Two roads lead to a Wi-Fi router; a black one reaches it, while a white road is blocked by a white cross in a red circle.

We may never know what birds are, but we have firmly established what port forwarding does for gaming: it allows you to host game servers on your computer. What a simple and clear answer, ey! However, I’m getting paid to write a more detailed answer, so read the whole article to find out more. 

Table of contents

    What does port forwarding do for gaming?

    Port forwarding enables you to host multiplayer game servers on your computer. It does so by opening a passage in the firewall for connections targeting a specific game. This allows outside players to connect to your device without being previously digitally invited to do so.

    Why do you need port forwarding for gaming?

    You need port forwarding to host servers for multiplayer games over the internet. 

    Multiplayer gaming has long since moved beyond sharing a sofa with a friend. The internet allows you to play with randies and pubbies from all around the globe. You all join the server and trade mother-based insults until somebody wins. 

    However, not all multiplayer games come with remote servers provided by a third party. Sometimes, you need to be the one that will host the game. But if you are the game host, the other players must connect to your device to play it. The game client does that automatically.

    A connection between your computer and your friends computer established through port forwarding.

    But your router’s NAT firewall isn’t aware of your gaming plans. All it sees is a bunch of unrequested connections coming in. It considers them illegitimate and ignores them. So if your gaming buddies try to connect to your server and are stopped, your multiplayer suddenly becomes a single-player. 

    Also, a few multiplayer games automatically choose one of the players in the match to be the host. It can’t really do that if the ports are closed.

    So, does every multiplayer gamer need to carry out port forwarding? Good heavens, no, why would you say such a thing? You only need port forwarding if you’re hosting games or playing games that may make you the host. Tangentially related, but if you are chosen as the host, the game server runs on your device, and lag stops being an issue (unlike your skills). 

    What ports should I forward?

    What ports you should forward for gaming depends on the game itself and your platform. No, there is no single “game” port that you can open to work at all times. When the time comes to forward them ports, you must find which specific ports the game in question uses. 

    Here are some examples of ports that popular video games use on PC/Steam: 

    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III – TCP: 27015, 27036; UDP: 3074, 27015, 27031-27036.
    • Overwatch 2 – TCP: 1119, 3724, 6113; UDP: 3478-3479, 5060, 5062, 6250, 12000-64000.
    • BattleBit Remastered – TCP: 27015, 27036, 29998; UDP: 27015, 27031-27036, 29998.
    • Diablo IV – TCP: 1119, 6112-6114, 28890-28893, 54545-54549; UDP: 1119, 6120.
    • Company of Heroes 3 – TCP: 27015-27030, 27036; UDP: 27015, 27031-27036.
    • Counter-Strike 2 – TCP: 27015, 27036; UDP: 27015, 27031-27036.

    How to port forward your router for gaming

    To carry out port forwarding, you’ll need to change some router settings. As there is a practically uncountable amount of router varieties, we can give you only the most general guide for the port forwarding settings on the router. Here it goes: 

    1. Find the private IP of your gaming device, your router’s IP address and the port the game uses. 
    2. Enter the router IP address in your browser. 
    3. Login to view browser settings (try “admin” as both username and password). 
    4. Find the port forwarding section.
    5. Set new port forwarding rules by entering your private IP and the port for your game. 
    6. Save and exit. 
    7. Done!

    Is port forwarding necessary?

    Port forwarding is necessary if you want to host any multiplayer game. Without it, other players won’t be able to join in over the internet. Make sure to check whether the game you’re about to play requires port forwarding. 

    However, port forwarding isn’t necessary in your daily life. A lot of websites recommend it as a way to improve your general online connectivity, but if you haven’t noticed any issues, there’s nothing for port forwarding to improve. 

    Moreover, port forwarding makes you a little more vulnerable online. It is, after all, a hole in your firewall made specifically for someone to get through without any impediments. That’s a vulnerability that hackers may exploit. 

    In conclusion: you can have little port forwarding as a treat

    Like all non-web3 technology, port forwarding has a use. For gaming, it means hosting multiplayer game servers one way or the other. If you’re not into hosting things, port forwarding is unlikely to play a role in your life. And besides, it’s ever so slightly unsafe to do. How about securing your device with a VPN? 

    Stay secure when ports aren’t forwarded
    A VPN is an improvement for your online security


    Does port forwarding help with gaming?

    Yes, port forwarding helps with gaming because you wouldn’t be able to host multiplayer servers otherwise. 

    Can port forwarding reduce ping?

    Port forwarding can negligibly reduce ping. While it makes the connection more direct when receiving data, it does nothing for sending data. So, if you think that you didn’t score that kill because your shot didn’t register on the server on time, port forwarding couldn’t have helped you. 

    What is the best port to forward for gaming?

    The best port to forward for gaming is the one the game you want to host uses. If you port forward ports unrelated to the game, you’ll just make your cyber defenses compromised for no reason. 

    Does port forwarding speed up gaming?

    Port forwarding does not improve FPS and has negligible — if any — impact on ping. 

    What is port forwarding for XBox?

    Xbox needs some ports to be open for online functionality to work. Some games may require additional ports to be open. This is done via the router interface, not the console itself.

    What is port forwarding for PS4?

    PlayStation 4 may need some ports to be open for normal online service functions. Some games may need additional ports to be opened. This is done via the router interface, not the console itself.