Going from the Hetzner Rescue System to Proxmox with only 1 IP, full DHCP, no KVM Console access and port forwarding all in one easy to follow guide


    • A SSH Client (we used Tabby)

1.3 (21st Feb 2024)
Published Date:
8th February 2024


Here is a guide to show you how to go from the Hetzner Rescue System to Proxmox with a subnet for your VM's with automatic DHCP all without needing additional IP addresses or additional "router" virtual machines. We will even explain how your can portforward some ports to specific VM's if required.


  • A Hetzner dedicated server (we used a AX41-NVME) some others may work but may need additional tweaks to hardware indentifiers
  • A VNC Client (we used RealVNC)
  • A SSH Client (we used Tabby but you can use PuTTY or OpenSSH or the built in SSH client)

Preparing the server

Once you have access to your Hetzner server, you need to activate the rescue system, to do this visit https://robot.hetzner.com/server and then select your server.

Select Rescue and press activate (leave the default set), you will now be told your root password, note this down.

image 1

The server won't yet be in Rescue mode, you will need to Reset the server, to do this select Reset and then Execute an automatic hardware reset .

image 2

The server will now boot in to Hetzner's rescue system.

Installing Proxmox

Now that the server is in the rescue system we need to SSH in to the server using the IP of the server and root password you saved earlier, use SSH or PuTTY or Tabby or any other SSH client to access the server via SSH.

ssh root@<SERVER_IP>
image 3

Downloading Proxmox VE

In the Rescue System enter the following commands to retrieve the latest Proxmox VE ISO

ISO_VERSION=$(curl -s 'http://download.proxmox.com/iso/' | grep -oP 'proxmox-ve_(\d+.\d+-\d).iso' | sort -V | tail -n1)
curl $ISO_URL -o /tmp/proxmox-ve.iso

Acquire Network Configuration

Enter the following commands to save variables containing the network interface name, IP address, CIDR and gateway

INTERFACE_NAME=$(udevadm info -q property /sys/class/net/eth0 | grep "ID_NET_NAME_PATH=" | cut -d'=' -f2)
IP_CIDR=$(ip addr show eth0 | grep "inet\b" | awk '{print $2}')
GATEWAY=$(ip route | grep default | awk '{print $3}')
IP_ADDRESS=$(echo "$IP_CIDR" | cut -d'/' -f1)
CIDR=$(echo "$IP_CIDR" | cut -d'/' -f2)

Initiate QEMU and start the Proxmox installation

Now we will use QEMU to create a virtual machine to allow us to install Proxmox from the downloaded ISO

# Get the primary and secondary disks
PRIMARY_DISK=$(lsblk -dn -o NAME,SIZE,TYPE -e 1,7,11,14,15 | sed -n 1p | awk '{print $1}')
SECONDARY_DISK=$(lsblk -dn -o NAME,SIZE,TYPE -e 1,7,11,14,15 | sed -n 2p | awk '{print $1}')

# Kick off QEMU with CDROM
qemu-system-x86_64 -daemonize -enable-kvm -m 10240 -k en-us \
-hda /dev/$PRIMARY_DISK \
-hdb /dev/$SECONDARY_DISK \
-cdrom /tmp/proxmox-ve.iso -boot d -vnc :0,password -monitor telnet:,server,nowait

Replace "-k en-us" with your keyboard layout if required

Now set a password for VNC with the following command, replace <VNC_PASSWORD> with your desired password

# Set VNC password
echo "change vnc password <VNC_PASSWORD>" | nc -q 1 4444

Connect your VNC Viewer (RealVNC for example) to your <SERVER_IP>:5900 and enter the password you set in the previous step

image 6

Installing Proxmox via the GUI

Once connected select Install Proxmox VE (Graphical), you will see a message saying "No support for hardware-accelerated KVM virtualization detected" this is safe to ignore as it's because we are running it via QEMU at this time. Click OK to continue.

image 7

Agree to the license terms

For the example i configured the disks to use ZFS (RAID1) but this is entirely up to you based on your needs.

image 25

Enter your Country, Time zone and Keyboard Layout

Enter your desired root password and email address. We would recommend using a simple password for now, some symbols may break the bash commands below

Leave the network settings as default

Untick "Automatically reboot after successful installation" and press Install

image 8 1024x637 1

Once installation is complete, do not press Reboot, instead go back to the SSH terminal and enter the following command to close QEMU

# Stop QEMU
printf "quit\n" | nc 4444

Now we need to configure QEMU again but this time to boot from the internal drive and not from our Proxmox ISO

# Kick off QEMU without CDROM
qemu-system-x86_64 -daemonize -enable-kvm -m 10240 -k en-us \
-hda /dev/$PRIMARY_DISK \
-hdb /dev/$SECONDARY_DISK \
-vnc :0,password -monitor telnet:,server,nowait \
-net user,hostfwd=tcp::2222-:22 -net nic

Now set a password for VNC again with the following command, replace <VNC_PASSWORD> with your desired password

# Set VNC password
echo "change vnc password <VNC_PASSWORD>" | nc -q 1 4444

Connect back to the server with your VNC Client, <SERVER_IP>:5900 and wait for the system to boot.

image 10

Once Proxmox has booted return to the SSH client and install sshpass

apt-get -y install sshpass

Next we need to configure the network interfaces to work correctly once you reboot to baremetal Proxmox.

