VPNs have become essential tools for security, unlimited access, better bandwidth, and fantastic gaming. You must remember that sometimes VPNs can also be a hurdle when you try to access platforms behind your firewall.
Port forwarding is the solution to this problem, allowing you to establish secure connections through a VPN while maintaining access to your local devices or services. The guide will help you enable port forwarding with a VPN.
What is Port Forwarding?
Port forwarding is a network technique that allows incoming traffic to communicate with devices in a private network. It works to route communication between your network and the outside network.
By forwarding specific ports, you can grant external access to services like web servers, online gaming, or remote desktop connections.
How VPN Works: A Short Overview
A VPN is designed to secure and encrypt the connection between your device and a remote server, effectively masking your IP address and protecting your online activities from prying eyes.
VPN providers have internet servers that act as an intermediary between our access to external servers so that when our data passes through a VPN server, it is secure from cyber threats.
When Should We Use Port Forwarding with VPN?
Some people think that connecting to a VPN is all that they need and port forwarding is optional. That’s not true! Why?
Port forwarding is the most crucial technique for maintaining a balance between communication with servers and easy access to them.
Some everyday situations when you should use port forwarding with a VPN are
Accessing your network storage drives, security cameras, home automation systems, or IoT devices remotely is difficult.
It requires fast internet speed and security from cyber intruders, as all these devices carry your personal information.
Using port forwarding with a VPN, you can securely access these devices without exposing them to the open internet.
Hosting Online Services
Hosting services like web servers, games, meetings, and desktop services need hassle-free connection. With port forwarding and a VPN, the process becomes smooth.
High-paced gamers need to optimize their gaming experience. Some games work on specific ports, such as Minecraft. With a VPN port forwarding, gamers get better latency and low ping, which helps them play freely. They also have the security from DDoS attacks with a VPN shield.
Accessing Media Servers
Some of you might have media servers at home. While you are traveling and want access to your home media servers, port forwarding is of great help. With a VPN, you can access your home servers from anywhere worldwide.
How to Configure Port Forwarding with a VPN
Configuring port forwarding on your router involves several steps to ensure that external traffic is correctly directed to the intended device or service within your network while maintaining the privacy and security provided by the VPN.
Below is a detailed guide on how to open ports:
Step 1: Open your web browser and write the IP address of your router in the address bar, which looks like 192.168.1.1. Login by using credentials.
Step 2: See if you find the port forwarding section, called ‘Port Forwarding’ or Virtual Servers.’
Step 3: Create a new port forwarding rule by providing information: Service name > Port range > Local IP address> Port number.
Step 4: Now, you will choose the protocol you want to use for forwarding ports. The port might be UDP and TCP or both.
Step 5: Save the configuration. Your router will now forward incoming traffic on the specified external port to the device you’ve chosen within your local network.
Check for VPN Compatibility
Some VPNs are compatible with opening ports. They have dedicated servers for port forwarding. It is essential to check for compatibility by asking the VPN provider.
If you have already subscribed to a VPN, then download the VPN client or application for your device. Check for the ‘Port Forwarding’ section and enable it.
Test if Port Forwarding is working: To verify that the port forwarding is working as intended, access the external IP address provided by the VPN service, along with the specific port you’ve configured, in your web browser. You should see the service or device you’ve set up for port forwarding.
Do you need to port forward a VPN?
If your VPN lacks an integrated NAT firewall, there is no need to forward ports, as inbound connections will not be blocked.
Also, a VPN connection will encrypt your data securely.
If NAT Firewall is in place, then you need to look for settings about port forwarding your VPN.
The specific process may vary depending on your chosen VPN provider, but here are some general steps:
- Activate the port forwarding feature within the VPN application or your VPN account management interface.
- Clearly define the ports you intend to open via the VPN
- For applications relying on port forwarding, adjust the port.
- Disable UPnP and NAT-PMP settings within the program’s configuration.
Visit CanYouSeeMe.org and enter the forwarded port number. By clicking “Check Port,” a successful message confirms your settings.
Dynamic vs Static Port Forwarding: Which One to Choose?
The Static and dynamic port forwarding depends on your network needs and the platforms you wish to use port forwarding for.
When you opt for configuring port forwarding with a VPN, the VPN providers mostly use dedicated servers for your service to maintain credibility on security.
Sometimes, VPN providers opt for dynamic ports, too. This is when your ports are forwarded through UPnP; they use dynamic port forwarding in reliance on it.
|Features||Static Port Forwarding||Dynamic Port Forwarding|
|Configuration||Manually assigns specific ports to services.||Automatically assigns and opens ports as needed by applications.|
|Predictability||Offers predictability, as port numbers remain constant.||It may not be as predictable since ports are assigned dynamically.|
|Security||Can be more secure due to fewer open ports, reducing the attack surface.||It can open more ports, increasing the attack surface.|
|Scalability||Less scalable when dealing with numerous services or devices, as each requires a unique port.||It is more scalable as ports are assigned dynamically, reducing manual management.|
|Configuration Overhead||Requires manual configuration and management of port forwarding rules.||Simplifies configuration by automatically handling port assignments.|
|Suitable Use Cases||Suitable for critical services that require a fixed port, like a web server or gaming console.||Convenient for everyday applications that don’t need fixed ports, such as online gaming or video streaming.|
Is UPnP and Port Forwarding the same?
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), which enables applications on your device to automatically open router ports when necessary and close them when they’re no longer in use.
While UPnP offers convenience, it introduces potential security concerns. It works on the principle that all ports are safe and, therefore, does not scrutinize the access.
Whereas, when it comes to port forwarding, it requires your manual effort to open the port, or if the VPN has a port forwarding option, that is the safest form of managing ports.
Do We Know How to Enable Port Forwarding?
The guide has covered the easy steps to configure port forwarding with a VPN on the router and VPN client, too. The process is easy and needs your good read to the above steps.
Be smart, and save your time with VPN port forwarding.