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How To Forward a Port

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Port Forward Staff
July 18, 2017 (Last Updated: ) | Reading Time: 7 minutes

A port forward is a way of making a computer on your home or business network accessible to computers on the internet, even though they are behind a router or firewall. It is commonly used in gaming, security cameras, home automation, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

A forwarded port is also known as open. After you have forwarded a port you have an open port.

The easiest way to forward a port is to use our Network Utilities suite of tools.

Port forwards are setup in your router. A summary of the steps to setup a port forward in your router are:

  1. Login to your router.
  2. Navigate to your routers port forwarding section, also frequently called virtual server.
  3. Create the port forward entries in your router.
  4. Test that your ports are forwarded correctly.

If you are trying to change your NAT Type be sure to read our NAT Types Defined guide. This is the most comprehensive definition of gaming console NAT Types on the internet. Most people get NAT Type Open by using Network Utilities.

Understanding Port Forwarding

What is port forwarding? Port forwarding is a way of allowing people from the internet to connect to you. A port forward puts a device outside of your router, as if it was directly connected to the internet. This is needed for security cameras, torrenting, and optimal gaming experience.

Port forwarding directs your router to send any incoming data from the internet to a specified device on your network. A port forward maps data that is bound to a designated port number to the device or app that you want it to go to. After forwarding a port in your router, incoming data on that port is sent to the destination device that you have chosen.

What is a port?

In the context of port forwarding, a port has nothing to do with the physical ports on the back of your router. Any device on your network can receive a port forward no matter which physical port it is plugged into, or even over WiFi.

A port in port forwarding is simply a number, much like a phone number.

You might be asking if it is safe to forward ports on your router. The answer is yes as long as you follow a few simple rules. Never forward ports to a PC that does not have a firewall running. Always make sure that you understand why you are forwarding a port. To learn more about the safety of port forwarding, visit Is Port Forwarding Safe?

Port forwarding is a way to make a device on your network accessible from the internet.
Port forwarding is a way to make a device on your network accessible from the internet.

Router Port Forwarding

Step 1: In order to forward a port you need to log in to your router. This is done through your web browser. Before you can log in to your router you need to find its IP address. The easiest way to do this is through a command prompt, but on windows 10 and later you can find your router's IP address in network settings. Your router's IP address is listed as default gateway. Once you know your router's IP address, type it into the address bar of your web browser of choice. Most routers ask for a user name and password which you can find on our Router Passwords guide.

Step 2: After you have logged in to your router, find the port forwarding section. It may be in the Games & Apps section, Virtual Server section, or the NAT section.

If you want some help finding the port forwarding section in your router, we have a guide for every router to walk you through that. Simply visit our List of Routers and choose your router from the list to get started.

Step 3: When you set up port forwarding you need to know the ports that you are going to forward. These are usually listed as TCP and UDP. They can come as a single number, a range of numbers separated by a hyphen, a list of numbers separated by commas, or a combination of these. It's generally ok to forward more ports than you need, so if you are not sure if a list of ports needs to be forwarded or not, then go ahead and forward all of the ports that you may need until you get it working the way you want, then come back later and selectively limit the ports you have open to increase security while still allowing your applications to talk. If you are not sure which ports to forward for your game or application, you can use our List of Ports to find out which ports they use.

Step 4: After you have set up port forwarding, it can be useful to check if your ports are forwarded correctly. In the case of forwarding ports to a gaming console or security camera, it is generally easiest to see if you can connect to them. If you are forwarding ports to a PC you can use our Port Checker to test if your ports are open. Our Port Checker tool will request an incoming connection from our servers and verify that data is able to make it from our server to your computer. This type of port check guarantees that you have forwarded your ports correctly, opened your firewall as required, and are able to access your network from the internet. Other types of port checks done through a web browser are not as thorough and can only report if the router is rejecting incoming requests, and only works with the TCP protocol.

Our Port Checker is the only port checker that can test both TCP and UDP and give guaranteed results. You can find our Port Checker tool in our Network Utilities suite of tools.

Port Forwarding Help

If you are new to port forwarding please read our Ultimate Guide To Port Forwarding.

We have detailed port forwarding instructions customized for every router. To get started, visit our List of Routers and pick your router from the list. Then follow the steps in the guide and you should have an open port.

To learn how to log in to your router visit our Router Login guide.

Visit our Networking Help Center to find the answers to your port forwarding and networking questions.

Port Forwarding Guides

For detailed instructions on how to set up port forwarding in your specific router, visit our List of Routers. Choose your router from the list and then follow the steps in the guide to set up port forwarding.

You can also forward ports automatically with Network Utilities.

Port Forwarding Games

Port forwarding is needed for some games in order to improve your network connection. For example, if you want to be the lobby host in Call of Duty you will need to set up port forwarding. Port forwarding can also reduce lag and increase your K/D ratio since it is more likely that your signal gets through before your opponents' that may not be forwarding ports.

Follow our customized guides to set up port forwarding for specific games and applications. We walk you through the steps to forward ports in your router with detailed instructions and router menu screenshots. We have port forwarding guides for many of today's common games.

Start by choosing the game or application that you want to forward ports for. Next, choose your router from the list and then follow the steps in the guide to set up port forwarding.

Popular Games

Here are port forwarding guides for some popular games. If you don't see the game that you are looking for visit our port list.

If you are trying to improve your network connection for a better gaming experience check out our NAT Types Defined article.

Static IP Guides

Since many routers require a static IP address on your device before you can forward ports we have created many static IP address-related guides.

You may need to set up your firewall as part of setting up a port forward.

Recent Games

These games have recently been added to our port forwarding guides.

List of more games...

For more information about your router visit SetupRouter.com.

For help with port forwarding visit our Networking Help Center.

To get started with port forwarding, visit our router guides.

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