Get MAC addresses of remote hosts and local interfaces
Pure-Python package to get the MAC address of network interfaces and hosts on the local network.
It provides a platform-independent interface to get the MAC addresses of:
- System network interfaces (by interface name)
- Remote hosts on the local network (by IPv4/IPv6 address or hostname)
It provides one function:
Should you use this package?
If you only need the addresses of network interfaces, have a limited set of platforms to support, and are able to handle C-extension modules, then you should instead check out the excellent netifaces package by Alastair Houghton. It is significantly faster, well-maintained, and has been around much longer than this has. Another great option that fits these requirements is the well-known and battle-hardened psutil package by Giampaolo Rodola.
If the only system you need to run on is Linux, you can run as root, and C-extensions modules are fine, then you should instead check out the arpreq package by Sebastian Schrader. It can be significantly faster, especially in the case of hosts that don't exist (at least currently).
If you want to use
netifaces, I have examples of how to do
so in a GitHub Gist.
Stable release from PyPI
pip install getmac
Latest development version
pip install https://github.com/ghostofgoes/getmac/archive/master.tar.gz
from getmac import get_mac_address eth_mac = get_mac_address(interface="eth0") win_mac = get_mac_address(interface="Ethernet 3") ip_mac = get_mac_address(ip="192.168.0.1") ip6_mac = get_mac_address(ip6="::1") host_mac = get_mac_address(hostname="localhost") updated_mac = get_mac_address(ip="10.0.0.1", network_request=True) # Enabling debugging from getmac import getmac getmac.DEBUG = 2 # DEBUG level 2 print(getmac.get_mac_address(interface="Ethernet 3")) # Changing the port used for updating ARP table (UDP packet) from getmac import getmac getmac.PORT = 44444 # Default: 55555 print(get_mac_address(ip="192.168.0.1", network_request=True))
Python 2 users: use
python -m getmac instead of
getmac --help getmac --version # No arguments will return MAC of the default interface. getmac python -m getmac # Interface names, IPv4/IPv6 addresses, or Hostnames can be specified getmac --interface ens33 getmac --ip 192.168.0.1 getmac --ip6 ::1 getmac --hostname home.router # Running as a Python module with shorthands for the arguments python -m getmac -i 'Ethernet 4' python -m getmac -4 192.168.0.1 python -m getmac -6 ::1 python -m getmac -n home.router # Getting the MAC address of a remote host requires the ARP table to be populated. # By default, getmac will populate the table by sending a small UDP packet to a high port of the host (by default, 55555). # This can be disabled with --no-network-request, as shown here: getmac --no-network-request -4 192.168.0.1 python -m getmac --no-network-request -n home.router # Enable output messages getmac --verbose # Debug levels can be specified with '-d' getmac -v --debug python -m getmac -v -d -i enp11s4 python -m getmac -v -dd -n home.router
interface: Name of a network interface on the system
ip: IPv4 address of a remote host
ip6: IPv6 address of a remote host
hostname: Hostname of a remote host
network_request: If an network request should be made to update and populate the ARP/NDP table of remote hosts used to lookup MACs in most circumstances. Disable this if you want to just use what's already in the table, or if you have requirements to prevent network traffic. The network request is a empty UDP packet sent to a high port, 55555 by default. This can be changed by setting
getmac.PORTto the desired integer value. Additionally, on Windows, this will send a UDP packet to 126.96.36.199:53 to attempt to determine the default interface.
logging.getLogger('getmac'): Runtime messages and errors are recorded to the
getmaclogger using the
loggingmodule. They can be configured by using
logging.basicConfig()or adding handlers to the
getmac.getmac.DEBUG: integer value that controls debugging output. The higher the value, the more output you get.
getmac.getmac.PORT: UDP port used to populate the ARP/NDP table (see the documentation of the
- Pure-Python (no compiled C-extensions required!)
- Python 2.7 and 3.4+
- Lightweight, with no dependencies and a small package size
- Can be dropped into a project as a standalone .py file
- Supports most interpreters: CPython, pypy, pypy3, IronPython 2.7, and Jython 2.7
- Provides a simple command line tool (when installed as a package)
- MIT licensed!
Legacy Python versions
If you are running a old Python (2.6/3.3 and older) or interpreter, then you
can install an older version of
getmac that supported that version.
The wheels are available in the
GitHub releases, or
from PyPI with a current version of
pip and some special arguments.
- Python 2.5: get-mac 0.5.0
- Python 2.6: getmac 0.6.0
- Python 3.2: get-mac 0.3.0
- Python 3.3: get-mac 0.3.0
NOTE: these versions do not have many of the performance improvements, platform support, and bug fixes that came with later releases. They generally work, just not as well. However, if you're using such an old Python, you probably don't care about all that :)
- If none of the arguments are selected, the default network interface for the system will be used.
- "Remote hosts" refer to hosts in your local layer 2 network, also commonly referred to as a "broadcast domain", "LAN", or "VLAN". As far as I know, there is not a reliable method to get a MAC address for a remote host external to the LAN. If you know any methods otherwise, please open a GitHub issue or shoot me an email, I'd love to be wrong about this.
