Virtual Appliance 6 Trial

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This is the page for the new experimental VM appliance 6a
For the production VM please see this page instead!


The FreeNATS virtual appliance has traditionally been based on the rPath LAMP appliance.

For a number of reasons (problems with the management interface b0rking PHP, lack of knowledge about administration and update issues) a decision was made to look at finding a suitable replacement VM environment for the FreeNATS appliance. This has been ongoing in fits and starts for 6 years.

A wide number of systems were trialled including some LAMP appliances, DSL, Puppy and vanilla installs. A LFS was even briefly considered. None of these quite met the requirements of being functional, manageable and having a small enough footprint to consider for FreeNATS.

However we now believe a winner has been found in the form of TurnKey LAMP.

Why TurnKey

The TurnKey LAMP appliance we are currently trialling (2015) uses an installation of Debian LTS. This is a version of the most widely used Linux installation with guaranteed long-term support.

The advantages for using TurnKey LAMP/Debian are many but mainly it provides a stable (and automatically updated) commonly used platform which should be easy to administer and manage for future use while still retaining a reasonable package size. Using a pre-built Turnkey LAMP appliance rather than a straight Linux install offers a much smaller footprint as well.

The Trial

Following testing at FreeNATS HQ the FreeNATS VM 6 Release Candidate is being made available for general use and testing (FreeNATS VM 6a RC1).

How to Participate

Please download the trial Virtual Appliance for VMWare and go about using it. IP information etc will be displayed in the Turnkey menu (to exit go to advanced and then quit, or choose another TTY). You can login as root (password freenats).

Base shell commands (e.g. for automatic upgrading etc) are the same as rPath, and shown here in the #Upgrading FreeNATS Virtual Appliance section.


If you do try the VM trial please provide any feedback through the standard channels e.g. the forum or feedback form. All input is gratefully received as always.


This is a 'trial of a new environment'. You should not move any mission-critical monitoring onto it. Please consider the possibility of copying some configuration (via the backup and restore features to duplicate settings on the new system and run alongside.

The current recommended VM is still 4b based upon rPath for users who require a stable environment.


The VM can be downloaded at: (331 Mb Zip file)

Upgrading FreeNATS Virtual Appliance

This information applies only to virtual appliance release 3a or later and only concerns updating the FreeNATS software. For further information on upgrading the operating system etc please see the advanced section of the documentation.

To upgrade the virtual appliance simply login as the "root" user (either on the VM console or remotely via SSH) and execute the command:


This will automatically download the current FreeNATS release and execute the script.

You will need to confirm you wish to proceed and upgrade. The directory location defaults will be correct (pointing to /opt/freenats and /srv/www) and can just be accepted by pressing return.

Once the file structure has been updated you will be prompted to upgrade the database schema. You can choose a fresh (f) install where all existing configuration and history is lost or an upgrade (u) where data is maintained. Although the upgrade process is experimental and generates a lot of (expected) SQL errors it does seem to work ok and you can always come back and re-run /root/freenats/upgrade and choose the fresh option if you encounter problems.

After the upgrade is complete the script will delete all temporary files and return you to the prompt. You should now be running the latest version (if you chose a fresh schema upgrade then the admin user will have its default password again).

Users behind proxies may have a problem as by default the script relies on direct internet access.

Proxy users can try typing the following into the shell before doing a /root/freenats/upgrade:

export http_proxy=""

As an alternative to the upgrade script you can manually download the latest version by typing the following into the virtual appliance shell:


Proxy users can use the following:

export http_proxy=""
wget --proxy=on --proxy-username=user --proxy-password=password \

Some users may not be able to get any internet access for the appliance. In this case you should yourself download the latest version and make it available somewhere on your network to the virtual appliance. From the shell of the appliance you can then either:

  • Type wget http://somehost/freenats.tar.gz to download via HTTP
  • Type smbclient -U username //somehost/share to connect to a Windows/SMB/CIFS share on the network, "cd" to the location and then "get freenats.tar.gz" the file
  • Use VMWare server and map a directory containing the update as a drive then mount it.

Once you have downloaded the file to the virtual appliance you will need to unzip it (gzip -d freenats.tar.gz) and untar it (tar -xvf freenats.tar). Change into the new directory and type ./

The upgrade process should now begin and you can follow the prompts as detailed above.