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Which ports should I open in the router for each task?

Hello! To have a good Internet connection, to be able to surf, play games, access the cloud or any other service, it is essential to consider some factors. For example, having good coverage, a good router and network receiver. However, there is another essential element: the router ports. In this post we will see which ports should I open in the router for each task?

What are router ports?

A router is an essential element for Internet browsing. This device allows you to connect to other devices, either by cable or via Wi-Fi. A router is an essential element for Internet browsing. This device allows you to connect to other devices, either by cable or via Wi-Fi. Consequently, it manages the data we send and receive. Thus, when you access a website, the router acts as an intermediary between the website servers and the computer or cell phone you are using.

Now, what are ports? They are the gateways that the router uses for all the information to pass through. This is where all the information that we send or receive from the network is going to pass through. Therefore, whether these ports are open or closed can be decisive for the data to enter better. A domestic router, whether ADSL or fiber optic, will have a total of 65536 ports. Obviously, it is not necessary to open or use all of them. Many of them have a specific function that is important, but most of them are not really used.

Why router ports are important

These ports are going to act for data input and output. Therefore, if you have any of them closed when using an application that needs it, you may see that the connection is slow or there are cuts. For example, when downloading files or initiating a video call. Consequently, you will need to know exactly which program is used by which program. The information exchanged with the connection could be blocked or even fail to reach the destination, regardless of whether it works better or worse.

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In such a case, it is necessary to act. We must know which ports are used by a certain application, for example, and open them correctly in the router. We will see that there are different types and also methods to open them, as well as thousands of ports available.

Types of router ports

The ports are supervised through IANA, an entity that is in charge of assigning them at a global level. Some ports are used by certain system services, router services or protocols. Others, on the other hand, are used for applications that connect to the Internet. For example, video call programs, games, downloads, etc.

  • System ports: Those ranging from 0 to 1023. These are those reserved for the operating system and different protocols. For example, 20 is used by FTPS, 21 Ftps, 22 SSH or 25 SMTP.
  • Registered ports: They are those for programs or games. They are usually configured during the installation process of that application. They range from 1024 to 49151. For example, we can name the 1194 used by OpenVPN in some NAS or 6881 used by BitTorrent.
  • Private or dynamic ports: On the other hand, 49152 to 65535 are the applications that connect to a server. We will also use them in some applications that we install.

How to open router ports

We have already seen how many ports there are and what they are. Well, let’s go into the procedure to open it. Don’t worry, it is a simple procedure. Besides, at some point we will have to do it to ensure that a program works properly. The paths vary depending on the router model we have.

However, a fundamental element is to know the default gateway. Most likely it is 192.168.1.1, but this may vary. To find out what it is in your case, in Windows, you can go to the Terminal and run the ipconfig command. You will see different connection data and one of them is the gateway to access the device.

Consequently, the first thing to do is to set the default gateway and enter the router configuration. You also need to know the login details. The password, if you have not changed it, is usually of the type 1234, admin123 and similar. However, we recommend that you change this password and never leave the factory default.

Let’s get to work!

Depending on the router model, you may need to know your private IP. No problem, as this info is also in ipconfig. Basically, it is the IP of the device where you are going to play or install the program where you need to have those ports open. After obtaining this data, it is time to go to the router configuration. Once there, just open the corresponding section. Next, it is important to enter essential data. Namely, the port number (you can also put a range of several), the protocol it uses and the IP address. You can also give it a name to know in the future to which application or service it belongs.

On some models you will see that default applications are provided. This makes it easier to open the ports. In fact, just check the Default option, and you will see a menu with different programs and choose the one you are interested in. This will apply the corresponding changes without having to set anything manually.

In addition, it is a mistake to open more ports than you really need. Ultimately, the more you have open, the more exposed you are to potential network attacks. Think of your router as a large building that you want to protect; the fewer ports you have open, the better.

