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A Useful List of TCP/IP Commands for Unix in 2024

Test network connectivity to a host by sending ICMP echo requests.

Computers, smartphones, and internet-connected devices communicate with one another through IP networking. “Internet Protocol” is part of the TCP/IP suite that governs the exchange of data across modern computer networks. 

Every operating system uses a series of commands to interact with data. That includes Unix, an operating system that was created in 1969.

Although Unix is only used in a handful of specific situations, knowing some of the most useful TCP/IP commands will allow Unix administrators to control numerous internet capabilities, including IP addressing, routing policies, firewalls, and network connectivity. 

Where is Unix used in 2024?

Although Unix fell out of widespread use by 2010, there are still some instances of use in modern computing. 


  • macOS: Apple’s desktop/laptop operating system is derived from Unix and carries forward many Unix philosophies and architectural influences
  • Solaris: Oracle’s proprietary Unix operating system is still actively developed and used, especially in enterprise environments
  • BSD: Open-source Unix-like operating systems like FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD have an active user base
  • AIX: IBM’s UNIX variant designed for its Power architecture servers and workstations
  • HP-UX: Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Unix OS for its Integrity line of servers
  • iOS and Android: Both contain subsystems derived from BSD, a Unix variant, as part of their core OS kernels
  • Supercomputers: Many supercomputers run a Unix-like operating system, like IBM’s AIX on its Power-based supercomputers
  • Web Servers: Apache and nginx, run mostly on Unix-based operating systems.
  • Cloud Computing: Unix and Linux are behind many cloud computing technologies and virtualization platforms
TCP/IP commands are vital for network troubleshooting, configuration, and monitoring

IP commands: The basics

IP commands dictate how TCP/IP is implemented within any operating system. When you input an IP command through Unix, you can access a variety of network parameters and exercise administrative control of the OS.

System administrators, network engineers, and other IT professionals rely on IP commands to manage the networks they are responsible for. Critical functions that are controlled by IP comments include: 

Without the various IP commands, any Unix-based tool would not have the ability to connect to the internet, public networks, or private networks. 

How TCP/IP commands are used by Unix administrators 

Unix users use TCP/IP commands for a variety of tasks, including: 

  • Learning and skill development
  • Server and service configuration
  • Security improvement
  • Customization and optimization
  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • Troubleshooting and diagnostics

Before we provide you with a list of Unix IP commands, let’s take a closer look at the important roles these commands play. 

Learning and skill development

Core IP commands like ping, traceroute, netstat, and nmap provide foundational networking knowledge on Unix systems. 

  • Ping verifies basic connectivity via ICMP echo requests 
  • Traceroute maps the path to destinations and hops along the way 
  • Netstat shows active connections and port status 
  • Nmap scans networks and services for discovery
  • Dig and nslookup resolve hostnames via DNS, a crucial Internet service 
  • Wireshark and tcpdump offer packet-level inspection

Mastering these IP commands builds a solid technical foundation for any Unix administrator.

Server and service configuration

Configuring Unix services relies heavily on IP commands. 

  • Dig verifies that DNS settings are correct for a server 
  • Nmap checks what ports are open from external clients 
  • Netstat monitors service availability
  • ping ensures other hosts are reachable after configuration changes
  • Many services like Apache and SSH can log client IP addresses for security

Automation tools like Ansible utilize IP commands to validate configurations across multiple Linux machines. Overall, IP commands provide visibility and control when provisioning servers and services on Unix/Linux systems.

Security enhancement

Specialized IP commands enhance security and enable defenses in Unix environments. 

  • nmap finds open ports that need firewall rules 
  • netstat monitors for unusual connections 
  • Wireshark gives deep inspection into potential attacks
  • ping and connection flooding can be blocked
  • sysctl prevents IP spoofing and flooding

Together with host firewall rules, advanced IP commands equip administrators to harden Unix services and infrastructure against malicious actors and abuse.

Customization and optimization

IP tools facilitate custom networking setups and performance tuning. Whether optimizing local workstations or complex networks, adaptively using IP commands helps extract maximum performance on Unix.

