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dhcpd is the older Internet Systems Consortium DHCP Server. It is useful for instance on a machine acting as a router on a LAN. Note that ISC promotes Kea as its replacement.

Note: dhcpd (DHCP (server) daemon) is not the same as dhcpcd (DHCP client daemon).


Install the dhcp package.


dhcpd includes two unit files, dhcpd4.service and dhcpd6.service, which can be used to control the daemon. They start the daemon on all network interfaces for IPv4 and IPv6 respectively. See #Listening on only one interface for an alternative.


Assign a static IPv4 address to the interface you want to use (in our examples we will use eth0). The specified subnet should not overlap with that of other interfaces.

# ip link set up dev eth0
# ip addr add dev eth0 # arbitrary address
Tip: Usually, one of the next three subnets is used for private networks, which are specially reserved and will not conflict with any host in the Internet:
  • 192.168/16 (subnet, netmask
  • 172.16/12 (subnet, netmask
  • 10/8 (for large networks; subnet, netmask
See also RFC 1918.

To have your static ip assigned at boot, see Network configuration#Static IP address.

The default dhcpd.conf contains many uncommented examples, so relocate it:

# cp /etc/dhcpd.conf /etc/dhcpd.conf.example

To only listen on the subnet, you may create the following minimal configuration file:

option domain-name-servers,;
option subnet-mask;
option routers;
subnet netmask {

Note that:

  • If eth0 is the only interface on the subnet (as is usually the case), then dhcpd will only be listening on eth0.
  • If you want dhcpd to listen on any other interface, modify the configuration file by specifying the subnet of the new interface to listen on.

If you need to provide a fixed IP address for a single specific device, you can define host blocks:

option domain-name-servers,;
option subnet-mask;
option routers;
subnet netmask {
host macbookpro {
  hardware ethernet 70:56:81:22:33:44;

domain-name-servers option contains addresses of DNS servers which are supplied to clients. In our example we are using Google's public DNS servers. If you know a local DNS server (for example, provided by your ISP), you should consider using it. If you have configured your own DNS on a local machine, then use its address in your subnet (e. g. in our example).

subnet-mask and routers defines a subnet mask and a list of available routers on the subnet. In most cases for small networks you can use as a mask and specify an IP address of the machine on which you are configuring DHCP server as a router.

subnet blocks defines options for separate subnets, which are mapped to the network interfaces on which dhcpd is running. In our example this is one subnet for single interface eth0, for which we defined the range of available IP addresses. Addresses from this range will be assigned to the connecting clients.

Listening on only one interface

Tango-view-refresh-red.pngThis article or section is out of date.Tango-view-refresh-red.png

Reason: While the man page dhcpd(8) suggests the behavior described below, in practice dhcpd only listens on interfaces with subnets declared in its configuration file. (Discuss in Talk:Dhcpd)

If your computer is already part of one or several networks, it could be a problem if your computer starts giving ip addresses to machines from the other networks. It can be done by either configuring dhcpd or starting it as a daemon with systemctl.

Configuring dhcpd

Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: dhcpd does not listen on interfaces whose subnets are not declared in its configuration file. (Discuss in Talk:Dhcpd)

In order to exclude an interface, you must create an empty declaration for the subnet that will be configured on that interface.

This is done by editing the configuration file (for example):

# No DHCP service in DMZ network (
subnet netmask {

Service file

Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: Does not work with systemd 251. (Discuss in Talk:Dhcpd)

The default service file provided by dhcpd does not specify an interface. Use a drop-in unit file for the dhcpd4.service as follows:

ExecStart=/usr/bin/dhcpd -4 -q -cf /etc/dhcpd.conf -pf /run/dhcpd4/dhcpd.pid %I

This allows using dhcpd4.service as a template unit, binding dhcpd to a particular interface; for example dhcpd4@eth0.service, where eth0 is the first enumerated Ethernet device.

Use for PXE

PXE Configuration is done with the following two options:

filename "/pxelinux.0";

This section can either be in an entire subnet or just in a host definition. next-server is the IP of the TFTP Server, and filename is the filename of the image to boot. For more information see PXE.

See also