Replace text in multiple files

I needed to replace text in multiple files on an Ubuntu server.
The text was “D:/FTPdownloads”, and would be changed to “srv/ftp” (migrating an FTP server from Windows to Linux). Also this had to be done in 100+ files in a bunch of directories. Quickest way I found to do this was the following:

find -name "*" -type f | xargs sed -i "s/D:\/FTPdownloads/srv\/ftp/"


find -name "*" -type f | 

find with a name that can be anything, of type ‘file’, the pipeline hands the output to the next part


xargs builds commandlines with the next command, combined with the output from the previous command

sed -i "s/D:\/FTPdownloads/srv\/ftp/"

sed replaces text with the s prefix, and the -i makes sure the input file is also used for output.

This worked well as the directories only contained small config files, if there had also been a bunch of big files you’d be smart to limit finding ‘all’ files. You could play with the “*” part to limit the files it finds. For example, to find all files without an extension:

find ! -name "*.*" -type f | xargs sed -i "s/D:\/FTPdownloads/srv\/ftp/"

“*.*” finds only files *with* an extension, and the ! inverts that.