How To Forward Ports on Your Router

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Are you having trouble getting your favorite multiplayer games or chat program to connect to the Internet? Does your tablet’s Web browser fail despite being connected to a Wi-Fi network? Your problem may be a blocked port on your router, and that’s easy to fix.

Your router stands between your devices and the Internet, making sure that data coming in and going out is directed properly. Imagine your router as a wall that keeps out unwanted and harmful traffic while opening ports to permit useful traffic such as Web pages, games, and file-sharing programs. Ports are like doors in the wall reserved only for useful traffic, and your router does a good job of automatically configuring most of the ports you need to safely use the Internet. In some cases, however, you need to tell your router to open up a certain port so a program won’t be blocked. This is called port forwarding, and here’s how to do it.

Before Configuring Your Router

There are a few things you need to be aware of when you decide on setting up port forwarding.

  1. If you’re using DHCP, then each device’s IP has the potential to change in the future, and when it does you’ll need to reconfigure your port forwarding settings. For this reason, it’s best to configure your “server” computers with a static IP. Some routers have the ability to “reserve” or “assign” IPs via DHCP that will NOT change in the future, allowing you the best of both worlds, but not all do.
  2. When you access your network externally, you will need to know your router’s external IP address. This can be easily found from someone inside the network by visiting whatismyip.com. This address can also change. One way to avoid this is to get a domain name redirect, so that when you go to http://myreallyawesomedoman.com, it’ll be your home network regardless of its changing IP.
  3. Using custom ports may trigger your antivirus or firewall, so you may have to add exceptions on your home computers to allow outside access on whatever ports you specify. This is a security risk to some extent, so be careful and take proper precautions!

That being said, if you’re careful and configure things properly, you’ll never have to worry once you’re all set up.

Basic Instructions

Regardless of what software is on your router, you’ll be required to enter the same type of information. First, you’ll see a text field where you can type in the name of the application or service. Next, you’ll see which incoming port your router should watch for. Then, you’ll be able to choose which protocol to watch for. A little online research should be able to tell you which one, but if you’re not sure you can choose both. You’ll need to choose which IP address is the destination for this port’s requests. Lastly, you’ll be able to choose which port the request should be targeted to on the destination IP.

Many firmwares will allow you to save many rules but selectively enable them as needed. If yours does it, be sure to check the “Enable” column’s boxes for all the rules you want active.

Router Brands

Each manufacturer has different software that they use on their routers. I took screenshots of the port forwarding settings from each of the major brands and posted them below. Iam assuming that you know how to access your router and you know the proper username and password. If you don’t, check out your documentation, your router’s label, or your manufacturer’s website.You can also vist this site for more info on port forwarding according to your router’s brand

Cisco/Linksys

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You’ll see port forwarding under Applications and Gaming. Under “Single Port Forwarding,” you can add individual ports to specific IPs. Under “Port Range Forwarding,” you can easily forward whole ranges of ports at a time.

DLink

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On DLink’s routers, you’ll find your port forwarding settings in the Advanced section, under the Port Forwarding tab.

Netgear

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Netgear’s routers have a side menu. Look under Advanced and click on “Port Forwarding / Port Triggering.” If you use the Smart Wizard, you’ll also get the opportunity to configure port forwarding there.

Asus

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On Asus’s routers, you’ll find your port forwarding settings in the Advanced section>WAN the select port forwarding/virtual server

Now, if you want to check and be sure your router’s port is open and functioning, there are plenty of tools you can use to help you determine this. I personaly use one from portforward.com