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A VPN is a robust tool that can help you be secure on your connection and enjoy activities like gaming. But, “does a VPN need port forwarding?” Yes, a VPN often needs port forwarding support. It allows incoming data to get past your NAT firewall and speeds up your internet connection.

It also helps you boost your download speeds, form a direct connection with your gaming server, and access your PC remotely.

In short, nothing’s better than the best VPN with port forwarding. But, despite multiple benefits, not all VPNs support port forwarding. While the feature allows incoming data to get around your NAT firewall, it can endanger users’ privacy.

However, if you keep your system’s firewall turned on and equipped with an antivirus, you should be fine.

We tested 40+ VPN services to find out the most effective ones supporting port forwarding, offering fast speeds, and letting you customize your network. The ones mentioned below worked the best, with ExpressVPN taking the lead. Let’s check them out:


Quick Overview of Best VPNs with Port Forwarding

Here are the best VPN services with port forwarding:

  1. ExpressVPN – Best VPN Service with Port Forwarding. Our top recommendation that allows users to activate port forwarding on their v1 and v2 routers. It further offers advanced security features so users can maintain their privacy and anonymity.
  2. PIA Secure Port Forwarding VPN Service. The largest server park with 35000+ servers across 80 countries. It supports port forwarding and offers P2P compatibility with SOCKS5 proxy on all servers.
  3. TorGuard – Offers SSL-based Protocol for Advanced Users. It supports port forwarding on OpenVPN, OpenConnect, and WireGuard protocols and prioritizes P2P traffic.
  4. PrivateVPN Enables Port Forwarding by Default. The VPN offers dedicated servers for port forwarding and makes its configurations super-easy for users.
  5. Perfect Privacy Provides Server-specific Port Forwarding Support. This VPN’s port forwarding support is dedicated to a few servers. Also, it offers two different types of port forwarding: dynamic and dedicated.

Detailed Analysis | FAQs


5 Best VPNs with Port Forwarding in 2022 [In-Depth Analysis]

Most VPNs do not offer port forwarding. So, looking for the best VPN with port forwarding support was a difficult task. We tested 40+ VPNs to check out their port forwarding features. Along with that, we also tested their reliability, speeds, compatibility, and security.

However, out of them, only 5 lived up to our criteria and got listed below:

1. ExpressVPN – Best VPN Service with Port Forwarding

ExpressVPN

Key Features:

  • 3000+ fast speed servers in 94 countries
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Robust no-logging policy
  • Kill switch feature
  • DNS leak protection
  • All servers are P2P-optimized
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee  

ExpressVPN is hands down the best VPN with port forwarding in the industry. Although this VPN doesn’t allow port forwarding on its applications, you can activate forwarding on its router.

But, you must get an ExpressVPN-compatible router or the v1/v2 router firmware. It further also lets you configure the internal and external port numbers manually.

What’s great about setting up ExpressVPN on a router is that you can enable port forwarding on as many devices as possible. While the VPN only offers five multi-logins, using it on a router comes with the advantage of unlimited simultaneous connections.

Isn’t it simply the best VPN with port forwarding?

For user safety and anonymity, the VPN offers various advanced security features. ExpressVPN’s kill switch would ensure that your activities aren’t leaked in case of any connection drops.

Its AES 256-bit encryption would prevent malicious actors and ISPs from snooping. Thus, you can use ExpressVPN for torrenting safely. The features also include a strict zero-logging policy that reliable audit firms confirmed like Cure53 and PwC.

ExpressVPN equips 3000+ servers in 94 locations, built-in DNS data leak protection, and uses the OpenVPN protocol for fast speeds and secure connection. As a result, it’s an excellent choice for bypassing geo-restrictions and accessing streaming services worldwide, like Hulu, Amazon Prime, American Netflix, and Disney Plus outside USA.

ExpressVPN is available for $6.67/mo (Save 49% and get 3 extra months FREE with 12-month plan), and each subscription is backed with a 30-day refund policy, so you can try it risk-free for 30 days.

For a complete list of features, check out the ExpressVPN review.

