Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS)

Register for the exam

Exam Fee: $300

Exam may be scheduled anytime within 12 months of purchase

NEW: Includes one free retake attempt per purchase.


Linux is the #1 operating system for web servers, cloud computing, smart phones and consumer electronics. Because Linux is growing so quickly, there is a shortage of experienced Linux professionals. According to the 2017 Linux Jobs Report, employers are struggling to hire open source professionals, with 89 percent of hiring managers finding it difficult to find talent. There are 40,000+ open job listings requiring Linux system administration on Demonstrate to employers that you have both the skills and the knowledge to be a top sysadmin with the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator.

LFCS Exam Preparation

LFCS Exam + LFS201 (Essentials of Linux System Administration) - $499

  • A self-paced 100% online course
  • Full 12 months to complete the course
  • Gives you the foundational principles you need to take the LFCS exam
Register for LFS201 & LFCS Exam

Need a more intense preparation option? Check out LFS301 - Linux System Administration.

Upcoming change to exam: On April 10, 2018 a new version of this exam will become available. Please see details below under EXAM DETAILS/Overview of Domains and Competencies

openSUSE is no longer available for new LFCS registrations. If you would like to take an exam on SUSE please click here for the SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA 2018) exam.

Why Choose Linux Foundation Certifications

There are many reasons to choose Linux Foundation Certifications. Here are just a few:

  • The Linux Foundation is the non-profit organization that hosts the Linux project, employs Linux creator Linus Torvalds and hosts (where all Linux kernel updates are released). So when you get our certifications, you’re getting certified from the source.
  • Because we’re so close to the Linux community, we are able to update our certifications regularly using feedback from the community to make sure our exams are using the most up-to-date information.
  • The Linux Foundation has the only performance-based certifications on the market today that are available in both CentOS and Ubuntu.
  • We don't sell any software or support services so we’re completely distribution-neutral. Our only goal is to help you advance your Linux career.

Candidates must pass the required Exam to earn Certification. Review the following sections under Exam Details for more information.

Need some free extra help? Download our Free Certification Preparation Guide.

Exam Details

Exam Format

Certification Exams are performance-based and Candidates will need to perform tasks or solve problems using the command line interface in their chosen Linux distribution. For exam security, Candidates are monitored by a proctor during the exam session via streaming audio, video, and screensharing feeds. The screensharing feed allows proctors to view candidates' desktops (including all monitors). The audio, video and screensharing feeds will be stored for a limited period of time in the event that there is a subsequent need for review. (Watch this video from the proctoring provider to get a sense of how the proctoring piece works.)

Candidates must ensure they meet the System, ID, and Other Requirements for Taking the Exam.

The following choices of Linux distributions are offered for the Exam. Candidates will be prompted to select from one of these choices when registering for the Exam.

  • CentOS 7
  • Ubuntu 16

System, ID, and Other Requirements

System Requirements

Candidates are required to provide their own front-end hardware (laptop or workstation) with Chrome or Chromium browser, reliable internet access, and a webcam and microphone in order to take exams. Candidates do not need to provide their own Linux installation or VM; they will be presented with a VM in their browser window using a terminal emulator. Candidates should use the compatibility check tool to verify that their system and testing environment meet the minimum requirements.

ID Requirements for Candidate Identification and Authentication

Candidates are required to provide a means of photo identification before the Exam can be launched. Acceptable forms of photo ID include current, non-expired: passport, government-issued driver's license/permit, national ID card, state or province-issued ID card, or other form of government issued identification. If acceptable proof of identification is not provided to the exam proctor prior to the exam, entry to the exam will be refused. Candidates who are refused entry due to lack of sufficient ID will not be eligible for a refund or rescheduling.

Other Requirements

Candidates should also be sure to review Policy and Terms for Certification and Exams.

Overview of Domains and Competencies

The Linux Foundation worked with industry experts and the Linux kernel community to identify the core domains and the critical skills, knowledge and abilities ("competencies") applicable to each certification. Performance-based exams were then developed based on the competencies that were identified.

IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING UPCOMING CHANGES *NEW DATE: On April 10, 2018, the Domains and Competencies for the LFCS Exam will be updated (including no longer offering openSUSE as a test option) as described here.

Below follows a subset of the full list of Domains and Competencies covered by the LFCS Exam currently (see notice above about upcoming changes). This subset represents topics most likely to appear given the delivery technology, performance-based questions and time constraints of the exam.  Download a pdf copy of the full list of Domains and Competencies here.

Essential Commands - 25%

  • Log into graphical and text mode consoles
  • Search for files
  • Evaluate and compare the basic file system features and options
  • Compare, create and edit text files
  • Compare binary files
  • Use input-output redirection (e.g. >, >>, |, 2>)
  • Analyze text using basic regular expressions
  • Archive, backup, compress, unpack, and uncompress files
  • Create, delete, copy, and move files and directories
  • Create hard and soft links
  • List, set, and change standard file permissions
  • Read, and use system documentation
  • Manage access to the root account

Operation of Running Systems - 20%

  • Boot, reboot, and shut down a system safely
  • Boot systems into different runlevels manually
  • Install, configure and troubleshoot the bootloader
  • Change the priority of a process
  • Identify resource utilization by process
  • Locate and analyze system log files
  • Schedule tasks to run at a set date and time
  • Verify completion of scheduled jobs
  • Update software to provide required functionality and security
  • Verify the integrity and availability of resources
  • Verify the integrity and availability of key processes
  • Change kernel runtime parameters, persistent and non-persistent
  • Use scripting to automate system maintenance tasks
  • Manage the startup process and services
  • List and identify SELinux/AppArmor file and process contexts
  • Configure and modify SELinux/AppArmor policies
  • Install software from source

