I am a beginner at using UNIX, and I have a small Toshiba notebook computer which I installed FreeBSD 9.x on.

I looked at the online handbook to try to find out how to connect to the internet, but it is all really complex. I would prefer a simple way to do this. I have an ethernet connector, so if I really need to, do I just plug it in to the computer and router? Is there any danger of doing anything to the router?


The thing to remember is that getting used to something new, like a new operating system, is stressful.

Unfortunately, I haven't got freeBSD in front of me at the moment, but assuming that there is a driver for your ethernet card (which there is in all likelihood), the first thing you should try at a command prompt is,

ifconfig -a

This will show you what network interfaces you have available. Assuming that you have an ethernet interface available and it's name is `int0', you can then try

dhclient int0

which should connect you to the router. Don't forget to connect the cable up beforehand and don't worry, you can't damage the router, or your laptop, by trying this.

  • I had this problem on FreeBSD 11.0 running as a VHD with VirtualBox on Ubuntu 16.04. ifconfig shows me two interfaces, em0 and lo0 and dhclient em0 worked. Now I can ping google.com. Thanks! But why is this even necessary?? – Harald Nordgren Feb 8 '17 at 21:25

For a new user the likely easiest route is to use sysinstall. As root:


select the following (each line represents an option from menu)


You can skip ipv6 setup, then select DHCP.

That should configure your ethernet.

If there are multiple listings for ethernet cards (probably not in a laptop) the way to tell which one to use is from a command prompt type "ifconfig" and look for a line that looks like this:

media: Ethernet autoselect (1000baseT <full-duplex>)

That interface has a working cable attached to it and that is the one you want to use.

To see what sysinstall did:

cat /etc/rc.conf

Later if you wanted to switch to a static IP you would edit your /etc/rc.conf to look like:

ifconfig_em0="inet ###.###.###.### netmask"

Where ### represent IPs. If you are doing this home there is a good chance your router/gateway is and you could assign to your machine something like

If you have other devices and you can check what IPs they are using try to assign your FreeBSD machine an IP away from those. For example if your router is assigning IPs above 100, then setup your machine to IP of 10.

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