Pros
  • Instructions on opening ports provided in detail
  • Port forwarding requires initial setup
  • P2P support offered on all servers
  • 3000+ servers in 94 countries
  • Super-fast speeds
Cons
  • Port forwarding support is only available on routers
  • Doesn’t offer auto-updates

2. PIA – Secure Port Forwarding VPN Service

Private-Internet-Access

Key Features:

  • 35000+ servers in 80 countries
  • AES 128/256-bit encryption
  • Strict no-logging policy
  • Kill switch feature
  • DNS leak protection
  • Supports P2P on specific servers
  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee  

Private Internet Access is a secure VPN with port forwarding support. Enabling the feature through PIA is super-easy on its compatible devices like Android, Mac, Windows, iOS, and Linux. Once you’re done, you’ll be displayed the list of servers that offer port forwarding.

Please note that PIA doesn’t provide a specific number for its port forwarding servers. However, as mentioned on its official website, servers that do not offer port forwarding would not have its icon.

PIA protects your connections and activities through its various powerful security features. It offers two encryption levels: 128 and 256-bit encryption, and allows you to choose the one per your needs. It also provides a kill switch and DNS leak protection that prevent leaking your activities and actual IP address.

PIA is completely torrent-friendly. Its WireGuard and OpenVPN protocol are highly recommended for torrenting. You can also choose from a range of protocols such as 53, 80, 443, 501, and 1194.

PIA offers users 35000+ servers in 80 countries. However, keep in mind that port forwarding is only allowed on servers outside the US.

The service also offers 10 simultaneous connections on a single PIA account.

PIA is highly affordable and costs only $2.19/mo with an extensive 30-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee as well.

For more information, read the PIA review.

Pros
  • Port forwarding is quite easy
  • P2P-friendly servers
  • Fast speeds
  • SOCKS5 proxy available
  • Strict no-logging policy
Cons
  • Doesn’t offer port forwarding on US servers

3. TorGuard – Offers SSL-based Protocol for Advanced Users

TorGuard

Key Features:

  • 3000+ servers across 50 countries
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • No-logging policy
  • Kill switch feature
  • DNS leak protection
  • Port forwarding for ports above 2048 via OpenVPN, WireGuard, and OpenConnect
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • 7-day money-back guarantee

TorGuard uses the Secure Sockets Layer protocol to ensure user privacy and integrity. This VPN prioritizes P2P sharing traffic and is excellent for seeders who require fast speeds.

TorGuard offers port forwarding only via OpenVPN, WireGuard, and OpenConnect, and on ports above 2048. Unfortunately, this means that you’ll be deprived of this feature on the L2TP, SSTP, and PPTP protocols.

While testing, we noticed that activating port forwarding on TorGuard was a bit complicated. You require to request access to this feature from the Management Action toolbar, after which you’ll receive an email with a guide to open ports.

This offers quick and advanced security features, including DDoS protection and dedicated IPs. It also provides a Stealth VPN protocol that obfuscates your VPN traffic and makes it look like regular traffic. This feature helps bypass VPN firewalls. It is available on port 4443 on OpenVPN.

It offers 3000+ servers in 50 countries and supports P2P on all its servers. It also provides a SOCKS5 proxy. In addition, this VPN offers ultra-fast speeds. We confirmed this through TorGuard’s speed tests.

You can easily unblock Netflix with TorGuard and other services like Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc. Furthermore, it allows you to connect 5 simultaneous devices on a single TorGuard account, which is interesting.

You can get TorGuard for $9.99/mo, which is a bit expensive. However, to test the VPN first, you can use its 7-day money-back guarantee.  

To learn more about this VPN, read the TorGuard review.

Pros
  • Port forwarding available on 3 protocols
  • All servers are P2P-friendly
  • Instructions to open ports provided in detail
  • No-logs policy
  • Prioritizes P2P activities
Cons
  • Requires requesting port forwarding access
  • Complicated configuration of port forwarding

4. PrivateVPN – Enables Port Forwarding by Default

PrivateVPN

Key Features:

  • 200+ servers across 63 countries
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • No-logging policy
  • Kill switch feature
  • DNS leak protection
  • Supports P2P
  • 6 simultaneous connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

PrivateVPN is a service that offers port forwarding, enabled by default. Due to this, there is no long and complicated configuration process. In fact, it’s absolutely hassle-free.

