Podman: “desc:bad request: add_hostfwd: slirp_add_hostfwd failed”

In the past few months, on all my machines I have replaced Docker with Podman and mostly the transition has been quite smooth. There are still some rough edges here and there, but the overall experience of using Podman has been great!

However, when trying to start a very simple container, one often runs into the following issue:

$ podman run -p80:80 nginx:latest 
Error: error from slirp4netns while setting up port redirection: map[desc:bad request: add_hostfwd: slirp_add_hostfwd failed]

The error message looks very cryptic, but the issue is quite simple: As a regular user, one is typically not allowed to bind ports < 1024. So by trying to bind port 80, you will get the error above.

The fix is trivial, just use a port greater than 1024:

$ podman run -p8080:80 -d nginx:latest 
22d2be2966e9cb77246a8b698f9024de89f4e6d1a0edfe44209bbe4fd27aa8b5
$ curl localhost:8080
[..]
Welcome to nginx!
[..]

If you really need to use a port number lower than 1024, there are multiple ways to configure that:

  • Set net.ipv4.ip_unprivileged_port_start=80or similar in your sysctl
  • Add the CAP_NET_BIND_SERVICE capability to your process or user