Oct 24, 2023 3 min read

How to run the getent Command on Linux?

Run and use the getent command in Linux with our step-by-step tutorial. It is a free OS kernel that serves as the foundation for various OS.

Run the getent Command on Linux
Table of Contents


Before we start talking about how to run getent command in Linux, let's briefly understand-What is Linux ?

Linux is a free and open-source operating system kernel that serves as the foundation for various operating systems, commonly referred to as Linux distributions or "distros."

The getent command is used to retrieve entries from various databases, including the system user and group databases, NIS, and DNS. It provides a unified way to query information like users, groups, hosts, services, and more.

This tutorial will explain how to use the getent command and demonstrate its capabilities. We will also address a few FAQs on how to run getent command in Linux.

How does the getent Command Work on Linux?

The getent command on Linux has the following general syntax:

getent [Options] [Database] [Key]

The syntax is explained as follows:

  • To execute the command, use the getent.
  • Utilize different getent command options.
  • Indicate the database you wish to look for the keys in.
  • Indicate the keys from the chosen database that you want to find.

The following are some options available when using the getent command:

getent --help

How to use the getent Command on Linux?

In order to use and comprehend the getent command on Linux, we use a variety of examples.

Example 1: Find the User Information

Use the getent command to retrieve user account details from the passwd database. For example, below is the data for the user "milton":

sudo getent passwd milton

The user group, username, and user's folder location are all displayed in the report above.

Example 2: Locate the Service Connected to the Specified Port

We can use the getent command to discover the service connected to the specified port. We will discover, for instance, the following services linked to port 22:

getent services 22

The ssh service runs on port 22.

Example 3: Display the IP Address by Running the DNS Service

The getent command can be used to determine the IP Address related to the hostname. To learn more about our host, for instance, we can pass the "hosts" parameter with the machine name "foss":

getent hosts foss

The machine's IP address has been shown.

Example 4: Find the Information of the Networks

We can make use of the getent script to learn more about the networks. The name and address of each network included in the database are displayed, along with other relevant data:

getent networks

The "link-local" shows the "" network IP address.

Example 5: Find the Information of the Groups

Use the getent command to find out the information about the groups. Each group's name, password, and membership list are displayed by the command for each group on the system:

getent group

The group name, group password, and a list of group members have all been presented for each group.

FAQs: Running the getent Command on Linux

How do I use the getent command? 

To use the getent command, you need to specify the database you want to query and the entry you want to retrieve. The general syntax for getent is getent database entry, where "database" represents the database name, and "entry" is the specific data you want to retrieve.

What are some common databases that getent can query? 

Some common databases that getent can query include "passwd" (for user information), "group" (for group information), "hosts" (for host information), "services" (for information about network services), and "protocols" (for protocol information).

Can I use getent to search for a specific user? 

Yes, you can use getent passwd <username> to search for a specific user. Replace <username> with the username you want to search for, and getent will display the corresponding user information if it exists.

How can I list all users on a Linux system using the getent command? 

To list all users on a Linux system, you can use getent passwd. This command retrieves and displays information for all users in the system's user database.

Can I use getent to obtain host information, such as IP addresses? 

Yes, getent can retrieve host information. Use getent hosts <hostname> to retrieve IP addresses associated with a specific hostname. Replace <hostname> with the hostname you want to query.

How can I check if a specific service is listed in the system services database? 

To check if a specific service is listed in the system services database, use getent services <service_name>. Replace <service_name> with the name of the service you want to query, and if it exists in the services database, getent will display its corresponding information.

Is it possible to use getent with custom databases? 

Yes, getent can be used with custom databases if they are configured on your system. You will need to specify the custom database name and the required entry to retrieve information from the custom database using the getent command.


On Linux, use the general syntax "getent [Options] [Database] [Key]" to execute the getent command. The computer's databases are searched via the getent command. Passwords, services, protocols, groups, and networks are all part of the data. This tutorial has briefly discussed the "getent" command and provided examples on Linux.

If you have any queries, please leave a comment below, and we’ll be happy to respond to them.

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