Display the Natted / Routed Connections on a Linux Iptable Firewall

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Q. I’ve Linux box acting as software router (natted) for over 100 computer connected via LAN. Regular netstat command is not displaying the list of all natted connections. How do I find out connections managed by netfilter / iptables which comes with the Debian 4.x system?

A. You cannot use regular netstat command to display NAT connections managed by iptables. You need to use netstat-nat command. You can also use /proc/net/ip_conntrack or /proc/net/nf_conntrack, which is the temporary conntrack storage of netfilter.


Install netstat-nat

Use apt-get command under Debian / Ubuntu Linux, enter:
$ sudo apt-get install netstat-nat

Source code / RPM file

If you are using Suse / Redhat Linux, grab source code or RPM file here:

How do I use netstat-nat command?

Login as root user and type the following to display list of all natted connections:
# netstat-nat -n
To display NAT connections with protocol selection, enter:
# netstat-nat -np
To display all connection by source IP called
# netstat-nat -s
To display all connections by destination IP/hostname called laptop, enter:
# netstat-nat -s laptop
To display SNAT connections, enter:
# netstat-nat -S
To display DNAT connections, enter:
# netstat-nat -D
To display only connections to NAT box self i.e. doesn’t show SNAT & DNAT, enter:
# netstat-nat -L
To display help, enter:
$ netstat-nat -h
$ man netstat-nat


Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

5 comment

  1. I’ve been using iptstate at home to look at connections, but it’s more like top for network connections through IPTables.

    netstat-nat is a lot more flexible — especially when I have people over who are IMing and surfing all over the place.

    Thanks for the info.

  2. You can use the conntrack command as well (in fedora it is in the conntrack-tools package ).
    It has a nice feature to watch the events in “real-time”…

  3. Just as a side note you may want to make a note that the kernel must have netfilter enabled or loaded as a module

  4. I like tool: iptstate – display realtime connection/nat state, can filter output by IP (src/dst) and port and run in text mode / console.

  5. basura, netstat-nat is outdated crap:

    # netstat-nat
    Could not read info about connections from the kernel, make sure netfilter is enabled in kernel or by modules.
    open(“/proc/net/nf_conntrack”, O_RDONLY) = -1 ENOENT (No such file or directory)

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