How to Check Linux Red Hat (RHEL) Version Installed On Your System

April 1, 2019


Red Hat is a popular and influential fork of the Linux operating system. It has been around since the mid-1990s and has earned a reputation for being stable, reliable, and regularly updated. There are many Linux operating systems based on Red Hat architecture, such as RHELCentOS and Fedora.

Finding your Red Hat version is straightforward. This tutorial shows you five ways to check the version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

how to check linux redhat version


  • A system running RHEL, CentOS, or another Red-Hat-based Linux distribution
  • A terminal window/command line (Ctrl-Alt-F2)

5 Ways to Find Version of Red Hat Linux (RHEL)

Option 1: Use hostnamectl

The hostnamectl command is usually used to track the way your system appears on a network. However, it also includes information such as the OS and version, making it a quick and handy way to check these specifics.

Open a terminal window and enter the following:

check red hat version with hostnamectl1

The fields you are interested in are:

  • Operating System: This tells you which Linux fork you are using, and which major release.
  • Kernel: This is the version of the Linux kernel your operating system is using.
  • Architecture: This tells you whether you are running a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system, which is essential when choosing a software package to install.

Option 2: Find Version in /etc/redhat-release File

Red Hat-based distros contain release files located in the /etc/redhat-release directory.

For example, os-release, system-release, and redhat-release.

To check each file for your Red Hat OS version use the command:

cat /etc/redhat-release
check red hat version in release file

In the image above, you can see that this system is using the version CentOS 7.6.1810.

Option 3: Check Query Release Package with RPM

Alternatively, you can use the rpm command to query Red Hat’s release package.

In this operation, rpm stands for Red Hat Package manager.

Enter the following command:

rpm ––query centos-release 


rpm ––query redhat-release

Specifically, use the command that is appropriate for your version of Linux (RHEL or CentOS distribution).

check query release package with rpm

Expect more details than when using hostnamectl.

Option 4: Finding Red Hat Version and Release Using /etc/issue File

You can check the Red Hat version within the /etc/issue file.

Use the command:

cat /etc/issue

Option 5: Check Common Platform Enumeration File

Check the CPE file for your Red Hat version by entering:

cat /etc/system-release-cpe

The system should return a full name and version of your operating system.

Check Other Release Files

Your Linux operating system keeps a set of release files in the /etc/ directory.

List the file names of release versions by typing the following command:

ls /etc/*release

Each of the entries listed holds information about your Red Hat version.

Use the cat (concatenate) command to list the contents of the files:

cat /etc/redhat-release
other release files in RHEL

You can substitute the names of the files displayed on your system for the redhat-release file in the example above.

Discussion on Red Hat Versions

At the moment, RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux), and CentOS are two of the most popular versions of Red Hat Linux.

The Red Hat version is different from the Linux Kernel version. The Linux Kernel is like the central brain of the Linux operating system and can be updated independently of the operating system. The Operating System version is the release version number of the whole OS package.

You may see a Red Hat version number like Red Hat 7.3. The number 7 refers to a major release, much like “Windows 7” and “Windows 10.” The number following the dot refers to the level of patches and minor updates. So Red Hat 7.3 is Red Hat version 7, patched and updated to 7.3.


After reading this article, you will know how to check or find your Red Hat operating system version in a number of ways.

Finally, for more information about the Red Hat family of Linux, please see the official Red Hat documentation.

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Dejan Tucakov
Dejan is the Head of Content at phoenixNAP with over 8 years of experience in Web publishing and technical writing. Prior to joining PNAP, he was Chief Editor of several websites striving to advocate for emerging technologies. He is dedicated to simplifying complex notions and providing meaningful insight into data center and cloud technology.
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