10 Easy Steps to Install Snort on Ubuntu

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Last updated: June 25, 2023

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To install Snort on Ubuntu, you can follow these steps:

  1. Access the command window by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T.
  2. Update the package lists: sudo apt update
  3. Upgrade installed packages: sudo apt upgrade
  4. Install Snort using the package manager: sudo apt install snort

To create a basic Snort configuration, locate and modify the configuration file, test it for syntax errors. Enhance Snort performance with advanced practices like rule customization, traffic analysis, SIEM integration, and network segmentation. Avoid common errors during installation, such as dependency issues, rule configuration mistakes, hardware limitations, and neglecting updates. Stay proactive to ensure Snort’s effectiveness in monitoring and protecting your network.

Read the step-by-step guide below to install Snort on Ubuntu and the basic configuration. Also, explore advanced practices to install snort and common errors that can occur during installation.

Snort is a powerful and widely used open-source network intrusion detection and prevention system. It helps safeguard your network by detecting and alerting you about suspicious activities or potential security breaches. Installing Snort on your Ubuntu system can enhance your network security and protect against cyber threats. Ubuntu, a popular Linux distribution known for its security, stability, and user-friendly interface, provides an excellent platform for running Snort. In this guide, I will walk you through installing Snort on Ubuntu, basic configuration, the advanced practices to install Snort on Ubuntu, and common errors that can occur during installation, ensuring you have a robust network security solution in place.

How to Install Snort on Ubuntu

To install Snort on Ubuntu, make sure your system meets the following requirements, Ubuntu Linux (preferably version 16.04 or later), at least 2 CPU cores preferably more for improved performance, a minimum of 2 GB of RAM (more is recommended), and at least 10 GB of available disk space.

  1. Access the command window by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T.
  1. Update the package lists by executing the following command:
<strong>sudo apt update</strong>
  1. Upgrade installed packages to their latest versions by running the following command:
<strong>sudo apt upgrade</strong>
  1. To Install Snort on Ubuntu using the package manager, enter the command:
<strong>sudo apt install snort</strong>
  1. The command will start installing the snort.
  1. During the installation process, you will be prompted to set up Snort’s configuration. Select the appropriate options based on your network setup and requirements.
  1. Once the installation is complete, verify the installation by checking the Snort version:
<strong>snort --version</strong>
  1. You should see the Snort version and other relevant details printed on the Terminal.
  1. To update Snort to the latest version, use the package manager to install updates for Snort and its dependencies:
<strong>sudo apt upgrade snort</strong>
  1. The command will upgrade the snort to the latest version.

How to Create a Basic Snort Configuration

Creating a basic Snort configuration is an essential step to customize the intrusion detection system according to your network requirements. This allows you to define rules, thresholds, and detection settings that align with your security objectives, ensuring that Snort effectively monitors and alerts you about potential intrusions on your network. Here are steps to do it

  1. Locate the Snort configuration file.
<strong>sudo nano /etc/snort/snort.conf</strong>
  1. This command will open the Snort configuration file in the nano editor.
  1. Familiarize yourself with the configuration file and review the available options. Modify the configuration to match your network setup and requirements. Save the configuration file and exit the text editor.
  1. Test the Snort configuration for syntax errors:
<strong>sudo snort -T -c /etc/snort/snort.conf</strong>
  1. If there are no syntax errors, Snort will display a success message.

4 Advanced Practices for Enhancing Snort Performance

To enhance snort performance, you can utilize various advance practices. These advanced practices allow you to harness the full potential of Snort, elevating your network security capabilities. Here are four advanced practices that can enhance your experience:

  • 🚀 Advanced Rule Customization: Use advanced techniques to take your Snort rule customization to the next level. This includes creating custom rules tailored to your network environment, leveraging variables and rule options, and utilizing advanced rule syntax to enhance detection accuracy and reduce false positives. Explore Snort’s documentation and online resources to learn about these advanced rule customization practices.
  • 🔬 Traffic Analysis with PCAP: Enhance your network analysis capabilities by capturing and analyzing network traffic using Packet Capture (PCAP) files. Snort allows you to capture packets and save them in PCAP format for offline analysis. By analyzing PCAP files with tools like Wireshark or tcpdump, you can gain deeper insights into network behavior, identify anomalies, and fine-tune Snort rules based on real-world traffic patterns.
  • 📊 Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) Integration: Integrate Snort with a SIEM solution to enhance your overall security infrastructure. SIEM platforms allow for centralized log management, correlation, and analysis of security events. Integrating Snort with a SIEM allows you to consolidate and streamline your security monitoring efforts, enabling more effective threat detection and response. Consult the documentation of your chosen SIEM solution for guidance on integrating Snort.
  • 🌐 Network Segmentation and VLAN Tagging: Implementing network segmentation and VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) tagging can enhance Snort’s effectiveness by isolating different network segments and applying specific security policies. By segmenting your network and tagging VLANs, you can control traffic flow, apply different rules, and improve the overall security posture. Research best practices for network segmentation and VLAN configuration to optimize Snort’s performance in your network environment.