This VPN has robust encryption protocols to protect you from cyber threats and keep you anonymous over the internet. These include IPsec, PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), and IKEv2. It also offers a kill switch, split tunneling, and DNS leak protection to prevent your activities from any leaks.

This VPN works great with bypassing geo-restrictions and unblocking all popular streaming services and websites. With its 200+ servers in 63 countries, you can enjoy connecting to any of them.

PrivateVPN supports all popular devices, so you can connect it to Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and Linux easily. It also offers six simultaneous connections and dedicated installation guides for Kodi, Roku, and Linux.

This VPN costs $2.25/month, making it a reliable cheap VPN on our list. However, if you want to test it first, you can try it out through its 30-day money-back guarantee.

For more information regarding its features, read the PrivateVPN review.

Pros
  • Port forwarding is enabled by default
  • Activation of port forwarding is hassle-free
  • Variety of protocols available
  • 30-day refund policy
Cons
  • Server network is quite small

5. Perfect PrivacyProvides Server-specific Port Forwarding Support

perfect-privacy

Key Features:

  • Servers across 26 countries
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • No-logging policy
  • Kill switch feature
  • DNS leak protection
  • Port forwarding activities are server-specific
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • 7-day money-back guarantee

Perfect Privacy is a reliable port forwarding VPN that only offers the feature on specific servers. There’s an auto port forwarding option that automatically sends signals to a port that’s been specified.

Perfect Privacy is also known to offer port forwarding of two types: dedicated and dynamic. With the former, it offers up to 5 port forwards that can be customized. With the dynamic version, it offers up to 3 dynamic port forwards.

You can access this VPN’s port forwarding services from the Settings tab. Then, you can easily configure a port forwarding table on this VPN and route signals through a sequence of multiple ports.

This VPN doesn’t offer an extensive server network but does offer the best security features to users. These features include anti-phishing software, multi-step VPN passing, IPv6 support, and more.

In addition, the VPN claims to be completely aware of the port forwarding risks and ensures that all users are completely safe as they offer multiple IP addresses and client firewalls for the same reason.

While being the last provider in our best VPN with port forwarding list, it is a little expensive, costing around $9.99/month with a 7-day money-back guarantee. Also, it does not work with iOS and offers apps for Windows, Android, and macOS only.

For more information, read the Perfect Privacy VPN review.

Pros
  • Port forwarding is offered on specific servers
  • Two types of port forwarding are offered
  • Configuration of the feature is quite easy
Cons
  • Server network is small
  • VPN is expensive

How to Set Up Port Forwarding

Follow this step-by-step guide to set up port forwarding. Note that this is simply a general overview, and the steps might differ from router to router:

  1. Log into your router and enter its IP into the address bar.
  2. You will see a list of empty port configurations in the port forwarding settings panel.
  3. Select a configuration and insert internal and external port numbers. Try to go over 1000 and under 65,000 for this. Please note that both these port numbers do not necessarily have to match one another.
  4. Insert the local IP of your device that you desire the port to connect to on your network (Please note that your local IP address and router IP address are different)
  5. Once this is over, your router will be able to redirect any request sent to that specific port straight to your device.

What is Port Forwarding?

Port forwarding refers to you letting your router direct some internet traffic directly onto your device if it has the correct port number.

Your computer network is set up in a limited way. It’s not compliant with you becoming anonymous over the internet. Thanks to methods like port forwarding, you can change the way your computer network is configured.

Port forwarding informs your router to accept all requests for such specific ports and forward them to you on your chosen device’s private IP address.


How Does Port Forwarding Work?

Port forwarding configures public services on a user’s network, such as email servers, FTP servers, web servers, and other specialized internet apps. When someone sends a request of this type through the network to your internet, the router forwards these requests to the appropriate PC.

