How to Open a Specific Port in Your Windows Firewall
The Windows Firewall is a security measure that blocks unauthorized access to your PC. By default, the firewall is enabled, but you can open up specific ports depending on the service you’d like to use.
If you are running an FTP server on your computer, for example, opening ports 20 and 21 will allow other computers on the local network to connect with yours and share data.
This article will show you how to open a specific port in your Windows firewall.
How to Open Ports in the Windows Firewall
The purpose of a firewall is to filter traffic and protect your network from certain types of attacks. Just as a doorstop can be used to prevent people from getting into your home, a firewall will stop unwanted users and programs from accessing your system over the internet.
This feature helps you maintain privacy while browsing, for example, if you accidentally navigate to a site that contains malware. A firewall also ensures that anyone targeting you with cybercriminal activities can’t get through and access your computer.
Your Windows firewall has a series of openings called ports to help your computer communicate with other safe computers and servers across the internet.
Every port has a positive 16-bit unsigned integer ranging from 0 to 65535.
Firewall ports primarily serve two purposes. First, ports improve the security of your PC by restricting access to specific devices on your network and beyond. Second, they secure traffic by dropping packets if the destination port for a data packet does not match the destination port of an expected response packet. This process is known as port filtering.
By default, every PC has many open ports to facilitate smooth communication between your computer and the outside world. But there’s also a large number of ports that aren’t open, especially those scarcely used.
The problem is that if a port that facilitates a particular type of web traffic is closed, you won’t be able to use certain services.
For example, if you’re an Xbox enthusiast, the following ports need to be open before you can link up with other players and allow your Xbox console to communicate with the Xbox network:
- Port 500 (UDP)
- Port 88 (UDP)
- Port 4500 (UDP)
- Port 53 (UDP and TCP)
- Port 80 (TCP)
- Port 3544 (UDP)
- Port 3074 (UDP and TCP)
The good news is that the Windows firewall allows you to open just about any port and run the associated service.
Let’s go over how to open both inbound and outbound ports on your PC.
How to Open Inbound Ports in the Windows Firewall?
Inbound firewall ports refer to those ports that allow external computers on the internet (remote computers) to access your PC or other devices in the local area network. That includes printers, routers, and other networking equipment.
Here’s how to open a port for incoming traffic:
- Open the Control Panel utility.
- Navigate to “System and Security” and then select “Windows Defender Firewall.”
- Click on “Advanced Settings.”
- Right-click on “Inbound Rules” and select “New Rule” from the popup menu.
- Select the “Port” option and click “Next.”
- Add the protocol (TCP or UDP). This information is usually part of a port’s official name.
- Enter the port number in the box provided and hit “Next.”
- Click on “Allow the connection” and then “Next.”
- Select the network type.
- If your PC is connected to a corporate domain, select “Domain.”
- If your PC is connected to a private network, select “Private.”
- For a public network, select “Private.”
- Click “Next.”
- Name the new rule and then click “Finish.”
How to Open Outbound Ports in the Windows Firewall
Outbound ports are used to block all outgoing traffic from a specified port. A network operator can block an outbound port to prevent users in the local network from visiting certain websites or even running specific programs that require an internet connection.
If you’d like to open an outbound port, here are the steps:
- Open the Control Panel.
- Go to “System and Security” and then click on “Windows Firewall.”
- Select “Advanced Settings” from the left pane.
- Right-click on “Outbound Rules.”
- Hit “New Rule” in the popup menu and click on the “Port” toggle button.
- Click “Next.”
- Specify whether the port uses TCP protocol or UDP protocol.
- Type the port number in the next window and click “Next.”
- Toggle the button next to “Allow the connection” and then hit “Next.”
- Select the network type.
- Click “Next” again.
- Type a name for the new rule and then hit the “Finish” button at the bottom of the window.
How Do I Check Which Ports Are Open?
1. Open the Start menu.
2. Type “Command Prompt” and click on “Run as administrator.”
3. Type “netstat-ab” and then hit Enter. In a few moments, you should see a list of all open ports.
What Are the Dangers of Opening a Port?
Opening firewall ports can allow outsiders to access services that would otherwise be protected from external actors. For example, opening a TCP port to make FTP available on your computer can enable hackers to execute any arbitrary commands on your system.
In addition, opening an outbound port can make it easier for malware that has infiltrated one of the machines in your network to spread to all of the other computers in the network.
Connect With Freedom
The firewall in Windows puts a safety net in place to ensure nobody can access your information without authorization to pry into your files, track your IP address or location, or find out what sites you visit.
However, sometimes you’ll need to open a port or two to access certain services, such as playing video games with other players around the world. The good thing is that Microsoft has ensured you can open any port you want in just a few steps.
Before opening any port, it’s crucial to analyze all the risks and evaluate how such a move will affect the other devices in your local network.
To be on the safe side, you shouldn’t open up any ports on your PC’s firewall if you haven’t installed additional security tools such as Windows Defender and a strong antivirus program. Such utilities can reinforce your system’s defense capabilities and rebuff any attackers who might attempt to infiltrate your system.
Which ports have you tried to open on your PC? How did it go?
Let us know in the comments section below.