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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).

Port forwards are setup in your router. 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 forwarding with Network Utilities:

  1. Run Router Detector.
  2. Create a permanent IP address either with DHCP reservations or use Static IP Setter.
  3. Run PFConfig which logs into your router and configures port forwards automatically.
  4. Test that your ports are forwarded correctly with Port Checker.

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 with Network Utilities

Step 1: Run the Router Detector tool to locate your router on your network and ensure that you only have one router.

Step 2: Next, create a permanent IP address for the device that you want to forward ports to. You can either use DHCP reservations in your router or set a static IP address in the device. The Static IP Setter ensures that your PC has a static IP address. This is helpful in diagnosing open port issues because some routers refuse to forward a port to a dynamic IP address.

Step 3: The next step is to use PFConfig to forward ports in your router. PFConfig logs into your router and configures it automatically.

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 tool 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.

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

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 work with the TCP protocol.

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.

Port Forward Network Utilities is a suite of software tools to help get your ports forwarded. Port forwarding can be a confusing process, with Network Utilities it can't get any easier!

Network Utilities Helps You:

  • Save time by letting our software forward ports for you.
  • Forward ports right now, automatically.
  • Manage port forwards and optimize your router.
  • Turn forwarded ports on or off with the click of a button.
  • Remove old forwards and create new ones.
  • Get a faster, more reliable connection.

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

To manually set up port forwarding for specific games and applications, you can work through the steps of our detailed guides.

Start by choosing the game or application that you want to forward ports for. Next, choose your router from the list of manufacturers 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

When you forward a port you are making a setting in your router that points at an IP address on your network. Normally IP addresses are dynamic, which means they change often. When an IP address that is the target of a port forward changes, that port forward breaks. It is important to set a permanent IP address before configuring a port forward. There are two ways to set a permanent IP address.

The best way to set a permanent IP address is to configure a DHCP reservation in your router. Not only is this the easiest to set up, it's also the easiest to maintain in the long run.

Another way to configure a permanent IP address is to set a static IP in the device that you are forwarding a port to. This requires that you log in to the target device, find the network settings, and have a good idea of which IP addresses are available on your network. Not all routers support DHCP reservations, so this may be your only option. Only go this route if your router requires it.

Some routers refuse to set up a port forward to an IP address that does not have a DHCP reservation configured. While this might seem like a limitation at first, it is actually a very good policy.

We have many static IP address-related guides to help you.

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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