How can I assign the IP address of eth0 to an environment variable, say $ip, as easily as possible?

Update: Distro is Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS.


7 Answers 7


A shorter (and I find more neat) way is hostname -i. No more hassle with ipconfig, ip, sed, awk and such.

  • 3
    +1, although note that my manpage says: -i: Display the network address(es) of the host name. Note that this works only if the host name can be resolved. Avoid using this option; use hostname --all-ip-addresses instead. Dec 19, 2012 at 0:12
  • Unfortunately this only gives me This may be because machine is running behind NAT in VBox. Still a useful answer. Will upvote.
    – user204863
    Dec 19, 2012 at 8:35

Using ip address show is the way to go. Especially on any modern linux system where the interface you're querying could have multiple addresses that ifconfig wouldn't know about.

$ ip a s eth0 | awk '/inet / {print$2}'

And of course if you don't want the netmask, just pipe that to any number of things, e.g.:

cut -d/ -f1

Note: On the same system, ifconfig shows:

$ ifconfig em1 | awk '/inet / {print $2}'

Not answer to your exact problem as you want the IP assigned to a defined interface but I thought it could be usefull to have listed here for future info the way to have your external IP (even if behind a NAT):

ip=`wget -qO- ipecho.net/plain`

Try doing this :

    ifconfig eth0 |
    perl -ne 'print $1 if /inet\s.*?(\d{1,3}\.\d{1,3}\.\d{1,3}\.\d{1,3})\b/'
echo "$ip"
  • Thank you very much, this was what I was looking for! :)
    – user204863
    Dec 18, 2012 at 23:10
  • 2
    If you think that the answer is useful, you can 'upvote' it. You can 'accept' the reply too by clicking the outline of the checkmark (will be green), this way, people searching stackexchange website will known that the question is well answered. That's how stackechange websites works, thanks ;) Dec 18, 2012 at 23:12
  • This only works if your ifconfig answers in English. For other languages, you need to change /inet\s+ad+r to what your version says
    – laurent
    Dec 19, 2012 at 0:39
  • This didn't work for me at all. Why make it so complicated?
    – rsaw
    Dec 19, 2012 at 1:29
  • @laurent, language don't change anything. Tested both in LANG=C and LANG=fr_FR.UTF-8. Moreover, tested OK on ubuntu 12.10 Dec 19, 2012 at 15:35

Check out also:

ifconfig eth0 | awk '/inet /{print $2}' | cut -f2 -d':'

that will work even in Solaris and HP-UX (use appropriate net dev instead of eth0).

As for hostname -i command, try hostname -I if you have one configured interface (except loopback).


As you can see, hostname -i can show (no NAT here (archlinux)), this is not what we want.

So I propose :

    ip a s dev $dev |
        awk '/inet /{gsub("/.*", "");print $2}'
echo "$ip"

Or if you have -P switch for grep :

ip a s dev eth0 | grep -oP 'inet\s+\K[^/]+'

I guess that's the shortest solution =)


Yon can also try this,

IP=`wget -q -O- http://checkip.dyndns.org/index.html | grep 'IP'| html2text | cut -c 21-36`
  • 1
    Given that html2text is not a POSIX tool, could you specify from where we could take it?
    – manatwork
    Jul 24, 2013 at 12:13

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