If you have ever used BitTorrent clients like uTorrent or BitComet you are probably aware of the term port forwarding. Most modern routers have UPnP (Universal Plug ‘n Play) or NAT-PMP built in, which allows automatic forwarding of ports. However, others need to forward a port manually. If you get the yellow icon in uTorrent or other torrent clients, then you need to forward your port (if it is red, then the probable culprit is your Firewall). But before discussing how to forward a port, let us first learn the meaning of port forwarding.
What is Port Forwarding?
The Physical Address and IP Address allow data packets to travel from the source to the destination host. However, the destination machine is not the final target. There may be multiple programs requesting different kinds of data simultaneously. Software ports are basically numbered connections that are used by the computer to sort the network traffic. In other words ports allow the computer to send the correct data to the correct process. Conventionally, port 80 is used for HTTP traffic, port 21 for FTP and so on. You can find a list of various ports used by various services over here.
Now that we know what ports are, let us come to port forwarding. Port forwarding is basically forwarding a network port from one node to another. It is also called port mapping or tunneling. It allows an outside user to access a certain port through a NAT enabled router. Without port forwarding you won’t be visible to a lot of users. This is why you must enable port forwarding in order to get optimal speeds with torrent downloads.
How to Enable Port Forwarding?
Now that we have understood why we need port forwarding, let us discuss how to do it.
The following section applies only to Windows systems. Simple Port Forwarding works on all Windows systems including Windows XP, Vista and 7. If want are using Linux, check out the manual method for enabling port forwarding.
Simple Way: The simplest way to enable port forwarding is to download and install Simple Port Forwarding (SPF). It’s an amazing utility that basically takes care of everything.
Thanks to the awesome Getting Started wizard, using Simple Port Forwarding is a child’s play. The software supports hundreds of routers, so the chances are that your router is also supported. The full list of supported routers is available here. Once you have found and selected your router, SPF will hold your hand and guide you through the remaining steps. It takes care of assigning static IP address, selecting port to be forwarded, updating router settings and configuring Windows firewall. All popular torrent clients including Vuze, uTorrent, BitComet and Ares are supported. SPF automatically detects the program settings and configures your router accordingly.
Manual Way: If you insist on doing this manually, you will need to know your router’s default username and password. In case you don’t know these details try your luck at RouterPasswords.com. In case it’s not available even there, your best friend is Google Search.
Once you have obtained your router’s username and password head over to PortForward.com. PortForward.com contains step by step instructions for hundreds of routers. Select your model, select the application you want to setup and follow the instructions. Remember that the port you wish to forward is the port you have chosen as the listening port in your torrent client. Once, you are done restart your router and check if your port is forwarded properly.