/proc/sys/net/ /proc/sys/net/

This directory contains subdirectories concerning various networking topics. Various configurations at the time of kernel compilation make different directories available here, such as ethernet/, ipv4/, ipx/, and ipv6/. By altering the files within these directories, system administrators are able to adjust the network configuration on a running system.

Given the wide variety of possible networking options available with Linux, only the most common /proc/sys/net/ directories are discussed.

The /proc/sys/net/core/ directory contains a variety of settings that control the interaction between the kernel and networking layers. The most important of these files are:

The /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ directory contains additional networking settings. Many of these settings, used in conjunction with one another, are useful in preventing attacks on the system or when using the system to act as a router.


An erroneous change to these files may affect remote connectivity to the system.

The following is a list of some of the more important files within the /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ directory:

The file called

/usr/share/doc/kernel-doc-<version>/Documentation/networking/ ip-sysctl.txt

contains a complete list of files and options available in the /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ directory.

A number of other directories exist within the /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ directory and each covers a different aspect of the network stack. The /proc/sys/net/ipv4/conf/ directory allows each system interface to be configured in different ways, including the use of default settings for unconfigured devices (in the /proc/sys/net/ipv4/conf/default/ subdirectory) and settings that override all special configurations (in the /proc/sys/net/ipv4/conf/all/ subdirectory).

The /proc/sys/net/ipv4/neigh/ directory contains settings for communicating with a host directly connected to the system (called a network neighbor) and also contains different settings for systems more than one hop away.

Routing over IPV4 also has its own directory, /proc/sys/net/ipv4/route/. Unlike conf/ and neigh/, the /proc/sys/net/ipv4/route/ directory contains specifications that apply to routing with any interfaces on the system. Many of these settings, such as max_size, max_delay, and min_delay, relate to controlling the size of the routing cache. To clear the routing cache, write any value to the flush file.

Additional information about these directories and the possible values for their configuration files can be found in:


Note: This documentation is provided {and copyrighted} by Red Hat®, Inc. and is released via the Open Publication License. The copyright holder has added the further requirement that Distribution of substantively modified versions of this document is prohibited without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. The CentOS project redistributes these original works (in their unmodified form) as a reference for CentOS-5 because CentOS-5 is built from publicly available, open source SRPMS. The documentation is unmodified to be compliant with upstream distribution policy. Neither CentOS-5 nor the CentOS Project are in any way affiliated with or sponsored by Red Hat®, Inc.