Is Port Forwarding Safe?
Have you heard about how opening ports can speed up your gaming? Is this true? In this article, we will answer all these questions and explain everything you need to know about port forwarding.
What is Port Forwarding?
Whether you have heard about port forwarding or not, we will try to answer this question in simpler words. Port Forwarding allows computers over the internet to connect to a computer or server within a private home network. This makes your computer accessible to another computer through your network, which is being used to filter traffic to multiple devices on your network. But through port forwarding, you specify that your PC gets traffic to certain ports of your choosing, and your Xbox gets traffic to other ports, and the list goes on.
For instance, if your friend that is not on your LAN (Local Area Network) wants to control your computer remotely, then he or she needs to create a remote desktop connection and sends the request to your computer with a specific port number. The port number is a unique identifier that is used for services to exchange information. In this case, the remote desktop connection uses port numbers, such as 3389, to forward requests.
However, your router must be configured to know where to forward the request for port 3389. Your friend cannot connect to your computer if the router doesn’t know what to do with the incoming request. This is where port forwarding comes in.
Real-Life Example of Port Forwarding
Let’s say you call a company and want to talk to the sales department only. The auto-attendant will ask your request and tell you to press a specific number like 100 to connect your phone to the sales department. The phone has done the job by redirecting your call to the sales department.
Likewise, your network works in the same way. In a network, your friend contacts you through an external IP address and sends a request to the router. The router will send or receive the request to your IP address that has been previously configured for port forwarding.
The router will only consider the port number and send the request to the computer. In a network, the IP address is similar to a phone number, and the port number is similar to an extension. The router represents the phone, and the computers within the network represent different extensions or departments.
Port numbers are always associated with an IP address, and they have a unique identifier number. An IP address has a purpose, but it uses the port number to determine what the purpose is, whether using a remote desktop or using the HTTPS page. Port numbers range from 0 to 65535.
Is Port Forwarding Safe for Me?
Port forwarding allows external computers to connect to your computer within a private network. This does sound secure because you are configuring the router and feeding it a specific port number. Forwarding a port to a PlayStation or Xbox is safe. Port forwarding a security camera or computer is also safe but has low reliability. Your computer is safe from external threats while port forwarding if you are using Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8, or 10. Why do you ask? They have in-built firewalls for safe port forwarding.
Below, we will answer which devices are safe for port forwarding.
- Xbox: Safe
- PlayStation: Safe
- Computer: Safe but low risk of threats. Hackers and ISPs can intrude on your computer too if you are opening ports and allowing external devices to connect.
- Security Camera: Safe but low risk of threats. Hackers can also penetrate your security camera in this way because you are opening ports.
How to Configure Port Forwarding on your Router
In this section, we will explain how to configure your router for sending the incoming requests directly to your computer. Always remember that different brands have different configuration pages so don’t worry about the interface. Below, find a short guide on how to forward ports on your router:
- On your web browser, enter the IP address of the router.
- Enter the admin credentials.
- Search for the Port Forwarding or Forwarding section.
- Click on Configure Port Forwarding.
- Enter the IP address of your device in the right box.
- In the boxes, add the TCP and UDP ports.
- Once done, simply restart your router.
How to Check the IP address on your Router:
If you don’t know how to check the IP address of your router from your PC, phone, or tablet, then do this:
- Type Control Panel from the search bar.
- Open the Control Panel.
- On the Network and Internet category, choose “View network status and tasks”.
- Click the name of your internet connection.
- Now choose Ethernet > Details.
- The IPV4 Default Gateway is your router’s IP address.
Do Modern Gamers Forward Ports?
Some gamers forward ports to create a stable connection with a server. For instance, if you are a gamer who wants to use a P2P server to install files or updates, then port forwarding can connect your computer or console directly to the game server. Also, forwarding ports is best for you if you want to send or receive files from your friend’s computer. In this way, you can play any game on a separate server.
Using a VPN for Port Forwarding
To make a long story short, there are some risks of port forwarding. If you are opening ports, then you are opening direct lines for hackers and malware attacks in a way. That’s why you must take safety precautions when you are port forwarding devices. This is where a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, becomes helpful.
Using PureVPN for forwarding ports is safe because you are building a secure internet connection between two devices with an added security layer. Plus, you can encrypt internet traffic with a VPN connection on your network, and hackers won’t easily penetrate the devices. Also, you can install games and torrents faster with a VPN connection as they offer P2P servers.
The Bottom Line is
Port Forwarding is not that risky because it relies on your network safety and the targeted ports that you are using. The whole process is actually safe as long as you have a security firewall or a VPN connection on your computer or network.We hope this article will help you stay safe on the internet and play games with your friends on a private home network.