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Linux Firewall and Router with NAT

This example is assuming that you are running a Debain or Ubuntu based system. RHEL or other distros should be somewhat similar. You are going to want to have the following before actually setting up a router:

In this example we are actually going to show you how you might setup a system with three NICs. This would allow routing two separate local/private networks out to the internet. If you only have one local/private network you could exclude one of these nics from the commands and config snippets.

Potentially useful commands:

ip link show
ip a
ip route

DNS and DHCP - We have two separate guides showing how to setup DNS and DHCP here:

Kernel Forwarding

Immediately enable forwarding in the kernel:

echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward

Configure the change persistently:

vi /etc/sysctl.conf
net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1

Apply change:

sysctl -p


sysctl net.ipv4.ip_forward

IPTables Forwarding

Forward traffic between two local interfaces and one WAN interface:

iptables -A FORWARD -i enp0s8 -o enp0s3 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A FORWARD -i enp0s9 -o enp0s3 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A FORWARD -i  enp0s3 -o enp0s8 -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
iptables -A FORWARD -i  enp0s3 -o enp0s9 -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT

IPTables Masquerading

iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o enp0s3 -j MASQUERADE

Exposing Ports

You can expose specific ports. This will make them reachable from outside your local/privage network. Any connection from the outside to the routers public IP will be forwarded to the specified private IP on the internal network. Any associated traffic for that same connection will be forwarded back.

iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -p tcp --dport 8001 -j DNAT --to-destination
iptables -A FORWARD -p tcp -d --dport 8080 -m state --state NEW,ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT

Blocking Outgoing Ports

You might also decide to block outgoing connections on all ports by default. You could allow outgoing connections only for ports that you specifically list as OK (ex. web / DNS ).

Persistence - Save IPTables Rules

Install this tool and run it to save the changes that you have made to IPTables:

apt update -y
apt install iptables-persistent
iptables-save > /etc/iptables/rules.v4

Static IPs on Interfaces

You can also find our other guide here:

Note that /etc/network/interfaces is no longer used.

You can setup static interfaces like this:

vi /etc/netplan/00-installer-config.yaml
network: version: 2 renderer: networkd ethernets: enp0s3: dhcp4: no addresses: [] gateway4: nameservers: addresses: - - enp0s8: dhcp4: no addresses: [] enp0s9: dhcp4: no addresses: []