What is Port Forwarding, and How Safe is It to Use in 2023?

Abeerah Hashim  - Security Expert
Last updated: November 13, 2023
Read time: 14 minutes

If you want to learn what port forwarding is, how it works, and how to set it up, this straightforward guide is for you. Read to know all that and more.

Port forwarding primarily facilitates networking, allowing unsolicited connections on specific ports otherwise blocked via NAT firewall. Consequently, remote servers and other online devices can access your computer within your private network. Port forwarding is helpful when it comes to torrenting, playing games, hosting a VPN server, or operating a website. However, port forwarding a remote desktop connection via the internet without optimum security measures is always risky. This detailed guide elaborates everything about port forwarding you need to know today.

Most people view networking as a complicated knowledge space. The sheer volume of acronyms makes the state of confusion even worse. Frankly, it is not a simple topic to understand, and so much is involved that it will require decades of study and experience. But understanding port forwarding is not that complicated, either.

In this article, we present you with a simpler way to understand the basics of the concept. Particularly, we will look at what port forwarding is, how it works, and if it is safe to use.

What is port forwarding, and how does it work?

Port forwarding enables incoming internet connections to access specific programs and devices on a private network. Remember that the private network can comprise devices connected to a router or users to a VPN.

If a computer tries to connect to your device when the NAT firewall is active, the connection is jammed or discarded. However, port forwarding lets unsolicited connections pass through the NAT firewall on particular ports. As a result, devices on the internet can launch connections and access any service. For instance, other users on a P2P network can download a file from your device.