ConfigServer firewall is a popular Linux firewall security suite. It is easy to install, flexible to configure and secure with extra checks.
CSF is generally considered a more advanced firewall as there are more configuration options compared to other firewalls, while still being simple enough to install and configure that even novice administrators can use it. Some of the MANY functions of CSF are given below:-
- Daemon process that checks for login authentication failures for:
- Courier imap, Dovecot, uw-imap, Kerio
- cPanel, WHM, Webmail (cPanel servers only)
- Pure-ftpd, vsftpd, Proftpd
- Password protected web pages (htpasswd)
- Mod_security failures (v1 and v2)
- Suhosin failures
- Exim SMTP AUTH
- Custom login failures with separate log file and regular expression matching
- SSH login notification
- SU login notification
- SYN Flood protection
- Ping of death protection
- Port Scan tracking and blocking
- IPv6 Support with ip6tables
- …lots more!
Removing Your Current Firewall
To prevent any conflicts in operation we will need to remove your current firewall. The most common software firewalls on our dedicated servers are APF and CSF, so we have provided instructions on how to remove APF below. If you are using a different software firewall be sure to follow that programs uninstall directions before continuing. After completing the uninstall continue with the CSF installation below.
Using Yum to Remove APF
If it was installed via yum, which is most likely, you will first need to identify the name of your APF package:
rpm -qa |grep -i apf
In this case:
[root@host ~]# rpm -qa | grep apf
In order to remove that package, and get your server ready for CSF installation, run the following command:
[root@host ~]# rpm -e apf-9.6_5-1
If you see this:
[root@host ~ ]# rpm -e apf-9.6_5-1
error: Failed dependencies:
apf >= 9.6_5-1 is needed by (installed) bfd-1.2-1.noarch
It means you have BFD installed, and it will need to be removed before you can proceed to removing APF:
[root@host ~ ]# rpm -e bfd-1.2-1.noarch
Then attempt to remove apf again:
[root@host ~ ]# rpm -e apf-9.6_5-1
Any further dependency errors can be handled in the same way as long as you are aware of what you are removing. If you have any questions or get stuck at any point feel free to contact me here.
Removing Source Installed APF
This can be a bit trickier, and if you are not sure what you’re doing you may want to contact me . If you are confident and wish to proceed you will find a list of commands below that you can use to remove APF if it is installed in the most common CentOS directories.
Stopping APF and iptables clears all of the rules from your firewall and ensures that removing the APF installation won’t cause access problems:
[root@host ~ ]# /etc/init.d/iptables stop
[root@host ~ ]# /etc/init.d/apf stop
Remove all of the APF related files:
[root@host ~ ]# rm -Rfv /etc/apf
[root@host ~ ]# rm -fv /etc/cron.daily/fw
[root@host ~ ]# rm -fv /etc/init.d/apf
Remove APF from the list of programs that start at boot:
[root@host ~ ]# chkconfig apf off
So, login to your server via ssh and let’s start CSF installation by retrieving the package files using wget command:
# wget http://configserver.com/free/csf.tgz
Unpack the archive:
# tar xfvz csf.tgz
Navigate to the uncomperssed csf directory:
# cd csf
Check CSF will work on your server
CSF provides a test script. We can check whether CSF works with your Server or not prior to installing it.
RESULT: csf should function on this server
If you get this output, you can proceed to installation. Otherwise you need to enable each missing modules and then install csf.
Run the installer:
Now there founr installation scripts
install.cpanel.sh For cPanel
csf installation for cPanel and DirectAdmin is preconfigured to work on those servers with all the standard ports open.. So install as per your requirement.
csf auto-configures your SSH port on installation where it’s running on a non-standard port. CSF also auto-whitelists your connected IP address where possible on installation.
By default CSF is in Test mode. So you need to disable the test mode once you configured the firewall correctly. Then only the lfd daemon starts.
“/etc/csf/csf.conf” is the main CSF configuration file.
TCP_IN/TCP_OUT/UDP_IN/UDP_OUT = : These are the ports you want to leave open for your server to operate. If you change the default SSH port make sure to add it here. Also add any other services you might have running such as Shoutcast or game servers. All the ports not mentioed here will be blocked.
LF_DSHIELD = 0: Change this option to 86400. This is an automatic updated list of known attacking IPs. Enabling this will stop them from being able to connect to your server.
Spam Protection Alerts
If you want to add some spam protection, CSF can help. Look in the configuration for the following:
LF_SCRIPT_ALERT = 0 change this to 1. This will send an email alert to the system administrator when the limit configured below is reached within an hour.
LF_SCRIPT_LIMIT = 100 change this to 250. This will alert you when any scripts sends out 250 email messages in an hour.
Providing all the configuration options for CSF here is beyond the scope of the article. Please refer to this README from csf for more details
If you have installed CSF on cPanel/WHM, it also installs WHM plugin to manage CSF. You can access it from
WHM >> Home >> Plugins >> CnfigServer Firewall
Now TEST all your services to make sure everything is working – SSH, FTP, http. After you do a few quick tests go back into the Firewall Configuration page.
TESTING = 1 change this to 0 and click Change at the bottom. Then Restart csf+lfd using below commands
That’s it, the firewall is successfully installed and running!!
To block an IP Permenently
#csf -d IP
To allow or whitelist IP permenently.
#csf -a IP
To temporary block IP
#csf -td IP
To temporary allow an IP
#csf -ta IP
To check an IP is blocked in firewall
#iptables -nL | grep IP
# csf -g IP
To find Reason for block.
#grep IP /var/log/lfd.log
To remove a permanent block
#csf -dr IP
To remove IP from allow list
#csf -ar IP
To disable csf
To enable CSF
CSF is an increasingly popular alternative to the stock firewalls on some servers. Should you require any other help , please contact me.