safety lines letting the script to hand peculiar incidences, such as input error code exception and furthermore the script can use its own custom error-handling logic rules for better script overall reliability and achieve more accurate results.

function try_catch() { eval "$1" if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then echo "Error: $2" fi } # Usage try_catch "command" "Command failed"


Error handling in Bash involves managing and responding to errors that may occur during script execution. Techniques include checking exit codes, using conditional statements, setting options like set -e, employing the trap command, logging, providing informative messages, creating error-handling functions, and simulating try-catch behavior using eval. These approaches enhance script robustness and user feedback.