Puppet module for fail2ban

Table of contents:

  1. Overview
  2. Module description
  3. Usage
    1. Defining jails
      1. Predefined jails
    2. Defining filters
    3. Defining actions
      1. nftables support
  4. Requirements
  5. Compatibility
  6. Upgrade notices
  7. Documentation
  8. Testing
    1. Unit tests
    2. Functionality tests


Install and manage fail2ban with puppet to block bruteforce attempts.

Module description

With this module, you can install fail2ban and define any configuration for the service in order to slow down bruteforce attempts on services that need to be exposed to the internet.

This module lets you create:

  • actions (e.g. what to do when there's a problematic case)
  • filters (e.g. how to discover problematic cases)
  • jails (e.g. combining actions and filters with a rate limit on filter matches)

Build Status


To use this module just include the fail2ban class.

To change default configurations in jail.conf or fail2ban.conf, you can pass values to parameters to the fail2ban class. See technical reference documentation for full list of parameters.

Here's an example that sets default ignored IP address for all jails to localhost and another non-routed IP:

class { 'fail2ban':
  ignoreip => ['', ''],

Defining jails

To define a jail, you can use one of the jail parameter presets (see list below). Or you can define your own with the fail2ban::jail defined type:

fail2ban::jail { 'jenkins':
  port    => 'all',
  filter  => 'jenkins',
  logpath => '/var/log/jenkins.log',

Predefined jails

The list at the end of this section contains all of the presets that can be used to configure jails more easily. Each of them is a data point -- a hash of parameter and values -- in hiera that needs to be gathered with the lookup() function. Each hash represents parameters and values that should be passed in to the fail2ban::jail defined type documented above and has a lookup key of fail2ban::jail::$jailname.

For example to configure a jail for the ssh service with the preset parameters:

$ssh_params = lookup('fail2ban::jail::sshd')
fail2ban::jail { 'sshd':
  * => $ssh_params,

You can also override values from the preset or define new parameters by concatenating your own hash to it. In the following example we define new parameters bantime and findtime and we override the preset for maxretry:

$ssh_extra_params  = {
  'bantime'  => 300,
  'findtime' => 200,
  'maxretry' => 3,
$ssh_params = lookup('fail2ban::jail::sshd') + $ssh_extra_params
fail2ban::jail { 'sshd':
  * => $ssh_params,

This way you can set any parameter to the fail2ban::jail defined type and override preset values.

Here's the full list of currently available presets. To know each preset's default values you can inspect files in data/.

Watch out: jails by default use the same filter name as the jail name, so make sure to either use the same string as the lookup key as the resource name for jail, or override the filter parameter.

  • 3proxy
  • apache-auth
  • apache-badbots
  • apache-noscript
  • apache-overflows
  • apache-nohome
  • apache-botsearch
  • apache-fakegooglebot
  • apache-modsecurity
  • apache-shellshock
  • assp
  • asterisk
  • courier-auth
  • courier-smtp
  • cyrus-imap
  • directadmin
  • dovecot
  • dropbear
  • drupal-auth
  • ejabberd-auth
  • exim
  • exim-spam
  • freeswitch
  • froxlor-auth
  • groupoffice
  • gssftpd
  • guacamole
  • horde
  • kerio
  • lighttpd-auth
  • mongodb-auth
  • monit
  • murmur
  • mysql-auth
    • To log wrong MySQL access attempts add to /etc/mysql/my.cnf in [mysqld] or equivalent section: log-warning = 2
  • nrpe
  • named-refused
  • nginx-http-auth
  • nginx-limit-req
  • nginx-botsearch
  • nsd
  • openhab-auth
  • openwebmail
  • oracleims
  • pam-generic
  • pass2allow-ftp
  • perdition
  • php-url-fopen
  • postfix
  • postfix-rbl
  • postfix-sasl
  • proftpd
  • pure-ftpd
  • qmail-rbl
  • recidive
    • Ban IPs that get repeatedly banned, but for a longer period of time -- by default for one week and one day. Some warnings apply:
    • Make sure that your loglevel specified in fail2ban.conf/.local is not at DEBUG level -- which might then cause fail2ban to fall into an infinite loop constantly feeding itself with non-informative lines
    • Increase dbpurgeage defined in fail2ban.conf to e.g. 648000 (7.5 days) to maintain entries for failed logins for sufficient amount of time
  • roundcube-auth
  • selinux-ssh
  • sendmail-auth
  • sieve
  • slapd
  • sogo-auth
  • solid-pop3d
  • squid
  • squirrelmail
  • sshd
  • sshd-ddos
  • stunnel
    • This pre-defined jail does not specify ports to ban since this service can run on many choices of ports. By default this means that all ports will be blocked for IPs that are banned by this jail. You may want to override the hash to add in specific ports in the port parameter.
  • suhosin
  • tine20
  • uwimap-auth
  • vsftpd
  • webmin-auth
  • wuftpd
  • xinetd-fail
    • This pre-defined jail does not specify ports to ban since this service can run on many choices of ports. By default this means that all ports will be blocked for IPs that are banned by this jail. You may want to override the hash to add in specific ports in the port parameter.

Defining filters

You might want to define new filters for your new jails. To do that, you can use the fail2ban::filter defined type:

fail2ban::filter { 'jenkins':
  failregexes => [
    # Those regexes are really arbitrary examples.
    'Invalid login to Jenkins by user mooh by IP \'<HOST>\'',
    'Forced entry trial by <HOST>',

Defining actions

Fail2ban can do pretty much what you want it to do when an IP matches a filter enough times during the rate limit set by the jail using both the filter and actions.

