Manage Internet uploads with Portmaster


Open the graphical front end, and you are welcomed by a state-of-art interface divided into four areas. On the far left, the program offers a vertical buttonbar at the edge of the window, which you can use to configure the application modules.

To the right is a column with the Network Rating. This is where you specify how restrictive Portmaster is – the Trusted option is the default. When the Untrusted and Danger options are selected, the tool applies more restrictive filters. In addition, the application displays status and event messages in this column.

The rightmost Network Monitor column lists the individual connections from the computer to the Internet. The largest column on the far right of the program window shows the details for each connection. Clicking on the desired application lets you display detailed information. The window then opens a list view with more detailed information about the individual connections (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Portmaster's graphical interface provides information on all connection details.

Beyond the plain-vanilla status and connection display, the Portmaster interface gives users the option of editing individual connections. To do so, click on the desired application in the overview and then on the corresponding entry in the Connection History. Portmaster then displays all connections in the form of a table.

Use the Add Rule button to make further settings by defining new rules. In the subsequent dialog, you can enable or disable existing filter lists. Users with a little more networking knowledge can add their own custom rules using iptables syntax. Portmaster lets you define which data packets will pass through or be blocked (Figure 4).

Figure 4: You can define rules for data transfer as you would for an iptables firewall.

You can set individual rules for all applications with Internet access, regardless of whether the application is currently running. Portmaster automatically detects all applications with network access and displays them in a list. Access this list by clicking the second button from the top on the far left of the vertical buttonbar. All apps then appear on the right, with Portmaster distinguishing between active and inactive applications (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Even at the level of the individual programs, you can manage who the apps are allowed to send data to.


To modify the global settings for Portmaster, click on the gear icon in the vertical buttonbar. The Global Settings dialog pops up on the right of the window, and you can use the convenient sliders to configure settings sorted into three connection categories.

For example, you can ignore DNS servers operating in your own intranet in larger environments, although Portmaster by default does not use them for name resolution until you reach the Untrusted level. You can also extend this setting to the Trusted level, network access via a secure intranet, using the slider.


Portmaster provides tunneled access to the Internet using the SPN. This network is an alternative to traditional VPN services, but it has an added technical feature. The SPN doesn't just route data packets through a tunnel between client and server; it also uses an onion structure similar to the TOR network, with the packets passing through multiple servers.

The SPN is currently still in the alpha phase, which is why Portmaster disables the service by default. Like public VPN services, the SPN requires separate access. The developers offer a simple, commercial subscription model, with an unlimited transfer quota for up to five devices at EUR9.90 (~$10) per month or EUR99 (~$103) per year.

To activate the SPN network, just click on the second button from the bottom in the vertical buttonbar on the left. A login dialog with some information now appears on the right, and you can use it to switch Portmaster to SPN mode. On top of this, in the dialog below Global Settings, you also need to move the slider in the SPN group from Off to On. After doing so, all connections are established via the SPN (Figure 6).

Figure 6: Portmaster also comes with the SPN, a VPN-like service that routes data through a multilayer network similar to Tor.

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • FOSSPicks

    Over the past couple of months, Graham's ever-versatile Steam Deck has synced books to an e-reader, played movies on a television, joined Mumble, recorded two podcast episodes, and even played a few games.

  • Privacy Appliances

    A Raspberry Pi with the right software filters out annoying ads and nasty trackers for end devices on your local network.

  • SafeSquid

    If you are looking for a secure option for home surfing and want to protect your children against questionable web content, you need a filtering proxy. SafeSquid is a commercial proxy tool, but it comes with a free version for private users.

  • Squid Bridge

    Caching proxies remember web pages and serve them up locally, saving both money and time. The most intelligent members of this family also remove dangerous content and provide transparent bridging.

  • Usenet

    Before the web as we know it existed, Usenet performed the same tasks now done by web forums and social networks. Despite its declining popularity, Usenet is still employed to publish articles, sustain mailing lists, and even upload files.

comments powered by Disqus
Subscribe to our Linux Newsletters
Find Linux and Open Source Jobs
Subscribe to our ADMIN Newsletters

Support Our Work

Linux Magazine content is made possible with support from readers like you. Please consider contributing when you’ve found an article to be beneficial.

Learn More