System Administration Guide: Naming and Directory Services (DNS, NIS, and LDAP)

NIS-Related Commands

The NIS service includes specialized daemons, system programs, and commands, which are summarized in the following table.

Table 4–4 NIS Command Summary




Services NIS clients' requests for information from an NIS map. ypserv is a daemon that runs on NIS servers with a complete set of maps. At least one ypserv daemon must be present on the network for NIS service to function.


Provides NIS server binding information to clients. It provides binding by finding a ypserv process that serves maps within the domain of the requesting client. ypbind must run on all servers and clients.


Automatically creates maps for an NIS server from the input files. It is also used to construct the initial /var/yp/binding/domain/ypservers file on the clients. Use ypinit to set up the master NIS server and the slave NIS servers for the first time.


Updates NIS maps by reading the Makefile (when run in the /var/yp directory). You can use make to update all maps based on the input files or to update individual maps. The ypmake(1M) man page describes the functionality of make for NIS.


makedbm takes an input file and converts it into dbm.dir and dbm.pag files – valid dbm files that NIS can use as maps. You can also use makedbm -u to disassemble a map, so that you can see the key-value pairs that comprise it.


Pulls an NIS map from a remote server to the local /var/yp/domain directory, using NIS itself as the transport medium. You can run ypxfr interactively, or periodically from a crontab file. It is also called by ypserv to initiate a transfer.


Provides map transfers service for ypxfr requests (generally slave servers). It is run only on the master server.


Copies a new version of an NIS map from the NIS master server to its slaves. You run it on the master NIS server. 


Tells a ypbind process to bind to a named NIS server. This is not for casual use and its use is discouraged because of security implications. See the ypset(1M) and ypbind(1M) man pages for information about the ypset and ypsetme options to the ypbind process.


Tells which version of an NIS map is running on a server that you specify. It also lists the master server for the map. 


Displays the contents of an NIS map. 


Prints the value for one or more specified keys in an NIS map. You cannot specify which version of the NIS server map you are seeing. 


Shows which NIS server a client is using at the moment for NIS services, or, if invoked with the -m mapname option, which NIS server is master of each of the maps. If only -m is used, it displays the names of all the maps available and their respective master servers.