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In Linux Last updated: April 25, 2023
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Dealing with the “ifconfig command not found” error and looking for a guide that can help you fix it? If yes, you have stumbled upon the right webpage.

All longtime Linux users may agree with me when I say ifconfig is a go-to command to check the network interface configuration. This ifconfig command has been seared deeply into our brains because of years of repetitive usage.

However, it would be a shock for Linux users if they tried running this command on any of the recently released Linux distros and received an error message stating, “ifconfig command not found.”

If that’s the case with you, you have landed on the right webpage.

This article covers detailed information about this error, why it occurs, and, most importantly, how to fix it.

So, without any further ado, let’s get started!

What is the ifconfig command?

ifconfig is the OG system administration utility tool that is used to configure network interfaces. ifconfig is quite similar to ipconfig, a command used in Windows machines that lets you gather information about network interface configuration and configure it.

ifconfig is considered one of the most useful Linux network tools as it fetches and displays detailed information about a network interface card, including IP Address, MAC Address, network status, and more. Besides that, it also lets you configure network interfaces.

However, the ifconfig utility has been deprecated due to a lack of maintenance and active development, and, most importantly, in favor of a better and more powerful replacement, the ip command from the iproute2 package. This could be why when you try to run the ifconfig command, it shows the error message stating, “ifconfig command not found.”

Why Does the “ifconfig command not found” Error Occurs?


As the error message describes, you see this error because your machine doesn’t have the ifconfig utility installed.

Here are some of the most common causes that may trigger this error:

#1. Net-tools Package is Missing

net-tools is a package of tools that boasts several command-line tools, including ifconfig, arp, netstat, and route. This toolkit was developed to allow Linux users to configure network functionalities. However, the package hasn’t seen any development for a decade, and most Linux distros have even already deprecated it.

If this package isn’t installed on your Linux machine, that is the reason why you are dealing with the ifconfig command not found error.

#2. ifconfig Replaced with the ip Command

As mentioned earlier, the ifconfig utility is a part of the net-tools package. This package hasn’t seen any development in years, and therefore, many Linux distros have deprecated this package and replaced it with a more advanced and powerful iproute2 package.

If that’s the case, it also means that the ifconfig command has been replaced with the ip command.

#3. ifconfig is Missing by Default on CentOS/RHEL 7, Fedora 18, and Arch Linux

Since the net-tools package hasn’t seen any active development from the Linux community, and some Linux distros have decided to replace this utility toolkit with the iproute2 package. These distros are CentOS/RHEL 7, Fedora 18, and Arch Linux.

If you are using these distros, not having the net-tools package installed by default can be the reason the ifconfig command isn’t working for you.

#4. Limited Privileges

If you are not using your Linux machine as an Admin or lack superuser privileges, you may see this ifconfig command not found error. This happens because the net-tools toolkit gets installed in the root, and its files are stored in /sbin and /usr/sbin.

Some distros don’t include these directories for shell searches in the PATH environment for executable files. This may be the case if you have the net-tools package installed, yet you are facing this error.

These are some of the reasons why you are dealing with the ifconfig command not found error.

Ways to Fix “ifconfig command not found” Error

This ifconfig command not found error can be quite frustrating, as it restricts you from configuring your network interfaces. The good thing here is that this error is quite easy to fix.

I have shared some of the best workarounds below that can help you fix this error –

Install net-tools

As mentioned earlier, this error primarily occurs when your Linux machine doesn’t have the net-tools toolkit installed. Since the ifconfig utility is a part of the net-tools toolkit, you cannot install ifconfig alone. You have to install the whole net-tools toolkit instead.

Thankfully, you can easily install the net-tools toolkit by following these simple steps –

Step 1: Launch Terminal.


