Bastion Host

What Does Bastion Host Mean?

A bastion host is a specialized computer that is deliberately exposed on a public network. From a secured network perspective, it is the only node exposed to the outside world and is therefore very prone to attack. It is placed outside the firewall in single firewall systems or, if a system has two firewalls, it is often placed between the two firewalls or on the public side of a demilitarized zone (DMZ).

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The bastion host processes and filters all incoming traffic and prevents malicious traffic from entering the network, acting much like a gateway. The most common examples of bastion hosts are mail, domain name system, Web and File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers. Firewalls and routers can also become bastion hosts.

Techopedia Explains Bastion Host

The bastion host node is usually a very powerful server with improved security measures and custom software. It often hosts only a single application because it needs to be very good at what it does. The software is usually customized, proprietary and not available to the public. This host is designed to be the strong point in the network to protect the system behind it. Therefore, it often undergoes regular maintenance and audit. Sometimes bastion hosts are used to draw attacks so that the source of the attacks may be traced.

To maintain the security of bastion hosts, all unnecessary software, daemons and users are removed. The operating system is continually updated with the latest security updates and an intrusion detection system is installed.

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.