I always like to test new config files before deploying them--with tools like apachectl configtest and named-checkconf.

It's rare that mistakes crop up, but catching them before deployment eliminates any impact. The one that has bit me in the backside several times is /etc/network/interfaces; I can't seem to find a tool to test it, and restarting the network on a remote machine only to discover it's no longer reachable is quite annoying--especially when we use a lot of bonding and bridging.

3 Answers 3


To expand upon @jdthood's answer...

If the interface is already up, you can still use this method to validate the /etc/network/interfaces file. For example, assuming you have an error, you may see something like this:

$ sudo ifup --no-act eth0
/etc/network/interfaces:11: unknown method
ifup: couldn't read interfaces file "/etc/network/interfaces"

Apparently there's an error on line 11. Great. Thank heavens I didn't bounce the networking only to lose SSH access!

If all is fine, you will see:

$ sudo ifup --no-act eth0
ifup: interface eth0 already configured

The following may do part of what you want.

ifup --no-act eth0

If you don't have a eth0 this will not work, eg:

Ignoring unknown interface eth0=eth0.

But if you do like this:

ifup -a --no-act ; echo "status: $?"

With ok config:

ifup -a --no-act ; echo "status: $?"
run-parts  /etc/network/if-pre-up.d
run-parts  /etc/network/if-up.d
status: 0

With non-ok config:

ifup -a --no-act ; echo "status: $?"
/etc/network/interfaces:12: option with empty value
ifup: couldn't read interfaces file "/etc/network/interfaces"
status: 1

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