Step 2: Type the below-shared command and hit Enter. You will be asked to enter your root password to execute this command, as this command makes system-level changes and updates available packages.

sudo apt-get update

Step 3: After that, you need to install the net-tools package. For that, enter the command shared below and hit Enter.

sudo apt-get install net-tools

This will install the net-tools package. Upon a successful installation, check if the error persists by running the ifconfig command again. If yes, you can use the command to manage your network interfaces.

Note that these commands won’t work on Linux distros except Debian, Ubuntu, Kali, and Raspbian.

So, if you use any other Linux distro on your computer, you can use the following commands –

  • Alpine – apk add net-tools
  • Arch Linux – pacman -S net-tools
  • CentOS – yum install net-tools
  • Fedora – dnf install net-tools
  • RedHat – dnf install net-tools

Installing the net-tools toolkit on your Linux machine will mostly fix this error. However, if the error persists even after installing the net-tools toolkit, you may have issues with PATH environment variables.

Resolve PATH Environment Variable Issues

As mentioned earlier, most distros don’t include directories where the ifconfig is located in the PATH variable.

Since these directories aren’t included in the shell searches for executable files, whenever you run this command, the command doesn’t get recognized and shows the ifconfig command not found error.

To check whether the directory that contains the ifconfig binary is included in the PATH, you can follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Launch Terminal.

Step 2: Type echo $PATH and hit Enter. This will show you directories that are included in the PATH variable.

Check what directories are included in PATH variable

Check whether the directory that contains the ifconfig binary is listed. If not, you have three options to resolve the PATH environment variable issue –

The first way you can fix the ifconfig command error is by adding the directory that contains the ifconfig binary to the PATH variable.

  • Launch Terminal.
  • Type the command shared below and hit Enter.
export PATH=”/sbin:/usr/sbin:${PATH}”
  • Now, type the ifconfig command and hit Enter.

The second method includes running the ifconfig command directly with the full path.

These are the steps that need to be followed to do the same –

  • Launch Terminal.
  • Type the command shared below and hit Enter.

The last method you can follow to fix this PATH variable issue is by running the ifconfig command with the superuser privilege. This is the simplest and the easiest solution, but you’ll need to provide the root password.

For this –

  • Launch Terminal.
  • Type the command shared below and hit Enter.
sudo ifconfig command

That’s it. This is how you can resolve the PATH environment variable issue to fix the ifconfig command not found error.

Use the ip Command Instead of ifconfig

The ifconfig utility has been deprecated, and a better replacement for this is undoubtedly the ip utility from the iproute2 toolkit. Even some of the most popular distros have already replaced the net-tools toolkit with iproute2.

iproute2 toolkit supersedes net-tools in many ways. For example, the iproute2 toolkit is much more powerful, reliable, and lightweight in comparison to net-tools. Besides that, iproute2 boasts a better and more intuitive user interface than the net-tools.

Above all, the reason I recommend you shift to the iproute2 toolkit is that the iproute2 toolkit has been under active development by the Linux community. The most recent development this toolkit has received was released on Feb 20, 2023.

Because of this continuous development, the iproute2 toolkit is compatible with some top-level network configuration tools. It can also be used to pull off tasks such as source-based routing, bonding, bridges, QoS, VLAN, etc., which are otherwise not possible with the net-tools toolkit.

Therefore, it will be a great idea to switch to the iproute2 toolkit.

Final Words

There you have it – a detailed guide on how to fix the ifconfig command not found error.

ifconfig is a very handy utility that you can use to configure and check network interfaces in Linux. However, the tool package has been deprecated and hasn’t seen even a minor development in over a decade.

Therefore, even though you can fix the error and use the ifconfig command using the aforementioned methods, I recommend switching to the latest and more powerful ip utility.

Next, check out Linux distros to know as a sysadmin and developer.

  • Rohit Sharma
    Rohit holds 7+ years of experience in freelance blog writing and currently serves as a freelance writer at Geekflare.
    He is a Computer Science Engineer, but his love and passion for reading and writing about technology made him choose… read more
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