How to Open Ports on the Router
By Nick Anderson 5 minutes
In this guide, you will learn how to port forward on a router. Port forwarding using a home router gets you quick access to specific games and applications.
Setting up port forwarding on a router allows you to receive external traffic reliably by bypassing the NAT firewall.
Moreover, port forwarding is the best way to go for torrenting, file sharing, streaming, and gaming. It is because some games and specific applications only work when certain ports are open.
A home router has some ports open by default, but many ports are closed. You can manually forward or open those ports for particular applications, games, or programs otherwise blocked on the router.
Let us show you simple steps to port forward your home router later in this blog.
First, let’s understand port forwarding, its purpose, and working.
- Port Forwarding is necessary to allow external traffic on your internal network.
- The device’s statistic IP address and the router’s IP address is required to open a port
- Opening a Port on the router is risky and removes the network protection layer in the form of a NAT firewall.
What is Port Forwarding in Router?
Port Forwarding is a simple process. It enables your home network computer to communicate with other systems on the internet. Technically, Port Forwarding is all about passing through the NAT (Network Address Translation) easily.
NAT transmits communication requests from one network and port/IP combination to another. Meanwhile, data packets bypass network gateways like a firewall or a router.
NAT is the part of the router that works like a register for clients. Its job is to facilitate traffic routing from external networks to a private network. Because a private IP address is different from a public IP address which is used to connect an ISP’s network to the internet, a NAT firewall is needed to direct external traffic to the correct (private) IP address.
Why Do We Need Port Forwarding?
Port Forwarding allows legitimate inbound traffic to pass through a network’s firewall easily. It’s not a problem for data to travel out, but incoming traffic is put through scrutiny by firewall’s security before it’s deemed safe.
It also helps network administrators to set a multitude of servers with different IPs and ports for other internal tasks.
Home network users can leverage the port forwarding feature to create a gaming or web server.
A network administrator can easily hide internal network activities by setting up a single public IP address for all the tasks. If a packet that’s not a part of the internal connection arrives on the external surface, it will be rejected automatically by the router. But if forwarding is set up for the port, the packet will be automatically delivered to the desired destination/internal machine.
Keep in mind that port forwarding gets you many benefits, but opening a router’s port without a firewall will be unsafe for your network.
Example of Port Forwarding
To better understand the concept of port forwarding, let’s take an example of an FTP server. File transfers across the internet take place via FTP servers. When you use FTP for file transfer, files are uploaded or downloaded to the File Transfer Protocol server and accessed on your computer.
FTP servers respond to the incoming requests via port 21. When you enable it, then other outside traffic cannot connect to the router’s port 21 to transfer further requests on your computer. The connected computer and the router will manage the entire data flow through open port 21.
In short, this dedicated port will transfer files via a router to an outside FTP client that is communicating with the network.
How to Open Ports on the Router?
Since there are various routers in the market, and all work differently. Therefore, the steps I will outline below may be work differently depending on your router’s brand.
First, you need to assign a static IP address to the device you want to port forward. Second, you will need your router IP address to access its web-based settings portal. Check here how to find the router IP address.
Once you’re done with the two main steps above, now you can follow the rest of the process:
- Type in your router’s IP address in the browser’s search field
- Head to the router’s settings portal
- Search for the Port Forwarding tab
- Type in the port number that you want to Forward
- Enter the static IP address of the assigned device
- Now, click to save settings.
How do I Check Port Forwarding is Active?
There are various methods to check if your port forwarding is working. However, here is a relatively straightforward one.
For this method, you need your internet IP address (Note: Internet IP address is not the same as your computer IP address). If you don’t know your public IP address, then find it here. Also, make sure to know the port number that you want to open exactly. Now, you can browse any of these sites:
Enter your correct port number in the respective field and IP address if needed. This method will help you test a single port only.
How to Open Router Ports via FastestVPN?
Every VPN has different settings. Some VPNs don’t support port forwarding. Since port forwarding exposes your device to external threats. Therefore, FastestVPN doesn’t offer port forwarding functionality in its app.
Opening the router’s port lets you access various internet services on your internal network. However, it has potential downsides too. When you enable port forwarding on your router, it eradicated a security layer and exposed your device to various external threats.
It is advised not to open ports regularly on your router and always use FastestVPN with your router for encrypting network traffic.