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Ubuntu Linux Save / Restore Iptables Rules

I want to make changes to an iptables configuration. How to do I Save and Restore an iptables Configuration in Ubuntu Linux server?

If you want to make changes to an iptables configuration, it is always good idea to save the current configuration by typing the following commands:
$ sudo -s
$ iptables-save > /root/working.iptables.rules

Now, you can make any changes using command line.

To restore it use the command iptables-restore, enter:
# iptables-restore < /root/working.iptables.rules

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Michael June 24, 2009, 2:40 pm

    Thanks for the tip!
    Not only useful for Ubuntu users!

  • Mike June 24, 2009, 3:23 pm


    Here’s another little tip. If you add a shebang line to the top of the saved iptables file like “#!/usr/bin/env iptables-restore” and make it executable (chmod +x) you can then just execute the saved firewall rules like so ./my-firewall

    • nixCraft June 24, 2009, 3:45 pm

      @Mike, Excellent tip. I never thought about it.

      @Michael, yes it works on all Linux distro.

      Appropriate your posts!

  • Joost June 26, 2009, 4:08 pm

    Be carefull if you change your iptables file remotely (via ssh). A mistake might lock you out.
    In that case it is safer to use iptables-apply. It changes the iptables, but gives you a prompt to confirm the change. If the change locked you out, it will revert to the previous ruleset.
    So change the /root/working.iptables.rules file, and use:

    iptables-apply -t 15 /root/working.iptables.rules

    You have 15 seconds to accept the change.
    Only works on newer versions of iptables (Ubuntu jaunty in my case).

  • budacsik July 1, 2009, 10:14 am

    iptables auto on/off

    Run in terminal the next command:
    sudo iptables-save > /etc/iptables.rules

    2.) Edit /etc/network/interfaces file and add this two line to interface configuration:
    pre-up iptables-restore /etc/iptables.rules

    To sum:

    auto eth1
    iface eth1 inet static
    pre-up iptables-restore /etc/iptables.rules

    3.) Save and test (reboot)

  • badwolf July 10, 2009, 12:27 pm

    One other way of safeguarding yourself when you modify iptables via ssh is (before you start fiddling around ;-) )to set a cron job to reset the firewall rules every say 15 minutes. That way you only have to wait at most 15 minutes to get back into your machine. Don’t forget to disable the cron job when you are finished. This presumes that you have root/sudo access to be able to set the cron and run iptables-restore as super user.
    Thanks for the info.

  • Salvador January 29, 2010, 12:17 am


    You made a little mistake in the line:
    pre-up iptables-restore /etc/iptables.rules

    it must be:
    pre-up iptables-restore < /etc/iptables.rules

  • budacsik January 29, 2010, 7:29 am

    You are right! Sorry for mistake.

    (I’m sorry, but I can’t edit it.)

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