Howto add permanent static routes in Ubuntu

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Static routing is the term used to refer to the manual method used to set up routing. An administrator enters routes into the router using configuration commands. This method has the advantage of being predictable, and simple to set up. It is easy to manage in small networks but does not scale well.

Advantages of Static Routes

  • Easy to configure
  • No routing protocol overhead

Disadvantages of Static Routes

  • Network changes require manual reconfiguration
  • Network outages cannot be automatically routed around
  • Does not scale well in large networks.

Add a Static route using "route" command

route add [-net|-host] <IP/Net> netmask <Mask> gw <Gateway IP> dev <Int>X


route add -net netmask gw dev eth0
route add -host netmask gw dev eth0

This adds the route immediatly to the Kernel IP routing table. To confirm the route has been successfully, simply type the "route" command with no arguements:


Kernel IP routing table
Destination Gateway Genmask Flags Metric Ref Use Iface * U 0 0 0 eth0
localnet * U 0 0 0 eth0 * U 0 0 0 eth0 * U 0 0 0 eth0
default UG 0 0 0 eth0


netstat -rn

to print the Kernel IP Routing table.

To keep the Static Route persistent or you want to add the route entries to the network script files (not using the route command) then all you need to do is to edit the file


and the static routes in the following format:

up route add [-net|-host] <host/net>/<mask> gw <host/IP> dev <Interface>


up route add -net gw dev eth1

And the file will like the following

sudo cat /etc/network/interfaces

The output should show something like this

sudo cat /etc/network/interfaces

The output should show something like this

# This file describes the network interfaces available on your system
# and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

# The primary network interface
auto eth0 eth1

iface eth0 inet static
# dns-* options are implemented by the resolvconf package, if installed

iface eth1 inet static

# static route
up route add -net gw dev eth1

The above has 2 Ethernet interfaces and the static route is added to the interface eth1.

For the change to /etc/network/interface to take effect. please restart the "networking" service as follows:

sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

NOTE: If you added the route already using the "route" then there is no need to restart the networking service because, the next time server is restarted this takes effect.

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22 Responses

  1. llaurén says:

    Is the up stuff there a typo or a sudo-like command?

  2. admin says:


    No you need to add the syntax in /etc/networ/interfaces file

  3. josvazg says:

    It does not work:

    $ cat /etc/network/interfaces
    auto lo
    iface lo inet loopback

    iface eth0 inet dhcp

    auto eth0

    up route add -net gw dev eth0

    $ sudo /etc/init.d/networking stop
    * Deconfiguring network interfaces…
    /etc/network/interfaces:13: misplaced option
    ifdown: couldn’t read interfaces file “/etc/network/interfaces”

    $ sudo /etc/init.d/networking start
    * Configuring network interfaces…
    /etc/network/interfaces:13: misplaced option
    ifup: couldn’t read interfaces file “/etc/network/interfaces”

  4. Kazriko says:

    You need to put the up route option after the iface line it is attached to. You’re putting it above all your iface lines.

  5. Kazriko says:

    Or rather, after the iface static line. You’re using DHCP and I didn’t notice that line there. You may need to configure the route in your dhcp server instead. I don’t think that the iface dhcp line accepts options in the same way as the iface static.

  6. Dave says:

    I have found your statement to be true – if using DHCP, then the up command is ignored. So if your using a weak DHCP server like W2003’s version that only partially adds static routes – is there any other place I can add the route add command? so at boot up the route gets added to the routing table?

  7. James says:

    You could add it to rc.local which gets run last. The only problem with this option is that anything that loads before rc.local will not be able to use this route.

  8. davidc says:

    For me it didn’t work until I put it at the end of the the inet eth0 section, as I’m using eth0 and eth1 is not used. It probably worked in the howto example because that interface was eth1 and was interpreted to be part of the eth1 configuration

  9. Thank you for this information. I had to edit the route add statement since I only wanted to add the default gateway. However, your information ended several hours of problem solving and wrong solutions.

  10. Zoubidoo says:

    Your “Adding a static route” example isn’t very clear.

    What is the example attempting to do?
    Why are there two “route add” commands?
    Is the order of entries in the route table important or not?

    If you don’t want to explain these things in this article a link elsewhere would good.

  11. Modiford says:

    @josvazg – My educated guess would be that should actually be (as in /24 which is for your subnet, not /16 which is

    Hope that helps.

  12. Thank you all, the informations helped me alot! Had the same error while booting debian. Thanks alot!

  13. Digitalkamera says:

    How did you fix that error while booting? I tries nearly everything without success. me <- lost Any idea what could be wrong?

  14. soroush says:

    up route add -net gw dev eth0

    up: command not found

  15. me says:

    route add -host netmask gw dev eth0

    and i mean … REALLY
    netmask for host is … PERIOD !!!

  16. Jose Tapia says:

    Wow just the info that i was looking, thanks

  17. Martyn Griffin says:

    I have system with static address on eth0 like the example (converted from dhcp).
    I added second device eth1 and setup on subnet
    this interface is intended to provide dhcp for that small subnet as well as be the gateway to the other subnet.
    iface eth0 inet static

    iface eth1 inet static

    up route add -net gw dev eth1

    When I try to restart the network, it indicates Failed to bring up eth0
    but the route seems to be setup.

  18. Nino says:

    Yup I second that. It doesn’t like it. It’s either or

  19. Harry says:

    You might be on ssh session!.. You are trying to kill the network PID while you are connected to the same PID … use console & try

  20. Joshua says:

    Is it possible to set a static route for an unnumbered interface? I was hoping to do something like this but with no luck:

    ip route add via dev

    Otherwise the unnumbered interface winds up using the default gateway for the server rather than the network I need it to run on

  21. Rohit verma says:

    tried everything but it still seems that I am not able to make routes persistent even after adding the lines in /etc/interfaces:

    #Persistent static routes
    up route add -net gw dev eth1
    up route add -net gw dev eth1

  22. Abbottsteve says:

    Remove the gateway on eth1 ( gateway

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