systemd: Start your Firewall before network interfaces coming up

linux debian, ubuntu, systemd, networking, uptables

There are a serveral “tutorials” and code snippets out there but they wont work on modern systemd versions and may cause fatal errors! In case you want to start your firewall before the network interfaces will be initialized, you have to hook into the special systemd target network-pre.target. It is a passive target which is invoked before any network services has been started.

Additionally, you have to explicit set the DefaultDependencies=no option – otherwise systemd automatically adds dependency of the type After=basic.target to your service and your firewall is invoked AFTER networking has been started!

Systemd Service File#

The following service file assumes that your firewall script is located in /usr/sbin/myfirewall.sh

[Unit]
Description=MyFirewall

# Start before Network Interfaces coming up
Before=network-pre.target
After=local-fs.target

# Do not start after basic.target!
DefaultDependencies=no

[Service]
ExecStart=/usr/sbin/myfirewall start
ExecStop=/usr/sbin/myfirewall stop

# Just Execute the shell script
Type=oneshot
RemainAfterExit=yes

Debugging Service Startup#

The systemd-analyze utility provides a really cool way to show the system startup. Finally you should verify that your firewall is executed before networking has started!

# dump the service startup
systemd-analyze plot > /root/systemd_startup.svg

Example#

Startup of the Firewall and Networking