Configuring a Cisco Banner: MOTD, Login, & Exec Banners

Cisco banners are customized messages displayed on a terminal when a user is trying to connect to our Cisco IOS devices via Telnet, SSH, Console port, or Auxillary port. They are most commonly used to display security warnings and informational messages. There are different types of banner messages, such as Message of the day (MOTD), Login banners, and Exec banners. These can be displayed in the CLI before and/or after the user logs in to a Cisco IOS device. The three are the most common types of a banner that can be configured on a Cisco switch and routers.

 

Banner MOTD

The Message of the Day (MOTD) banner will be displayed before the user authenticates to our devices. It is typically used to display a temporary notice that may change regularly, such as system availability.

To create a MOTD banner on a Cisco router, the following banner MOTD command is used from the router’s global config mode:

Router(config)# banner motd $
Attention!
We will be having scheduled system maintenance on this device.
$
Router(config)#

 

 NOTE
Be careful on choosing your delimiter character when configuring your banner, the banner must not have a delimiter character on its content, or else, the cisco ios will interpret it as an indicator to end the banner message.

 

In this example, the MOTD banner spans multiple lines of text, and the delimiting character, which is also called start/stop character, is the dollar sign ($). Now let’s try to access our devices to see what the MOTD Banner looks like:

banner motd

The figure above shows the MOTD banner before the user logs in to the router.

 

Banner Login

The Login banner will also be displayed before the user authenticates to our devices. It will show up after the MOTD banner. Unlike the MOTD Banner, it is designed to commonly display legal notices, such as security warnings and more permanent messages to the users.

To create a Login banner on our device, the following command is used from the router’s global configuration mode:

Router(config)# banner login ?
Warning!
Authorized personnel only.
?
Router(config)#

 

In this example, we use a question mark (?) as a delimiting character to indicate the start and stop of the banner configuration.

Now let’s try to access our Cisco device to see what the Login banner looks like:

login banner

As you can see above, the login banner is shown after the MOTD banner before the user logs in to the router.

 

Banner Exec

We use Exec banner to display messages after the users, or network administrators are authenticated to our Cisco IOS devices and before the user enters UserExec Mode. Unlike MOTD, the Exec banner is designed to be more of a permanent message and would not change frequently.

To create an Exec banner on a Cisco router, the following Exec banner command is used from the router’s global configuration mode:

Router(config)# banner motd 8
Please log out immediately if you are not an authorized administrator
8
Router(config)#

 

In this example, We use the number eight (8) as a delimiting character to indicate the start and stop of the banner configuration, just to show that any character can be used.

Now let’s try to access our Cisco devices to see what the Exec banner looks like:

exec banner

The image above confirms that the MOTD, Login, and Exec banners are all displayed respectively.


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