Allow WHM/cPanel ssh logins from specific IP addresses using iptables

For some reason the hosts.allow and hosts.deny files don’t seem to work on cPanel.  One of the alternative methods to limit ssh logins to specific addresses is to use iptables.

Allow access from specific IP addresses. 

Replace and with your addresses.  You can add more addresses using the “,”.  Also if your ssh port is not the default port, be sure to change it.

iptables -A INPUT -s, -p tcp --dport 22 -j ACCEPT

Reject access from everywhere else

iptables -A INPUT -s -p tcp --dport 22 -j REJECT

You can see your rules with

 iptables -L --line-numbers

If you need to add another rule after the fact, you’ll need to make sure that it is above the REJECT rule. you can use the “-I” to insert it between rules.

Example: inserts rule as the second rule in the INPUT chain

iptables -I INPUT 2 -s -p tcp --dport 22 -j ACCEPT

Add, List, and Delete iptable rules

Add iptable rule

The following rule rejects access to port 22 on all devices except ones on the network.  Note the “!”.  This command can be useful for a WHM/cPanel server to limit ssh access.

iptables -A INPUT ! -s -p tcp --dport 22 -j REJECT

List iptable rules with line numbers

iptables -L --line-numbers

Example output

root@localhost [~]# iptables -L --line-numbers
Chain INPUT (policy ACCEPT)Chain OUTPUT (policy ACCEPT)
num target prot opt source destination
1 REJECT tcp -- ! anywhere tcp dpt:ssh reject-with icmp-port-unreachable

Chain FORWARD (policy ACCEPT)
num target prot opt source destination

Chain OUTPUT (policy ACCEPT)
num target prot opt source destination
1 ACCEPT tcp -- anywhere anywhere multiport dports smtp,urd,submission owner GID match mailman
2 cpanel-dovecot-solr all -- anywhere anywhere

Chain cpanel-dovecot-solr (1 references)
num target prot opt source destination
1 ACCEPT tcp -- anywhere anywhere multiport sports 8984,7984 owner UID match cpanelsolr

Remove iptable rule

To delete a rule use the -D option with the Chain and the line number.  So to delete the first rule in the example output above, we would specify the INPUT chain and the the line number 1

 iptables -D INPUT 1


How to Open a Port on Redhat, CentOS or Fedora Linux

By default iptables firewall stores its configuration at /etc/sysconfig/iptables file. You need to edit this file and add rules to open port number.

Open port 80

To open a different port just enter the port number.

Open flle /etc/sysconfig/iptables:

# vi /etc/sysconfig/iptables

Append rule as follows:

A RH-Firewall-1-INPUT -m state --state NEW -m tcp -p tcp --dport 80 -j ACCEPT

Save and close the file.  Restart iptables:

# /etc/init.d/iptables restart


#service iptables restart


Verify that port is open

Run the following command:

netstat -tulpn | less

Make sure iptables is allowing the port you enabled:

iptables -L -n

If you need more info you can refer to the man page:

man iptables