  • Adjusting kernel parameters with sysctl optimizes how IP is handled 
  • ip tool alters routing behaviors for faster connections 
  • nmap guides load-balancing decisions by showing traffic levels per server 
  • netstat highlights where connection congestion occurs
  • Wireshark aids application tuning by showing latency spikes 

Cross-platform compatibility

Core IP commands like ping, traceroute, and netstat function consistently across all Unix-like systems, ensuring smooth cross-platform usage. Linux, BSD, Solaris, and others all share compatibility for fundamental IP utilities. This allows transparent diagnostics and troubleshooting in heterogeneous environments. 

Simple commands give system administrators a consistent toolkit valid on any Unix OS. Services like SSH and DNS also rely on standardized IP toolsets across UNIX distributions. 

Together, the common set of human-readable IP commands facilitates seamless cross-platform administration.

Troubleshooting and diagnostics

No other tools are as common as IP commands for troubleshooting Unix networking issues. 

  • Ping and traceroute identify where connections fail 
  • Netstat shows if services are listening properly 
  • Wireshark captures traffic to analyze protocol behavior
  • Nmap determines misconfigured firewall policies
  • DNS issues are diagnosed via dig and nslookup

Sysadmins rely on these simple but powerful IP tools to quickly find and fix problems. IP commands are the first line of defense when trying to solve complex network outages and infrastructure issues on Linux/UNIX.

TCP/IP commands allow administrators to configure network interfaces, set IP addresses, and manage routing tables.

How many Unix IP commands are there?

We can’t provide a complete list of Unix IP commands because that’s impossible. There is no single, final, and complete list of TCP/IP commands. People are constantly developing new commands, so any list that says it’s “complete” would be incomplete as soon as a new command comes out. 

There is also some ambiguity around what counts as a TCP/IP command. For example, network diagonistics commonly use utilities like ping, traceroute, netstat, etc, even though they are not formally TCP/IP protocols. 

Unix TCP/IP commands can vary by distribution, version, installed packages, addons, and user configuration. Simply put, there are countless networking commands, utilities, and tools across the various Unix platforms. Attempting to categorize and list them all would be impractical. 

A list of common TCP/IP commands for Unix

  • ifconfig: display current config for all NIC’s
  • ifconfig dc0: display current config for dc0
  • ifconfig dc0:0 assign multiple IPs
  • ifconfig dc0:1 assign second IP
  • ifconfig dc0 down: disable network card
  • ifconfig dc0 up: enable network card
  • ifconfig dc0 inet netmask assign IP/subnet
  • route delete default && route add default assign gateway
  • ping: test connectivity to destination 
  • ping ping destination IP
  • ping -c 5 ping 5 times 
  • ping -i 5 5 second interval between pings
  • traceroute: show route hops to destination 
  • traceroute trace route to domain 
  • traceroute -T use TCP SYN trace 
  • traceroute -I use ICMP trace
  • netstat: show active connections and ports
  • netstat -tan: show active TCP connections 
  • netstat -uan: show active UDP connections 
  • netstat -s: show network statistics 
  • netstat -l: show listening ports 
  • netstat -rn: show routing table
  • nslookup: lookup DNS name servers and records 
  • nslookup query DNS for domain
  • dig: lookup DNS records
  • dig standard DNS lookup 
  • dig -x reverse DNS lookup 
  • dig MX: query mail records
  • nmap: scan/audit ports and services 
  • nmap basic port scan
  • nmap -sS TCP SYN scan 
  • nmap -sU -p 53 UDP scan port 53 
  • nmap -sV detect service versions 
  • nmap -O detect OS fingerprint
  • tcpdump: capture packets for analysis 
  • tcpdump -i eth0: capture on interface eth0
  • tcpdump -w output.pcap: save capture to file 
  • tcpdump -r input.pcap: read packets from file 
  • tcpdump tcp port 80: capture only TCP port 80 
  • tcpdump ‘dst’: filter destination IP

It’s always good practice to verify these command syntax and options based on the Unix system you are using, as there may be some differences between Unix distributions and versions.

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