I'm renaming network interfaces by modifying the files in /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts.

  • eth0 -> nic0
  • eth1 -> nic1

The content of the network scripts looks like this, after modification:

# cat /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-nic0

A reboot activates the new config. But how do I activate this configuration without rebooting?

A systemctl restart network doesn't do the trick.

I can shut down one interface by its old name (ifdown eth0) but ifup results in below message no matter if the old or new name was provided:

ERROR : [/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifup-eth] Device nic0 does not seem to be present, delaying initialization.

/etc/init.d/network status shows this output:

Configured devices:
lo bond0 nic0 nic1
Currently active devices:
lo eth0 eth1 bond0

Both, ifconfig and ip a show the old interface names.

  • 1
    You might try removing and reloading the network device drivers, if they're compiled as kernel modules.
    – Tom Hunt
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 1:39

7 Answers 7


You can rename the device using the ip command:

/sbin/ip link set eth1 down
/sbin/ip link set eth1 name eth123
/sbin/ip link set eth123 up


I am leaving the below for the sake of completeness and posterity (and for informational purposes,) but I have confirmed swill's comment and Marco Macuzzo's answer that simply changing the name and device of the interface /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 (and renaming the file) will cause the device to be named correctly as long as the hwaddr= field is included in the configuration file. I recommend using this method instead after the referenced update.

You may also want to make sure that you configure a udev rule, so that this will work on the next reboot too. The path for udev moved in CentOS 7 to /usr/lib/udev/rules.d/60-net.rules but you are still able to manage it the same way. If you added "net.ifnames=0 biosdevname=0" to your kernel boot string to return to the old naming scheme for your nics, you can remove

ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="net", DRIVERS=="?*", ATTR{type}=="1", PROGRAM="/lib/udev/rename_device", RESULT=="?*", NAME="$result"

And replace it with

ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="net", DRIVERS=="?*", ATTR{address}=="00:50:56:8e:3f:a7", NAME="eth123"

You need one entry per nic. Be sure to use the correct MAC address and update the NAME field. If you did not use "net.ifnames=0 biosdevname=0", be careful as there could be unintended consequences.

  • 2
    Just a note on this. If you are using CentOS 7.3, then this does not work. This is because of this issue (access.redhat.com/solutions/2592561). You will have to override the file at /etc/udev/rules.d/90-eno-fix.rules because it overrides all previously working solutions to rename the network devices.
    – swill
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 17:47
  • Looking at the advisory you referenced, it notes "This issue can be avoided by updating installation repositories to include the systemd-219-30.el7_3.6 or later package. With this newer systemd release, affected interfaces are identified upon the package install and a udev rule is automatically generated so the renaming issue is entirely avoided." Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 19:46
  • That is a different rename issue they are referring to. They are talking about the name being shortened because it is too long (I think). The udev rule that is mentioned hard codes the interface name to an eno######## value which overrides all of these attempts to rename it to something like eth0. Does that make sense? I will have to verify on my machine which version I am using, but I upgraded to the latest CentOS 7.3 yesterday, so I think I will have the version mentioned.
    – swill
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 21:23
  • This method was useful for me to solve a different but related problem - a container crashed while starting because of an unrelated configuration error, and left the interface renamed from the system name ensXfY to the container name of eth1. It then wasn't possible to re-attempt starting the container because it couldn't find the interface until it was renamed back Commented May 17, 2019 at 11:37
  • 1
    This warning should be obvious, but perform this procedure from console. If connected through the very same interface via ssh, you will lock yourself out once giving the ip down command! Commented Jun 25, 2021 at 14:27

Actually, the best answer I believe is the combination of the two answers already posted. In order to change the device name without restarting network services, use the ip link commands suggested by James Shewey (ip link set <old_device_name> name <new_device_name>).

