Learning Linux doesn’t have to be a daunting journey anymore, thanks to myriad online resources. Gone are the days when you had to read boring textbooks and rely on hard-to-consume technical documentation to learn it. We searched the internet to find the best websites so you can learn Linux in a fun, interactive, and engaging way.
Why Should You Consider Learning Linux?
If you plan to get into IT, understanding how Linux works is a must. Most IT fields such as networking, server administration, programming & development, DevOps, or cybersecurity, require proficiency in Linux systems.
Even if you don’t plan a career in IT, you can still gain Linux knowledge for personal benefit. Whether you’re interested in how operating systems work, need it for academic studies, or learn it just for the fun of it, mastering Linux can be a rewarding experience.
7 Websites To Learn Linux
We deeply researched and curated this list based on the content, user-friendliness, and learning purposes. So, without further ado, let’s jump right into the list.
Linux Journey is at the top of the list because of how well-organized their lesson structure is. From command-line to networking, they have you covered. All the lessons are categorized into a few sections depending on where you are in your journey to learn Linux. And under each section, there are subsections that divide the lessons even further.
The lessons are all text-based, with additional code snippets where necessary. This could be a con for people who prefer visual materials. However, the way they portrayed their lessons makes it a fun read and totally worthwhile even if you don’t like reading. Each lesson is bite-sized, so you can finish them in only a few minutes. The lessons come with exercises that provide you with hands-on experience, which we definitely recommend when gaining technical knowledge. You can also test your learning with the quiz questions at the bottom.
The user interface (UI) looks sleek and clean so that you have a great experience while learning. You don’t need to navigate too much to find the lesson you’re looking for. Linux Journey offers 15 languages as of this writing, making it possible to learn in your preferred language. If you’re looking for a source to get an overview of how everything works on Linux without trying it out yourself, Linux Journey could be your best companion.
OverTheWire is about learning Linux through solving challenges they like to call “Wargames.” The challenges are mostly geared toward folks interested in learning computer security. However, there is a whole section for learning the basics of Linux.
There are 10+ wargames. Each wargame covers a different aspect of security. For example, the first wargame, “Bandit,” covers the bare basics of Linux commands. “Natas” covers web security. “Krypton” goes over cryptography concepts. “Narnia” is about basic exploitations. Every wargame consists of many levels. You need to solve the levels chronologically to advance to the next one and finish a game. So it feels like you’re going through an adventure.
To play the games, you need to connect to the respective wargame server via SSH. Each level, especially in the beginner wargames, provides you with learning resources such as manual pages and Wikipedia so that you can first learn what you need to solve a particular challenge. If you love solving tough challenges, then OverTheWire can be your best bet for learning Linux.
Linux Survival is a compilation of beginner Linux topics and commands organized in modules. There are a total of four modules. Each module contains a different set of topics. For example, module 1 is all about file and directory manipulation on Linux. To proceed to a new module, you need to finish the previous one to gain the prerequisite knowledge.
The lessons are structured in a way so that you can quickly read the necessary material to know how Linux and certain Linux commands work. Then you can try out the command in the provided terminal window to see the practical usage of the command. The lessons do a great job of walking you through the concepts and explaining usecases. Other than text, there are also some visuals such as pictures and charts, so you can get a better understanding.
After each module, you can take a quiz to test your knowledge. If you input the wrong command in the terminal or enter a wrong answer in the quiz, it shows you the correct answer. Linux Survival also has a bunch of useful links you can refer to to learn more and a list of the most used commands on Linux. For its beginner-friendly approach and terminal integration, Linux Survival definitely gets our recommendation for learning Linux.
Terminus is all about learning the Linux command line by playing a text-based adventure game. Created by two students of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), this terminal game sets you off on a journey to explore a mysterious world and save it from an evil dark wizard.
To navigate through different areas in the game, interact with objects, and explore your surroundings, you need to input real Linux commands. The game restricts you to a few commands in a particular environment. The reasoning for this is that the developers don’t want you to have access to all available commands from the start. Instead, you learn each one thoroughly by using it when necessary. This also allows you to experiment with the commands freely.
