Installing Zeek


Before installing Zeek, you’ll need to ensure that some dependencies are in place.

Required Dependencies

Zeek requires the following libraries and tools to be installed before you begin:

To build Zeek from source, the following additional dependencies are required:

To install the required dependencies, you can use:

  • RPM/RedHat-based Linux:

    sudo yum install cmake make gcc gcc-c++ flex bison libpcap-devel openssl-devel python3 python3-devel swig zlib-devel

    Additionally, on RHEL/CentOS 7, you can install and activate a devtoolset to get access to recent GCC versions. You will also have to install and activate CMake 3. For example:

    sudo yum install cmake3 devtoolset-7
    scl enable devtoolset-7 bash
  • DEB/Debian-based Linux:

    sudo apt-get install cmake make gcc g++ flex libfl-dev bison libpcap-dev libssl-dev python3 python3-dev swig zlib1g-dev
  • FreeBSD:

    Most required dependencies should come with a minimal FreeBSD install except for the following.

    sudo pkg install -y bash git cmake swig bison python3 base64
    pyver=`python3 -c 'import sys; print(f"py{sys.version_info[0]}{sys.version_info[1]}")'`
    sudo pkg install -y $pyver-sqlite3
  • macOS:

    Compiling source code on Macs requires first installing either Xcode or the “Command Line Tools” (which is a much smaller download). To check if either is installed, run the xcode-select -p command. If you see an error message, then neither is installed and you can then run xcode-select --install which will prompt you to either get Xcode (by clicking “Get Xcode”) or to install the command line tools (by clicking “Install”).

    macOS comes with all required dependencies except for CMake, SWIG, Bison, and OpenSSL (OpenSSL headers were removed in macOS 10.11, therefore OpenSSL must be installed manually for macOS versions 10.11 or newer).

    Distributions of these dependencies can likely be obtained from your preferred macOS package management system (e.g. Homebrew, MacPorts, or Fink). Specifically for Homebrew, the cmake, swig, openssl, and bison packages provide the required dependencies. For MacPorts, the cmake, swig, swig-python, openssl, and bison packages provide the required dependencies.

Optional Dependencies

Zeek can make use of some optional libraries and tools if they are found at build time:

Geolocation is probably the most interesting and can be installed on most platforms by following the instructions for installing the GeoIP library and database.

The zkg package manager, included in the Zeek installation, requires two external Python modules:

These install easily via pip (pip3 install GitPython semantic-version) and also ship with some distributions:

  • RPM/RedHat-based Linux:

    sudo yum install python3-GitPython python3-semantic_version
  • DEB/Debian-based Linux:

    sudo apt-get install python3-git python3-semantic-version

zkg also requires a git installation, which the above system packages pull in as a dependency. If you install via pip, remember that you also need git itself.

Installing Zeek

Zeek can be downloaded as either pre-built binary packages for Linux, or in source code form. On many platforms, Zeek also comes already integrated into package management systems (e.g., Homebrew on macOS), Note, however, that such external packages may not always be fully up to date.

Using Pre-Built Binary Release Packages for Linux

We are providing prebuilt binary packages for a variety of Linux distributions. See the Binary-Packages wiki for the latest updates on binary releases and for more information.

You can download the packages for the latest feature release build here for all the supported distributions. Please follow the instructions on that link to add rpm/deb repositories for the corresponding OS; grabbing the binary files directly does not give you all dependencies. The package source files are available here.

As an example, for CentOS:

For CentOS 8 run the following as root:

cd /etc/yum.repos.d/
yum install zeek

For CentOS 7 run the following as root:

cd /etc/yum.repos.d/
yum install zeek

Furthermore, you can download the packages for the latest LTS release build here and nightly builds are also available here for all the supported operating systems. Please follow the instructions on the links to add rpm/deb repositories for the corresponding OS; grabbing the binary files directly does not give you all dependencies. The source files for LTS builds are available here and for nightly builds source files are here.

For example, if you prefer to use the most recent LTS release, use yum install zeek-lts, and for the nightly builds use yum install zeek-nightly instead.

The primary install prefix for binary packages is /opt/zeek (depending on which version you’re using).

