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keactrl - Shell script for managing Kea


keactrl [command] [-c keactrl-config-file] [-s server[,server,...]] [-v]


keactrl is a shell script which controls the startup, shutdown, and reconfiguration of the Kea servers (kea-dhcp4, kea-dhcp6, kea-dhcp-ddns, kea-ctrl-agent, and kea-netconf). It also provides the means for checking the current status of the servers and determining the configuration files in use.


Depending on the user's requirements, not all of the available servers need be run. The keactrl configuration file specifies which servers are enabled and which are disabled. By default the configuration file is [kea-install-dir]/etc/kea/keactrl.conf.

See the Kea Administrator Reference Manual for documentation of the parameters in the keactrl configuration file.


Specifies the command to be issued to the servers. It can be one of the following:
Starts the servers.
Stops the servers.
Instructs the servers to re-read the Kea configuration file. This command is not supported by the Netconf agent.
Prints the status of the servers.

Specifies the keactrl configuration file. Without this switch, keactrl attempts to use the file [kea-install-dir]/etc/kea/keactrl.conf.
Specifies a subset of the enabled servers to which the command should be issued. The list of servers should be separated by commas with no intervening spaces. Acceptable values are:
DHCPv4 server (kea-dhcp4).
DHCPv6 server (kea-dhcp6).
DHCP DDNS server (kea-dhcp-ddns).
Control Agent (kea-ctrl-agent).
Netconf agent (kea-netconf).
All servers, including Netconf if it was configured to be built. This is the default.

Prints the keactrl version and quits.


Kea comes with an extensive Kea Administrator Reference Manual that covers all aspects of running the Kea software - compilation, installation, configuration, configuration examples, and much more. Kea also features a Kea Messages Manual, which lists all possible messages Kea can print with a brief description for each of them. Both documents are available in various formats (.txt, .html, .pdf) with the Kea distribution. The Kea documentation is available at

Kea source code is documented in the Kea Developer's Guide. Its online version is available at

The Kea project website is available at


There are two public mailing lists available for the Kea project. kea-users (kea-users at is intended for Kea users, while kea-dev (kea-dev at is intended for Kea developers, prospective contributors, and other advanced users. Both lists are available at The community provides best-effort support on both of those lists.

ISC provides professional support for Kea services. See for details.


kea-dhcp4(8), kea-dhcp6(8), kea-dhcp-ddns(8), kea-ctrl-agent(8), kea-admin(8), kea-netconf(8), perfdhcp(8), kea-lfc(8), Kea Administrator Reference Manual.


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March 7, 2022 2.0.2