But, that doesn’t adequately explain how port forwarding works. So, let’s make it more simple.

When you access any website using your computer, you transit data packets containing details of your request over the internet. These data packets contain details about the final destination of the request, including a port number.

Usually, a network recognizes the port and sends the data packet to its correct destination. However, the application rewrites the port number after the signal is intercepted when using port forwarding. Then, the data is sent to the destination where the port number points at.

What are the Benefits of Port Forwarding?

To preserve a public IP address, port forwarding is a smart choice. It can save clients and servers from unwanted access, limit access to and from a network, and conceal the servers and services available on a network.

Let’s look at the benefits of port forwarding in detail:

  1. Connect remotely to your VPN: Port forwarding offers a secure connection to your private IP address and allows you to enjoy the protection of a VPN remotely.
  2. Protect yourself online: You can do this by making the internet traffic request a unique key to reach your private IP address. This way, only users with port numbers and public IPS can access your device.
  3. Play online games efficiently: When accessing unsafe gaming servers, most routers immediately block the traffic. However, you can set up a private router and confuse the router to comprehend port numbers, giving you a solid gaming experience.

When Port Forwarding Comes in Handy

Following are a few reasons why you should use port forwarding:

  1. Connect with your friends after hosting gaming servers.
  2. Have a commendable gaming experience if your router’s firewall blocks your gaming traffic.
  3. Access virtual devices being hosted in the cloud.

This is the basic information about port forwarding and how it works for beginners. If you want a proper detailed guide, then please go through our detailed port forwarding article.


What is Static vs Dynamic Port Forwarding?

Port forwarding involves two types of ports; static and dynamic. Dynamic ports alter the port number every time they are used, while static keeps it the same.

Both these port types come with their advantages. Static is more convenient than the other as it doesn’t change port number settings. These ports are also generally better for torrenting.

Dynamic ports are not that great to use when you want remote access. But, it can be advantageous as it recycles unused ports and uses them.


What Does Reddit Have to Say About Port Forwarding?

We took some opinions of Reddit users about port forwarding. This is what they have to say.

This Reddit user emphasized the importance of port forwarding for torrents and said:

reddit-review-port-forwarding

One Reddit user mentioned TorGuard as the most favorite VPN for port forwarding:

reddit-review-on-vpn-for-port-forwarding

PIA is another best VPN with port forwarding, Reddit users recommend:

reddit-review-port-forwarding


Best VPN with Port Forwarding – FAQs

Yes, you can port forward while using a VPN. However, not all VPNs offer port forwarding support. If they do, you can configure it through the VPN’s website or the settings of the VPN app. Also, keep in mind that some VPNs may offer port forwarding on just a few servers.

So, it’s always a safe choice to get ExpressVPN – the best VPN with port forwarding support to enjoy the feature on all servers.

Yes, VPNs are way better than port forwarding. Here are the two reasons to explain this. First, they eliminate loads of unnecessary firewall and router configurations. Second, they provide robust security. However, one should always go for the best VPN for port forwarding to provide a fantastic service.

A static internet IP (IPv4) is required to make port forwarding work. Since your IPV4 IP address is dynamic, it’s constantly changing by default. This way, port forwarding wouldn’t be able to pin your device to your home network.

Various VPN services refuse to offer port forwarding support due to security concerns. But, it’s quite necessary for a few apps to offer port forwarding since a major part of the internet’s ecosystem is users sharing various information. If you ask us, then the best VPN with port forwarding support is ExpressVPN.


Conclusion

Multiple VPNs don’t offer port forwarding due to security reasons. But, let’s be honest. Port forwarding has become necessary when the large audience on the internet depends on sharing information.

Our top recommendation for the best VPN with port forwarding is ExpressVPN. It only requires an initial setup, and there is a dedicated guide on how to open your ports. Additionally, all ExpressVPN servers support P2P. It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free for 30 days.

This ends our best VPN with port forwarding guide. In case of any questions, feel free to comment, and we’ll get back to you!