To check if a directory exists in a shell script you can use the following:
if [ -d "$DIRECTORY" ]; then
# Control will enter here if $DIRECTORY exists.
Or to check if a directory doesn't exist:
if [ ! -d "$DIRECTORY" ]; then
# Control will enter here if $DIRECTORY doesn't exist.
However, as Jon Ericson points out (thanks Jon), subsequent commands may not work as intended if you do not take into account that a symbolic link to a directory will also pass this check.
E.g. running this:
ln -s "$ACTUAL_DIR" "$SYMLINK"
if [ -d "$SYMLINK" ]; then
Will produce the error message:
rmdir: failed to remove `symlink': Not a directory
So symbolic links may have to be treated differently, if subsequent commands expect directories:
if [ -d "$LINK_OR_DIR" ]; then
if [ -L "$LINK_OR_DIR" ]; then
# It is a symlink!
# Symbolic link specific commands go here.
# It's a directory!
# Directory command goes here.
Take particular note of the double-quotes used to wrap the variables, the reason for this is explained by 8jean in another answer.
If the variables contain spaces or other unusual characters it will probably cause the script to fail.