Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are commonly used when torrenting or remotely accessing your home network. They also include a wide variety of options and settings, depending on the VPN service that you use.
One of these options is port forwarding. If you plan to use a VPN, you may want to learn more about this process and how it can help you achieve faster Internet speeds when downloading torrents.
Port Forwarding Allows Your Router to Direct Traffic
Before getting into the details of VPN port forwarding, you should understand the basics. Port forwarding is also used by your home router to help direct traffic.
As you likely know, you get an IP address from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). The IP address is assigned to your router and each device connected to the router gets its own IP. And your devices do not connect directly to the Internet. The traffic goes through your router.
When you download a file or access a website, your device is sending a request to the router. After that, the router accesses the file or website and it relays the data from the Internet to your device.
Port forwarding is how the router knows which device to send the data to.
Besides an IP address, each device is assigned a port. The port number is sent from your device when making a request. When the router retrieves data from the Internet, it uses the port number to determine where to send the data.
VPNs Can Bypass Firewalls With Port Forwarding
Some VPN providers also use port forwarding. However, the process is a little different compared to port forwarding on your router.
Most VPN providers use a NAT firewall to shield users against malicious connections. While this firewall helps protect you against viruses and other threats, it can also block connections that you need.
For example, when torrenting, the VPN firewall may block other torrent users from getting data from your connection. Basically, you may not be able to seed when using a torrent client.
The firewalls also occasionally block legitimate services and connections that you may rely on, such as streaming services. It is also possible for the firewall to block your connections when trying to access your home network from another place.
With port forwarding, the VPN provider allows you to bypass its own firewall. It provides a way to ensure that incoming connections are not blocked.
Should You Find a VPN Service That Offers Port Forwarding?
One of the main uses of the port forwarding in a VPN is to allow seeding. This may also provide a minor boost to your overall torrenting speeds.
While port forwarding is necessary for your router, it is not required for VPN services. In fact, not all VPN providers offer this feature. However, it can be a useful option if you regularly use a torrent client or require remote access to your PC.