macOS Terminal: User Guide For Web Developers In 2024


The world of web developers often revolves around deft visual editors and IDEs. But have you heard of macOS Terminal? This tool not only does a good job of punching commands but is also a developer’s gateway to coding artistry. The top three reasons why Terminal must be a part of a web developer’s arsenal of tools:

  • Terminal is at the heart of the macOS ecosystem, offering exceptional command-line capabilities.
  • It seamlessly integrates with Visual Studio Code.
  • Establishes SSH connections to help secure the management of remote servers and deployments.

However, many web developers, especially beginners, complain that this text-based command line is too intimidating. But once you dig deeper and peel off the layers, you will realize that it holds a treasure trove of functionality that is simply waiting to be tapped.

Do you want to elevate your web development game by using Terminal with confidence? Follow this guide to learn how you can supercharge your workflow.

I. What is macOS terminal?

Terminal is an in-built macOS application for developers and advanced users. It allows users to communicate with the Mac system via a command-line interface. By entering scripts and commands, you can perform various tasks on Mac.

macOS Terminal
Terminal is an in-built macOS application for developers and advanced users.

II. Why do developers use macOS terminal?

There’s no doubt that IDEs offer an intuitive and user-friendly environment. However, Terminal offers various advantages that can accentuate your web development game:

  • Improved efficiency: Using Terminal commands, you can automate monotonous, repetitive tasks. This will save you precious time and speed up the deployment of your code with a single line. Also, it will streamline the process of running a series of tests.
  • More granular control: This text-based command line grants access to the core functionalities of the Mac system, allowing users fine-grained control over configurations, processes, and files.
  • Universality across environments: Terminal commands seamlessly work across various Mac environments and other Unix-based environments. This makes them easily transferable to remote machines and servers. Web developers familiar with Terminal commands are able to easily navigate and manage these systems without the need of learning new systems.
  • Advanced troubleshooting: Web developers always have to be prepared for things going wrong. Fortunately, when working on Terminal and things go south, this text-based command offers deeper diagnostic tools and error messages, so it is easier to troubleshoot the problem and move on.

III. Getting started with macOS terminal

Terminal is a built-in application that is readily available on all Macs. You can search for it in Spotlight or find it in Applications > Utilities. Once the app is launched, it will display a blinking cursor and a prompt displaying your current directory path and username. This is where you will be typing all your commands and performing various tasks related to web development.

Essential commands

While there are several navigation commands, these few are essential for web developers. You must memorize the commands to work on Terminal without a glitch.

  • pwd: This command displays the current folder you are in.
  • cd: This command enables users to change directories. Suppose you want to go to the Desktop, type cd Desktop.
  • Is: All the contents of the current history will be listed with this command, and it will even show the files and subfolders. If you want a more detailed listing with file sizes and permissions, use the ls -l command.
  • killprocess_id: This command kills a running program.
  • ping This command is used to ping the server of specific websites. Here, you can replace with an actual URL. If you are displayed an error, it probably means the website is inaccessible or down.

The more you use Terminal, the more commands you’ll learn, which will make your tasks easier and help you finish your web development project by the deadline.

Unzipping GZIP files

Most web developers utilize the GZIP or GZ compression algorithm because it helps to significantly reduce the size of the file while maintaining the file’s integrity. They also use it to compress web elements so that the webpage can load faster and ensure enhanced user experience. Therefore, it is essential to learn how to unzip GZ files on your Mac.

macOS Terminal
It is essential to learn how to unzip GZ files on your Mac.

Luckily, you don’t need any additional tools or software. Terminal can be used to Mac open GZ file. Simply use the gunzip or gzip commands of Terminal, and it will be done. You can also drag and drop the file onto the Terminal’s window, and the file will be unzipped so you can use it for your project.

How does terminal enhance the web development experience?

  • It allows users to install dependencies for their project straight from the Terminal (use commands like yarn add or npm install).
  • Git is integrated with Terminal, so you can use commands like git commit, git clone, git add, or git push to deploy code, manage server configurations, and run applications.
  • Using commands like SSH, you can access and manage remote servers. Thanks to this, you can run applications and deploy codes.
  • Within the Terminal, you will find text editors like Vim or Nano. These can be used for basic file editing. Although they are not packed with features like dedicated editors, they do a decent job. You can use them for quick edits.

Helpful tips for web developers using terminal for the first ime

Using macOS Terminal is not only about efficiency. It also fosters a deeper understanding of how the web development environment works. This text-based command directly interacts with the system, so you can gain valuable insights into permissions, file structures, and system processes.

macOS Terminal
MacOS Terminal is a useful tool for web developers.

Remember these tips to master the use of the Terminal:

  • Do not overwhelm yourself in the beginning. It is essential to start slow. You can begin by mastering the basic commands. Then, build your repertoire.
  • It is important to keep using Terminal. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will get. Also, do not be afraid to try new commands and experiments.
  • If you ever find yourself stuck, do not hesitate to seek help. There are communities and forums dedicated to helping beginners master the use of the Terminal.


The macOS Terminal is a useful tool for web developers. It is a powerful tool that is largely untapped due to its intimidating interface. However, once you use this text-based command, you will be able to boost your web development game and enhance your efficiency.

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