Firewall (iptables) rules for Zimbra in CentOS

In my previous posts I have documented how to set up a Raid-5 CentOS system, test that RAID’s reliability, and install Zimbra on said system.

In this post I will go over strengthening the security for your system by editing the default port for SSH access and configuring iptables to only accept traffic on ports required by Zimbra, only from certain IP addresses.

1) To change your SSH server port, edit the following line in /etc/ssh/sshd_config

You can change the number to whichever you prefer (I changed mine to 130). In many cases, this will cut down on outside brute force attacks by as much as 99%.

However, one of Zimbra’s services uses the SSH port for access, so if you do change it, you have to also follow the procedure in step 2 to prevent Zimbra from giving you errors when you try to access some details in Administration Console.

2) From:

1. Check /etc/ssh/sshd_config and be sure it’s set to 130 (or the port you’re using)

2. stop/start/restart sshd


3. su zimbra

4. Be sure zimbra’s ssh port is set to 130 (or the port you’re using), and change “” in the following code to your full hostname.


5. Generate new ssh keys


6. Deploy the keys


To test this, you can check the admin console mail queues area/servers/certificates. If you don’t get any errors, then the port has been changed successfully.

3) Unfortunately, I was too lazy to figure out how iptables works, but you can read about it here:

So basically what I did was take an existing line for allowing access to a port in my iptables file (/etc/sysconfig/iptables):

Then, if you want to limit access to that port (the web server port in this case, which lets you access Zimbra’s web mail client) to a specific network, like my school network, you append –s and the network range like so:

and copy/paste it a whole bunch of times for each port you want to have open for incoming traffic. In nano you can do this by pressing ctrl+k and then ctrl+u a bunch of times, on any line you want to paste.

You can see which ports Zimbra uses here:

It seems to work correctly with just the external access ports enabled in iptables. I’m guessing that’s because all the internal ports are open due to the following line in iptables:

I believe it means that all incoming traffic from the system itself (localhost) is accepted.

Don’t forget to add a rule for the reconfigured SSH port as well, if you happened to change it.

Also, if you want to be able to receive email from anywhere, make sure you don’t add the –s parameter to port 25.

Here’s how my iptables looks after I edited it for Zimbra and SSH access:

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2 Responses to Firewall (iptables) rules for Zimbra in CentOS

  1. Pingback: Install and Setup Zimbra in CentOS « Roman

  2. hibble says:

    Zimbra supports port 587 (authenticated SMTP) which should be included in iptables for users who have port 25 blocked.

    e.g most home ISP’s block port 25 for new customers in the UK to cut down on spam.

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