4 Common Errors When Installing Snort

When working with Snort, it’s important to be aware of common errors that users may encounter. These errors can impact the proper installation and functionality of Snort. Here are four common errors to watch out for:

  • 🧩 Dependency-related errors: One common error occurs when users overlook the required dependencies for Snort. Missing or outdated packages can lead to installation issues. To avoid this, carefully review the documentation and ensure all necessary dependencies are installed before proceeding with the Snort installation. Use the command sudo apt-get install <package-name> to install any missing dependencies.
  • 📜 Rule Snort configuration errors: Improperly configured rules can result in false positives or missed detections. Users may encounter errors related to rule syntax, rule ordering, or rule customization. It’s crucial to thoroughly understand the rule syntax and fine-tune the rules according to your network environment. Regularly reviewing and updating the rule set can help address potential errors and enhance Snort’s effectiveness. Use the command sudo nano /etc/snort/rules/snort.rules to edit and configure Snort rules.
  • 💻 Hardware resource limitations: Hardware resource limitations can impact Snort’s performance. Users may encounter errors when their system lacks sufficient CPU power, memory, or network bandwidth to handle the traffic load. It’s important to ensure your system meets or exceeds the recommended hardware specifications to prevent performance bottlenecks and optimize Snort’s functionality. Upgrade your hardware components or consider using more powerful hardware to resolve such errors.
  • 🔄 Failure to update Snort and its rules: Neglecting to update Snort and its rules regularly can leave your network vulnerable to emerging threats. Users may encounter errors when their Snort installation is outdated and lacks the latest bug fixes, rule updates, and performance improvements. It’s essential to stay proactive and regularly update Snort itself and its rule set to ensure optimal protection against evolving security threats. Use the command sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade to update Snort and its dependencies. Use the command sudo /usr/sbin/oinkmaster -o /etc/snort/rules/ -C /etc/snort/oinkmaster.conf to update Snort’s rule set.

In Conclusion

I hope this article has provided you with a comprehensive understanding of how to install Snort on Ubuntu. I have walked you through a step-by-step guide, covering the installation process, configuring Snort, and verifying its functionality. However, it’s important to follow advanced practices and be aware of common errors, so I have discussed four common and advanced practices that you should keep in mind during installation of Snort.

To further expand your knowledge and strengthen your network security posture, consider exploring the following articles, Advanced Snort Configuration Techniques, Best Practices for Network Intrusion Prevention Systems, and Implementing Snort in a Multi-Site Environment. Remember, network security is an ongoing process that requires staying updated with the latest security trends and continuously improving your knowledge. Stay vigilant, explore further, and keep your network secure!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Snort detect and prevent all types of network intrusions?

While Snort is a powerful intrusion detection system, it cannot detect and prevent all network intrusions. Its effectiveness relies on the accuracy and relevance of its rule set. Regularly updating Snort’s rule set using tools like PulledPork or Oinkmaster is crucial to ensure it remains current with emerging threats. Additionally, staying informed about the latest security trends and vulnerabilities can help enhance network security beyond Snort’s capabilities.

Is it possible to integrate Snort with other security tools or platforms?

Yes, Snort can be integrated with other security tools and platforms, providing a comprehensive security infrastructure. Integrating SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) solutions, log analysis frameworks, or threat intelligence platforms enables better correlation, analysis, and management of security events. Consult the documentation of the tool or platform you wish to integrate Snort with for instructions and configuration details.

How can I analyze Snort logs effectively?

 Analyzing Snort logs effectively involves utilizing dedicated log analysis tools that provide advanced querying, visualization, and correlation capabilities. Two popular options are the ELK Stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana) and Splunk. These tools offer powerful log management and analysis functionalities, allowing you to search and analyze Snort logs efficiently. By leveraging their features, you can gain valuable insights into network activity, identify potential threats, and respond promptly to security incidents. Remember to follow best practices in configuring and managing your log analysis tools for optimal effectiveness.



Ojash is a skilled Linux expert and tech writer with over a decade of experience. He has extensive knowledge of Linux's file system, command-line interface, and software installations. Ojash is also an expert in shell scripting and automation, with experience in Bash, Python, and Perl. He has published numerous articles on Linux in various online publications, making him a valuable resource for both seasoned Linux users and beginners. Ojash is also an active member of the Linux community and participates in Linux forums.



Akshat is a software engineer, product designer and the co-founder of Scrutify. He's an experienced Linux professional and the senior editor of this blog. He is also an open-source contributor to many projects on Github and has written several technical guides on Linux. Apart from that, he’s also actively sharing his ideas and tutorials on Medium and Attirer. As the editor of this blog, Akshat brings his wealth of knowledge and experience to provide readers with valuable insights and advice on a wide range of Linux-related topics.

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