Configuration Overview

VyOS makes use of a unified configuration file for the entire system’s configuration: /config/config.boot. This allows easy template creation, backup, and replication of system configuration. A system can thus also be easily cloned by simply copying the required configuration files.


A VyOS system has three major types of configurations:

  • Active or Running configuration is the system configuration that is loaded and currently active (used by VyOS). Any change in the configuration will have to be committed to belong to the active/running configuration.
  • Working - is the configuration which is currently being modified in configuration mode. Changes made to the working configuration do not go into effect until the changes are committed with the commit command. At which time the working configuration will become the active or running configuration.
  • Saved - is a configuration saved to a file using the save command. It allows you to keep safe a configuration for future uses. There can be multiple configuration files. The default or “boot” configuration is saved and loaded from the file /config/config.boot.

Seeing and navigating the configuration

show configuration

View the current active configuration, also known as the running configuration, from the operational mode.

[email protected]:~$ show configuration
interfaces {
    ethernet eth0 {
        address dhcp
        hw-id 00:53:00:00:aa:01
    loopback lo {
service {
    ssh {
        port 22
system {
    config-management {
        commit-revisions 20
    console {
        device ttyS0 {
            speed 9600
    login {
        user vyos {
            authentication {
                encrypted-password ****************
            level admin
    ntp {
        server {
        server {
        server {
    syslog {
        global {
            facility all {
                level notice
            facility protocols {
                level debug

By default, the configuration is displayed in a hierarchy like the above example, this is only one of the possible ways to display the configuration. When the configuration is generated and the device is configured, changes are added through a collection of set and delete commands.

show configuration commands

Get a collection of all the set commands required which led to the running configuration.

[email protected]:~$ show configuration commands
set interfaces ethernet eth0 address 'dhcp'
set interfaces ethernet eth0 hw-id '00:53:dd:44:3b:0f'
set interfaces loopback 'lo'
set service ssh port '22'
set system config-management commit-revisions '20'
set system console device ttyS0 speed '9600'
set system login user vyos authentication encrypted-password '$6$Vt68...QzF0'
set system login user vyos level 'admin'
set system ntp server ''
set system ntp server ''
set system ntp server ''
set system syslog global facility all level 'notice'
set system syslog global facility protocols level 'debug'

Both these show commands should be executed when in operational mode, they do not work directly in configuration mode. There is a special way on how to Access opmode from config mode.


Use the show configuration commands | strip-private command when you want to hide private data. You may want to do so if you want to share your configuration on the forum.

The config mode

When entering the configuration mode you are navigating inside a tree structure, to enter configuration mode enter the command configure when in operational mode.


When going into configuration mode, prompt changes from $ to #.

All commands executed here are relative to the configuration level you have entered. You can do everything from the top level, but commands will be quite lengthy when manually typing them.

The current hierarchy level can be changed by the edit command.

[email protected]# edit interfaces ethernet eth0

[edit interfaces ethernet eth0]
[email protected]#

You are now in a sublevel relative to interfaces ethernet eth0, all commands executed from this point on are relative to this sublevel. Use eithe the top or exit command to go back to the top of the hierarchy. You can also use the up command to move only one level up at a time.


The show command within configuration mode will show the working configuration indicating line changes with + for additions, > for replacements and - for deletions.


[email protected]:~$ configure
[email protected]# show interfaces
 ethernet eth0 {
     description MY_OLD_DESCRIPTION
     hw-id 00:53:dd:44:3b:03
 loopback lo {
[email protected]# set interfaces ethernet eth0 address dhcp
[email protected]# set interfaces ethernet eth0 description MY_NEW_DESCRIPTION
[email protected]# delete interfaces ethernet eth0 disable
[email protected]# show interfaces
 ethernet eth0 {
+    address dhcp
>    description MY_NEW_DESCRIPTION
-    disable
     hw-id 00:53:dd:44:3b:03
 loopback lo {

It is also possible to display all set commands within configuration mode using show | commands

[email protected]# show interfaces ethernet eth0 | commands
set address dhcp
set hw-id 00:53:ad:44:3b:03

These commands are also relative to the level you are inside and only relevant configuration blocks will be displayed when entering a sub-level.