Enter the following commands replacing <ROOT_PASSWORD> with the password you set for root during the Proxmox GUI installation

cat > /tmp/proxmox_network_config << EOF
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

iface $INTERFACE_NAME inet manual

auto vmbr0
iface vmbr0 inet static
  address $IP_ADDRESS/$CIDR
  gateway $GATEWAY
  bridge_ports $INTERFACE_NAME
  bridge_stp off
  bridge_fd 0

# transfer the network configuration file to Proxmox VE system
sshpass -p "<ROOT_PASSWORD>" scp -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no -P 2222 /tmp/proxmox_network_config root@localhost:/etc/network/interfaces

# update the nameserver
sshpass -p "<ROOT_PASSWORD>" ssh -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no -p 2222 root@localhost "sed -i 's/nameserver.*/nameserver' /etc/resolv.conf"

Now we can inform QEMU to gracefully shutdown the VM with the following commands

printf "system_powerdown\n" | nc 4444

We are now ready to boot directly to Proxmox, restart the server so it exits the Rescue System and continue to the next section of this tutorial.

shutdown -r now

Configuring Proxmox

Now you should be able to access Proxmox from your browser using your https://<SERVER_IP>:8006

image 11

Running the community Proxmox VE Post Install script

From the web UI select your host on the left and click "Shell" at the top right.

From the shell window run the following command

bash -c "$(wget -qLO - https://github.com/tteck/Proxmox/raw/main/misc/post-pve-install.sh)"

This is the Post Install script made by tteck

It is used to tweak proxmox including removing the subscription nag, configuring community repo's etc.

At the prompt type "y" to start the script

image 13

Say "yes" to correcting Proxmox VE sources

Say "yes" to disabling the "pve-enterprise" repository (unless you have a license)

Say "yes" to enabling the "pve-no-subscription" repository (unless you have a license)

Say "yes" to correcting the 'ceph package sources (unless you have a license)

Say "yes" or "no" to adding the "pvetest" repository (user decision)

Say "yes" to disabling the subscription nag (unless you have a license)

Say "no" to disabling high availability unless you don't require it

Say "yes" to updating Proxmox

Say "yes" to rebooting Proxmox (not always needed, but you may aswell)

Preparing for SDN functionality

Now to make use of DHCP in the SDN section we need to install dnsmasq and disable the default dnsmasq server, to do this enter the following commands

apt update
apt -y install dnsmasq
# disable default instance
systemctl disable --now dnsmasq

Now we need to make sure our /etc/network/interfaces file contains the following line at the bottom

source /etc/network/interfaces.d/*

type the following command to check

cat /etc/network/interfaces

If you see source /etc/network/interfaces.d/* you can skip the following command, otherwise enter this command to add it to the interfaces file

image 17
printf "\n\nsource /etc/network/interfaces.d/*" >> /etc/network/interfaces

Creating the SDN (Virtual Network)

Now back in the UI navigate to Datacenter > SDN > Zones

image 18

Create a simple zone and give it a name (we named ours 'demo') (it has to be lowercase and can't be very long)

image 19

Make sure to tick the Advanced checkbox and then check automatic DHCP

Next navigate to SDN > VNets and create a new VNet, name it whatever you like, we named ours vnet0, make sure to select the zone you created in the previous step from the Zone dropdown.

image 20

Next click the newly created VNet and on the right hand side create a new Subnet

Enter your desired Subnet, Gateway and DHCP Range, Make sure to also check the SNAT option to allow for the VM's to have internet connectivity via SNAT.

image 21
image 22

For our example we used as the subnet, as the gateway and a DHCP range of to

Now to activate this newly created SDN we must go back to the SDN section and click Apply.

image 23

Once you click Apply you should see some information in the IPAM section, this is where you can manage DHCP reservations etc.

image 24

Congratulations your SDN is now created however we need to configure the firewall to allow the DHCP and DNS requests from the new VNet

Configuring the PVE Firewall


As mentioned previously if you enable the firewall the VM/CT's will be unable to contact the DHCP server for a DHCP lease, to resolve this we add the following firewall rules.

You can either do this at the host or datacenter level. depending on your choice select the Firewall option under Datacenter > Firewall or Hostname > Firewall

However before we add the rules for DNS and DHCP, we need to make sure that we don't lose access to the SSH or Web interfaces since we are working remote. enabling the Firewall will lock us out.

So lets add a rule for SSH and 8006, for now we will keep it to all IP's but you should consider locking this down to specific IP's in the future (this can be done from the IPSet section of the UI and then setting the IPSet as the Source).

