Windows Firewall is a security measure that blocks unauthorized access to your PC. By default, the firewall is enabled, but you can open specific ports depending on the service you want 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 to yours and share data.
This article will show you how to open a specific port in your Windows Firewall.
How to Open Ports in Windows Firewall
The purpose of a firewall is to filter traffic and protect your network against certain types of attacks. Just as a door stopper can be used to prevent people from entering your home, a firewall will prevent unwanted users and programs from accessing your system through the Internet.
This feature helps you maintain privacy while browsing, for example, if you accidentally access a site that contains malware. A firewall also ensures that anyone who targets you with cybercriminal activities cannot get through and gain access to your computer.
Your Windows Firewall has a series of openings called ports to help your computer communicate with other secure computers and servers on the Internet.
Each port has a 16-bit unsigned positive integer between 0 and 65535.
Firewall ports primarily serve two purposes. First, ports improve your PC's security by restricting access to specific devices on your network and beyond. Second, they secure traffic by dropping packets if the destination port of 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 are also a large number of ports that are not open, especially those that are little 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 are an Xbox enthusiast, the following ports must be open before you can connect with other gamers and allow your Xbox console to communicate with the Xbox network:
- Port 500 (UDP)
- Port 88 (UDP)
- Port 4500 (UDP)
- Port 53 (UDP et TCP)
- Port 80 (TCP)
- Port 3544 (UDP)
- Port 3074 (UDP et TCP)
The good news is that Windows Firewall allows you to open just about any port and run the associated service.
Let's see how to open incoming and outgoing ports on your PC.
How to open incoming ports in Windows Firewall?
Inbound firewall ports refer to ports that allow external computers on the Internet (remote computers) to access your PC or other devices on the local network. This includes printers, routers and other network equipment.
Here's how to open a port for incoming traffic:
- Open the Control Panel utility.
- Go to "System and Security", then select "Windows Defender Firewall".
- Click on “Advanced Settings”.
- Right-click "Inbound Rules" and select "New Rule" from the pop-up 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 click “Next”.
- Click on "Allow connection" and then on "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, then click "Finish".
How to Open Outbound Ports in Windows Firewall
Outgoing ports are used to block all outgoing traffic from a specified port. A network operator can block an outgoing port to prevent local network users from visiting certain websites or even running specific programs that require an Internet connection.
If you want to open an outgoing port, here are the steps:
- Open the Control Panel.
- Go to “System and Security” then click on “Windows Firewall”.
- Select "Advanced Settings" in the left pane.
- Right-click "Outgoing Rules".
- Tap "New Rule" in the context menu and click the "Port" toggle button.
- Click Next. »
- Specify whether the port uses the TCP protocol or the UDP protocol.
- Type the port number in the next window and click "Next".
- Toggle the button next to "Allow connection," then tap "Next."
- Select the network type.
- Click “Next” again.
- Type a name for the new rule, then press the "Finish" button at the bottom of the window.
How can I check which ports are open?
1. Open the Start menu.
2. Type "Command Prompt" and click "Run as administrator".
3. Type "netstat -ab", then press 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 allow hackers to execute arbitrary commands on your system.
Additionally, opening an outbound port can make it easier for malware that has infiltrated one of the machines on your network to spread to all other computers on the network.
Connect with Freedom
Windows Firewall sets up a safety net to ensure that no one can access your information without permission to pry into your files, track your IP address or location, or discover the sites you visit.
However, sometimes you will need to open one or two ports to access certain services, such as playing video games with other gamers around the world. The good thing is that Microsoft has made sure that you can open any port you want in just a few steps.
Before opening a port, it is crucial to analyze all the risks and assess how such a move will affect other devices on your local network.
As a safety precaution, you should not open any ports on your PC's firewall unless you have installed additional security tools such as Windows Defender and powerful antivirus program. Such utilities can boost your system's defensive capabilities and ward off any attacker who might attempt to infiltrate your system.
What ports have you tried to open on your PC? How was it?
Let us know in the comments section below.