I’m just starting my learning of networking. The term “community string” refers to a type of password, Especially when it comes to sending/receiving configuration settings to/from a snmp server, correct?

My question is why is it called “community string” instead of “SNMP password”?

I understand for example why on the cisco iOS there’s “secret” vs “password”. But “community string” gives no clue as to why it’s called that way for me.


  • This is really just historical trivia.
    – Ron Maupin
    Sep 17, 2020 at 17:51

1 Answer 1


Because that's the name that RFC 1157 gave it.

A pairing of an SNMP agent with some arbitrary set of SNMP application entities is called an SNMP community. Each SNMP community is named by a string of octets, that is called the community name for said community.

The people who wrote the SNMP standard are not the same people who wrote Cisco software.

  • Understood- I merely mention the Cisco iOS as an analogy, as in I understand why in that system the two synonymous words had different uses (encrypted vs not) but in snmp I found nothing else that serves the purpose of password. Your answer cleared it up though. Sep 17, 2020 at 16:35

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