To enable SSH Access add the following rule,

Direction: IN, Action: ACCEPT, Macro: SSH and make sure the enable checkbox is checked.

image 33

To enable Web UI access add the following rule,

Direction: IN, Action: ACCEPT, Protocol: TCP, Dest. port: 8006 and make sure the enable checkbox is checked.

image 34

To enable DHCP add the following rule,
Direction: IN, Action: ACCEPT, Interface <vnet0> (enter the interface name you set earlier), Macro: DHCPfwd and make sure the enable checkbox is checked.

image 27

To enable DNS add the following rule,
Direction: IN, Action: ACCEPT, Interface <vnet0> (enter the interface name you set earlier), Macro: DNS and make sure the enable checkbox is checked.

image 26

Once these rules are added you can enable the Firewall, if you lose connection something has gone wrong and you will need to get KVM access from Hetzner and type pve-firewall stop in to the terminal

Testing the connectivity

Now we can create a CT to test the network connectivity.

From the UI navigate to the "local" storage on the left and select CT Templates and then press the Templates button, download a test template such as Debian 11 or 12

image 28

Once the template has downloaded create a new CT from the blue button at the top right.

Configure it how you wish but make sure for network you select the VNet you created earlier as the bridge and set IPv4 to DHCP not Static for us this was vnet0.

image 29

Start the CT, if all has gone to plan you should get a DHCP lease and be able to access the internet

image 31
This image is taken from another of our servers hence the IP being 10.10.10.x not 10.0.0.x

You should also be able to see it in SDN > IPAM

image 32
This image is taken from another of our servers hence the IP being 10.10.10.x not 10.0.0.x

Port forwarding

Depending on your use case you may need to make some of the ports on your VM's publically accessible, such as HTTP (80) and HTTPS (443), unfortunately there is no GUI way to do this so we need to drop down to a shell once more.

Enter the Proxmox shell from the top right of the UI or via SSH

Enter the following command replacing <ServerIP> with your Server's public IP, <SPort> with your Source Port, <DPort> with your Destination Port (usually the same as SPort) and <VMIP> with the IP of your VM/CT that you wish to port forward to.

iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -p tcp -d <ServerIP> --dport <SPort> -i vmbr0 -j DNAT --to-destination <VMIP>:<DPort>

For Example, to forward 443 and 80 to a VM with the IP i would do the following

iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -p tcp -d --dport 443 -i vmbr1 -j DNAT --to-destination
iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -p tcp -d --dport 80 -i vmbr1 -j DNAT --to-destination

Once this is done you should be able to access your port from the public IP, for my example i am running Nginx on port 80 so if i visit i can see the "Welcome" page.


Persisting the port forward

The previous step added iptable rules to enable port forwarding, however these will not survive a reboot. there are many ways to make sure these rules persist a reboot, the method we will use is adding these commands to the post-up of the network interface.

You can edit the SDN interfaces file using nano, we will be editing the file to add a post-up command.

nano /etc/network/interfaces.d/sdn

You will see there are already post-up commands, we will simply add another 1 (or many if you have multiple ports to forward), simple use the same command you entered in the previous section but prepend post-up, so for example i would enter the following

post-up iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -p tcp -d --dport 443 -i vmbr1 -j DNAT --to-destination
post-ip iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -p tcp -d --dport 80 -i vmbr1 -j DNAT --to-destination

My file would then look like this

auto vnet0
iface vnet0
        post-up iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -s '' -o vmbr0 -j SNAT --to-source
        post-down iptables -t nat -D POSTROUTING -s '' -o vmbr0 -j SNAT --to-source
        post-up iptables -t raw -I PREROUTING -i fwbr+ -j CT --zone 1
        post-down iptables -t raw -D PREROUTING -i fwbr+ -j CT --zone 1
        post-up iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -p tcp -d --dport 443 -i vmbr1 -j DNAT --to-destination
        post-up iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -p tcp -d --dport 80 -i vmbr1 -j DNAT --to-destination
        bridge_ports none
        bridge_stp off
        bridge_fd 0
        ip-forward on

Press CTRL + X, then Y and press enter to save and exit the file.

(technically you should add a post-down rule with the same command but with -D instead of -A but this isn't super important)

Congratulations you have completed the guide and now have Proxmox fully up and running with a single IP, with full DHCP, Internet connectivity and port forwarding all without having to request console access to Hetzner.


This guide was written by CyanLabs but a large amount of information was found around the web, we simply combined it all.

All credits for the QEMU steps go to gushmazuko on github.

Thanks to the Proxmox team for helping with a troubleshooting issue we were having.

If this guide has helped you please consider donating to inspire us to write more guides!

Version 1.3

Added suggestions from SoulB3at on Reddit to specify a keyboard layout and to use a simple password (temporarily) to prevent complications with some symbols and bash.

Version 1.2

Fixed a couple typos in the text (commands remain the same)

Version 1.1

Added information about potentially locking your self out of Web and SSH after enabling the firewall

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