FreeBSD IP Alias: Setup 2 or More IP address on One NIC

last updated in Categories FreeBSD, Hardware, Howto, Networking

IP aliasing is the process of assigning more than one IP address to a network interface. This is useful for Apache web server virtual hosting or other network servers such as ftp server.


This tutorial explains how to assign one or more IP address to a single network interface under FreeBSD operating system.

It is possible to create network alias or assign 2 ip address to a single NIC under FreeBSD operating system.

Our Sample Setup

  • Interface name: lnc0 – IP :
  • Interface name: lnc0 alias – IP :

Netmask must be different otherwise you will get an error ifconfig: ioctl (SIOCAIFADDR): File exists.

Set ip alias using ifconfig command line utility

Login as the root user.

Now, use ifconfig command as follows to set alias:
# ifconfig lnc0 netmask alias

Persistent IP Alias Configuration

Edit file /etc/rc.conf to setup persistent ip aliasing option by appending following configuration, so that next time FreeBSD comes up (after restart/shutdown) it will create alias for you:
ifconfig_lnc0_alias0=" netmask"

Finally, Restart FreeBSD network service using network restart script:
# /etc/rc.d/netif restart && /etc/rc.d/routing restart
Display alias and real ip using ifconfig lnc0 command:
# ifconfig lnc0
Sample output:

inet6 fe80::20c:29ff:fe01:ddbd%lnc0 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x1
inet netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast
inet netmask 0xffff

Sample /etc/rc.conf file with IP aliasing

Here is my /etc/rc.conf file with em0 and em1 interface with 5 aliases:

# default vsnl router interface
# Force 10Mbps for both public and private LAN interace
ifconfig_em0="inet netmask media 10baseT/UTP mediaopt full-duplex"
ifconfig_em1="inet netmask media 10baseT/UTP mediaopt full-duplex"
ifconfig_em0_alias0="inet netmask"
ifconfig_em0_alias1="inet netmask"
ifconfig_em0_alias2="inet netmask"
ifconfig_em0_alias3="inet netmask"
ifconfig_em0_alias4="inet netmask"
# static routing configuration

Further readings:

  • Read ifconfig man page.


Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

18 comment

  1. Hi,1st 0f all u r explaining 2 ip alias nd this proccess is very lenthy .i create 2 multiple NIC alaises like this;:-go t 1st network-scripts nd type dis command “cp ifcfg-eth0 ifcfg-eth0:1”.
    nd put in ur ip nd netmask as u like.very easy process.u can tell me where m i wrong nd ur daily blog reader.
    Raju Dutta Tiwari

  2. Raju,

    This is tutorial about FreeBSD and not about Red Hat Linux. Your instructions only applies to Linux and not to FreeBSD.

  3. Hi, i was just wondering… i know that it is possible to have i.p. address in one nic but the question is, is it possible to have two i.p address but two different subnet(s) in one nic? i’d like to setup an alias outside the range of the subnet of the parent i.p. I’ve read in other forums that you should have the subnet for both i.p’s but is there any other way to do this? hope you can help me with the problem. tnx!

  4. You can definitely have two IP’s from multiple subnet’s on one NIC as long as they are both within the same layer 3 network..

  5. Folks,

    I’ve a question regarding the IP alias. One of customer uses a Server with many IP aliases. When they intitiate a ping or other, TCP test applicatiom this server, @IP source is not the same all the time. It means it can be one of these IP Aliases!

    To fix this issue, they’ve added a static IP route to a specific IP Public IP host and an arp static between this remote host and the route’s local mac. To recap:


    IPs ser1:,.,. (/24)
    Rtr IP:

    Internet Host: x.x.x..x/32 (any Public IP)

    We need to open up a connection to this host using the same IP source (on the rtr, we just have a specific nat rule for this IP source, let;s say

    But it doesn’t work cause sometime, Source IP is or…

    so My customer added the following settings to reach x.x.x.x/32

    arp -s x.x.x.x/32 rtr’s mac
    static route x.x.x.x/32 trough (local IP)

    I really need some explanation. When we remove the arp, it does’nt work anymore.

    IP Routing works welll.

    tks a lot
    I appreciate

  6. the ip route, i apparently find out the reason, just to force the traffic to use this specific IP source to reach this public host. But what about the remote arp static? the only time i can see this kind of arp, it’s when we have proxy arp enabled on the router, and we want to play with the same IP subnet public or private through this one.

  7. “ifconfig_lnc0_alias0=” netmask″”

    should read

    ifconfig_lnc0_alias0=”inet netmask″

  8. Thanks for the helpful tutorial. One addition: the alias numbers must start at 0 and be consecutive numbers. If you skip a number FreeBSD will stop at the last consecutive number.

  9. Strange thing coz i use both mask for up aliases: & and both work properly

  10. hi,
    great info.
    I am trying to configure two network interfaces (two cards) on IPv6. I can see two interfaces up and active in ifconfig. Problem is that I can ping only singel ipv6 address (i.e for onboard card). I am not able to ping the other interface’s IP address (2’nd nic/external card)
    I played with rc.conf mentioned both interfaces with ip address and prefix length
    Any idea/pointers about the issue

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