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I'm running a DigitalOcean Centos 6 VPS. Here's the script I used to set up iptables on Centos 6.4 64-bit:

service iptables stop
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --tcp-flags ALL NONE -j DROP
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp ! --syn -m state --state NEW -j DROP
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --tcp-flags ALL ALL -j DROP
iptables -A INPUT -i lo -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 80 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 443 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 22 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A PREROUTING -t nat -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 80 -j REDIRECT --to-port 8080
iptables -A PREROUTING -t nat -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 443 -j REDIRECT --to-port 8181
iptables -I INPUT -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT
iptables -P INPUT DROP
iptables-save > /etc/sysconfig/iptables
service iptables restart

I opens ports 22, 80 and 443 only, redirecting 80 and 443 internally to 8080 and 8181 respectively.

Due to a bug/quirk in GlassFish, I had to add the machine's hostname to /etc/hosts: localhost example.com

Without the NAT rules in the iptables configuration, I am able to reach the GlassFish server via my browser at home when attempting to connect either via port 8080 or 8181. With the NAT rules added, I cannot reach the server at all, neither via 80 and 443 nor via 8080 and 8181.

Do I need to make a change to any of the iptables rules to factor in that extra line in /etc/hosts?


If I remove the last rule, iptables -P INPUT DROP, I can now access the server via a browser using ports 80/443 and 8080/8181. This indicate the forwarding is working.

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1 Answer

The short answer is NO, No you don't.

The longer answer is that /etc/hosts is there to assist the networking stack resolver. The resolver is the part of the IP stack (TCP/IP v4 and v6) that is responsible for converting friendly names, such as mybigserver, to an IP address, such as

In your post you are showing us a script and the script is running IPTable commands.

The script is using the PREROUTING chain to do NAT but you state in your question that you are unable to reach "GlassFish" server via the browser.....

  1. What browser? Browser on the same Linux host or a browser on another computer connected to the same switch as ETH0?

If the answer to #1 is another host connected to the same switch as your Linux ETH0, then the problem is you need to change your NAT rules to use the POSTROUTING chain. The reason being you want to NAT the outbound connection. What you have setup is PAT (Port Address Translation).

If this is your setup [Your Browser]------[network switch]-----[ETH0 Linux ETH1]-----{Public Internet]

Then replace these lines

iptables -A PREROUTING -t nat -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 80 -j REDIRECT --to-port 8080
iptables -A PREROUTING -t nat -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 443 -j REDIRECT --to-port 8181


iptables -A POSTROUTING -t nat -o eth1 

If this resolves your issue, then you can fine tune that POSTROUTING rule to use a range of ports and/or a specific ETH1 IP if it's multi-homed.

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GlassFish is running in a data center (digitalocean.com). My browser is running on my home Internet connection. I will clarify that in the question. –  Steve Taylor Jun 5 '13 at 14:32
Question edited. Hope it clarifies. –  Steve Taylor Jun 5 '13 at 14:35
oh-I-C: You want to connect TO this server. This VPS box is listening on an IP address bound to ETH0 and port 80 & 443 which you are PATing the connection. Why do you need PAT if, presumably, the ETH0 is public facing? If you're looking to limit port exposure, you should just stick with iptables -t filter rules and just get rid of the PREROUTING stuff. IPTABLES -A INPUT is changing the filter table. –  Kilo Jun 5 '13 at 14:44
I don't want to run GlassFish as root if I can avoid it. Regular users can't listen on ports < 1024. –  Steve Taylor Jun 5 '13 at 14:53
@Steve: Not familiar with GlassFish; but can't you change the port GlassFish listens on from 80 & 443 to 8080 and 8181 somewhere? –  Kilo Jun 5 '13 at 17:21
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