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Enhancing Your Minecraft Server Security with SELinux

Enhancing Your Minecraft Server Security with SELinux
Reading time: 7 min
Hostman Team
Technical writer

For administrators who specialize in Minecraft server hosting, security is not merely a feature—it's a priority. While Ubuntu 22.04 defaults to AppArmor for elementary security safeguards, a more sophisticated solution is often required to meet the heightened demands of Minecraft server hosts. This is where SELinux, an advanced security architecture developed by the NSA, comes into play. SELinux offers granular access controls, enabling precise management of user permissions—a crucial advantage for servers that cater to a diverse and active Minecraft community.

This professional guide provides a structured approach for installing and configuring SELinux on Ubuntu 22.04, upgrading from the standard protections of AppArmor. Included is an in-depth exploration of SELinux's functionalities and benefits in the context of Minecraft server security. We extend our tutorial to cover protective strategies against an array of cybersecurity threats, ensuring that your server remains an impregnable fortress.

Whether you are establishing a new Minecraft server, looking to optimize an existing one with the best Minecraft server hosting practices, or investigating free Minecraft server options, the integration of SELinux stands as a critical step toward a secure and controlled gaming environment. As we proceed, this guide will be your companion in achieving an elevated level of security for your Minecraft server, demonstrating how to host a Minecraft server that excels in both safety and performance.


Before we start installing SELinux on Ubuntu 22.04, there are a few things you'll need:

  • A server running Ubuntu 22.04: Ensure your server is updated to the latest version of Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

  • Administrative access: You will need to have root access or a user account with sudo privileges to make system changes.

  • Basic command line knowledge: Familiarity with using the Linux command line will be helpful as we'll be running several commands.

  • Existing AppArmor setup: Since Ubuntu comes with AppArmor installed by default, you should be aware of its presence. We'll cover how to disable it to prevent conflicts with SELinux.

Preparing Your Server

Before installing SELinux on your Ubuntu 22.04 server, a foundational setup is necessary, especially critical for those hosting Minecraft servers where security and stability are paramount. Let’s streamline your server preparation:

Step 1: Update Your System

Begin by updating your server's package index and upgrading the installed packages to their latest versions. This step ensures compatibility and security. Run:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Step 2: Disable AppArmor

Ubuntu includes AppArmor by default. Disable it to prevent conflicts with SELinux:

sudo systemctl stop apparmor
sudo systemctl disable apparmor

Step 3: Install Dependencies

Install the packages required for SELinux:

sudo apt install policycoreutils selinux-utils selinux-basics selinux-policy-default auditd -y 

Now, with the prerequisites addressed, you have the necessary components installed, fortifying your server as you learn how to make a Minecraft server that's secure and reliable.

Installing SELinux

With the foundational setup complete, including the required SELinux packages, it’s time to activate and enforce SELinux policies to secure your Ubuntu system.

Step 1: Activate SELinux

Rather than a separate installation, SELinux is activated with the already installed packages using the following command:

sudo selinux-activate

This command sets up the necessary configurations to enable SELinux on your next system boot.

Step 2: Configure SELinux to Enforcing Mode

To fully enable SELinux and set it to enforcing mode, which is recommended for maximum security, you need to edit the SELinux configuration file. Use your preferred text editor to open the configuration file:

sudo nano /etc/selinux/config

In this file, ensure the SELINUX line is set as follows:


This setting enforces the SELinux security policies, which means it will deny access based on the policy rules and log the denials.

Step 3: Adjust SSH SELinux Policies

Before rebooting, ensure SSH has the correct SELinux context to prevent connectivity issues.

sudo restorecon -Rv /etc/ssh

This command will reset the SELinux context for the SSH configuration files to their default values, which can help prevent connection issues after the reboot.

Step 4: Reboot Your Server

Apply the SELinux policies with a system reboot.

sudo reboot

After your server restarts, verify that SELinux is enforcing the policies and SSH is accessible:

sudo sestatus
ssh [your_username]@[your_server_ip]

If after rebooting you cannot access the server via SSH, then as a troubleshooting step, you will need to:

  • Inspect SELinux denials related to SSH:

sudo ausearch -m avc -ts recent | grep ssh
  • Generate and install a custom SELinux policy module if necessary:

sudo audit2allow -M myssh -l -i /var/log/audit/audit.log
sudo semodule -X 300 -i myssh.pp
  • Revert SELinux to enforcing mode if it was set to permissive during troubleshooting:

sudo setenforce 1 

These troubleshooting steps should only be performed if there is an issue with SSH connectivity after enforcing SELinux. The standard installation and configuration process ends with the reboot and subsequent verification that SELinux is enforcing its policies correctly.

Managing Server Plugins and Mods with SELinux

After installing SELinux, it’s important to understand how to manage it to ensure your Minecraft server operates smoothly without compromising on security.

Step 1: Understanding SELinux Policies

SELinux operates using policies that define how software applications and users can access system resources. For a Minecraft server, you may need to adjust these policies to allow certain plugins and mods to function correctly.

Step 2: Creating Custom Policy Modules

If your server requires specific access controls for unique plugins or mods, you can create custom SELinux policy modules. Here's a simple example of how to allow a specific plugin that requires access to a new directory:

  • Identify the Need: Suppose a Minecraft plugin needs to write to a directory not currently covered by SELinux policies.

  • Generate a Policy Module:

First, set SELinux to permissive mode temporarily to collect logs about denied actions:

sudo setenforce 0

Run your Minecraft server and allow it to generate the necessary logs.

After reproducing the issue, generate a custom policy module using the audit logs:

sudo audit2allow -a -M myminecraftmod

This command creates a policy module file named myminecraftmod.pp.

  • Install the Policy Module:

sudo semodule -i myminecraftmod.pp

Re-enable enforcing mode:

sudo setenforce 1

Step 3: Managing SELinux Booleans

SELinux booleans offer a simpler way to adjust policies without creating new modules. For example, to allow your server to use network connections (if a mod requires external APIs), you might toggle a boolean:

sudo setsebool -P httpd_can_network_connect 1

This command permanently sets the httpd_can_network_connect boolean to true, allowing network connections.

Monitoring and Troubleshooting

Proper maintenance of SELinux is vital for monitoring and troubleshooting, ensuring it does not inadvertently block legitimate operations on your server.

Monitoring SELinux Logs

SELinux logs play an essential role in understanding denied actions and addressing system issues. To inspect recent SELinux denials, use the command:

sudo ausearch -m avc -ts recent

This command pulls up the latest SELinux denials, which is instrumental in pinpointing and rectifying configuration problems.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

If a Minecraft plugin stops working after enabling SELinux, check the audit logs to understand why. Create and install custom modules as needed, or adjust booleans to resolve conflicts without compromising on security.


The implementation and management of SELinux on Ubuntu 22.04 can substantially strengthen the security framework of your Minecraft server. By implementing mandatory access controls, SELinux delivers a powerful layer of security that enhances the traditional permission-based models. This tutorial has directed you through each phase of SELinux setup, from installation to policy enforcement, and provided strategies for tailoring the system settings to suit the demands of your Minecraft server.