- The first four arguments are mutually exclusive.
network_requestdoes not have any functionality when the
interfaceargument is specified, and can be safely set if using in a script.
- The physical transport is assumed to be Ethernet (802.3). Others, such as Wi-Fi (802.11), are currently not tested or considered. I plan to address this in the future, and am definitely open to pull requests or issues related to this, including error reports.
- Exceptions will be handled silently and returned as a None. If you run into problems, you can set DEBUG to true and get more information about what's happening. If you're still having issues, please create an issue on GitHub and include the output with DEBUG enabled.
Commands and techniques by platform
- Default interfaces:
ip route list
- Mac OSX (Darwin)
- Same commands as Linux
- Windows commands are used for remote hosts
- Unix commands are used for interfaces
- Default interfaces:
- Default interfaces:
Platforms currently supported
All or almost all features should work on "supported" platforms. While other versions of the same family or distro may work, they are untested and may have bugs or missing features.
- Desktop: 7, 8, 8.1, 10
- Server: TBD
- Partially supported (untested): 2000, XP, Vista
- Linux distros
- CentOS/RHEL 6+ (Only with Python 2.7+)
- Ubuntu 16.04+ (15.10 and older should work, but are untested)
- Fedora (24+)
- Mac OSX (Darwin)
- The latest two versions probably (TBD)
- Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)
- FreeBSD (11+)
docker build -f packaging/Dockerfile -t getmac . docker run -it getmac:latest --help docker run -it getmac:latest --version docker run -it getmac:latest -n localhost
- Depending on the platform, there could be a performance detriment, due to heavy usage of regular expressions.
- Platform test coverage is imperfect. If you're having issues, then you might be using a platform I haven't been able to test. Keep calm, open a GitHub issue, and I'd be more than happy to help.
- Hostnames for IPv6 devices are not yet supported.
- Windows: the "default" (used when no arguments set or specified)
of selecting the default route interface only works effectively
network_requestis enabled. If not,
Ethernetis used as the default.
- IPv6 support is good but lags behind IPv4 in some places and isn't as well-tested across the supported platform set.
Background and history
The Python standard library has a robust set of networking functionality,
ssl, and more.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered there was not a way to get a
seemingly simple piece of information: a MAC address. This package was born
out of a need to get the MAC address of hosts on the network without
needing admin permissions, and a cross-platform way get the addresses
of local interfaces.
In Fall 2018 the package name changed to
affected the package name, the CLI script, and some of the documentation.
There were no changes to the core library code. While both package names
will updated on PyPI, the use of
getmac is preferred.
Before submitting a PR, please make sure you've completed the pull request checklist!
The Python Discord server is a good place to ask questions or discuss the project (Handle: @KnownError).
- Christopher Goes (@ghostofgoes) - Author and maintainer
- Calvin Tran (@cyberhobbes) - Windows interface detection improvements
- Izra Faturrahman (@Frizz925) - Unit tests using the platform samples
- Jose Gonzalez (@Komish) - Docker container and Docker testing
- @fortunate-man - Awesome usage videos
- @martmists - legacy Python compatibility improvements
- @hargoniX - scripts and specfiles for RPM packaging
Many of the methods used to acquire an address and the core logic framework are attributed to the CPython project's UUID implementation.
Other notable sources
MIT. Feel free to copy, modify, and use to your heart's content. Enjoy :)
NOTE: if any changes significantly impact your project or use case, please open an issue on GitHub or send me an email (see git commit author info for address).
- Fixed sockets being opened and not closed when
ip6were used, which could lead to a
- OpenBSD support
- FreeBSD support
- Python logging is now used instead of
- Include tests in the source distribution
- (CLI) Added aliases for
- (CLI) New argument:
- Errors are now logged instead of raising a
- Improved Ubuntu support
- Performance improvements
- Significant increase in overall test coverage
- Fixed and migrated the sample tests to
- Added tests for the CLI
- Type annotations (PEP 484)
- Dropped support for Python 2.6
- Removed the usage of third-party packages (
arpreq). This should improve the performance of lookups of non-existent interfaces or hosts, since this feature was punishing that path without providing much value. If you want to use these packages directly, I have a guide on how to do so on a GitHub Gist.
- Significantly improved the performance of the common cases on Linux for interfaces and remote hosts
- Improved POSIX interface performance. Commands specific to OSX will be run only on that platform, and vice-versa.
- Significantly improved the speed and accuracy of determining the default interface on Linux
- Python 2 will install an executor named getmac2 and Python 3 an executor named getmac so they do not conflict when both RPMs are installed on the same system (Credit: @hargoniX)
warningsmodule will only be imported if a error/warning occurs (improve compatibility with some freezers, notably PyInstaller)
- Improved system platform detection
- Various other minor performance improvements
- Added unit tests for the samples (Credit: @Frizz925)
- Scripts for building RPMs in the /scripts directory (Credit: @hargoniX)
- Improved code quality and health checks
- Include the CHANGELOG on the PyPI project page
pytestfor all tests now instead of
- Added instructions on how to build a Debian package (Credit: @kofrezo)
- Windows default interface detection if
network_requestis enabled (Credit: @cyberhobbes)
- Docker container (Credit: @Komish)
- Changed project name to
getmac. This applies to the command line tool, GitHub, and the documentation.
