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The NetBox Python Shell

NetBox includes a Python management shell within which objects can be directly queried, created, modified, and deleted. To enter the shell, run the following command:

./ nbshell

This will launch a lightly customized version of the built-in Django shell with all relevant NetBox models pre-loaded. (If desired, the stock Django shell is also available by executing ./ shell.)

$ ./ nbshell
### NetBox interactive shell (localhost)
### Python 3.7.10 | Django 3.2.5 | NetBox 3.0
### lsmodels() will show available models. Use help(<model>) for more info.

The function lsmodels() will print a list of all available NetBox models:

>>> lsmodels()


The NetBox shell affords direct access to NetBox data and function with very little validation in place. As such, it is crucial to ensure that only authorized, knowledgeable users are ever granted access to it. Never perform any action in the management shell without having a full backup in place.

Querying Objects

Objects are retrieved from the database using a Django queryset. The base queryset for an object takes the form <model>.objects.all(), which will return a (truncated) list of all objects of that type.

>>> Device.objects.all()
<QuerySet [<Device: TestDevice1>, <Device: TestDevice2>, <Device: TestDevice3>,
<Device: TestDevice4>, <Device: TestDevice5>, '...(remaining elements truncated)...']>

Use a for loop to cycle through all objects in the list:

>>> for device in Device.objects.all():
...   print(, device.device_type)
('TestDevice1', <DeviceType: PacketThingy 9000>)
('TestDevice2', <DeviceType: PacketThingy 9000>)
('TestDevice3', <DeviceType: PacketThingy 9000>)
('TestDevice4', <DeviceType: PacketThingy 9000>)
('TestDevice5', <DeviceType: PacketThingy 9000>)

To count all objects matching the query, replace all() with count():

>>> Device.objects.count()

To retrieve a particular object (typically by its primary key or other unique field), use get():

>>> Site.objects.get(pk=7)
<Site: Test Lab>

Filtering Querysets

In most cases, you will want to retrieve only a specific subset of objects. To filter a queryset, replace all() with filter() and pass one or more keyword arguments. For example:

>>> Device.objects.filter(status="active")
<QuerySet [<Device: TestDevice1>, <Device: TestDevice2>, <Device: TestDevice3>,
<Device: TestDevice8>, <Device: TestDevice9>, '...(remaining elements truncated)...']>

Querysets support slicing to return a specific range of objects.

>>> Device.objects.filter(status="active")[:3]
<QuerySet [<Device: TestDevice1>, <Device: TestDevice2>, <Device: TestDevice3>]>

The count() method can be appended to the queryset to return a count of objects rather than the full list.

>>> Device.objects.filter(status="active").count()

Relationships with other models can be traversed by concatenating attribute names with a double-underscore. For example, the following will return all devices assigned to the tenant named "Pied Piper."

>>> Device.objects.filter(tenant__name="Pied Piper")

This approach can span multiple levels of relations. For example, the following will return all IP addresses assigned to a device in North America:

>>> IPAddress.objects.filter(interface__device__site__region__slug="north-america")


While the above query is functional, it's not very efficient. There are ways to optimize such requests, however they are out of scope for this document. For more information, see the Django queryset method reference documentation.

Reverse relationships can be traversed as well. For example, the following will find all devices with an interface named "em0":

>>> Device.objects.filter(interfaces__name="em0")

Character fields can be filtered against partial matches using the contains or icontains field lookup (the later of which is case-insensitive).

>>> Device.objects.filter(name__icontains="testdevice")

Similarly, numeric fields can be filtered by values less than, greater than, and/or equal to a given value.

>>> VLAN.objects.filter(vid__gt=2000)

Multiple filters can be combined to further refine a queryset.

>>> VLAN.objects.filter(vid__gt=2000, name__icontains="engineering")

To return the inverse of a filtered queryset, use exclude() instead of filter().

>>> Device.objects.count()
>>> Device.objects.filter(status="active").count()
>>> Device.objects.exclude(status="active").count()


The examples above are intended only to provide a cursory introduction to queryset filtering. For an exhaustive list of the available filters, please consult the Django queryset API documentation.

Creating and Updating Objects

New objects can be created by instantiating the desired model, defining values for all required attributes, and calling save() on the instance. For example, we can create a new VLAN by specifying its numeric ID, name, and assigned site:

>>> lab1 = Site.objects.get(pk=7)
>>> myvlan = VLAN(vid=123, name='MyNewVLAN', site=lab1)
>>> myvlan.full_clean()

To modify an existing object, we retrieve it, update the desired field(s), and call save() again.

>>> vlan = VLAN.objects.get(pk=1280)
>>> = 'BetterName'
>>> vlan.full_clean()
>>> VLAN.objects.get(pk=1280).name


The Django ORM provides methods to create/edit many objects at once, namely bulk_create() and update(). These are best avoided in most cases as they bypass a model's built-in validation and can easily lead to database corruption if not used carefully.

Deleting Objects

To delete an object, simply call delete() on its instance. This will return a dictionary of all objects (including related objects) which have been deleted as a result of this operation.

>>> vlan
<VLAN: 123 (BetterName)>
>>> vlan.delete()
(1, {'ipam.VLAN': 1})

To delete multiple objects at once, call delete() on a filtered queryset. It's a good idea to always sanity-check the count of selected objects before deleting them.

>>> Device.objects.filter(name__icontains='test').count()
>>> Device.objects.filter(name__icontains='test').delete()
(35, {'dcim.DeviceBay': 0, 'dcim.InterfaceConnection': 4,
'extras.ImageAttachment': 0, 'dcim.Device': 27, 'dcim.Interface': 4,
'dcim.ConsolePort': 0, 'dcim.PowerPort': 0})


Deletions are immediate and irreversible. Always consider the impact of deleting objects carefully before calling delete() on an instance or queryset.