What is Port Forwarding

What is Port Forwarding? How to Setup Port Forwarding over VPN?

Port Forwarding is an important feature which allows you to access a device or server from anywhere.

Considering the importance of this feature, PureVPN has released a Port-Forwarding add-on which allows you to use Port Forwarding and PureVPN simultaneously.

To fully understand this add-on, you’ll need to learn how Port Forwarding works.

What Is Port Forwarding?

Port forwarding, or port mapping as it is often referred to, is a technique which is widely used to redirect computer signals (ports) between LAN computers (Local network), and remote computers (Internet).

To simplify, Port Forwarding feature is helpful if you need to access an internet-connected device or service from anywhere in the world.

Port forwarding, or Port Mapping, is a behind-the-scenes process of intercepting data traffic heading for a computer’s IP combination and redirecting it to a different IP. Usually, a VPN or proxy program is used to cause this redirection, but it can also be done via hardware components such as a router, proxy server, or firewall.

This allows you to send requests across servers on the internet without other people knowing the original location or IP address of these requests, which guarantees your privacy on the internet.

Types Of Port Forwarding

Port Forwarding, or Port Mapping, exists in several forms. The most commonly used forms are mentioned below:

Local Port Forwarding

Local port forwarding is the most commonly used compared to other types of port forwarding. It is usually employed to send data from a different client application on the same system. With Local Port Forwarding, you can connect from your local computer to another server easily. You can also bypass firewalls that are blocking certain web pages by using local port forwarding.

Remote Port Forwarding

Remote port forwarding enables applications which are on the server side of Secure Shell (SSH) connection to access services on the SSH’s client side. There are other proprietary tunneling schemes as well that utilize remote port forwarding for the same general purpose.

In simple words, remote port forwarding lets you connect from the server side of a tunnel to a remote network service which is located at the tunnel’s client side.

Dynamic Port Forwarding

Dynamic Port Forwarding lets you traverse through a firewall or NAT by using firewall pinholes. The goal of this method is to allow clients to connect securely with a trusted server which is acting as an intermediary for sending/receiving data to one or many destination servers.

How Does Port Forwarding Work?

To send any request over the internet, packets of data are created and sent over the internet. These packets contain the details of your request, which also includes the destination of your computer or device.

Normally, a network router examines the header of an IP packet before sending it to any linked and appropriate interface. It, in turn, then sends the data to the destination that’s in the header.

But Port forwarding changes things a bit. In port forwarding, the intercepting application (your VPN client) reads the packet header, notes down the destination, and then rewrites the header information before sending it to another computer or server—one which is different from the computer/server you intended.

That secondary host destination may be a different server using a different IP address, a different port, or a completely different combination of the two. In case of a VPN or proxy, this secondary destination are usually the servers employed by the provider which mask or cover your original IP address.

A Look At Port forwarding

The following example will help in explaining how the port forwarding feature works.

In the following example, IP Address 101.0.0.1 sends a request to 101.0.0.3 on Port 90. An intermediary host—101.0.0.2—intercepts the packets, rewrites the packet headers and sends them on to IP Address 101.0.0.4 on Port 9090:

101.0.0.1–>101.0.0.2–>101.0.0.4
Makes a request toActually sends to
101.0.0.3:90101.0.0.4:9090

The host, 101.0.0.4, responds to this request, sending it to 101.0.0.2. Then 101.0.0.2 rewrites the packet—indicating that the response is from 101.0.0.3—and sends it to 101.0.0.1:

101.0.0.4–>101.0.0.2–>101.0.0.1
Sends its response toForwards the response to
101.0.0.2:9090101.0.0.1:90

As far as 101.0.0.1 is concerned, it has sent a request to 101.0.0.3 on Port 90 and has received a response back from 101.0.0.3 on Port 90. But this isn’t what actually happened. The traffic never really touched 101.0.0.3. But, because of the way the packets were rewritten, 101.0.0.1 sees that it has gotten a response from 101.0.0.3.

The perceived destination is always from the perspective of the requesting computer. As you can see in the diagram: despite 101.0.0.4 becoming the real-time destination for traffic from 101.0.0.1, the destination for all traffic (as far as the requesting host knows) is 101.0.0.3.

You can learn more about how Port forwarding works via the video below:

Use Cases Of Port Forwarding

Port Forwarding feature comes in pretty handy in lots of stuff that we do at home or at work. The following are some important use cases of Port Forwarding:

  • Accessing your security cameras when you are away
  • Forwarding ports to both Xbox and PlayStation consoles
  • Setting up a server at your home, such as Minecraft or Teamviewer
  • Speeding up torrent downloads
  • Finding your router on your network
  • Optimizing your router
  • Testing ports on your network
  • Recover lost router passwords
  • Port forwarding lets you access your PC, laptop or server from anywhere in the world.
  • It lets you share access to your website/FTP or any other service.
  • It lets you play an online game with your friends by allowing your friends to join your gaming server.
  • To email clients in a secure manner.
  • To access restricted websites from anywhere.
  • To connect with hosting servers through a firewall at datacenter level from anywhere.
  • To enhance resistance against DDoS Attacks.
  • For Torrenting purposes.
  • To get Remote Access (RDP).
  • To access private networked applications behind NAT for remote access.
  • To connect with Fantasy Grounds from various routers.
  • To access services on a Synology NAS.
  • To access services on a Plex.

