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Sticky Bit

Definition of Sticky Session

Sticky session, also known as session persistence or session affinity, is a term used in web server load balancing to ensure that all requests from a particular client are consistently routed to the same server. In simpler terms, once a user connects to a server, subsequent requests from that user during the session are directed to the same server, rather than being load-balanced across multiple servers.

Origin of Sticky Bit

The concept of the sticky bit dates back to the early days of Unix operating systems. It was first introduced in the 1970s to address security concerns in multi-user environments where users shared directories for collaboration. The sticky bit ensured that users could create and modify files within a shared directory, but they could not inadvertently delete or modify files belonging to other users.

Practical Application of Sticky Bit

One practical application of the sticky bit is in shared directories such as those found on Unix-based servers hosting websites or file repositories. For example, on a web server, the /tmp directory often has the sticky bit set to prevent unauthorized users from removing or tampering with temporary files created by the web application or other users. Similarly, on a file server used by multiple users or departments, setting the sticky bit on shared directories ensures that users can collaborate on files without the risk of accidental or malicious file deletion.

Benefits of Sticky Bit

The sticky bit provides an additional layer of security and control over shared directories, particularly in environments where multiple users have write permissions on the same directory. By restricting the deletion of files to only authorized users, it helps prevent accidental data loss and unauthorized file modifications. Additionally, the sticky bit helps maintain the integrity of shared directories by ensuring that users cannot interfere with each other's files, thereby promoting collaboration and data consistency.


To set the sticky bit on a directory in Unix-based systems, you can use the chmod command followed by the octal representation 1 as the third digit. For example, to set the sticky bit on a directory named "shared", you would use the command chmod +t shared.

No, the sticky bit is typically applied to directories rather than individual files. Its primary purpose is to control access to shared directories and prevent unauthorized file deletion.

No, the sticky bit specifically affects the deletion of files within a directory. It does not impact other file permissions such as read, write, or execute permissions.


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