Could somebody give some simple steps with configuration example how to setup simple firewall on Ubuntu (using console only)? Only ssh, http and https access should be allowed.

  • Are you talking about a network firewall, or just a system firewall? Apr 30, 2009 at 17:48
  • What do you mean by network firewall? Is it a firewall on router? If yes, then I was talking about system firewall.
    – klew
    Apr 30, 2009 at 19:18

9 Answers 9


sudo ufw default deny

sudo ufw allow http

sudo ufw allow https

sudo ufw allow ssh

sudo ufw enable

  • If I would call this commands in sequence via ssh, will it breake my connection?
    – klew
    Apr 30, 2009 at 12:04
  • I don't believe so, but you should check to make sure. This also holds it's status between restarts, so you should only need to do it once.
    – Nerdfest
    Apr 30, 2009 at 12:07
  • I will check it when I'll be close to this computer...
    – klew
    Apr 30, 2009 at 12:13
  • You could put it into a script and run it and then even if you get disconnected you will be able to reconnect afterwards. See my answer below for the script. Apr 30, 2009 at 13:30
  • 2
    The previous comment is correct. Basically, run the first command in the above script last.
    – Nerdfest
    Apr 30, 2009 at 14:19

Use this script.

Just decide if you want to allow incoming ICMP (ping) or not.

# Clear any existing firewall stuff before we start
iptables --flush
iptables -t nat --flush
iptables -t mangle --flush

# As the default policies, drop all incoming traffic but allow all
# outgoing traffic.  This will allow us to make outgoing connections
# from any port, but will only allow incoming connections on the ports
# specified below.
iptables --policy INPUT DROP
iptables --policy OUTPUT ACCEPT

# Allow all incoming traffic if it is coming from the local loopback device
iptables -A INPUT -i lo -j ACCEPT

# Accept all incoming traffic associated with an established
# connection, or a "related" connection
iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT

# Allow incoming connections
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -i eth0 --dport 22 -m state --state NEW -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -i eth0 --dport 80 -m state --state NEW -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -i eth0 --dport 443 -m state --state NEW -j ACCEPT

# Allow icmp input so that people can ping us
iptables -A INPUT -p icmp -j ACCEPT

# Reject all other incoming packets
iptables -A INPUT -j REJECT

As noted in comments to another answer, you don't want to lose your connection before you allow the ssh port. From the man page:


When running ufw enable or starting ufw via its initscript, ufw will flush its chains. This is required so ufw can maintain a consistent state, but it may drop existing connections (eg ssh). ufw does support adding rules before enabling the firewall, so administrators can do:

ufw allow proto tcp from any to any port 22

before running ’ufw enable’. The rules will still be flushed, but the ssh port will be open after enabling the firewall. Please note that once ufw is ’enabled’, ufw will not flush the chains when adding or removing rules (but will when modifying a rule or changing the default policy)."

So here is an approach that uses a script to set it. You will get logged out when you run this script, but having run it you can then log in again over ssh.

Put the following in a script and call it start-firewall.sh

ufw allow ssh
ufw enable
ufw default deny
ufw allow http
ufw allow https

And then make it executable and run it by doing

$ chmod + x start-firewall.sh
$ sudo ./start-firewall.sh

To learn more, read the man page.


If you familiarize yourself with scripting iptables, you will have full control over all firewall capabilities. It's nowhere near as friendly as Firestarter, but it can be done at the console with nano/vi editors. Check out this tutorial geared towards Ubuntu.


Quicktables helped me to learn iptables rules. Just run the script and it will generate an iptables script for you... then you can open it and view the associated commands generated by the questions it asked of you. It's a great learning resource.

Unfortunately, it is no longer maintained.



I really like using firehol (package).

To create setup rules you like you would need to edit the file /etc/default/firehol and change START_FIREHOL=YES

And you would want to make your /etc/firehol/firehol.conf look like this.

version 5

interface any IfAll
    client any AnyClient accept
    server "ssh http https" accept
    # Accept everything from trusted networks
    server anystateless AllInside accept src ""

One of the great things about firehol is the 'try' command. You can adjust your configuration file and do a 'firehol try', if you where connected via ssh, and something about what you changed killed your network access then firehol will revert the changes. To have the changes actually go into effect, you must say commit.

  • 1
    Firehol is brilliant for manipulating iptables rules. '$ firehol try' "Activates the firewall, but waits until the user types the word commit. If this word is not typed within 30 seconds, the previous firewall is restored."
    – Gareth
    May 9, 2009 at 23:32
  • Sooo you can add/edit/remove rules and then test them. If you're doing this via SSH remotely then it's not going to lock you out of your own server!
    – Gareth
    May 9, 2009 at 23:34

I would prefer Shorewall. It is easy to setup but flexible at the same time.


Maybe you should take a look at http://iptables-tutorial.frozentux.net/iptables-tutorial.html. Also you can find more information on lartc.org


sudo apt-get install firestarter

Then, look in the System->Administration menu.

  • questioner wants to use the console only
    – Mikeage
    Apr 30, 2009 at 11:41
  • Ahh, my mistake. Alternatively. the admin can still ssh -X into the server and run firestarter remotely.
    – spoulson
    Apr 30, 2009 at 11:52
  • 1
    I also would need to install some X server to start ssh -X :).
    – klew
    Apr 30, 2009 at 12:02
  • @klew, you don't need to install a full X server to run X applications over ssh. You do need several libraries, but you don't need everything. For the bare minimum you only need xauth and xbase-clients packages.
    – Zoredache
    Apr 30, 2009 at 18:48

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