About python-iptables

Iptables is the tool that is used to manage netfilter, the standard packet filtering and manipulation framework under Linux. As the iptables manpage puts it:

Iptables is used to set up, maintain, and inspect the tables of IPv4 packet filter rules in the Linux kernel. Several different tables may be defined.

Each table contains a number of built-in chains and may also contain user- defined chains.

Each chain is a list of rules which can match a set of packets. Each rule specifies what to do with a packet that matches. This is called a target, which may be a jump to a user-defined chain in the same table.

Python-iptables provides a pythonesque wrapper via python bindings to iptables under Linux. Interoperability with iptables is achieved via using the iptables C libraries (libiptc, libxtables, and the iptables extensions), not calling the iptables binary and parsing its output. It is meant primarily for dynamic and/or complex routers and firewalls, where rules are often updated or changed, or Python programs wish to interface with the Linux iptables framework..

If you are looking for ebtables python bindings, check out python-ebtables.

Python-iptables supports Python 2.6, 2.7 and 3.4.

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Installing via pip

The usual way:

pip install --upgrade python-iptables

Compiling from source

First make sure you have iptables installed (most Linux distributions install it by default). Python-iptables needs the shared libraries and coming with iptables, they are installed in /lib on Ubuntu.

You can compile python-iptables in the usual distutils way:

% cd python-iptables
% python build

If you like, python-iptables can also be installed into a virtualenv:

% mkvirtualenv python-iptables
% python install

If you install python-iptables as a system package, make sure the directory where distutils installs shared libraries is in the dynamic linker’s search path (it’s in /etc/ or in one of the files in the folder /etc/ Under Ubuntu distutils by default installs into /usr/local/lib.

Now you can run the tests:

% sudo PATH=$PATH python test
WARNING: this test will manipulate iptables rules.
Don't do this on a production machine.
Would you like to continue? y/n y

The PATH=$PATH part is necessary after sudo if you have installed into a virtualenv, since sudo will reset your environment to a system setting otherwise..

Once everything is in place you can fire up python to check whether the package can be imported:

% sudo PATH=$PATH python
>>> import iptc

Of course you need to be root to be able to use iptables.

Using a custom iptables install

If you are stuck on a system with an old version of iptables, you can install a more up to date version to a custom location, and ask python-iptables to use libraries at that location.

To install iptables to /tmp/iptables:

% git clone git:// && cd iptables
% ./
% ./configure --prefix=/tmp/iptables
% make
% make install

Make sure the dependencies iptables needs are installed.

Now you can point python-iptables to this install path via:

% sudo PATH=$PATH IPTABLES_LIBDIR=/tmp/iptables/lib XTABLES_LIBDIR=/tmp/iptables/lib/xtables python
>>> import iptc

What is supported

The basic iptables framework and all the match/target extensions are supported by python-iptables, including IPv4 and IPv6 ones. All IPv4 and IPv6 tables are supported as well.

Full documentation with API reference is available here.