Port forwarding explained | What is port forwarding?

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Port forwarding is one of the rare features offered by VPNs – and it sounds like a big deal, helping with torrenting, gaming and such… But what is port forwarding exactly? In this video I aim to have port forwarding explained for you, so that you will know why and how to port forward.

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0:00 Intro
0:25 What is port forwarding?
0:54 Why use port forwarding?
1:09 How does port forwarding work?
1:50 Is port forwarding safe?
2:10 Can you ensure security with a VPN?
3:07 Conclusion

===== What is port forwarding? ====

Let’s start with the main question on your mind: What is port forwarding?

Port forwarding is a way of accessing private networks, like your home or business servers, from outside that network.

That means external devices can communicate with your computer, even if it is located within a private network.

Without port forwarding, it would be impossible for the outside devices to see IP addresses of the devices within the network, they would only see the external one, that belongs to a gateway.

==== Why use Port forwarding? ====

But why would you want to enable port forwarding on PC or any other device?

Well, technical parts aside, port forwarding is actually helpful if you are playing online games or torrenting. With it, you can even access your work computer from home and increase your P2P download speed as well!

==== How does Port forwarding work? ====

But I hear you asking: “How? How does port forwarding work?”

Don’t worry, I’m about to have port forwarding explained for you!
Well, you probably know that all internet traffic consists of packets passing through your router on the way to your device and you.

Port forwarding allows internet traffic to reach private servers or your device specifically, using a predetermined port.

This means that packets coming to you won’t be delayed at the firewall, effectively increasing your download and upload speed. Provided, of course, you set up your port forwarding correctly.

There’s also no chance any packets will get blocked by the firewall, which is very effective if your router tends to block information from certain sources, such as gaming servers.

==== Is Port forwarding safe? ====

But is Port forwarding safe? After all, it bypasses the firewall and it’s data packet inspection.

Unless your connection is encrypted and the authentication for the service you opened the port for is legit there are some dangers of port forwarding. There is a decent chance someone could exploit the port you opened with port forwarding, getting direct access to your computer.

==== VPN with Port forwarding ====

Using VPNs with port forwarding is the easiest way to add a good level of security – VPNs encrypt your connection and hide your IP address.

While usually, port forwarding and VPN don’t go hand-in-hand, there are VPN providers that have incorporated this feature in their apps. That way you can use port forwarding on mac, PC and mobile devices all the same.

I’ve used PrivateVPN with port forwarding almost exclusively, as it’s the most reliable option and you won’t need a port forwarding tutorial to set it up – all you need is to enable port forwarding in the settings and you are good to go!

Even if some problems arise, with PrivateVPN’s customer support, you shouldn’t have any problems figuring out how port forwarding works on your device.

It’s also quite nice, that besides port forwarding, VPN can be used to access geo-blocked streaming content.

==== Conclusion: ====

In conclusion, what is port forwarding? It is a neat feature, enabling direct access from the external network to your computer, to boost performance, but there are potential security downsides to it. That’s why, it’s better to get easy port forwarding with a VPN, as a security addition. You can check the link to our article in the description, for a detailed explanation on that.

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