We often have to authenticate against a socks proxy for differents purposes :

  • access to a website
  • establish a ssh connection -…

Here I’m going to explain how to do it permanently and in a transparent way for the system.

My need here is to avoid manual connection involving login and password I could’nt remember 😉

How it works

  • Iptables rules redirect trafic for a specific destination to a local port.
  • Redsocks listens on this port and trafic to the remote proxy.
  • Systemd makes it working fine.

Setup env


Install from sources or package manager (On Ubuntu / Debian)

apt update
apt install redsocks

The redsocks configuration file is located under /etc/redsocks.conf. For my needs it’s very simple and easy to understand :

base {
 log_debug = on;
 log_info = on;
 log = "stderr";
 daemon = off;
 redirector = iptables;

redsocks {
    // Local IP listen to
    local_ip =;
    // Port to listen to
    local_port = 12345;
    // Remote proxy address
    port = 443;
    // Proxy type
    type = socks5;
    // Username to authorize on proxy server
    login = MYLOGIN;
    // Password for a proxy user
    password = MYPASSWORD;
    // Do not disclose real IP
    disclose_src = false;

Ok, redoscks must work. You can try to start it using the systemd service unit provided :

systemctl enable --now redsocks

Then check if everything is ok :

systemctl status redsocks

Now Redsocks is configured to automatically start at boot, fine.

But we can’t catch the trafic that we want to send to the remote socks proxy yet.

Iptables configuration

I made a little script to automagically apply iptables rules in /usr/local/bin/iptablesSocks.sh :



add_rules () {
	iptables -t nat -F
	iptables -t nat -N REDSOCKS
	iptables -t nat -A REDSOCKS -d -p tcp -j REDIRECT --to-ports 12345
	iptables -t nat -A REDSOCKS -d -p tcp -j REDIRECT --to-ports 12345
	iptables -t nat -A OUTPUT -p tcp -j REDSOCKS

delete_rules () {
	iptables -t nat -F
	iptables -t nat -X

case ${arg} in
	start	) add_rules ;;
	stop	) delete_rules ;;
	*	) echo "no matching command" 
		exit 0
  • In the add_rules function, we add rules to send trafic for tcp/172.17.{0,1}.0/24 to tcp/localhost/12345
  • In the delete_rules function, we flush the rules.
  • Then we can use the script with start and stop args.

Ok, now Redsocks works fine, iptables too. We need to “connect” both of them to be sure that when redsocks starts, iptables rules are loaded and disabled when redsocks stop.


The redsocks package provides a systemd service file. It is possible to override part of service files with custom configurations using the systemctl edit command.

Example :

sudo systemctl edit redsocks

Note : It’s not necessary to append .service or the full path to service file.

And tada :


As indicated, we can add stuff between the lines "### Anything between[…]" and "### Lines below this".

Below the configuration I wrote in this configuration file :

Wants=network-online.target systemd-networkd-wait-online.service

ExecStartPost=//usr/local/bin/iptablesSocks.sh start
ExecStopPost=/usr/local/bin/iptablesSocks.sh stop

Once you have saved this file, you can verify it by parsing /etc/systemd/system/redsocks.service.d/override.conf

If you want to test the configuration, reload systemd :

sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Restart redsocks :

sudo systemctl restart redsocks

Iptables rules shoud appear using :

sudo iptables -t nat -L

With output :

Chain REDSOCKS (1 references)
target     prot opt source               destination         
REDIRECT   tcp  --  anywhere           redir ports 12345
REDIRECT   tcp  --  anywhere           redir ports 12345

Enjoy 😉