Linux ifconfig Command

Linux ifconfig Command

The ifconfig command in Linux is a powerful utility that allows users to configure and manage network interfaces on their systems. Whether you need to view IP address information, activate or deactivate interfaces, or troubleshoot network connectivity, ifconfig provides the necessary tools. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various aspects of the ifconfig command, including its purpose, basic usage, viewing IP address information, modifying interface settings, and troubleshooting network issues.

Understanding the ifconfig Command

Purpose of ifconfig

The ifconfig command is primarily used to configure and display information about network interfaces on Linux systems. It allows users to view IP addresses, configure interface settings, and perform various network-related tasks. With ifconfig, you can control network connectivity, set up network parameters, and diagnose network issues.

Availability and Compatibility

The ifconfig command is a standard tool available on most Linux distributions. However, newer distributions may replace ifconfig with the ip command, which provides more advanced functionality. It is recommended to check the availability and usage of ifconfig on your specific Linux distribution.

Basic Usage of ifconfig

Displaying Network Interfaces.

To display a list of network interfaces on your system, open a terminal and execute the following command:


This will show you a list of active network interfaces, along with their respective IP addresses, MAC addresses, and other relevant information.

Activating and Deactivating Interfaces.

You can activate or deactivate a network interface using the ifconfig command. To activate an interface, execute the following command:

sudo ifconfig <interface_name> up

To deactivate an interface, use the following command:
sudo ifconfig <interface_name> down

Replace <interface_name> with the name of the interface you want to activate or deactivate.

Viewing IP Address Information

Displaying IP Addresses of Interfaces

To view the IP addresses assigned to your network interfaces, use the following command:

ifconfig <interface_name>

Replace <interface_name> with the name of the interface you want to inspect. This command will display detailed information about the specified interface, including its IP address, netmask, and other network-related details.

Obtaining Detailed Interface Information

To obtain more detailed information about a specific interface, you can use the -a option with the ifconfig command. Execute the following command:

ifconfig -a

This will display information for all interfaces, including those that are currently inactive.

Modifying Interface Settings

Configuring IP Address

To configure the IP address of a network interface, you can use the following command:

sudo ifconfig <interface_name> <ip_address>

Replace <interface_name> with the name of the interface and <ip_address> with the desired IP address. This command will assign the specified IP address to the interface.

Enabling or Disabling Interface Promiscuous Mode

The promiscuous mode allows an interface to capture all network traffic, including packets not addressed to its MAC address. To enable promiscuous mode, execute the following command:

sudo ifconfig <interface_name> promisc

To disable promiscuous mode, use the following command:

sudo ifconfig <interface_name> -promisc

Changing MTU Size

The Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) represents the maximum packet size that can be transmitted over a network interface. To change the MTU size of an interface, use the following command:

sudo ifconfig <interface_name> mtu <mtu_size>

Replace <interface_name> with the name of the interface and <mtu_size> with the desired MTU size.

Troubleshooting and Advanced Features

Checking Network Connectivity

Ifconfig can be used to troubleshoot network connectivity issues. You can check if an interface has an active network connection by pinging a remote server. For example:


This will send ICMP echo requests to and display the response. If the ping is successful, it indicates that the interface has an active network connection.

Setting ARP Cache Entries

The Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) cache maps IP addresses to MAC addresses on a local network. Ifconfig allows you to manually set entries in the ARP cache. Use the following command:

sudo arp -s <ip_address> <mac_address>

Replace <ip_address> with the IP address and <mac_address> with the MAC address you want to set.


r00t is a seasoned Linux system administrator with a wealth of experience in the field. Known for his contributions to, r00t has authored numerous tutorials and guides, helping users navigate the complexities of Linux systems. His expertise spans across various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian. r00t's work is characterized by his ability to simplify complex concepts, making Linux more accessible to users of all skill levels. His dedication to the Linux community and his commitment to sharing knowledge makes him a respected figure in the field.
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