How to Forward or Open Ports on Your Router?

You’ll have to “forward” or “open” ports on your router for some games or programs to work. That’s because while some ports are open by default on your router, others are closed and can only be used if you manually forward them.

In the following paragraphs, we’ll show you just how to go about this, but before we do…

What are ports, exactly?

You probably already have an idea of how networks work. Each device has an IP address and there are two types of IP addresses: private (or internal) and public (or external). A private IP address is used in internal networks, whereas a public IP address is accessible to the outside world.

When you request information from the Internet, the public IP address of your router is sent along with the private IP address of your device. However, this raises an all-important question: how does the requested information reach the right device within the network?

This is made possible due to a process known as Network Address Translation (NAT). Basically, it occurs at the transport and network layers, where the flow of network traffic is routed through the router so that multiple devices behind it can share a single public IP address.

As a result, users can request web sites at the same time and it will all be directed to the intended device. So, where do ports come in here? Well, a good analogy is to think of them like extensions on a phone system.

In simple terms, they ensure a computer or mobile device knows which application the data packets are destined for by looking at the port number. There are 65,536 ports available for use in UDP or TCP and some of them have pre-assigned uses.

Take, for instance, port 80 is used to access HTTP websites. You can view the full list of port numbers and their uses here. Then there are also other ports that don’t have any specific applications and can be used for whatever purpose you want.

Why you need to forward ports?

By default, some ports are blocked on modern day routers. This is a great security feature because malicious requests are prevented from reaching the core processes that may be running on your computer. However, at the same time, this can also result in problems for applications that need information sent back to them from the Internet – the router will simply block them.

If you want to allow information to be sent to an internal computer from the Internet side, you will have to tell your router to forward a certain port. As a result, when the router receives a packet intended for a specified port, it’s gets forwarded to a specified local computer. But configuring port forwarding manually each time can prove a hassle, and so UPnP was developed.

Universal Plug and Play automatically handles the process of port forwarding and works fine for the most part. There are, however, some instances where it will let you down or might be disabled on your router for security purposes. Either way, in this scenario you have no other option but to manually forward the ports.

Things to consider before manual router configuration

Now that you know what are ports and why you may want to use port forwarding, there are a few things you should keep in mind before configuring your router:

What is Port Forwarding & How does Port Forwarding Work?

1.    Assign a static IP address to the device

First of all, it’s important to realize that your port forwarding rules won’t apply if you assign them to devices using dynamic IPs. Why? Because if you create a port forwarding rule saying your game server is on a particular IP address, and then it’s given a new IP by your router, other players would not be able to connect to it.

To avoid that, you’ll need to assign a static IP address to each and every device you’re trying to port forward to. You can do so by delving into your router’s settings, but if you don’t like the hassle you can always subscribe to PureVPN’s Dedicated IP add-on – an extensive pool of static IPs are offered from 8 different countries!

2.    Know your public IP address

Besides using static IPs for the relevant devices within your network, you must also be aware of your public IP address. You can easily find it by typing “What is my IP” on Google when you’re connected to your home network. Though it’s possible to have the same external IP for a few months, or even a year, it can change unless your ISP has explicitly given you a public IP address that’s static.

RELATED: How to Find Your IP Address on Any Device?

This means that you can’t rely on giving your numeric IP address to a friend, and neither should you expect things to work when typing that IP address into the remote access tool you’re using. In this case, you can opt for setting up a dynamic DNS service with your network at home so that you have a memorable address such as harisshahidhomeserver.dynu.net.

3.    Review local firewall settings

Once you have successfully set up port forwarding on your router by using a VPN, the next important thing to consider is taking a look at the firewall settings of your computer as well. Mind you, we came across many questions from frustrated users about port forwarding not working for them at all during the time of writing this article.

And in most cases, the problem existed because in spite of configuring the port forwarding rules correctly on the router, the user ignored the firewall request. Therefore, if your computer has a local firewall or anti-virus solution with firewall protection, you’ll most likely have to confirm the connection set up by you is okay.

Setup Port Forwarding on your Router

You’ve assigned the device a static IP address and also know what your public IP address is. Now, you can proceed to access your router and set up port forwarding. The process will vary slightly depending upon the brand of router you’re using.

However, to give you a better idea of how to go about it, we’ve covered the steps to set up port forwarding manually on some of the most commonly used router options. So without further ado, let’s take a look at how you can set up port forwarding on:

Asus Router

To set up port forwarding on your Asus router, all you have to do is follow the steps mentioned in this guide on how to port forward on Asus.

Belkin Router

If you want to set up port forwarding on your Belkin router, follow the steps mentioned in this guide on how to port forward on Belkin.

TP-Link Router

To set up port forwarding on your TP-Link router, all you have to do is follow the steps mentioned in this guide on how to port forward on TP-Link.

Draytek Router

If you want to set up port forwarding on your Draytek router, follow the steps mentioned in this guide on how to port forward on Draytek.

Dovado Router

To set up port forwarding on your Dovado router, all you have to do is follow the steps mentioned in this guide on how to port forward on Dovado.

Once you’ve set up port forwarding on your router, the final step is to check whether or not it’s working correctly. There are a variety of port checker tools that you can use, such as FreePortScanner, PortChecker.co, Advanced Port Scanner, and NetworkAppers.

How to Port Forward using a VPN

PureVPN to the rescue!

If you want to avoid the hassle of setting up port forwarding manually and/or the security concerns that arise with its use, PureVPN has got you covered. The first-of-its-kind Port Forwarding add-on allows you to use port forwarding and VPN simultaneously, making secure and seamless communication with any device or server a reality!

PureVPN Port Forwarding Add-on

The following are some benefits of using PureVPN’s Port Forwarding add-on:

  • Speed up your uploads/downloads.
  • Access your laptop or desktop remotely from anywhere.
  • Open specific ports for programs, multiplayer games, etc.
  • Improve online gaming performance.
  • Stay protected against various threats when forwarding ports – and more!

Get Port Forwarding VPN & Open All Ports for any Purpose

Final word

And with that, we’ve come to the end of this guide! Hopefully, by now, you’ll have a better understanding of how to forward ports on your router, regardless of its make or model. With our port forwarding add-on though, you can rid yourself of the tedious process of manual configuration and open the ports you want with absolute ease.

If you face any issues with setting up port forwarding on your router, feel free to use the comments section below and we’d be more than happy to get back to you.

Haris Shahid has a genuine passion in covering the latest happenings in the cyber security, privacy, and digital landscape. He likes getting out and about, but mostly ends up spending too much of his time behind a computer keyboard. He tweets at @harisshahid01

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