To make the changes survive a reboot in Red Hat Linux, modify the relevant file in /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/. Rename the file ifcfg_<old_device_name> to ifcfg_<new_device_name> and change the DEVICE variable inside to <new_device_name>. Also, make sure the HWADDR variable is set and is correct. There is no need to touch udev rules, since 60-net.rules is actually there to read the ifcfg configuration files in /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts.

ip link set ens33 down
ip link set ens33 name eth0
ip link set eth0 up

mv /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-{ens33,eth0}

sed -ire "s/NAME=\"ens33\"/NAME=\"eth0\"/" /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0

sed -ire "s/DEVICE=\"ens33\"/DEVICE=\"eth0\"/" /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0

MAC=$(cat /sys/class/net/eth0/address)

echo -n 'HWADDR="'$MAC\" >> /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0
  • 1
    nice rename trick :) thanks for sharing
    – 166_MMX
    Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 11:17

To restore the old naming convention, you need to edit the /etc/default/grub file and add the following

net.ifnames=0 biosdevname=0 

at the end of the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX variable

  • Or simply removing the biosdevname package if it's installed
    – GAD3R
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 13:06
  • I'm seeing in RHEL/CENTOS 7.7 where (1) net.ifnames=0 doesn't actually work as such, and (2) biosdevname=0 results in a semi-hung system on shutdown.
    – Otheus
    Commented May 28, 2020 at 2:46

The Answer given by @James Shewey seems to be the right way to do it.

If you want to just work with the config files in /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts and then trigger a reload, unloading and loading the kernel module as mentioned by @Tom Hunt in the comments also works:

service network stop
modprobe -r igb
modprobe igb
service network start

If you access the machine remotely, make sure you run all commands in a nohup or you will lock yourself out:

nohup sh -c "service network stop && modprobe -r igb && modprobe igb ; service network start"

The driver to reload of course depends on your interface.


I tried the above with Vagrant / VirtualBox and ansible, but somehow this didn't work at all on my development environment.

The old interface names were maintained whatever I did until a full restart.

I added the following rules in /etc/udev/rules.d/60-persistent-net.rules (based on: https://access.redhat.com/solutions/112643)

My goal was to give the interface a specified name based on the PCI address.


ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="net", KERNELS=="0000:00:09.0", NAME:="int0"
ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="net", KERNELS=="0000:00:10.0", NAME:="ext0"

After adding those rules I executed the following commands:

ip link set eth0 down
udevadm control --reload-rules
udevadm trigger
ip link set int0 up

The error message was Cannot find device "int0" on the ip link set * up command. And in /var/log/messages I noticed the following messages

Aug 16 17:08:41 localhost ansible-command: Invoked with creates=None executable=None _uses_shell=True strip_empty_ends=True _raw_params=ip link set eth0 down && udevadm control --reload-rules && udevadm trigger && ip link set int0 up#012 removes=None argv=None warn=True chdir=None stdin_add_newline=True stdin=None
Aug 16 17:08:41 localhost NetworkManager[6989]: <info>  [1565975321.5971] device (eth6): state change: disconnected -> unavailable (reason 'carrier-changed', sys-iface-state: 'managed')
Aug 16 17:08:41 localhost systemd-udevd: Network interface NamePolicy= disabled on kernel command line, ignoring.

But the following did work by accessing the VM through VirtualBox and execute the following commands to remove and re-add the kernel module.

rmmod e1000 
modprobe e1000

I found this in the following thread: https://www.centos.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=54695

The strange thing I noticed was that lsmod gives me (note the Used by)

[vagrant@node-01 ~]$ lsmod
Module                  Size  Used by
e1000                 137586  0 
  • Please let us know what did not work with the accepted answer, with exact error messages. That way perhaps the answer can be improved.
    – Ned64
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 18:24
  • @Ned64 I added the error message and a bit more info Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 18:52
  • What I mean is: What happens when you type, as root: ip link set eth0 down; ip link set eth0 name int0; ip link set int0 up? No udev... command!
    – Ned64
    Commented Aug 17, 2019 at 12:33

You can do it via ssh:

ip link set eth0 down
ip link set eth0 name nic0
ip link set nic0 up

mv /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-{eth0,nic0}

sed -ire "s/NAME="eth0"/NAME="nic0"/" /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-nic0
sed -ire "s/DEVICE="eth0"/DEVICE="nic0"/" /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-nic0

MAC=$(cat /sys/class/net/nic0/address)
echo -n 'HWADDR="'$MAC" >> /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-nic0

  • Welcome to the site, and thank you for your contribution. However, please consider expanding your answer to explain why you think shutting down the interface wouldn't interrupt the SSH connection.
    – AdminBee
    Commented Feb 29 at 13:16
  • Hi, because you don´t use dev. If you execute ip link set dev eth0 down the device will remain down. With this script you can do it via ssh, I have tested it. Thanks for giving me the opportunity for the clarification. Commented Mar 1 at 14:28

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