Currently i'm setting up a new Debian 11 Bullseye machine to act as a Wireguard gateway. Everything as usual, and simple. Unfortunately i am having a heavy issue regarding the IPV4 packet forwarding. It's a well known fact, that i have to uncomment #net.ipv4.ip_forward in the /etc/sysctl.conf file, to enable packet forwarding. Unfortunately,even when it's uncommented, the setting is not being applied automatically after reboot. I have to manually process the sysctl file using "sysctl -p" every time after reboot. What's wrong here? There is also no further sysctl.conf in sysctl.conf.d which may override this setting. I have also tried on a fresh Debian 11 system, with the same issue.

root@wireguard:~# /sbin/sysctl --system
* Applying /etc/sysctl.d/1-sysctl.conf ...
net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1
net.ipv6.conf.all.forwarding = 1
* Applying /usr/lib/sysctl.d/50-pid-max.conf ...
kernel.pid_max = 4194304
* Applying /usr/lib/sysctl.d/protect-links.conf ...
fs.protected_fifos = 1
fs.protected_hardlinks = 1
fs.protected_regular = 2
fs.protected_symlinks = 1
* Applying /etc/sysctl.conf ...
net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1
net.ipv6.conf.all.forwarding = 1

After reboot:

root@wireguard:~# cat /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward
root@wireguard:~# cat /proc/sys/net/ipv6/conf/all/forwarding

I hope someone can help me, it looks like, it's being partially applied only, i don't know if it has something to do with the IPv6 setting. Everything apart from the sysctl.conf and the Wireguard install is set to default.

  • Are you using ufw? If yes, see if there is such an option inside /etc/ufw/sysctl.conf . Also, leave net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1 only in sysctl.conf
    – Alex
    Sep 22, 2021 at 11:25

1 Answer 1


Create a /etc/sysctl.d/99-ipv.conf with the following lines:

net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1
net.ipv6.conf.all.forwarding = 1

Then run:

sudo systemctl restart  procps
sudo sysctl -p
  • perfect answer, thanks!
    – Frank
    Mar 11 at 15:00

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