Though it’s a text-based adventure, there are retro pixel art graphics, making the game even more entertaining. They also create a memorable visual connection with the commands you’re inputting. If the command line seems difficult for you to learn, and you want a more gamified way to master it, Terminus is a great choice to start your adventure and get the basics down.
Hackerrank is a tech hiring platform. Part of the platform is to prepare candidates with problem-solving challenges about programming languages, data structures, databases, mathematics, and of course, the Linux shell.
If you’re familiar with competitive programming, then you’ll love this style of learning. In each challenge, you’re provided with a problem description, problem constraints, sample inputs, sample outputs, and problem explanation. There’s an integrated code editor where you can write Bash code to solve the problem. You can test run your code to find any errors, then submit your solution. Hackerrank tests your solutions with different inputs to see if your solution is correct.
There are editorials, a discussion panel, problem tutorials, and a leaderboard, creating a competitive environment to keep you motivated. However, not all problems contain tutorials or solutions attached. So, unlike other options in this list, Hackerrank doesn’t do much hand-holding. It’s more suited for people who have some basic idea of Bash and want to put their knowledge to the test. So if that’s your thing, you’ll enjoy sharpening your Linux knowledge here.
PicoCTF is best known for its beginner-friendly Capture The Flag (CTF) challenges. A CTF is a security challenge where the player needs to find a piece of text or string by doing various tasks. A lot of CTF challenges involve using Linux commands or navigating vulnerable Linux servers.
There are hundreds of challenges to choose from. All challenges are categorized into different topics. Most Linux challenges fall under the “General Skills” category. Depending on the difficulty of the problem, you’re awarded points when you successfully solve a challenge. Some harder problems include hints that you can use if you get stuck, with no penalty. This makes it easier for newcomers to enjoy their learning process.
PicoCTF offers a web shell you can use to solve the challenges even if you don’t have any terminal access. The PicoGym section contains all past problems from CTF competitions. Your total earned points are saved in your account so that you can track your progress. If you’re interested in learning Linux through fun security challenges, then you should try out PicoCTF.
Unlike many of the resources in this list that focus on Linux basics or the command line, Vim Adventures is about learning how to use Vim, one of the most popular text editors used by Linux users. Vim Adventures is an adventure game that will help you become proficient in this editor.
You may wonder, what’s so complicated about a text editor that you need to play a game to learn it? Vim is quite different from many of the traditional text editors you’ve likely used in the past. For example, if you want to exit the Vim editor, you need to input the :q! command. The reason people love this editor so much is that once you get the hang of it, you can’t live without it due to how fast you can get work done with it.
Vim Adventures focuses on all the commands and keys necessary to operate the Vim editor. This includes navigating through text, saving data, running macros, and more. You need to go through a maze and complete different tasks to complete the game. For full access to the game, you need to buy a license.
The Best Way to Learn Linux
While interactive websites and games can provide an enjoyable learning experience, there’s no better way to learn than to get your hands dirty. And that holds true for learning Linux as well.
So what is the best way to learn Linux? By installing it and using it yourself. Immerse yourself in the Linux environment.
But don’t worry. We’re not telling you to get rid of your current OS and install Linux directly on your hardware, as there are many ways to try Linux. You can use virtualization software such as VirtualBox or VMWare to install a Linux distribution of your choice. Then, play around the distro to learn how things work. The best part is that even if you break something, it won’t affect your device at all. If you decide to learn from the resources we mentioned in this post, you can put those skills to the test in your installed operating system.
Have Fun Along the Way
Linux, often considered the heart of the open-source world, offers a world of possibilities to those who decide to embrace it. Each of these websites provides a unique approach to Linux proficiency, from mastering the command line to fixing security vulnerabilities. This ensures you not only gain knowledge but can also apply it in real life. So don’t hesitate to dive in, make mistakes, and celebrate the small wins along this journey.
Want to learn Linux from short and practical guides? Check out our guides to working faster in the terminal or writing your first Bash script.