Best VPN with Port Forwarding: 5 Leading VPNs to Choose from in 2023
VPNs are excellent security tools for torrenting, but many VPNs don’t allow port forwarding even though it could increase P2P speeds. They don’t provide this feature because they’re worried it will endanger their users’ privacy.
Port forwarding can indeed be risky because it might allow malicious incoming connections to compromise your devices. But if you only use it with torrent clients and keep your system’s firewall on and use an antivirus, it should be pretty safe.
So we tested the top providers on the market to see which ones allow port forwarding.
Is VPN Port Forwarding Safe?
Enabling port forwarding on a VPN is safe, but only if the VPN service takes security measures against port fail attacks. Those cyberattacks allow a cybercriminal to expose users’ real IP addresses. VPNs can prevent this by using different incoming and outgoing IP addresses on their servers.
In addition, port forwarding on a VPN is also risky because it can allow unsolicited connections to access your devices. Unfortunately, that means a hacker could remotely control your device.
However, that is only a serious threat if you use port forwarding to allow remote access to important devices, like your PC for example. If you use it to port forward on your torrent client to get faster speeds, there’s not much damage a cybercriminal can do. Though, you should still enable your system’s firewall and require a password to log in to be safe.
5 Best VPNs That Enable Port Forwarding
The best VPN with port forwarding is PrivateVPN, earning first place in the list for some valid reasons. It is a provider that prides itself on security and privacy. The service is easy to use and high performing, suited for both casual users and those serious about internet privacy.
Port forwarding with PrivateVPN is easy. When you connect to a server, you can see a random port number right above the disconnect button. You can then manually change the number to whatever port you want. The setting up process is straightforward, the feature has no bandwidth limits and the strong security keeps your activity hidden.
This VPN keeps no logs, offers torrenting support, and has good security infrastructure. It can be used to increase speeds from streaming networks, such as Netflix. They have over 150+ servers in 43 countries with multiple locations in several countries.
PrivateVPN has fast connection speeds despite its relatively small network. It also has a neat connection guard that cuts off applications and internet access if the VPN connection drops for any reason. This keeps unwanted traffic out of the encryption tunnel.
Best of all it comes with IPv6 and DNS leak protection which greatly reduces the risk of port fail attacks. The “stealth blocker” hides the fact that you are using a VPN so you can access networks with tough blocks.
Lastly, PrivateVPNs servers are very reasonably priced. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans, and they have a free 7-day trial you can get by requesting one through customer support.
- Supports P2P traffic and allows port forwarding
- Unlimited bandwidth and great speeds
- Unblocks most streaming platforms
- Zero-logging policy
- Free Static IP servers
- 10 simultaneous connections
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Not as many servers as other VPN providers
- No split-tunneling
2. Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access is a robust VPN provider that allows port forwarding. The feature can be accessed from the settings tab. Once the port is configured, it will automatically connect to the one you specified.
PIA has more than 3200+ servers in 66 locations across 46 countries. The service allows 10 connected devices at once and advanced security options. They offer applications for all major platforms including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and even Linux.
Private Internet Access also includes an automatic kill-switch that drops the port forwarding if the VPN connection is lost. This feature is designed to prevent unauthorized access to encryption channels.
This is a torrent-friendly VPN. They have full P2P support and are not limited to specific servers, as is the case with a lot of VPN providers.
All plans are very affordable and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Thousands of servers
- Great for torrenting and P2P
- Strong security and encryption
- Block ads, trackers, and malware
- 10 simultaneous device connections
- Anonymous payment methods
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Based in the US
- Not all streaming services can be unblocked
PureVPN is a Hong Kong-based VPN provider with a huge server network, strong security options, and good connection speeds. In 2018 it became a no-log certified VPN provider, meaning they do not keep any records of your activities while connected to its VPN service.
It allows for port forwarding, so you can open and forward any UDP/TCP port from basically any device and use port forwarding to configure secure ports for torrenting or online gaming.
PureVPN has cross-platform support for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. It is also compatible with Linux and other smart devices like Amazon Fire TV. They have over 2,000 servers spread out across 140 countries.
The service has a profile dedicated specifically to torrenting that connects to special servers. P2P connections are fast, secure, and protect your real IP address from unauthorized viewing.
PureVPN is a simple-to-use port-forwarding VPN service. All its plans are pretty cheap compared to other VPN providers and have a 31-day money-back guarantee.
- Full P2P support
- Allows port forwarding
- Strong encryption and kill switch feature
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Has cheap dedicated IP addresses
- 31-day money-back guarantee
- Speeds may vary
- Sometimes can not unblock streaming services
TorGuard is a VPN service that is a great choice for torrent leechers and seeders who need fast upload and download speeds. It prioritizes P2P sharing traffic, which makes it somewhat of a rarity among VPN providers.
This VPN server provider supports port forwarding for ports above 2048 and only through OpenVPN. They do not support port forwarding through PPTP, L2TP, and SSTP protocols.