User and Group Management - 15%

  • Create, delete, and modify local user accounts
  • Create, delete, and modify local groups and group memberships
  • Manage system-wide environment profiles
  • Manage template user environment
  • Configure user resource limits
  • Manage user processes
  • Configure PAM

Networking - 15%

  • Configure networking and hostname resolution statically or dynamically
  • Configure network services to start automatically at boot
  • Implement packet filtering
  • Configure firewall settings
  • Start, stop, and check the status of network services
  • Statically route IP traffic
  • Dynamically route IP traffic
  • Synchronize time using other network peers

Service Configuration - 10%

  • Configure a basic DNS server
  • Maintain a DNS zone
  • Configure an FTP server
  • Configure anonymous-only download on FTP servers
  • Provide/configure network shares via NFS
  • Provide/configure network shares via CIFS
  • Configure email aliases
  • Configure SSH servers and clients
  • Configure SSH-based remote access using public/private key pairs
  • Restrict access to the HTTP proxy server
  • Configure an IMAP and IMAPS service
  • Query and modify the behavior of system services at various run levels
  • Configure an HTTP server
  • Configure HTTP server log files
  • Restrict access to a web page
  • Diagnose routine SELinux/AppArmor policy violations
  • Configure database server

Virtualization - 5%

  • Configure a hypervisor to host virtual guests
  • Access a VM console
  • Configure systems to launch virtual machines at boot
  • Evaluate memory usage of virtual machines
  • Resize RAM or storage of VMs

Storage Management - 10%

  • List, create, delete, and modify storage partitions
  • Create, modify and delete Logical Volumes
  • Extend existing Logical Volumes and filesystems
  • Create and configure encrypted partitions
  • Configure systems to mount file systems at or during boot
  • Configure and manage swap space
  • Add new partitions, and logical volumes
  • Assemble partitions as RAID devices
  • Configure systems to mount standard, encrypted, and network file systems on demand
  • Create and manage filesystem Access Control Lists (ACLs)
  • Diagnose and correct file permission problems
  • Setup user and group disk quotas for filesystems

Scoring and Notification

A score of at least 74% must be earned to pass the Exam.

Upon completion, exams are scored automatically and a score report will be made available within three (3) business days. If a passing score is achieved and other applicable requirements for Certification have been fulfilled, a notification indicating the Candidate has been successfully Certified will follow the score report.

Duration of Exam

2 hours


English (See FAQ for Spanish and Portuguese options)

Policy and Terms for Certification and Exams


Candidates who sit for Linux Foundation Certification Exams must agree they have read and will abide by the terms and conditions of The Linux Foundation Certification and Confidentiality Agreement before beginning the certification exam. The Agreement applies to all exams. Signing and adhering to this Agreement is required to be officially certified and to maintain valid Certification.

Refunds, Cancellations, Rescheduling

View Terms and Conditions of Exam Registration to understand the policy on refunds, cancelations and rescheduling.

Retake Policy

View the Retake Policy to get info regarding eligibility for a free retake.

Optional Training and Resources

Free Resources

Linux Foundation Certification Candidate Handbook

All Candidates should review and familiarize themselves with the Candidate Handbook prior to taking an Exam.

Certification Preparation Guide

Need some extra help? Download the Certification Prep Guide.

Course ID Title Duration

Introduction to Linux

Linux powers 94% of the world’s supercomputers, most of the servers powering the Internet, the majority of financial trades worldwide and a billion Android devices. In short, Linux is everywhere. It appears in many different architectures, from mainframes to server to desktop to mobile and on a staggeringly wide variety of hardware. This free self-paced course will teach you how to develop a good working knowledge of Linux using both the graphical interface and command line.

Essentials of System Administration

Linux is the #1 operating system for web servers, cloud computing, smart phones and consumer electronics. Due to its rapid adoption, there's a shortage of Linux system administrators. According to the 2015 Linux Jobs Report, "the unstoppable Linux job market shows no sign of slowing down." The Linux Foundation has created a career entry training and certification path that is 100% online, highly respected and exceptionally affordable.
1 year access

Linux System Administration

This course helps you master the tools used by system administrators in enterprise Linux environments, including maintaining software and hardware, updating, configuring, troubleshooting and securing systems, using a variety of Linux enterprise distributions.
4 Days

How to Renew Certifications

Linux Foundation Certifications are valid for 2 years and Candidates may keep Certification valid by completing one of the renewal requirement options below. Renewal requirements must be completed prior to the expiration of the Certification.

Options to meet Certification renewal requirements:

  • Retake the exam. Candidates have the option to retake and pass the same exam to keep their Certification valid. The Certification will become valid for 2 years starting on the date the exam is retaken and passed.
  • Achieve (or renew) a higher-level Certification. On the date that a Candidate with an active LFCS Certification achieves LFCE Certification, the expiration of their LFCS Certification will be extended for 2 years so that both their LFCE and LFCS Certifications expire on the same date. The date on which their LFCS Certification expiration is extended (i.e. renewed) becomes the Renewal Date. (For example, a Certificant holds an active LFCS Certification expiring on August 20, 2016. The Certificant then achieves LFCE Certification on March 1, 2016. Their lower-level LFCS Certification will be extended for 2 years effective March 1, 2016 and both their newly achieved LFCE and renewed LFCS Certifications will have the same expiration date of March 1, 2018. March 1, 2016 becomes the Renewal Date for their LFCS Certification.)