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If you have a server on your internal network that you want make available externally, you can use the
-j DNATtarget of the PREROUTING chain in NAT to specify a destination IP address and port where incoming packets requesting a connection to your internal service can be forwarded.
For example, if you want to forward incoming HTTP requests to your dedicated Apache HTTP Server at 172.31.0.23, use the following command:
iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 80 -j DNAT --to 172.31.0.23:80
This rule specifies that the nat table use the built-in PREROUTING chain to forward incoming HTTP requests exclusively to the listed destination IP address of 172.31.0.23.
If you have a default policy of DROP in your FORWARD chain, you must append a rule to forward all incoming HTTP requests so that destination NAT routing is possible. To do this, use the following command:
iptables -A FORWARD -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 80 -d 172.31.0.23 -j ACCEPT
This rule forwards all incoming HTTP requests from the firewall to the intended destination; the Apache HTTP Server behind the firewall.