To successfully open a port you should first understand a few basics.
The Internet uses what is known as IP Addresses to send data back and forth. Each computer in your network has it's own local IP address similar to a telephone number. Think of your computer as a large building with many different offices. The building itself has one telephone number. Each office in the building has an extension. Think of the ports as the offices or extensions in that building.
Each application on your computer has a specific port it uses. Email uses port 25, web browsers use port 80, etc... For a list of commonly used ports check out this link. Every application uses these ports so the receiving computer, game console, or device knows which application it needs to use in order to open the data package.
An open port is a port that is ready and listening for data on both ends of the line. This means for a truly open port it needs more than for me to just call you. You have to have someone on the other end to pick up the phone. Having an open port means your computer has a program to open the data, or answer the call.
A closed port is a port that does not have a program on the other end of the line listening. This is because your router doesn't know what to do with the call or incoming connection request. Your router automatically keeps all of your ports closed for you by aggressively rejecting the call or simply dropping the call or packet. It needs to do this because it doesn't know where to send the incoming packet. Your router has no way of knowing which computer or device on your network the incoming packet is destined for. A port forward tells your router who should receive the incoming connection request.
Having an open port sounds scary right? A logical question to ask is if it's safe. We have a guide that goes into detail about this exact issue titled Is Portforwarding Safe?
To answer that question in short:
When you open a port you are forwarding a port. As you know this website is all about Port Forwarding. All you need to do is find your router in our growing list of routers and follow the instructions.
Would you rather have us open the port? If you want to just open ports with a click of a button take a look at PFConfig. This program opens the ports you want and closes the ports you don't want with just a click of a button.
To check if your ports are open simply use our Open Port Check tool. Our Open port checking tool is better than the others out there because we don't make assumptions about applications you may be using. Our open port tool uses a local application to see if the port is listening. Check it out here or go to the left sidebar and click the link titled Port Checking Software.