GETENT(1) FreeBSD General Commands Manual GETENT(1)


getentget entries from administrative database


getent database [ key ...]


The getent utility retrieves and displays entries from the administrative database specified by database, using the lookup order specified in nsswitch.conf(5). The display format for a given database is as per the “traditional” file format for that database.

The database argument may be one of:

Database Display format
ethers address name
group group:passwd:gid:[member[,member]...]
hosts address name [alias ...]
networks name network [alias ...]
passwd user:passwd:uid:gid:gecos:home_dir:shell
protocols name protocol [alias ...]
rpc name number [alias ...]
services name port/protocol [alias ...]
shells /path/to/shell
utmpx [time] type: properties

If one or more key arguments are provided, they will be looked up in database using the appropriate function. For example, “ passwd” supports a numeric UID or user name;“ hosts” supports an IPv4 address, IPv6 address, or host name; and “ services” supports a service name, service name/protocol name, numeric port, or numeric port/protocol name.

If no key is provided and database supports enumeration, all entries for database will be retrieved using the appropriate enumeration function and printed.


The getent utility exits 0 on success, 1 if there was an error in the command syntax, 2 if one of the specified key names was not found in database, or 3 if there is no support for enumeration on database.


A getent command appeared in NetBSD 3.0, and was imported into FreeBSD 7.0. It was based on the command of the same name in Solaris and Linux.
August 24, 2005 FreeBSD