I know that I can enable IP forward by echoing 1 to /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward, but how can I make this permanent?

By the way I want another method rather than start up scripts, is there any?

3 Answers 3


Edit /etc/sysctl.conf and search for the following lines:

# Uncomment the next line to enable packet forwarding for IPv4

Uncomment net.ipv4.ip_forward=1:

# Uncomment the next line to enable packet forwarding for IPv4

Or in one line command :

sudo sysctl -w net.ipv4.ip_forward=1
  • 15
    sudo sysctl -w net.ipv4.ip_forward=1 doesn't make it permanent... @ least on a raspberry pi I tested... Oct 22, 2017 at 15:37
  • do you need to reboot too? or is there a way to "live" apply it too
    – user230910
    May 25, 2018 at 21:38
  • @user230910 No need to reboot if using sudo sysctl -w ... May 29, 2018 at 15:51
  • 2
    -w immediately enables the setting. It does not make it persistent though!
    – ws6079
    Apr 27, 2020 at 13:26

Permanent setting using /etc/sysctl.conf

If we want to make this configuration permanent the best way to do it is using the file /etc/sysctl.conf where we can add a line containing net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1

net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1

If you already have an entry net.ipv4.ip_forward with the value 0 you can change that to 1.

To enable the changes made in sysctl.conf you will need to run the command:

sudo sysctl -p /etc/sysctl.conf

On RedHat based systems this is also enabled when restarting the network service:

service network restart

and on Debian/Ubuntu systems this can be also done restarting the procps service:

sudo /etc/init.d/procps restart

Source: How to Enable IP Forwarding in Linux


If you need to enable it in script you can use commands below to enable

sed -i 's/#net.ipv4.ip_forward=1/net.ipv4.ip_forward=1/' /etc/sysctl.conf
sysctl -p

or disable:

sed -i 's/net.ipv4.ip_forward=1/net.ipv4.ip_forward=0/' /etc/sysctl.conf
sysctl -p
  • I think there is a typo in the command line to enable: the idea is changing the value 0 for 1 so it should be: ed -i 's/#net.ipv4.ip_forward=0/net.ipv4.ip_forward=1/' /etc/sysctl.conf sysctl -p Dec 14, 2022 at 2:20
  • No. Enabling command just remove "#" in the beginning. So there is no typo
    – ilya
    Mar 24, 2023 at 20:58
  • ilya, you are correct, I will take back my comment. I missed that the target was to remove the # alone. Instead, I thought of matching an uncommented line with the disabled setting of 0 to change it to the enabled value of 1. Mar 30, 2023 at 6:28
  • @ilya yes but disabling them should add back the "#" and not putting value 0, since if you have to reenable again it will not do it...
    – EAK TEAM
    Feb 3 at 18:33

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