ifconfig utility stopped being actively maintained and developed for Linux over a decade ago; its replacement being the
As a deprecated utility, it’s not included by default on Linux distros these days. This is the main reason for the ifconfig command not found error as the package isn’t installed to start with.
Additionally, non-root users don’t have the
/usr/sbin paths in their PATH variable, which also leads to this error.
In this article, we’ve concisely explained how you can resolve this error in both scenarios and introduced the
ip command for those interested in switching.
Table of Contents
How to Fix ifconfig Command Not Found
ifconfig isn’t present to start with in most cases, we recommend that as a good place to start troubleshooting.
Ifconfig is installed as part of the net-tools package, a collection of networking utilities, some of which you may have heard of or used like arp, netstat, and route.
- On Debian-based distros, you can install net-tools with:
sudo apt install net-tools
- On RedHat-based distros, you can use:
sudo dnf install net-tools
- On Arch-based distros, you can instead use:
sudo pacman -S net-tools
Resolve PATH Issues
Ifconfig is located in
/usr/sbin. Most distros won’t include these directories in the PATH variable unless you’re root. Due to this, the ifconfig command doesn’t get recognized, which leads to the ifconfig command not found error.
You can confirm this by checking whether the ifconfig binary exists in said directories or not with the following commands:
[ -e /sbin/ifconfig ] && echo “File exists.” || echo “File doesn’t exist.”
[ -e /usr/sbin/ifconfig ] && echo “File exists.” || echo “File doesn’t exist.”
Assuming the binary exists and the issue is with PATH, there are 3 ways to resolve the issue. First, you could add said directories to the PATH variable as such:
Or, you could simply run the command with the full path as:
Or, the simplest method would be to just use
For Kali users specifically, it’s worth mentioning that Kali’s default user used to be sudo prior to 2020, but this was changed for security concerns. Now, the default user is lower privileged. So, in case you were wondering why
ifconfig worked without sudo before, but it’s required now, this is the reason.
Switch To ip
As stated, ifconfig is deprecated now, and it’s been superseded by the
ip command, which is part of the iproute2 collection of utilities. The solutions we’ve detailed above will resolve the ifconfig command not working error, but honestly, the better move may be to simply upgrade to using
The equivalent of ifconfig is
ip addr show, or simply
ip addr, which can be further abbreviated as
ip a. Some basic options include
-s for stats,
-h for human readable values,
-d for details, and
-c to configure color output.