About a year ago, I wrote an article explaining how you can use a Cisco router
as a Web server.
In the article, I reviewed some of the basics of this
approach and discussed some unique uses for the built-in Cisco IOS Web server.

However, the Cisco IOS Web server has more uses than I could
cover in an article. This week, I want to discuss another way to take advantage
of this feature, a method brought to my attention by TechRepublic member Edward.chan.

What if you could display your Cisco router’s
running-configuration simply by clicking a bookmark in your Web browser or even
a desktop icon? You can use the Cisco IOS Web server to view a router’s
running-configuration from a URL.

With a few simple steps, you can set this up for any router
or switch on your network. In fact, you can even execute other commands as

This is a useful approach to dealing with frequently used
commands (such as show running-configuration)
on your core Cisco router. Let’s take a look at how to set this up.

First, you need to enable the HTTP server on your router or
switch. You can accomplish this using the ip
http server
command when in Global Configuration Mode.

By default, the Web interface will request the enable password command for
authentication. If you’ve configured users on your router, use any login with
level 15 (preferred) access.

After you’ve enabled the HTTP server, you can access the
running-configuration on your router using the following URL. Replace ROUTER with the name or IP address of
your router.


Once you’ve authenticated, the browser will execute the show running-configuration
command for your router. You can bookmark this URL by pressing [Ctrl]D.

In addition, you’ll see a text box, where you can enter
other commands. For example, type show ip route in this text box to view
all routes on the router. When you do this, you should see a bolded area above
the command output that looks something like the following:

Command base-URL was: /level/15/exec/-
Complete URL was: /level/15/exec/-/show/ip/route/CR
Command was: show ip route

Adding the router’s name to the Complete URL line will display
the URL to bookmark for the show ip route
command. Here’s an example:


Once you’ve created a few bookmarks, you can press [Ctrl]I
to open the Favorites or Bookmarks pane on the left-hand side of your browser.
You can also create a desktop shortcut for the URL.

By clicking the Configure link at the top of the Web page,
you can do even more. For example, you could have a URL bookmarked that shuts
down the Tunnel 3 interface:


Then, once disabled, you could re-enable it by clicking another


Keep in mind that clicking the Home link on the router will
take you to the router’s home page. And if you’ve installed Cisco’s Security Device
Manager (SDM)
on the router, this will start SDM, which will discontinue
access to the URL-based commands.

Be aware that when you use the Cisco IOS Web server in HTTP Mode,
your administrative username and password travel across the network in clear
text. Anyone with a protocol analyzer could potentially grab that information from
the network and use it to log in. However, this is no different than using Telnet to
administer your devices
—something many administrators do every day.

In this article, we’re talking about the regular Cisco IOS
HTTP Web server that sends the information in unencrypted form, but there’s also
an HTTPS Web server available. But keep in mind that only Cisco IOS software
images that support SSL will support the HTTPS feature—specifically, Cisco IOS
Release 12.2(15)T and later.

You can use the unencrypted Web server (i.e., HTTP) on any
version of the Cisco IOS, starting with version 11.2. But be aware that Cisco
has released a security advisory about the Cisco
IOS HTTP server
. Personally, this vulnerability hasn’t stopped me from
using the HTTP server, but your organization’s security concerns may be

Thanks again to TechRepublic member Edward.chan for his valuable tip. Do you have a helpful Cisco tip
to share? Post it in this article’s discussion.

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David Davis has worked
in the IT industry for 12 years and holds several certifications, including
CCIE, MCSE+I, CISSP, CCNA, CCDA, and CCNP. He currently manages a group of
systems/network administrators for a privately owned retail company and
performs networking/systems consulting on a part-time basis.