Enabling the Swap File

Now that we have a file of the correct size available, we need to actually turn this into swap space.

First, we need to lock down the permissions of the file so that only the users with root privileges can read the contents. This prevents normal users from being able to access the file, which would have significant security implications.

Make the file only accessible to root by typing:

sudo chmod 600 /swapfile

Verify the permissions change by typing:

ls -lh /swapfile

-rw------- 1 root root 1.0G Apr 25 11:14 /swapfile

As you can see, only the root user has the read and write flags enabled.

We can now mark the file as swap space by typing:

sudo mkswap /swapfile


Setting up swapspace version 1, size = 1024 MiB (1073737728 bytes)
no label, UUID=6e965805-2ab9-450f-aed6-577e74089dbf

After marking the file, we can enable the swap file, allowing our system to start utilizing it:

sudo swapon /swapfile

Verify that the swap is available by typing:

sudo swapon --show


/swapfile file 1024M   0B   -2

We can check the output of the free utility again to corroborate our findings:

free -h


              total        used        free      shared  buff/cache   available
Mem:           985M         84M        220M        680K        680M        722M
Swap:          1.0G          0B        1.0G

Our swap has been set up successfully and our operating system will begin to use it as necessary.