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tas50 Release 4.5.0
Signed-off-by: Tim Smith <>
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iptables Cookbook

Build Status Cookbook Version

Installs iptables and provides a custom resource for adding and removing iptables rules



  • Ubuntu/Debian
  • RHEL/CentOS and derivatives
  • Amazon Linux


  • Chef 12.10+


  • none



The default recipe will install iptables and provides a ruby script (installed in /usr/sbin/rebuild-iptables) to manage rebuilding firewall rules from files dropped off in /etc/iptables.d.


The disabled recipe will install iptables, disable the iptables service (on RHEL platforms), and delete the rules directory /etc/iptables.d.


default['iptables']['iptables_sysconfig'] and default['iptables']['ip6tables_sysconfig'] are hashes that are used to template /etc/sysconfig/iptables-config and /etc/sysconfig/ip6tables-config. The keys must be upper case and any key / value pair included will be added to the config file.

default['iptables']['system_ruby'] allows users to override the system ruby path if ruby is installed into a non standard location and Chef has been installed without an embedded ruby (eg. from the Gem).

Custom Resource


The custom resource drops off a template in /etc/iptables.d after the name parameter. The rule will get added to the local system firewall through notifying the rebuild-iptables script. See Examples below.

NOTE: In the 1.0 release of this cookbook the iptables_rule definition was converted to a custom resource. This changes the behavior of disabling iptables rules. Previously a rule could be disabled by specifying enable false. You must now specify action :disable


Add recipe[iptables] to your runlist to ensure iptables is installed / running and to ensure that the rebuild-iptables script is on the system. Then create use iptables_rule to add individual rules. See Examples.

Since certain chains can be used with multiple tables (e.g., PREROUTING), you might have to include the name of the table explicitly (i.e., *nat, *mangle, etc.), so that the /usr/sbin/rebuild-iptables script can infer how to assemble final ruleset file that is going to be loaded. Please note, that unless specified otherwise, rules will be added under the filter table by default.


To enable port 80, e.g. in an my_httpd cookbook, create the following template:

# Port 80 for http
-A FWR -p tcp -m tcp --dport 80 -j ACCEPT

This template would be located at: my_httpd/templates/default/http.erb. Then within your recipe call:

iptables_rule 'http' do
  action :enable

To redirect port 80 to local port 8080, e.g., in the aforementioned my_httpd cookbook, create the following template:

# Redirect anything on eth0 coming to port 80 to local port 8080
-A PREROUTING -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 80 -j REDIRECT --to-port 8080

Please note, that we explicitly add name of the table (being *nat in this example above) where the rules should be added.

This would most likely go in the cookbook, my_httpd/templates/default/http_8080.erb. Then to use it in recipe[httpd]:

iptables_rule 'http_8080' do
  action :enable

To create a rule without using a template resource use the lines property (you can optionally specify table when using lines):

iptables_rule 'http_8080' do
  lines '-A PREROUTING -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 80 -j REDIRECT --to-port 8080'
  table :nat

Additionally, a rule can be marked as sensitive so it's contents does not get output to the the console or logged with the sensitive property set to true. The mode of the generated rule file can be set with the filemode property:

iptables_rule 'http_8080' do
  lines '-A PREROUTING -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 80 -j REDIRECT --to-port 8080'
  table :nat
  sensitive true
iptables_rule 'http_8080' do
  lines '-A PREROUTING -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 80 -j REDIRECT --to-port 8080'
  table :nat
  sensitive true
  filemode '0600'

To get attribute-driven rules you can (for example) feed a hash of attributes into named iptables.d files like this:

node.default['iptables']['rules']['http_80'] = '-A FWR -p tcp -m tcp --dport 80 -j ACCEPT'
node.default['iptables']['rules']['http_443'] = [
  '# an example with multiple lines',
  '-A FWR -p tcp -m tcp --dport 443 -j ACCEPT',

node['iptables']['rules'].map do |rule_name, rule_body|
  iptables_rule rule_name do
    lines [ rule_body ].flatten.join("\n")

IPv6 supports

The iptables_rule6 provides IPv6 support with the same behavior as the original iptable_rule.

A /usr/sbin/rebuild-ip6tables script perform iptables configuration and the IPv6 rules are stored in /etc/ip6tables.d

License & Authors

Author: Cookbook Engineering Team (

Copyright: 2008-2018, Chef Software, Inc.

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
limitations under the License.