The Best VPN Providers That Offer Port Forwarding

What is Port Forwarding?

Port forwarding is a way to allow incoming connections to a specific computer or service on your home network. This can be useful for things like gaming, file sharing, and hosting websites.

When you connect to a VPN, your internet traffic is routed through the VPN’s servers. This means your IP address is hidden from the websites and services you visit. However, port forwarding can still be used while connected to a VPN, as the VPN will forward the ports to your home network rather than your device.

Why Choose a VPN Provider that Supports Port Forwarding?

You might want to choose a VPN provider that supports port forwarding for a few reasons.

  • Gaming: Port forwarding can improve your gaming experience by reducing lag and improving ping times. 
  • File Sharing: Port forwarding can make sharing files with others on your home network easier. 
  • Hosting Websites: Port forwarding can host websites from your home network.
  • Hosting Applications: Host your own media centre, torrent client or game server.
  • Remote Access: Access your home network devices while on the go.

Top 8 VPN Providers that Support Port Forwarding

Here is a list of the top 10 VPN providers that support port forwarding:

  1. ExpressVPN: The port forwarding feature is only available for setting up on v1 or v2 (and upward) routers. You’ll have to either install the firmware or invest in a router that’s compatible with this VPN. 
  2. PureVPN: PureVPN offers port forwarding as an additional addon at $0.49/month, but it is straightforward to set up and use.
  3. Private Internet Access (PIA): PIA is a reliable service that provides automatic or manual port forwarding, which works excellently when downloading.
  4. PremierVPN: PremierVPN offer port forwarding over the Dedicated VPN server plans with the ability to lockdown port access for security.
  5. Windscribe: Windscribe offer port forwarding over a static IP (purchased separately) or on shared servers for seven days only.
  6. ProtonVPN: ProtonVPN offer port forwarding to Windows users only. You can enable it in the Advanced Settings section, which is very easy to use.
  7. AirVPN: AirVPN is a solid VPN provider that offers solid privacy, fast speeds, and support for port forwarding. We thought AirVPN port forwarding worked very well in testing.
  8. Ivacy VPN: Ivacy is a nifty VPN with solid security and stability. It also supports port forwarding for an additional $1/month and can be easily set up from the member area.
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Choosing the Right VPN Provider for Port Forwarding

When choosing a VPN provider for port forwarding, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Security: Ensure your VPN provider does not assign ports on shared servers. This is a BIG no-no, providing port forwarding on shared servers can cause security issues.
  • Static or Dynamic: Port forwarding can impact your security, you want to ask what types of port forwarding are supported and if there is any ability to restrict access to the port.
  • Support: Make sure that the VPN provider you choose offers support for the type of port forwarding you require but also offers live support to set it up.
  • Dedicated IP: Make sure your port forward is assigned to an IP dedicated to you and you only. Some providers tend to share IPs amongst many users claiming it’s dedicated.

Is Port Forwarding Safe?

Port forwarding is not deemed 100% safe, especially when using static port forwarding. The main issue is that you expose services hosted at home to the public internet. A quick port scan can discover these running services within minutes.

Sometimes, these services can reveal information exposing your real IP; in a worst-case scenario, your home server/PC could become compromised and used maliciously.

Dynamic port forwarding is preferred over static port forwarding mainly because the port only lasts the length of the VPN session, although it may be more inconvenient.

Static port forwarding is a port assigned to you indefinitely, leaving more time for this port to become noticed by anyone probing.

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