Activating port forwarding can be a bit tricky, particularly for anyone looking for their first VPN. You first have to request port forwarding access from the Management Action toolbar. Once your request is processed, you will get an email with instructions on how to open your ports. Once you get it set up, though, the static ports work smoothly for seeding and leeching.
The basic TorGuard plan allows you to connect up to 5 devices on the VPN network and you can add more devices for $1 per month.
TorGuard also offers add-ons such as dedicated IP addresses, DDoS protection, and access to the company’s 100 Gbit network. This VPN also supports several VPN protocols, including popular “Stealth” protocols that hide the fact you are using a VPN.
- Supports torrenting with port forwarding
- Double encryption and WireGuard protocol
- No-logs policy
- The most customizable VPN
- Has DNS options, stealth proxies, and other security features
- Offers a wide range of Dedicated IP addresses
- Only 7-day money-back guarantee
- Based in the US
- Apps look clunky
5. Perfect Privacy
Perfect Privacy is a Swiss-based VPN provider with 39 locations in over 20 countries worldwide. Perfect Privacy does not have an extensive server network but gives users a list of unusual features such as multi-step VPN passing, tracker blocking, anti-phishing software, and IPv6 support on the majority of their servers.
You can access port forwarding services from the Settings table, where you can also select your VPN encryption method. Perfect privacy allows you to set up a table of port forwarding rules, and you can route signals through multiple port sequences. You can add new custom ports with the “Add” button and configure ports for torrent clients. Setting up static ports takes just a few minutes and very little technical know-how.
Perfect Privacy’s port forwarding services are server-specific, which means you will only be able to use them on those servers. There are also options for automatic port forwarding, which automatically forwards signals to a specified port. This feature is extremely useful if you do a lot of torrenting or other services that require P2P connections.
We should also mention that Perfect Privacy is keenly aware of Port Fail vulnerabilities, and they claim that all users are protected. This is why they allow multiple IP addresses and client-side firewalls to block access from the client’s real IP address to port forwardings.
- No-logs policy and RAM-disk servers
- Supports P2P and torrenting
- Allows port forwarding
- Blocks ads and malware
- Supports IPv6 addresses
- Stealth VPN feature
- Only 7-day money-back guarantee
- Relatively expensive
- No iOS or Linux apps
What Is Port Forwarding?
Port forwarding involves configuring a router to send data to a device on your network. You can use it to remotely access smart devices on your home network, like video cameras. It can bypass NAT firewalls that block internet connections to devices on your network.
A port is a specific number that determines how data is transmitted and received over the internet. Port numbers determine distinct “roads” for internet traffic, which prevents conflicts. An example is port 21, which is conventionally assigned to data for FTP requests. Ports are important for internet security. Blocking a single port will block all internet traffic directed to that port.
How Does Port Forwarding Work?
Here is a quick description of how port forwarding works. When you access a website from your computer, you send packets of data that contain information about your request over the web. These packets contain information about the request’s final destination including a port number.
Normally, a network router recognizes the port and sends the packet to the right destination. When Port forwarding is used, this signal is intercepted and the application rewrites the port number. The data is then sent to the destination where the new port number points.
Port forwarding blocks unwanted access to servers, hides sensitive information, and opens new paths to increase download speeds.
Static Port Forwarding Vs. Dynamic Port Forwarding
Port forwarding can involve static or dynamic ports. Static ports keep the same port number, while dynamic port forwarding changes port numbers every time they are used. Dynamic ports establish a new number every time a new connection is made.
Static ports are probably the most convenient as you don’t have to change port number settings constantly. Port forwarding through static ports is generally better for torrenting. This is because new connections do not have to be established all the time, and you don’t have to change your settings.
Dynamic ports, on the other hand, can be beneficial as they allow to use and recycle unused ports. Yet, using dynamic ports is problematic when you want to have remote access.
How to Activate Port Forwarding
If you want to set up port forwarding on your router, we can only provide you with a generic outline of how the setup process works. That’s because the specific steps for setting it up vary from router to router.
Here’s how you generally handle port configurations on a router:
- Log into your router’s dashboard — you do that by typing your router’s IP address in a browser’s URL bar.
- Access the router’s port forwarding settings panel.
- Look for a list of empty port configurations.
- Pick an empty configuration and enter internal and external port numbers. Usually, anything over 1,000 and under 65,000 should be fine. The external and internal ports don’t have to match each other as long as external and internal devices know which ports to use.
- Next, enter the local IP address of the device you want the port to connect to on your network. Keep in mind the device’s local IP address is not the same as the router’s public IP address.
- And you’re done. Now, your router will automatically redirect any request sent to the ports you configured straight to your device. It does that without revealing the device’s private IP address.
Does Port Forwarding Work with a VPN?
Yes, port forwarding works with VPNs, and it’s necessary if the VPNs use NAT firewalls to block incoming connections. The VPN provider needs to support VPN port forwarding as a feature for it to work.
If you’re using a VPN with port forwarding, you’ll need to enable the port forward feature. We can’t provide a specific tutorial because it’s different for each VPN service.
