HowTo Disable the “ZEROCONF” in Linux

Most linux distribution uses the zero configuration network ( ZEROCONF) suite to automatically configure themselves and communicate on a network without the need of DHCP or DNS servers. ZEROCONF is an IETF organ that planned and coordinated a series of dynamic protocols to allow many operating systems to automatically configure themselves.


ZEROCONF commonly referred to as IPv4 Link-Local (IPv4LL) and Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA) utilises the network address to auto-configure a network interface. It uses a series of unanswered “ARP” queries and then assumes an address if the queries yield an empty result. As a result, a route to the ZEROCONF network is added to the routing table by the network initscripts. Example:

The ZEROCONF route

ZEROCONF can be disabled by adding the following entry to the “/etc/sysconfig/network” configuration file.


[bash] # vi /etc/sysconfig/network
NOZEROCONF=yes or no (either answer will disable the “ZEROCONF route”)

It is important to note that the value of the “NOZEROCONF” parameter can actually be set to any value. The initscripts can only check to determine whether the parameter has a zero length or not. In other words, setting “NOZEROCONF=no” will have the same effect as setting it to “yes”. In order to reactivate ZEROCONF, the above entry “NOZEROCONF=yes/no” will have to either be commented out or removed entirely.

The network service must be restarted for the changes above to take effect.

[bash] # vi /etc/init.d/network restart

To see if the ZEROCONF route has been disabled, we have to check the routing table again.

The IP routing table

If you ever wonder and want to know more about the the makeup and history of the ZEROCONF, check this very informative zeroconf article written by John C. Welch and this zeroconf article on wikipadia.

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