Podman containers can't be connected when iptables default policy for FORWARD chain is set to DROP

Solution Verified - Updated -


  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8
  • podman
  • iptables-legacy


  • Network connections to containers are dropped and thus cannot be reached.
  • The general iptables policy for the FORWARD chain of the filter table is set to DROP.


  • As the first step, implement the following by adding described rules to your runtime configuration, with:

    # iptables -I CNI-FORWARD 1 -o cni-podman0 -m conntrack --ctstate RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
    # iptables -I CNI-FORWARD 2 -o cni-podman0 -j ACCEPT
    # iptables -I CNI-FORWARD 3 -i cni-podman0 ! -o cni-podman0 -j ACCEPT
    # iptables -I CNI-FORWARD 4 -i cni-podman0 -o cni-podman0 -j ACCEPT
  • Test if containers can now be reached.

  • Make the change permanent by editing the /etc/sysconfig/iptables file. Add the following to the filter table between its starting definition, i.e. *filter, and before its COMMITpart.

    :CNI-FORWARD - [0:0]
    -A CNI-FORWARD  -o cni-podman0 -m conntrack --ctstate RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
    -A CNI-FORWARD  -o cni-podman0 -j ACCEPT
    -A CNI-FORWARD -i cni-podman0 ! -o cni-podman0 -j ACCEPT
    -A CNI-FORWARD -i cni-podman0 -o cni-podman0 -j ACCEPT

Root Cause

  • The default iptables filter table FORWARD chain policy Red Hat ships is set to ACCEPT, which allows access to containers. Thus, this is a custom configuration implemented by system administration.

  • With this configuration, access to containers must be granted in iptables by deploying custom forwarding rules, when the default FORWARD policy has been set to anything else than ACCEPT.

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