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 May 27 '15 at 1:39

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.

  • 1
    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 Mar 15 '17 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." – James Shewey Mar 15 '17 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 Mar 16 '17 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 – Michael Firth May 17 at 11:37

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.

  • 1
    The ip link set ... name ... command shouldn't contain a semicolon. – Alexander Gonchiy Jan 23 '17 at 8:17

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.


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 Nov 18 '16 at 13:06
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\"/NAME=\"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 Apr 11 at 11:17

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