Here’s a general outline of how you set up port forwarding with a VPN:
- Enable port forwarding inside the VPN app or from your VPN account’s dashboard.
- Choose which ports you want to open.
- Access the port settings on the app you want to use port forwarding with (like a torrent client).
- Change the app’s listening port to the ports you picked in step #2.
- Disable UPnP and NAT-PMP in the app.
To test if VPN port forwarding works, use the CanYouSeeMeNow.org tool. Enter the forwarded port and click Check Port. If you see a Success message, you did everything right.
Why Don’t Many VPNs Offer Port Forwarding?
The main reason why is security concerns. VPN providers use NAT firewalls to block unwanted connections. Port forwarding allows you to circumvent those firewall rules, which decreases security and privacy. This is why many VPNs don’t allow port forwarding as it can allow dangerous connections to access the network.
NAT firewalls are a powerful form of protection. However, sometimes they block the connections that the VPN users might want to have. For example, after connecting to a VPN, you might find that you cannot download videos from your favorite site due to the firewall blocking it. This can also cause some interruptions in P2P connections too. It can prevent you from connecting to your peers and limit the download speeds.
Only a few VPNs offer a Port Forwarding feature. This is because it opens up users to risky connections that are otherwise blocked. Back in 2015, people figured out that VPN providers had one big flaw called “Port Fail.” This vulnerability meant that VPNs could sometimes leak users’ real IP addresses. Fortunately, getting rid of port failures is a relatively easy fix, but there is no guarantee that a VPN server provider has eliminated that vulnerability.
Port Forwarding VPNs and Torrenting
One activity that VPN firewalls can potentially interfere with is torrenting. Torrenting relies on seeding – connecting to people who want to download your files. Seeding is necessary for people to be able to torrent anything at all.
VPNs may limit your connections to peers and make you unable to contribute to the upload rate. Port forwarding is a way to get around this limitation. It allows connections from many users and forwards them to the torrent client. The downside of this is that it allows connections to pass the NAT firewall.
Do You Need a VPN with Port Forwarding?
If you are not interested in contributing to the upload rate, then you don’t have to worry about port forwarding too much. The only way torrenting on a VPN would be impossible is if a VPN provider does not support P2P traffic at all. That being said, some torrenting platforms will not allow you to download files unless you contribute to the upload rate. In those cases, a VPN with port forwarding might be necessary.
Port forwarding can increase your torrent download/upload speeds, though, if used properly. Here is how: Torrent applications rely on at least one peer being there (user) with a publicly accessible port (also called an active node). Most regular torrent users stay as passive nodes, and the torrent client can usually only communicate with active nodes.
When you enable port forwarding, you increase the number of peers you can connect to. This greatly increases download/seeding speeds. In other words, opening up port forwarding allows you to connect with more peers, so you can download from a larger number of nodes at once.
Here is another way of putting the point: without any open ports, your torrent client has to start each connection to other clients. Opening up port forwarding allows other clients to find you, so you can get more connections.
The VPN provider that allows for port forwarding usually gives instructions on how to enable it. Most of the time, you can enable it and specify ports in the VPN’s user settings area. The VPN provider may only provide port forwarding on specific servers.
Other Benefits of Port Forwarding
Here’s how else VPN port forwarding helps:
- Allows seeding — A NAT firewall can interfere with your seeding, preventing you from uploading anything to the swarm. Port forwarding lets you bypass the NAT firewall so that you can seed torrents.
- Hosting online games — with port forwarding enabled, you can use the VPN to securely host online games with a dedicated IP address. You also make them accessible outside your home network. This way, you can also prevent bandwidth throttling from ruining your gaming experience.
- Remote access — it lets you remotely access your home network if a VPN is running on it.
What Is UPnP (Universal Plug and Play)?
UPnP allows apps on your device to open router ports when needed. When the apps no longer need the ports, they close them. It’s convenient but also risky because UPnP assumes all devices on your network are secure. If a device becomes infected with malware, UPnP will allow it to compromise your whole network.
It’s generally a good idea to disable UPnP. If you plan on using a VPN with port forwarding, you’ll need to disable UPnP anyway because it can conflict with the VPN.
Does NordVPN Support Port Forwarding?
No, NordVPN doesn’t allow port forwarding. It blocks almost all port communication within your device, except the ports used by popular apps. NordVPN made that decision because it considers port forwarding a security risk.
If you’re looking for a good port forwarding VPN, we recommend PrivateVPN — it makes it very easy to use the feature, and it’s also a high-speed and secure VPN.
Not so many VPN providers allow for Port Forwarding due to security reasons. However, given that a large part of the internet ecosystem depends on people sharing information with each other, it can be a necessity for certain applications. One of the best VPNs that offer port forwarding is PrivateVPN. It openly supports P2P traffic and is a fast and reliable VPN service. Its port forwarding is easy to configure, and the apps come with additional security features such as IP leak protection and an internet kill switch.