I have UFW, OpenVPN and Virtualbox installed on my home server. I have a host-only network for my virtual machine guests (vboxnet0) set up with the IP range, and another IP range of configured on the other end of the OpenVPN connection.

IP Forwarding is configured on the host, so when UFW is disabled they can talk to each other without any issues. However, I'd like to run UFW as this host will be web-accessible and I'd like some access control.

How can I configure UFW to allow this sort of traffic?

I've tried various combinations of: ufw allow allow in|out on vboxnet0|tun0 with no success.

My UFW rules are:

root@gimli:~# ufw status
Status: active

To                         Action      From
--                         ------      ----
22                         ALLOW       Anywhere
Anywhere                   ALLOW
Anywhere on vboxnet0       ALLOW       Anywhere
Anywhere on tun0           ALLOW       Anywhere

Anywhere                   ALLOW OUT   Anywhere on vboxnet0
Anywhere                   ALLOW OUT   Anywhere on tun0

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


It's now possible - from ufw man page:

Rules for traffic not destined for the host itself but instead for traffic that should be routed/forwarded through the firewall should specify the route keyword before the rule (routing rules differ signifi‐ cantly from PF syntax and instead take into account netfilter FORWARD chain conventions). For example:

     ufw route allow in on eth1 out on eth2

This will allow all traffic routed to eth2 and coming in on eth1 to traverse the firewall.

     ufw route allow in on eth0 out on eth1 to port 80 proto tcp

This rule allows any packets coming in on eth0 to traverse the firewall out on eth1 to tcp port 80 on

In addition to routing rules and policy, you must also setup IP forwarding. This may be done by setting the following in /etc/ufw/sysctl.conf:


then restarting the firewall:

     ufw disable
     ufw enable

Be aware that setting kernel tunables is operating system specific and ufw sysctl settings may be overridden. See the sysctl manual page for details.

  • 2
    For those of us wanting to allow tcp traffic between OpenVPN clients on an OpenVPN server, this works. For example: ufw route allow in on tun0 out on tun0 – logion Jul 11 '19 at 20:54
  • For the record ufw route is present since version 0.34 – Joril Dec 2 '19 at 20:34
  • 3
    This should be the newly accepted answer – creekorful Mar 26 '20 at 8:01
  • Does this enable all IP forwarding (and thus bypassing all these steps: ducea.com/2006/08/01/how-to-enable-ip-forwarding-in-linux), or does it simply enable ufw to be IP-forwarding friendly... or something else? – Johnny Utahh May 14 '20 at 1:49

I figured it out.

Edit /etc/default/ufw and set DEFAULT_FORWARD_POLICY to ACCEPT:

  • 14
    Is there any way of allowing only it to forward specific ports, not setting it to ACCEPT everything? – Marcus Downing Jul 24 '13 at 15:11
  • 1
    I guess you need to restart ufw after editing the file: service ufw restart – Minh Danh Aug 13 '17 at 7:51
  • Changing default policy can be done from CLI with sudo ufw default allow routed – RomanK Dec 9 '20 at 14:59

if you set the DEFAULT_FORWARD_POLICY to ACCEPT in /etc/default/ufw the firewall will forward all packets regardless of the settings of the user interface.

I think the user interface is only meant for simple in/out filtering. For forwarding you need to add iptables rules in /etc/ufw/before.rules like here:

-A ufw-before-forward -i eth1 -p tcp -d --dport 22 -j ACCEPT

You probably already have a rule that lets connections from inside out and another that lets packets from related and established tcp sessions back in.

I'm no iptables specialist, it took me a very long time to figure this out (with ip6tables, but it should be similar). Maybe this is not all it takes in your case.

Best greetings


This ufw command worked for me nicely: sudo ufw default allow FORWARD

To be sure the change is applied: sudo service ufw restart

  • This gives an "Invalid syntax" error. Docs say "DIRECTION is one of incoming, outgoing or routed". – ColinM Jun 6 '18 at 15:50
  • @ColinM this worked for me on Xubuntu 16.04.5 LTS – baptx Aug 7 '18 at 10:37
  • FORWARD works like alias for routed on Ubuntu – patricktokeeffe Feb 7 '19 at 21:56

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