To define a new action, you can use the fail2ban::action defined type. Here's an example that would call out to a fictitious REST API whenever an IP address is banned and unbanned:

fail2ban::action { 'rest_api':
  ensure      => present,
  actionban   => ['curl -s -X PUT http://yourapi:8080/theapi/v4/firewall/rules -H "Content-Type:application/json" -H "Authorization: ..." -d "{\"ban\": \"<ip>\"}"'],
  actionunban => ['curl -s -X DELETE http://yourapi:8080/theapi/v4/firewall/rules/1 -H "Authorization: ..."'],

nftables support

Fail2ban supports nftables with the nftables-multiport and nftables-allports actions that are shipped with the fail2ban binary. These actions use nftables' set functionality to contain banned IPs instead of adding a firewall rule for each new banned IP. This should make your firewall more efficient if you have lots of banned IPs.

Since nftables is now used by default on Debian since the buster release (but iptables is still used by fail2ban's default action), here's how to quickly enable usage of nftables for fail2ban:

Only two global parameters need to be changed:

  • chain needs to be set to lowercase
  • banaction needs to be set to the action of your choice.

Here's an example minimal configuration for using nftables:

class { 'fail2ban':
  banaction      => 'nftables-multiport',
  chain          => 'input',
$ssh_params = lookup('fail2ban::jail::sshd')
fail2ban::jail { 'sshd':
  * => $ssh_params,

Do note that upon service restart, fail2ban will not create the ip set and the corresponding rule right away. They will only be added whenever the first "action" is taken (so when banning the first IP for a jail). After that you should see both the set and the rule for that jail when running nft list ruleset.

To list which IPs are currently banned, you can either use fail2ban-client status sshd or list elements of the corresponding set: nft list set filter f2b-sshd


This module depends on the following modules to function:

  • puppetlabs' stdlib module (at least version 4.6.0)


This module supports

  • Debian 8, 9, 10
    • Debian 8 support supposes that clients are using puppet 4.x (e.g. backports or upstream packages)
  • Ubuntu 18.04
  • RHEL 6, 7 and 8
  • CentOs 6, 7 and 8
Versions Puppet 2.7 Puppet 3.x Puppet 4.x Puppet 5.x
3.x no no 4.10+ yes

Upgrade notices

  • 3.3: Support for the 2.x branch was discontinued. Only puppet 4.x+ is supported from now on.

    Documentation in the README.md file is now limited to only examples of how to use the module. For a technical reference of all classes, defined types and their parameters, please refer to REFERENCE.md or generate html documentation with puppet-strings.

    Note that debian 8 is still being supported for a little while, but with the expectation that users use this module with puppet 4.x+. Debian 8's support cycle is almost over, thus so it is for this module. Expect support to be removed from this module in the coming months.

  • 3.2: No pre-defined jail sends out an email as an action by default. Users who still want to receive emails when an action is taken can override the action field from the predefined jail data and append the action the following: \n %(mta)s-whois[name=%(__name__)s, dest=\"%(destemail)s\"]

    Also note that puppet 4.x prior to 4.10 is not supported anymore, and that hiera 5 is now required (hence the limitation for the puppet version.

  • 3.1: fail2ban.local and all unmanaged files in fail2ban.d are now being purged by default. Users who have local modifications that they want to keep should set $rm_fail2ban_local and/or $purge_fail2ban_d to false.

  • 3.0: all of the defined types for predefined jails in fail2ban::jail::* have been removed and instead transformed into data structures with hiera. If you were using the predefined jails, you will need to change your code: please take a look at the new method of using them with lookup() further down in this file.

  • 3.0: fail2ban::jail's order parameter was removed. Users should adapt their calls in order to remove this parameter. All jail files are now just individual files dropped in jail.d and order is not relevant there.

  • 3.0: Deprecation notice: the persistent_bans parameter to the fail2ban class is now deprecated and will be removed for the 4.0 release. fail2ban can now manage persistent bans naturally by using its own sqlite3 database.

  • 2.0: Jail definitions have been moved to jail.d/*.conf files . The jail.local file is now getting removed by the module. To avoid this, set rm_jail_local to true.

  • 2.0: ignoreip both on the main class and in fail2ban::jail (and thus in all fail2ban::jail::* classes too) is no longer expected to be a string. It is now a list of strings that automatically gets joined with spaces. Users of the fail2ban module will need to adjust these parameters.

  • The directory /etc/fail2ban/jail.d is now getting purged by default. Users who would like to preserve files in this directory that are not managed by puppet should now set the purge_jail_dot_d parameter to the fail2ban class to false.


This module uses puppet-strings comments, so you can generate HTML documentation in the docs directory with the following command:

puppet strings generate manifests

At each release, technical documentation about all classes and defined types provided by this module and their parameters is also output to the REFERENCES.md file in this repository in markdown format with the following command. This makes the reference documentation show up on forge.puppet.com and you can consult it after cloning the repository even if you don't have puppet-strings installed:

puppet strings generate --format markdown


This module has some tests that you can run to ensure that everything is working as expected.

Unit tests

The unit tests are built with rspec-puppet. You can use the Gemfile with the tests group to install what's needed to run the unit test.

The usual rspec-puppet_helper rake tasks are available. You can also use a convenience task tests to run everything. The following two commands achieve the same result:

rake syntax lint spec
rake tests

Funtionality tests

Unit tests are great, but sometimes it's nice to actually run the code in order to see if everything is setup properly and that the software is working as expected.

This repository has a Vagrantfile that you can use to bring up a VM and run this module inside. The Vagrantfile expects you to have the vagrant plugin vagrant-librarian-puppet installed. If you don't have it you can also download this module's requirements (see metadata.json) and place them inside tests/modules/.

A couple of manifest files inside tests/ prepare sets of use cases. You can modify the Vagrantfile to use any of them for provisioning the VM.