Installing from Source

Zeek releases are bundled into source packages for convenience and are available on the downloads page. The source code can be manually downloaded from the link in the .tar.gz format to the target system for installation.

If you plan to contribute to Zeek or just want to try out the latest features under development, you should obtain Zeek’s source code through its Git repositories hosted at

git clone --recursive


If you choose to clone the zeek repository non-recursively for a “minimal Zeek experience”, be aware that compiling it depends on several of the other submodules as well, so you’ll likely have to build/install those independently first.

The typical way to build and install from source is (for more options, run ./configure --help):

make install

If the configure script fails, then it is most likely because it either couldn’t find a required dependency or it couldn’t find a sufficiently new version of a dependency. Assuming that you already installed all required dependencies, then you may need to use one of the --with-* options that can be given to the configure script to help it locate a dependency. To find out what all different options ./configure supports, run ./configure --help.

The default installation path is /usr/local/zeek, which would typically require root privileges when doing the make install. A different installation path can be chosen by specifying the configure script --prefix option. Note that /usr, /opt/bro/, and /opt/zeek are the standard prefixes for binary Zeek packages to be installed, so those are typically not good choices unless you are creating such a package.

OpenBSD users, please see our FAQ if you are having problems installing Zeek.

Depending on the Zeek package you downloaded, there may be auxiliary tools and libraries available in the auxil/ directory. Some of them will be automatically built and installed along with Zeek. There are --disable-* options that can be given to the configure script to turn off unwanted auxiliary projects that would otherwise be installed automatically. Finally, use make install-aux to install some of the other programs that are in the auxil/zeek-aux directory.

Finally, if you want to build the Zeek documentation (not required, because all of the documentation for the latest Zeek release is available at, there are instructions in doc/README in the source distribution.

Cross Compiling


You need three things on the host system:

  1. The Zeek source tree.

  2. A cross-compilation toolchain, such as one built via crosstool-NG.

  3. Pre-built Zeek dependencies from the target system. This usually includes libpcap, zlib, OpenSSL, and Python development headers and libraries.

Configuration and Compiling

You first need to compile a few build tools native to the host system for use during the later cross-compile build. In the root of your Zeek source tree:

./configure --builddir=../zeek-buildtools
( cd ../zeek-buildtools && make binpac bifcl )

Next configure Zeek to use your cross-compilation toolchain (this example uses a Raspberry Pi as the target system):

./configure --toolchain=/home/jon/x-tools/RaspberryPi-toolchain.cmake --with-binpac=$(pwd)/../zeek-buildtools/auxil/binpac/src/binpac --with-bifcl=$(pwd)/../zeek-buildtools/src/bifcl

Here, the RaspberryPi-toolchain.cmake file specifies a CMake toolchain. In the toolchain file, you need to point the toolchain and compiler at the cross-compilation toolchain. It might look something the following:

# Operating System on which CMake is targeting.

# The CMAKE_STAGING_PREFIX option may not work.
# Given that Zeek is configured:
#   `./configure --prefix=<dir>`
# The options are:
#   (1) `make install` and then copy over the --prefix dir from host to
#       target system.
#   (2) `DESTDIR=<staging_dir> make install` and then copy over the
#       contents of that staging directory.

set(toolchain /home/jon/x-tools/arm-rpi-linux-gnueabihf)
set(CMAKE_C_COMPILER   ${toolchain}/bin/arm-rpi-linux-gnueabihf-gcc)
set(CMAKE_CXX_COMPILER ${toolchain}/bin/arm-rpi-linux-gnueabihf-g++)

# The cross-compiler/linker will use these paths to locate dependencies.


If that configuration succeeds you are ready to build:


And if that works, install on your host system:

make install

Once installed, you can copy/move the files from the installation prefix on the host system to the target system and start running Zeek as usual.

Configure the Run-Time Environment

You may want to adjust your PATH environment variable according to the platform/shell/package you’re using since neither /usr/local/zeek/bin/ or /opt/zeek/bin/ are in the default PATH. For example:

Bourne-Shell Syntax:

export PATH=/usr/local/zeek/bin:$PATH

C-Shell Syntax:

setenv PATH /usr/local/zeek/bin:$PATH

Or substitute /opt/zeek/bin instead if you installed from a binary package.