I ran into the same problem described Port forwarding using VPN client, but unsuccessfully.

I have a OpenVPN access server version 2.5 and a client configured with a site-to-site routing. Both client and server can communicate with each other by using the private IP addresses. On the client, there is an Apache server which listen on port 8081.

The goal is to be able to connect to the OpenVPN server public IP, and have it forward the connection to the client, so that the user can access the Apache server behind

My current setup is:

enter image description here

sysctl -w net.ipv4.ip_forward=1

iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -d 50.xxx.xxx.xxx -p tcp --dport 8081 -j DNAT --to-dest

iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -d -p tcp --dport 8081 -j SNAT --to-source

Is there something simple I'm doing incorrectly? Thank you.

2 Answers 2


The issue was related with the iptables rules. By adding the following rules, everything works as expected:


iptables -t nat -I POSTROUTING 1 -d {CLIENT_LOCAL_IP_ADDRESS} -p tcp --dport {CLIENT_PORT} -j SNAT --to-source {VPN_GATEWAY_IP}

iptables -I FORWARD 1 -d {CLIENT_LOCAL_IP_ADDRESS} -p tcp --dport {CLIENT_PORT} -j ACCEPT

  • Does this encrypt the traffic through the vpn tunnel?
    – ki9
    Jul 30, 2018 at 20:00
  • 1
    Yes, the traffic between the OpenVPN server and the clients is encrypted.
    – kym8886
    Aug 1, 2018 at 7:39
  • This makes all traffic appear as if the gateway initiated them, which might not be what you want if you want to see user ip address.
    – Calmarius
    Dec 23, 2022 at 0:05

Your SNAT matches a different port number DNAT will and a diagram so this setup will only work if the OpenVPN client as a router back to the internet via the OpenVPN server.

You should probably replace 32400 with 8081.

  • Thanks @timothy-baldwin for the reply. Actually, I copied the wrong port . The correct one is 8081, as you pointed out.
    – kym8886
    Jun 14, 2018 at 20:56

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