The Magic of Port Forwarding – What is it and How Does it Work?

There is something about starting a new year that creates hope: you might look forward to new leaps and bounds in your start-up, want to finish your degree, or better organize your life. The same energy can be applied to better manage your IP network. It doesn’t matter if you are a certified Network Admin or figuring out how to run your e-commerce site yourself, everyone can use a refresher once in a while. Especially with technology constantly making strides in our daily lives, we might even find ourselves learning something new, or how to make things easier. In this series, we touch on some things that our users might find good to review, or important tools and processes that help you manage your IP network better.

The topic for this blog has to do with something that a lot of our users ask questions about – Port Forwarding. Port Forwarding has to do with your router – The router gives your computer and any other IP-enabled devices access to your internet and requested files. Think of the router as the receptionist of a company – The receptionist makes connections and determines access to regular employees or guests depending on their security clearance. However, the receptionist is not making the call about who gets access – They are being told how to determine who is cleared and who is not. The router acts the same way – They allow communication on only open ports.


So how does Port Forwarding come into play? Port Forwarding is a way to allow outside devices and networks to access a private network. This not only prevents any lag time but also provides a level of security. If you are inviting a friend to access your gaming server, or need remote access to your internal IP network, then you want to configure Port Forwarding.

Here is an example: Let’s say you want to grant your friend access to your personal server (hostname so they can view and download pictures from a shared trip. As a default, your router blocks any outside access to your server with a firewall to help keep your IP network secure. While this is usually helpful, it is not when you want someone from an outside server access to your own. To incorporate access to your server, your friend will use the hostname, which will be whitelisted in the firewall. Then, determine which port you want to open. In this case, Port 80 is a popular port used for unencrypted web pages. Adding the port to the URL allows communication through the port:

See some resources below and guides that our Customer Success team frequently shares with customers:

Port Forwarding might be a little intimidating at first, but if you do need additional support, you will want to contact your internet service provider. Once you have set the port forwarding rules, a Customer Success member will test the connection for you.