Is this a good start for iptables on a web server?

Posted on 2011-09-13
Last Modified: 2012-08-13
Hello everyone,

For the past two days I've been looking into how to set up iptables for a linux machine that acts as a web server, processes email, and also needs FTP and SSH access. I'm wondering if what I have put together to set iptables is enough, and/or, going to impede the server's functions at all. It's a basic LAMP setup. I'm also wondering if the order of the rules is basically correct.

I think it's close, but my main concerns are PHP, MySQL, email and FTP running. Do PHP and MySQL communicate on the localhost level, or do other ports (3306) need to be added? Is there anything I've overlooked that should also be added?
Is sendmail in the INPUT necessary? (I couldn't figure that one out)

Putting together and editing from several resources online, this is what I've come up with:

# iptables example configuration script
# Flush all current rules from iptables
 iptables -F
# Allow SSH connections on tcp port 22
# This is essential when working on remote servers via SSH to prevent locking yourself out of the system
 iptables -A INPUT -s -p tcp --dport 22 -j ACCEPT
 iptables -A INPUT -s -p tcp --dport 22 -j ACCEPT
# Set default policies for INPUT, FORWARD and OUTPUT chains
 iptables -P INPUT DROP
 iptables -P FORWARD DROP
 iptables -P OUTPUT ACCEPT
# Set access for localhost
 iptables -A INPUT -i lo -j ACCEPT
# Accept packets belonging to established and related connections
 iptables -A INPUT -m state --state ESTABLISHED,RELATED -j ACCEPT
 iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 20:21 -j ACCEPT
# HTTP/Apache
 iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 80 -j ACCEPT
# SSL/Apache
 iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 443 -j ACCEPT
# POP3
 iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 110 -j ACCEPT
# Sendmail
 iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 25 -j ACCEPT
# DirectAdmin
 iptables -A INPUT -s -p tcp --dport 2222 -j ACCEPT
 iptables -A INPUT -s -p tcp --dport 2222 -j ACCEPT
# ICMP/Ping:
 iptables -A INPUT -p icmp -j ACCEPT
 iptables -A INPUT -j REJECT
 iptables -A FORWARD -j REJECT
# Save settings
 /sbin/service iptables save
# List rules
 iptables -L -v

Open in new window

Any assistance is greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time.
Question by:mvtimes
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions

Accepted Solution

RizyDeWino earned 500 total points
ID: 36532429
The settings look fine in general and you do need to have 25 port open if its running mail server as users will be connecting to this port to send email from their end, and also for server sending mail out the outbound port need to be opened as well. For ftp you will probably need to add a passive ports range to firewall and ftp configuration depending on your setup.
For MySQL if you would be allowing remote MySQL connections for your clients, then you will need to have 3306 opened for it as well.

But before checking iptables rules in more depth, I would like to ask that have you considered using CSF firewall instead ?  ,

Its best firewall for cPanel or DirectAdmin servers/vps in my opinion. Gives you lot of options/features, GUI management and makes overall firewall maintenance lot easier for you. So before you go a head with direct iptables rules management route, do check csf firewall, with all its cool features the additional advantage is that its free.

Author Comment

ID: 36533030
I was just looking to use what was already there. I'm admining this machine remotely, and I'm not that versed in linux so, using what I already had seemed to be the easier/quicker way.

We have DirectAdmin control panel, so regarding CSF, it seems that running the install as laid out here, would be all that I'd have to do, correct?

Expert Comment

ID: 36533102
Yes that is correct , it will have all required port configurations added by default at end of installation steps given in this URL , you can further manage it from directadmin gui when required.
U.S. Department of Agriculture and Acronis Access

With the new era of mobile computing, smartphones and tablets, wireless communications and cloud services, the USDA sought to take advantage of a mobilized workforce and the blurring lines between personal and corporate computing resources.


Expert Comment

ID: 36533419
If iptables is a trouble for you try this:

Expert Comment

ID: 36534838
1. MySQL can work with pipe files, no 3306 needed, however, you can change the listening IP to to prevent problem.
2. try change ssh and ftp to other port numbers if possible
3. change PermitRootLogin to no in /etc/ssh/sshd_config and use sudo all the time.
4. Firewall is not actually important, use netstat -lpn to see how many listening ports that you are not using and shutdown the service using chkconfig or update-rc
5. route your syslog to another machine if possible

Author Closing Comment

ID: 36546674
Thank you. Even though I think I had the iptables rules correct, CSF made getting the firewall configured much easier, and LFD is helpful to have too.

Featured Post

Back Up Your Microsoft Windows Server®

Back up all your Microsoft Windows Server – on-premises, in remote locations, in private and hybrid clouds. Your entire Windows Server will be backed up in one easy step with patented, block-level disk imaging. We achieve RTOs (recovery time objectives) as low as 15 seconds.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

This is a guide to setting up a new WHM/cPanel Server to be used for web hosting accounts. It is intended for web hosting company administrators and dedicated server owners. For under $99 per month (considering normal rate of Big Data Cetnters like …
When it comes to showing a 404 error page to your visitors, you do not want that generic page to show, and you especially do not want your hosting provider’s ad error page to show either. In this article, I will show you how to enable the custom 40…
There are cases when e.g. an IT administrator wants to have full access and view into selected mailboxes on Exchange server, directly from his own email account in Outlook or Outlook Web Access. This proves useful when for example administrator want…
Michael from AdRem Software explains how to view the most utilized and worst performing nodes in your network, by accessing the Top Charts view in NetCrunch network monitor ( Top Charts is a view in which you can set seve…

729 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question