- Use proper Python 2-compatible print functions (Credit: @martmists)
- Support for Python 2.5. It is not feasible to test, and potentially
breaks some useful language features, such as
- Variables PORT and DEBUG from top-level package imports, since changing
them would have no actual effect on execution. Instead, use
- Added example videos demonstrating usage (Credit: @fortunate-man)
- Added contribution guide
- Added documentation on ReadTheDocs
- Added a manpage
- Full support for Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). This is working for all features, including default interface selection! The only edge case is lookup of remote host IP addresses that are actually local interfaces will not resolve to a MAC (which should be ff-ff-ff-ff-ff-ff).
argparseif Python version is 2.6 or older
- Updated tox tests: added Jython and IronPython, removed 2.6
- New methods for remote host MACs
- New methods for interface MACs
- DEBUG levels: DEBUG value is now an integer, and increasing it will increase the amount and verbosity of output. On the CLI, it can be configured by increasing the amount of characters for the debug argument, e.g. '-dd' for DEBUG level 2.
- Jython support (Note: on Windows Jython currently only works with interfaces)
- IronPython support
- Significant performance improvement for remote hosts. Previously,
the average for
get_mac_address(ip='10.0.0.100')was 1.71 seconds. Now, the average is
12.7 miliseconds, with the special case of a unpopulated arp table being only slightly higher. This was brought about by changes in how the arp table is populated. The original method was to use the host's
pingcommand to send an ICMP packet to the host. This took time, which heavily delayed the ability to actually get an address. The solution is to instead simply send a empty UDP packet to a high port. The port this packet is sent to can be configured using the module variable
- "Fixed" resolution of localhost/127.0.0.1 by hardcoding the response. This should resolve a lot of problematic edge cases. I'm ok with this for now since I don't know of a case when it isn't all zeroes.
- Greatly increased the reliability of getting host and interface MACs on Windows
- Improved debugging output
- Tightened up the size of
- Various minor stability and performance improvements
- Add LICENSE to PyPI package
- Support for Python 3.2 and 3.3. The total downloads from PyPI with those versions in August was ~53k and ~407K, respectfully. The majority of those are likely from automated testing (e.g. TravisCI) and not actual users. Therefore, I've decided to drop support to simplify development, especially since before 3.4 the 3.x series was still very much a "work in progress".
- Added automated tests for Windows using Appveyor
- Tox runner for tests
- Added github.io page
- Improved TravisCI testing
- Attempt to use Python modules if they're installed. This is useful
for larger projects that already have them installed as dependencies,
as they provide a more reliable means of getting information.
psutil: Interface MACs on all platforms
scapy: Interface MACs and Remote MACs on all platforms
netifaces: Interface MACs on Non-Windows platforms
- New methods for remote MACs
ip neighbor show, Abuse of
- New methods for Interface MACs
- Certain critical failures that should never happen will now warn instead of failing silently.
- Added a sanity check to the
ip6argument (IPv6 addresses)
- Improved performance in some areas
- Improved debugging output
- Major Bugfix: search of
proc/net/arpwould return shorter addresses in the same subnet if they came earlier in the sequence. Example: a search for
192.168.16.2on Linux would instead return the MAC address of
192.168.16.254with no errors or warning whatsoever.
- Significantly improved default interface detection. Default
interfaces are now properly detected on Linux and most other
POSIX platforms with
routecommands available, or the
- Vagrantfile to spin up testing VMs for various platforms using Vagrant
- Added more samples of command output on platforms (Ubuntu 18.04 LTS)
- Fixed identification of remote host on OSX
- Resolved hangs and noticeable lag that occurred when "network_request" was True (the default)
- Remote host for Python 3 on Windows
- Short versions of CLI arguments (e.g. "-i" for "--interface")
- Improved usage of "ping" across platforms and IP versions
- Various minor tweaks for performance
- Improved Windows detection
- Use of ping command with hostname
- Improvements to internal code
Nothing changed. PyPI just won't let me push changes without a new version.
- Checks for default interface on Linux systems
- New methods of hunting for addresses on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
- CLI will output nothing if it failed, instead of "None"
- CLI will return with 1 on failure, 0 on success
- No CLI arguments now implies the default host network interface
- Added an argumnent for debugging:
- Interfaces on Windows and Linux (including Bash for Windows)
- Many bugs
- Support for Python 2.6 on the CLI
- Overhaul of internals
- Addition of a terminal command:
- Ability to run as a module from the command line:
python -m getmac
arp_requestargument was renamed to
- Updated docstring
- Slight reduction in the size of getmac.py
- Overhauled the README
- Moved tests into their own folder
- Added Python 3.7 to list of supported snakes
- Python 2.6 compatibility
- Fixed some addresses returning without colons
- Added more rigorous checks on addresses before returning them
- Remove print statements and other debugging output
- Initial pre-alpha
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