FortiGate Next Generation Firewall utilizes purpose-built security processors and threat intelligence security services from FortiGuard labs to deliver top-rated protection and high performance, including encrypted traffic.
Article Id 240845

This article describes how to configure FortiGate with IPSec VPN implanted on or bound to the loopback interface.

Scope FortiGate v6.4, v7.0, v7.2.

Sample configuration: IPSec VPN phase 1 bounded to the loopback interface.


config vpn ipsec phase1-interface

    edit "test_VPN"

        set interface "loopback0"

        set peertype any

        set proposal aes128-sha256

        set remote-gw

        set psksecret test123



In the above configuration sample, the remote gateway (remote-gw) was stated, but the local gateway (local-gw) was not and it’s usually not mandated/enforced since FortiGate has a way of retrieving it (unlike remote-gw which is impossible for FortiGate to guess).

Whenever there is 'inbound' IKE traffic to FortiGate, the destination of such traffic is the local-gw IP.


If this IP is not expressly configured with 'set local-gw x.x.x.x', then the primary IP of the interface stated or referenced under 'IPSec phase-1 interface' configuration is used as local-gw IP.


If this local-gw is to be configured manually, it must be a primary or secondary IP on the referenced interface that was explained earlier.


Now the inbound IKE traffics are destined for the local-gw IP, however, the traffic did not come into the FortiGate through the loopback interface, but through our WAN, e.g. ISP.


The best practice when IPSec is bound to loopback is to configure inbound Firewall policy from the WAN interface to the loopback interface and permit service=IKE.




The outbound IKE traffic does not require a firewall policy.

If the FortiGate is configured as the initiator in phase 1, it will ignore the policy with the source address configured because the loopback interface will create a session from the FortiGate, and return traffic will match the session. As a result, no policy is required to pass IKE traffic. 


Since traffic initiated from a loopback interface is considered as local-out traffic, there is no option to control local-out traffic by creating a policy.

To control traffic ingressing to the FortiGate from allowed source IPs to establish an IPsec tunnel on the loopback interface, phase 1 must be configured to respond only.


config vpn ipsec phase1-interface

edit "phase1"

set interface "Loopback0"

set passive-mode enable



Also, starting from FortiOS 6.2.8, 6.4.9, and 7.0 upward, it is possible to enable asymmetric routing on the loopback interface.

See this article for more details.


It is necessary to know whether the FortiOS version running on the unit supports NPU offload on the loopback interface or not. Refer to this article regarding NPU loopback offload support.


If this is not carefully planned it can result in poor/suboptimal performance (for traffic over the tunnel).