Is Port Forwarding Safe?

A big problem with the manual setup of Port forwarding feature via your router is that your online communications are not as safe as you think they are. There are plenty of vulnerabilities that come across those who use Port forwarding without any added security measures in place.

How do I enable Port Forwarding on my VPN?

Are you having trouble getting your favorite multiplayer games or chat program to connect to the Internet? Does your tablet’s Web browser fail despite being connected to a Wi-Fi network? Your problem may be a blocked port on your router, and that’s easy to fix.

Your router stands between your devices and the Internet, making sure that any data coming in and going out is directed properly.

Imagine your router as a wall that keeps out unwanted and harmful traffic while opening ports to permit useful traffic such as Web pages, games, and file-sharing programs. Ports are like doors in the wall reserved only for useful traffic, and your router does a good job of automatically configuring most of the ports you need to safely use the Internet.

In some cases, however, you need to tell your router to open up a certain port so a program won’t be blocked. This is where you’ll need PureVPN’s Port forwarding feature.

Get PureVPN

Port Forwarding With PureVPN Add-on

There are many reasons why you’ll need PureVPN’s port forwarding add-on. It’s a known fact that VPNs and Port Forwarding don’t usually work together. If you want to use Port Forwarding, you will have to turn off your VPN service. But this will expose you to online threats of all kinds.

This is where PureVPN’s port forwarding add-on comes in. Using this add-on will let you use Port Forwarding and PureVPN simultaneously.

Similarly, Port forwarding does not work on your PC. But with PureVPN add-on, it will work on your PC as well.

Benefits Of Using PureVPN And Port Forwarding Simultaneously

  • Privacy & Security

Port forwarding is an excellent way to preserve the privacy of your public IP addresses. In a world where hacking and surveillance are pretty common, it is necessary for netizens to employ measures which keep their original IP address hidden.

Hackers or surveillance agencies can find a lot about you if they manage to trace your IP address. They’ll be able to track your browsing activities and have your browsing history at their disposal. They may also be able to hack into your browsers directly or monitor any emails, messages, or content you send via your network.

Port forwarding protects you from all these hassles. Your devices and servers remain protected from unwanted access, while your activities remain hidden from all kinds of spies and hackers. Port forwarding is transparent to the end user, while it adds an extra layer of security to networks.

  • A Single Dedicated IP Address

Similarly, port forwarding is beneficial for those who want to stick to a single IP address when using the internet. These can be entrepreneurs or people working for a corporate entity. They usually subscribe to a dedicated IP via a VPN provider and utilize the port forwarding feature to connect with that particular unique IP address.

Port forwarding is also useful for those who want to run a Web server or gaming server on a single network. Those wishing to connect to this network can easily do so via the port forwarding feature.

PureVPN gives you access to Port Forwarding feature while also ensuring that you remain safe in the process. Any data that you send to and from your device remains 100% protected and safe. And no matter how hard a hacker tries, your online communications remain hidden and secure with the best encryption methods.

Get PureVPN

So what are you waiting for? Try PureVPN now and use Port Forwarding without being exposed to its vulnerabilities.

Port Forwarding FAQs

Is my port open?

You can check if your port is open or not through port checking services like CanYouSeeMe.org and ismyportopen.com.

What is the difference between port forwarding and port triggering?

As you may know already, some applications and games require certain ports to be opened to function successfully. Port forwarding and port triggering can both be used for allowing devices to access services outside the network. However, their processes are slightly different.

Port forwarding allows external connections for an indefinite period of time, so it’s considered less safe as the ports are left open on the router. Port triggering, however, allows external connections for a specific period of time, thereby making it more secure and flexible than its counterpart.

How to port forward on public WiFi?

If you want to use port forwarding on any connection type, you must first know username and password for accessing the router’s settings. Since it’s very unlikely that you are going to have the credentials for a public WiFi network, you won’t be able to make it through all the steps mentioned in our guide to setting up port forwarding on a router.

Sheheryar Ahmed Khan is a privacy enthusiast, currently affiliated with PureVPN. His reporting covers subjects related to online privacy, anonymity, and security. Also a believer in online freedom, Sheheryar likes to spend his free time streaming football matches and TV shows online.

Join 3 million+ users to embrace internet freedom

Signup for PureVPN to get complete online security and privacy with a hidden IP address and encrypted internet traffic.

Shares