Where to find a easy "iptables for dummies" tutorial?

I know NOTHING about it and basically I need to allow only http, ssh and ftp connections...

thank you all


If you are a beginner you shouldn't use iptables directly, as it probably will give you more problems than it solves. Unless you are familiar with a handful of RFC:s, you should use a frontend instead.

I would really recommend you to use ufw if you don't route traffic between different LAN. It's quite easy to use and there are some useful instructions to look up. But if you do need routing, I have found shorewall useful as ufw doesn't support any routing or NAT (yet, it's comming). The good thing with ufw is that it also supports IPv6 besides IPv4, it uses both iptables and ip6tables.

In short, use a frontend and not iptables unless you really know what you do and you know the differences between different ICMP messages.

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This article in the Community Wiki gives a basic rundown of iptables. You can also pull up the man page for it in Terminal with man iptables. Generally, you do not need to use iptables for a standard networking configuration, as each service will open the respective ports required for itself. If you have installed Apache, OpenSSH Server and an FTP server like ProFTP, their ports (80, 22 and 21 respectively) will be open.

At the bottom of the article I linked there are instructions for using graphical tools such as GUFW or Firestarter, which may be useful if you don't have a lot of experience working in the command line.

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  • sorry, i forget to mention that i'm using ubuntu server... – Doc Feb 22 '14 at 22:52
  • @Doc No difference - Server and Desktop use the same implementation of iptables via ufw. If you don't have a GUI on the server, you'll have to use the command line for managing iptables. – douggro Feb 22 '14 at 22:57
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    @Doc Don't problem, you can use Gufw in Remote Mode. You can run Gufw from other computer (with the operating system you want) and all the settings will be apply to your Ubuntu Server :) +info: help.ubuntu.com/community/… – Costales Feb 23 '14 at 8:15

Generally MANuals are the best tutorials for the packages under Linux. However I remember for IPTABLES I also used YouTube videos. I think videos give a better understanding than texts for learning a new concept. Just search IPTABLES in the YouTube and you will see lots of videos. As an example this one which I followed myself.

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