I would like to have script that is doing automated migrations of websites from another be able to append Includes to the /etc/httpd/conf.d/vhosts.conf file.

However, when I try to use echo to put append a string to the end of the file I get this:

$ sudo echo "Include thing" >> /etc/httpd/conf.d/vhosts.conf
-bash: /etc/httpd/conf.d/vhosts.conf: Permission denied

and yet I can vi /etc/httpd/conf.d/vhosts.conf, add the line and :wq the file to save and close it.

What am I missing?


1 Answer 1


Sudo elevates the process it calls, it does not elevate any of the current shell's processing like redirection, globbing, etc.

The file redirection >> /etc/httpd/conf.d/vhosts.conf is being processed by your current shell, which is still running under your current privileges.

You could try something like this.

sudo bash -c 'echo "Include thing" >> /etc/httpd/conf.d/vhosts.conf'


echo "Include thing" | sudo tee -a /etc/httpd/conf.d/vhosts.conf
  • Would it also work to say sudo (command >> file) ?
    – WGroleau
    Jan 24, 2020 at 18:31
  • 6
    @WGroleau, no, that doesn't work; sudo needs its argument to be something it can use the execve() syscall to invoke. A shell compound command can't be invoked that way (whereas a shell with an argument that is code giving it that compound command can) -- so sudo sh -c 'command >> file' becomes execvp("sh", {"sh", "-c", "command >> file", NULL}), but without the sh -c or bash -c, there isn't really anything you can translate that command into. Jan 24, 2020 at 18:35
  • Because I hate nesting quotes, I'd just sudo bash, then type the echo command in the new shell. Or just sudo su -l.
    – CarlF
    Jan 24, 2020 at 18:56
  • @CarlF, that’s usually my approach, especially when I expect to use more than one command.
    – WGroleau
    Jan 24, 2020 at 22:38
  • @CarlF sudo -i to the rescue Jan 26, 2020 at 21:43

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