Netcat Cheat Sheet

Netcat, widely known as a net admin’s Swiss Army Knife, is a command line network utility that can read and write data  across TCP and UDP network connections. It can be used as a powerful port scanner, port listener, port re-director and a backdoor to anyone who gets familiar with the commands.

All the tables provided in the cheat sheets are also presented in tables below which are easy to copy and paste.

The Netcat cheat sheet covers:

  • Installation
  • Run Modes
  • Netcat Command Flags

View or Download the Cheat Sheet JPG image

Right-click on the image below to save the JPG file (1,507 width x 1,082 height in pixels), or click here and open it in a new browser tab. Once the image opens in a new window, you may need to click on the image to zoom in and view the full-sized jpeg.

Netcat Cheat Sheet installation and run modes

View or Download the cheat sheet PDF file

You can also download the cheat sheet PDF file here. If it opens in a new browser tab, simply right click on the PDF and navigate to the download selection to save on your hard-drive or cloud storage.

What’s included in the cheat sheet

The following categories and items have been included in the cheat sheet:

Installation / Run Modes

Installation / Run Modes

Client Mode

Connect to a host located anywhere

Client Mode Syntax

nc options hostname port[1] port[2]...

Server Mode

Listen for incoming connections

Server Mode Syntax

nc -l -p port [hostname] [port]

Netcat Command Flags

Netcat Command Flags






nc -h

-z (host name)(port range)

Port scan for a host or IP address

nc -z 1-100


Verbose scan

nc -z -v 1-100


Fast scan by disabling DNS resolution

nc -z -n 1-100


TCP server mode

nc -l -p 50


Server file redirection

netcat -l -p 1000 > scan.txt 


Client file redirection

nc 1000 < scan.txt


Listen to port & IP address after connection close

nc -k -l 1000


Define timeout value

nc -w 180 2222


IPv4 only

nc -4 -l 1000


IPv6 only

nc -6 -l 1000

Netcat FAQs

What is Netcat used for?

Netcat is a port scanner and monitor that can also be used to transfer files and execute transferred programs. It is of use to network administrators and it is also used by hackers.

Which option of the Netcat command allows it to scan multiple ports?

You can scan a range of ports with the Netcat command: 

nc -zv <port_from>-<port_to> 


nc -zv <port_from> <port to>

How do I use Netcat on Windows?

Netcat is available in Windows but it doesn’t have an app with a graphical user interface. Instead, you have to enter cmd in the Start menu search field and click on Command Prompt in the results list. Enter an nc command at the prompt to run the service.

How do I scan a port using Netcat?

Netcat is a command-line utility that is launched with the letters nc followed by switches and a port number or range.