CentOS 5.9

For testing purposes, I want my CentOS server to listen on a secondary virtual IP (eth0:0). I'm familiar with nc -l -p <port> but it only listens on the primary. Is there a way I can specify a specific IP for the listener to use?

If not, is there another "stock" utility in CentOS 5.9 that can do this?

2 Answers 2


The syntax depends on the netcat package.


nc -l 3000


nc -l -p 3000 -s

A simple way (at least in bash) for telling them apart in scripts is:

if ldd $(type -P nc) | grep -q libbsd; then
    nc -l 3000
    nc -l -p 3000 -s
  • This is exactly what the man page says. May 31, 2013 at 16:36
  • @MichaelHampton I am not sure whether I understand correctly what you mean. May 31, 2013 at 16:39
  • 1
    I think in netcat-traditional you can do -l -p
    – user
    May 31, 2013 at 16:39
  • 1
    @MichaelHampton I guess I will take quite a while yet until I understand the practice rules of upvoting. If I have a look at what I get upvotes for (and much worse: What not for!) then I could cry. But it looks like this big problem's solution kicks me above the desired 3,000 points... (I noticed that on Unix & Linux my interest in rep dropped a lot after that) May 31, 2013 at 16:43
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    @SAMPro The answer was not incorrect but incomplete. May 13, 2020 at 20:11

For completion:

nc -l -p port -s ip

should work too. Works with nc6 version 1.0 and netcat (The GNU Netcat) 0.7.1.

The command from Laging doesn't work with nc6 (used in debian).

  • 2
    The only way I can get to specify the listening interface on Ubuntu's nc.
    – djule5
    Aug 5, 2016 at 15:33
  • 2
    nc says that you cannot use both -s and -l together
    – SunSparc
    Oct 11, 2016 at 22:42
  • 1
    @SunSparc yet it is the only way to go for me to specify both local ip and local port in server mode - no other combination of options works here (nc v1.10-38, debian) Mar 22, 2017 at 18:01
  • I think the issue could be that different netcat versions behave differently. I can't seem to get a version string out of mine, but there are at least two packages netcat-traditional vs netcat-openbsd. netcat -vvlp 4445 -s gives me listening on [] 4445 ... vs netcat -vvl 4445 gives me listening on [any] 36539 ...
    – relet
    Oct 3, 2017 at 8:30
  • I had to specify the -s flag on debian buster.
    – Karl Pokus
    Feb 7, 2020 at 7:33

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