[edit interfaces ethernet eth0]
[email protected]# show
 address dhcp
 hw-id 00:53:ad:44:3b:03

Exiting from the configuration mode is done via the exit command from the top level, executing exit from within a sub-level takes you back to the top level.

[edit interfaces ethernet eth0]
[email protected]# exit
[email protected]# exit
Warning: configuration changes have not been saved.


comment <config node> “comment text”

Add comment as an annotation to a configuration node.

The comment` command allows you to insert a comment above the ``<config node> configuration section. Comments are enclosed with /* and */ as open/close delimiters. A comment cannot be used at the top of the configuration hierarchy, only on subsections. Comments need to be commited, just like other config changes.

To remove an existing comment from your current configuration, specify an empty string enclosed in double quote marks ("") as the comment text.


[email protected]# comment firewall all-ping "Yes I know this VyOS is cool"
[email protected]# commit
[email protected]# show
 firewall {
     /* Yes I know this VyOS is cool */
     all-ping enable
     broadcast-ping disable


An important thing to note is that since the comment is added on top of the section, it will not appear if the show <section> command is used. With the above example, the show firewall command would return starting after the firewall { line, hiding the comment.

Editing the configuration

The configuration can be edited by the use of set and delete commands from within configuration mode. Configuration commands are flattened from the tree into ‘one-liner’ commands shown in show configuration commands from operation mode.

Commands are relative to the level where they are executed and all redundant information from the current level is removed from the command entered.

[email protected]# set interface ethernet eth0 address

[edit interfaces ethernet eth0]
[email protected]# set address

These two commands above are essentially the same, just executed from different levels in the hierarchy.


To delete a configuration entry use the delete command, this also deletes all sub-levels under the current level you’ve specified in the delete command. Deleting an entry will also result in the element reverting back to its default value if one exists.

[edit interfaces ethernet eth0]
[email protected]# delete address

Any change you do on the configuration, will not take effect until committed using the commit command in configuration mode.

[email protected]# commit
[email protected]# exit
Warning: configuration changes have not been saved.
[email protected]:~$

In order to preserve configuration changes upon reboot, the configuration must also be saved once applied. This is done using the save command in configuration mode.

[email protected]# save
Saving configuration to '/config/config.boot'...
[email protected]# save [tab]
Possible completions:
  <Enter>       Save to system config file
  <file>        Save to file on local machine
  scp://<user>:<passwd>@<host>/<file> Save to file on remote machine
  ftp://<user>:<passwd>@<host>/<file> Save to file on remote machine
  tftp://<host>/<file>      Save to file on remote machine
[email protected]# save tftp://
Saving configuration to 'tftp://'...
######################################################################## 100.0%
exit [discard]

Configuration mode can not be exited while uncommitted changes exist. To exit configuration mode without applying changes, the exit discard command must be used.

All changes in the working config will thus be lost.

[email protected]# exit
Cannot exit: configuration modified.
Use 'exit discard' to discard the changes and exit.
[email protected]# exit discard

Access opmode from config mode

When inside configuration mode you are not directly able to execute operational commands.


Access to these commands are possible through the use of the run [command] command. From this command you will have access to everything accessible from operational mode.

Command completion and syntax help with ? and [tab] will also work.

[email protected]# run show interfaces
Codes: S - State, L - Link, u - Up, D - Down, A - Admin Down
Interface        IP Address                        S/L  Description
---------        ----------                        ---  -----------
eth0                            u/u

Managing configurations

VyOS comes with an integrated versioning system for the system configuration. It automatically maintains a backup of every previous configuration which has been committed to the system. The configurations are versioned locally for rollback but they can also be stored on a remote host for archiving/backup reasons.

