Server Connectivity

A common problem when setting up an application in the cloud is getting the basic connectivity right - how do I get my service (e.g. a TCP host:port) publicly accessible over the internet?

This varies a lot - e.g. Is the VM public or in a private network? Is the service only accessible through a load balancer? Should the service be globally reachable or only to a particular CIDR?

This guide gives some general tips for debugging connectivity issues, which are applicable to a range of different service types. Choose those that are appropriate for your use-case.

VM reachable

If the VM is supposed to be accessible directly (e.g. from the public internet, or if in a private network then from a jump host)...


Can you ping the VM from the machine you are trying to reach it from?

However, ping is over ICMP. If the VM is unreachable, it could be that the firewall forbids ICMP but still lets TCP traffic through.

telnet to TCP port

You can check if a given TCP port is reachable and listening using telnet <host> <port>, such as telnet 80, which gives output like:

    Connected to
    Escape character is '^]'.

If this is very slow to respond, it can be caused by a firewall blocking access. If it is fast, it could be that the server is just not listening on that port.

DNS and routing

If using a hostname rather than IP, then is it resolving to a sensible IP?

Is the route to the server sensible? (e.g. one can hit problems with proxy servers in a corporate network, or ISPs returning a default result for unknown hosts).

The following commands can be useful:

  • host is a DNS lookup utility. e.g. host
  • dig stands for "domain information groper". e.g. dig
  • traceroute prints the route that packets take to a network host. e.g. traceroute

Proxy settings

Depending on the type of location, brooklyn might use HTTP to provision machines (clocker, jclouds). If the host environment defines proxy settings, these might interfere with the reachability of the respective HTTP service.

One such case is using VirtualBox with host-only or private internal network settings, while using an external proxy for accessing the internet. It is clear that the external proxy won't be able to route HTTP calls properly, but that might not be clear when reading the logs (although brooklyn will present the failing URL).

Try accessing the web-service URLs from a browser via the proxy, or perhaps try running brooklyn with proxy disabled:

    export http_proxy=
    bin/brooklyn launch

If a system-level proxy server has been configured, you can instruct brooklyn to use the proxy server by passing to the JVM

Service is listening

Service responds

Try connecting to the service from the VM itself. For example, curl http://localhost:8080 for a web-service.

On dev/test VMs, don't be afraid to install the utilities you need such as curl, telnet, nc, etc. Cloud VMs often have a very cut-down set of packages installed. For example, execute sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get install -y curl or sudo yum install -y curl.

Listening on port

Check that the service is listening on the port, and on the correct NIC(s).

Execute netstat -antp (or on OS X netstat -antp TCP) to list the TCP ports in use (or use -anup for UDP). You should expect to see the something like the output below for a service.

Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address               Foreign Address             State       PID/Program name   
tcp        0      0 :::8080                     :::*                        LISTEN      8276/java

In this case a Java process with pid 8276 is listening on port 8080. The local address :::8080 format means all NICs (in IPv6 address format). You may also see for IPv4 format. If it says then your service will most likely not be reachable externally.

Use ip addr show (or the obsolete ifconfig -a) to see the network interfaces on your server.

For netstat, run with sudo to see the pid for all listed ports.


On Linux, check if iptables is preventing the remote connection. On Windows, check the Windows Firewall.

If it is acceptable (e.g. it is not a server in production), try turning off the firewall temporarily, and testing connectivity again. Remember to re-enable it afterwards! On CentOS, this is sudo service iptables stop. On Ubuntu, use sudo ufw disable. On Windows, press the Windows key and type 'Windows Firewall with Advanced Security' to open the firewall tools, then click 'Windows Firewall Properties' and set the firewall state to 'Off' in the Domain, Public and Private profiles.

If you cannot temporarily turn off the firewall, then look carefully at the firewall settings. For example, execute sudo iptables -n --list and iptables -t nat -n --list.

Cloud firewalls

Some clouds offer a firewall service, where ports need to be explicitly listed to be reachable.

For example, security groups for AWS EC2 have rules for the protocols and ports to be reachable from specific CIDRs.

Check these settings via the cloud provider's web-console (or API).

Quick test of a listener port

It can be useful to start listening on a given port, and to then check if that port is reachable. This is useful for testing basic connectivity when your service is not yet running, or to a different port to compare behaviour, or to compare with another VM in the network.

The nc netcat tool is useful for this. For example, nc -l 8080 will listen on port TCP 8080 on all network interfaces. On another server, you can then run echo hello from client | nc <hostname> 8080. If all works well, this will send "hello from client" over the TCP port 8080, which will be written out by the nc -l process before exiting.

Similarly for UDP, you use -lU.

You may first have to install nc, e.g. with sudo yum install -y nc or sudo apt-get install netcat.

Cloud load balancers

For some use-cases, it is good practice to use the load balancer service offered by the cloud provider (e.g. ELB in AWS or the [Cloudstack Load Balancer] (

The VMs can all be isolated within a private network, with access only through the load balancer service.

Debugging techniques here include ensuring connectivity from another jump server within the private network, and careful checking of the load-balancer configuration from the Cloud Provider's web-console.


Use of DNAT is appropriate for some use-cases, where a particular port on a particular VM is to be made available.

Debugging connectivity issues here is similar to the steps for a cloud load balancer. Ensure connectivity from another jump server within the private network. Carefully check the NAT rules from the Cloud Provider's web-console.

Guest wifi

It is common for guest wifi to restrict access to only specific ports (e.g. 80 and 443, restricting ssh over port 22 etc).

Normally your best bet is then to abandon the guest wifi (e.g. to tether to a mobile phone instead).

There are some unconventional workarounds such as configuring sshd to listen on port 80 so you can use an ssh tunnel. However, the firewall may well inspect traffic so sending non-HTTP traffic over port 80 may still fail.

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