Enable UPnP

An alternative option is to use the UPnP protocol. This is not something that is on all routers, but it is on many. The acronym stands for Universal Plug and Play, and its function is to open or close router ports automatically. Specifically, when installing an application that requires it. It is very intriguing since we do not have to touch anything manually.

For example, if you use a video game console or a computer game, having it enabled means that it will open the necessary ports automatically. Furthermore, the good thing is that when they are not being used, it will close them again without us having to do anything. It will also help reduce the risk of security problems.

To activate the UPnP protocol in the router, you have to access the configuration and go to advanced settings. It will depend on the exact model, but you have to search for UPnP and activate the button. Once done, you will have to apply the changes to take effect, and you will be able to open or close ports automatically.

Which router ports to open

You may be wondering which ports to open. There are thousands, as we have indicated. Logically, it is not good to have all of them open for security reasons. In fact, the ideal is to open only those that you really need. For example, ports specific to an application or protocol.

Therefore, let’s take a look at the main ports that you will need to open to use some devices or services correctly. For example, a printer, a Skype video call. Furthermore, to connect a game console to the network so that the games run smoothly, without any interruption.

For the printer

When connecting a printer to the network, connectivity problems may occur. Occasionally, the cause is not having the ports open. It is important to know which ones are used and to open them in the router if necessary to make it work in the best possible way. In the instruction manual or by doing an Internet search, you will be able to see exactly which ones it uses.

However, the usual port that you must open for the printer to work properly is 9100. Other common ports are 9101, 9102, 2501, 5001, 9600, 631, 6310 or 161. All of them work for certain processes and models.

On the other hand, if you decide to open the ports, you should bear in mind the importance of updating the printer and making sure that it is protected at all times. There have been cases of cyberattacks that, for example, exploited vulnerabilities and had port 9100 opens. This flaw affected brands such as Canon and HP. You should always have all patches installed to resolve problems of this type.

Internet gaming on the PC

Another reason for wanting to open router ports is to play online games on the computer. This can be essential to keep the ping as low as possible and to avoid outages. The goal is to achieve a smooth connection and that data can travel easily. Keep in mind that our computer will have to connect to the game servers.

Now, which ports to open to play over the Internet? This will depend on the game itself. Consequently, you will need to know the ports it uses. However, there are some general ports that are usually required: 53, 80 and 443. They are used by the DNS service, browsing through HTTP and through HTTPS, respectively.

Connecting game consoles

In addition to opening ports to play on the Internet from the computer, it is also important to consider which ports should be opened on the game consoles. Each one will have a series of ports that we must open so that they work as well as possible. In this way there will not be any type of cut or speed failure. You must know which is the IP in each case to be able to configure it.

P2P Downloads

When downloading through P2P applications, it is also significant to open the ports. If you have ever used programs such as eMule or Lphant, you will surely remember the bandage next to the icon. That meant that the ports were closed and downloads were very slow, so if you use P2P programs to download files, whatever they are, you should be aware of which ports they use. Consequently, open them in the router so that the speed is adequate and problems do not appear.

For example, in the case of BitTorrent, which is one of the most popular applications, ports 9881-9999 TCP are used. However, you should know which ones are used by the program you are going to use to avoid malfunctioning. You may notice a significant difference in download speed if the ports are open or not.

Video calls

When you make a video call, you need an optimal connection. After all, you are sending and receiving numerous data, and it is important that the image is not interrupted. Therefore, you will also need to open certain ports to ensure a smooth connection and a good result.

Conclusions

Therefore, as you have been able to see in many occasions, it is necessary to open the router ports. For example, to play games over the Internet, to use video calling applications or P2P downloads. You must know exactly which ones to open. Furthermore, the steps to follow depend on the device you are using

However, as we have explained, you should bear in mind that opening router ports should be an exception. That is, you should not leave more ports open than you really need. Indeed, you could be exposing security and end up being a problem instead of a solution or an improvement. As an alternative to having to open ports manually, we have also explained the UPnP protocol alternative to open and close ports automatically. This is done when an app requires the use of the port. This feature is present in many routers. See you later!

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