Local Archive

Revisions are stored on disk. You can view, compare and rollback them to any previous revisions if something goes wrong.

show system commit

View all existing revisions on the local system.

[email protected]:~$ show system commit
0   2015-03-30 08:53:03 by vyos via cli
1   2015-03-30 08:52:20 by vyos via cli
2   2015-03-26 21:26:01 by root via boot-config-loader
3   2015-03-26 20:43:18 by root via boot-config-loader
4   2015-03-25 11:06:14 by root via boot-config-loader
5   2015-03-25 01:04:28 by root via boot-config-loader
6   2015-03-25 00:16:47 by vyos via cli
7   2015-03-24 23:43:45 by root via boot-config-loader
compare <saved | N> <M>

Compare difference in configuration revisions.

[email protected]# compare [tab]
Possible completions:
  <Enter>  Compare working & active configurations
  saved            Compare working & saved configurations
  <N>              Compare working with revision N
  <N> <M>  Compare revision N with M
    0         2013-12-17 20:01:37 root by boot-config-loader
    1         2013-12-13 15:59:31 root by boot-config-loader
    2         2013-12-12 21:56:22 vyos by cli
    3         2013-12-12 21:55:11 vyos by cli
    4         2013-12-12 21:27:54 vyos by cli
    5         2013-12-12 21:23:29 vyos by cli
    6         2013-12-12 21:13:59 root by boot-config-loader
    7         2013-12-12 16:25:19 vyos by cli
    8         2013-12-12 15:44:36 vyos by cli
    9         2013-12-12 15:42:07 root by boot-config-loader
    10   2013-12-12 15:42:06 root by init

Revisions can be compared with compare N M command, where N and M are revision numbers. The output will describe how the configuration N is when compared to YM indicating with a plus sign (+) the additional parts N has when compared to M, and indicating with a minus sign (-) the lacking parts N misses when compared to Y.

[email protected]# compare 0 6
[edit interfaces]
+dummy dum1 {
+    address
[edit interfaces ethernet eth0]
+vif 99 {
+    address
-vif 900 {
-    address
set system config-management commit-revisions <N>
You can specify the number of revisions stored on disk. N can be in the range of 0 - 65535. When the number of revisions exceeds the configured value, the oldest revision is removed. The default setting for this value is to store 20 revisions locally.

Rollback Changes

You can rollback configuration changes using the rollback command. This willn apply the selected revision and trigger a system reboot.

rollback <N>

Rollback to revision N (currently requires reboot)

[email protected]# compare 1
[edit system]
>host-name vyos-1

[email protected]# rollback 1
Proceed with reboot? [confirm][y]
Broadcast message from [email protected] (pts/0) (Tue Dec 17 21:07:45 2013):
The system is going down for reboot NOW!

Remote Archive

VyOS can upload the configuration to a remote location after each call to commit. You will have to set the commit-archive location. TFTP, FTP, and SFTP servers are supported. Every time a commit is successfull the config.boot file will be copied to the defined destination(s). The filename used on the remote host will be config.boot-hostname.YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS

set system config-management commit-archive location <URI>

Specify remote location of commit archive as any of the below URI

  • scp://<user>:<passwd>@<host>/<dir>
  • sftp://<user>:<passwd>@<host>/<dir>
  • ftp://<user>:<passwd>@<host>/<dir>
  • tftp://<host>/<dir>


The number of revisions don’t affect the commit-archive.

Restore Default

In the case you want to completely delete your configuration and restore the default one, you can enter the following command in configuration mode:

load /opt/vyatta/etc/config.boot.default

You will be asked if you want to continue. If you accept, you will have to use commit if you want to make the changes active.

Then you may want to save in order to delete the saved configuration too.


If you are remotely connected, you will lose your connection. You may want to copy first the config, edit it to ensure connectivity, and load the edited config.