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What is Port Forwarding? | How to Forward Ports?

Port Forwarding, an application of Network Address Translation (NAT), and an important feature that allows you to access a device, server, or service from anywhere in the world. In simple terms, it will enable users to create dedicated servers, run different types of services, and much more.

Considering the significance of this feature, PureVPN developed the powerful port-forwarding add-on, which allows users to forward any ports while using the VPN network simultaneously.

To fully understand this add-on and it’s benefits, read the complete guide.

what is port forwarding

What is port forwarding used for?

It is a technique that is widely used to redirect computer traffic through selected ports between LAN computers (Local network), and remote computers (Internet).

In short, it is a process that allows you to send your network traffic through a port number of your choice and make it accessible for others on the local network or the Internet.

Usually, a VPN or proxy program is used to make this redirection. Still, it can also be done via hardware components such as a router, proxy server, or a firewall.

Learn about What is Port Number?

Types Of Port Forwarding

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

Local Port Forwarding

It 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 get around firewalls that are blocking certain web pages by using local port forwarding.

Remote Port Forwarding

It enables applications that 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, it 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

It 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 it 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 the 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.

how nat works

How to set up Port Forwarding

Finding and opening ports on your router is easy. Follow the steps:

  1. Locate your router's IP address.
  2. Head over to your router's settings.
  3. Enter your credentials (username and password).
  4. Look around for the Port Forwarding tab.
  5. Open your preferred port. For example, type 8840 to open port 8840. If you want to open two ports, type 8840, 8820, or 8810-8815 to open ports from 8810 to 8815.
  6. Save your settings.
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A Look At Port forwarding

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

In the following example, IP Address 101.0.0.1 sends a request to 101.0.0.3 on Port 80. 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 8080:

101.0.0.1–>101.0.0.2–>101.0.0.4
Makes a request toActually sends to
101.0.0.3:80101.0.0.4:8080


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
101.0.0.2:8080101.0.0.1:80


As far as 101.0.0.1 is concerned, it has sent a request to 101.0.0.3 on Port 80 and has received a response back from 101.0.0.3 on Port 80. 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 the 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:

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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:

  • 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 downloads.
  • To access services on a Plex.
  • To access services on a Synology NAS.
  • To connect with Fantasy Grounds from various routers.
  • To access private networked applications behind NAT for remote access.
  • It 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 get Remote Access (RDP).
  • To connect with hosting servers through a firewall at datacenter level from anywhere.
  • To enhance resistance against DDoS Attacks.
  • For p2p purposes.

Port Forwarding and Cybersecurity?

Port forwarding has both pros and cons. Whereas, it maintains your digital presence safety by providing your private IP information to the only users with the right port "key". Also, it may help hiding your public IP Address from those who want to spy on your activity.

However, there are some cybersecurity risks. Setup of port forwarding provides entry into your private IP from the broader internet. At the same time, it's possible that someone untrustworthy could find your port forwarding protocol and spy or steal your information.

Is port forwarding safe for gaming?

Forwarding ports to a gaming console like Xbox or Playstation is absolutely 100% safe and secure. But if you forward ports to a consumer device like an IP camera or a DVR, then the people accessing it are the only risk until you've set up a password on the device.

What is Port Forwarding 101?

If you're struggling to access your home-based desktop while you’re traveling abroad, play online video games with your friends in another country, or access websites anonymously, your internet connection might not be configured to your needs.

Luckily, with port forwarding, you can configure your router to always accept requests for certain ports and have them transferred to your assigned device’s private IP address.

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.

Open ports for any game of your choice with PureVPN’s Port Forwarding add-on premium trial for just $0.99

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Benefits Of Using PureVPN And Port Forwarding Simultaneously

It protects you from hackers. 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 static IP address via a VPN provider and utilize the port forwarding feature to connect with that particular unique IP address.

It 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 forward feature.

PureVPN gives you access to the Port Forward 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.

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

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FAQs
(Frequently Asked Questions)

How to Check if My Port is Open?

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


Is Port Forwarding Safe?

A challenge while setting up Port forwarding manually through a router is that your online communications may not remain safe anymore. When forwarding ports, there are multiple online vulnerabilities which is why you need a Port Forwarding VPN to secure your online activities.

Also, Hackers can't access through forwarded ports. It all depends upon the target's ports or how good is your router's firewall and how secure it is both internally and externally.

Learn more about Is Port Forwarding Safe or not


What is Port triggering?

Port triggering is similar to port forwarding except for a few key differences. When you set up port triggering, it closes the port that you have chosen. This port shall only open when it is triggered by an outbound communication. The port will then close after a specified period of time once the outbound communication that triggered the port opening ends.

This is helpful in increasing the security of the connection because it gives control to the local device to open the connection, or otherwise keeps the port shut. This helps in removing the risks associated with port forward when a port remains open for a long time even when it’s not underused.


Is Port Forwarding the same as opening a port?

They are quite the same. "Opening a port" is a technical process of allowing traffic to pass on that port, whereas "Port Forwarding" is a process of forwarding traffic received by one device on a given port to another device.


Does port forwarding reduce ping?

In some instances, it may reduce your ping. However, for some users, ping might escalate drastically. It all depends upon the server you're connecting to and how far is that server located from your physical location.


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.


What is UPnP?

UPnP, also known as Universal Plug and Play, is a protocol that solves some of the security issues raised by port forwarding. It allows apps on your devices to open ports when needed and close them once they’re done. It’s more convenient as it saves you from the hassle of opening and closing ports manually.

Learn more about What is UPnP