Search Command Options

download PDF
Command options instruct iptables to perform a specific action. Only one command option is allowed per iptables command. With the exception of the help command, all commands are written in upper-case characters.
The iptables commands are as follows:
  • -A — Appends the rule to the end of the specified chain. Unlike the -I option described below, it does not take an integer argument. It always appends the rule to the end of the specified chain.
  • -C — Checks a particular rule before adding it to the user-specified chain. This command can help you construct complex iptables rules by prompting you for additional parameters and options.
  • -D <integer> | <rule> — Deletes a rule in a particular chain by number (such as 5 for the fifth rule in a chain), or by rule specification. The rule specification must exactly match an existing rule.
  • -E — Renames a user-defined chain. A user-defined chain is any chain other than the default, pre-existing chains. (Refer to the -N option, below, for information on creating user-defined chains.) This is a cosmetic change and does not affect the structure of the table.


    If you attempt to rename one of the default chains, the system reports a Match not found error. You cannot rename the default chains.
  • -F — Flushes the selected chain, which effectively deletes every rule in the chain. If no chain is specified, this command flushes every rule from every chain.
  • -h — Provides a list of command structures, as well as a quick summary of command parameters and options.
  • -I [<integer>] — Inserts the rule in the specified chain at a point specified by a user-defined integer argument. If no argument is specified, the rule is inserted at the top of the chain.


    As noted above, the order of rules in a chain determines which rules apply to which packets. This is important to remember when adding rules using either the -A or -I option.
    This is especially important when adding rules using the -I with an integer argument. If you specify an existing number when adding a rule to a chain, iptables adds the new rule before (or above) the existing rule.
  • -L — Lists all of the rules in the chain specified after the command. To list all rules in all chains in the default filter table, do not specify a chain or table. Otherwise, the following syntax should be used to list the rules in a specific chain in a particular table:
    iptables -L <chain-name> -t <table-name>
    Additional options for the -L command option, which provide rule numbers and allow more verbose rule descriptions, are described in Section, “Listing Options”.
  • -N — Creates a new chain with a user-specified name. The chain name must be unique, otherwise an error message is displayed.
  • -P — Sets the default policy for the specified chain, so that when packets traverse an entire chain without matching a rule, they are sent to the specified target, such as ACCEPT or DROP.
  • -R — Replaces a rule in the specified chain. The rule's number must be specified after the chain's name. The first rule in a chain corresponds to rule number one.
  • -X — Deletes a user-specified chain. You cannot delete a built-in chain.
  • -Z — Sets the byte and packet counters in all chains for a table to zero.
Red Hat logoGithubRedditYoutubeTwitter


Try, buy, & sell


About Red Hat Documentation

We help Red Hat users innovate and achieve their goals with our products and services with content they can trust.

Making open source more inclusive

Red Hat is committed to replacing problematic language in our code, documentation, and web properties. For more details, see the Red Hat Blog.

About Red Hat

We deliver hardened solutions that make it easier for enterprises to work across platforms and environments, from the core datacenter to the network edge.

© 2024 Red Hat, Inc.