what is vpn port

A VPN port plays an essential role in ensuring secure communication between your device and a VPN server. When you connect to a VPN, your network traffic is encrypted and sent through a specific port, which then routes the data through firewalls, routers, and other network devices to guarantee a safe transfer. VPN ports work in conjunction with VPN protocols to provide users with privacy, security, and performance while browsing the internet.

Understanding various VPN ports is crucial for configuring your VPN service and troubleshooting issues. Different VPN protocols use distinct ports, which allows them to function optimally based on the users’ requirements. Some common protocols include OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP, each with its own associated port numbers. The choice between TCP and UDP communication protocols can also impact your VPN performance, as they serve different purposes and provide unique advantages.

Key Takeaways

  • VPN ports facilitate secure communication between your device and the VPN server, working alongside VPN protocols.
  • Different VPN protocols use specific ports, impacting factors like privacy, security, and performance.
  • TCP and UDP are essential communication protocols involved in VPN port usage, contributing to the overall user experience.

Understanding VPN Ports

What Is a VPN Port?

A VPN port is a vital component in the world of computer networking as it functions as a communication endpoint. In the context of VPNs, a VPN port is a virtual port that manages tunneled traffic. VPN ports are utilized by VPN protocols to establish secure connections between a client and a VPN server.

There are two major communication protocols associated with port numbers: TCP and UDP. These protocols serve different purposes, and VPNs will choose one or the other based on the encryption needs and connection stability.

Significance of Port Numbers

Port numbers are crucial in determining the specific service or application to which data should be forwarded within a network. Each VPN protocol has a different port number that the VPN uses when setting up a connection over the internet. These ports are essential for various tasks, such as:

  • Handling incoming and outgoing traffic
  • Ensuring data is sent to the correct destination
  • Improving connection stability and security

A computer screen showing VPN application Moreover, VPN port forwarding allows you to route inbound traffic through a specific port on your router or VPN server to a device on your internal network. This can be particularly helpful for online gaming, remote access, and more.

Understanding VPN ports and their significance in computer networking can help users make informed decisions when choosing a VPN service and configuring it to meet their individual needs.

Common VPN Port Numbers

In this section, we discuss common VPN port numbers for various protocols. These protocols, such as PPTP, L2TP, IPSec, IKE, OpenVPN, and WireGuard, use specific ports to tunnel data traffic securely over the internet.

PPTP Ports

Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is a widely-used VPN protocol that typically utilizes TCP port 1723. The protocol is known for its compatibility with various devices and platforms, but is not considered as secure as other VPN protocols.

L2TP Ports

Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) usually operates on UDP port 1701. When combined with IPSec, the resulting L2TP/IPSec protocol provides increased security. L2TP/IPSec uses additional ports, which we cover in the IPSec Ports sub-section.

IPSec Ports

IPSec (Internet Protocol Security) is a suite of security protocols designed to secure communications at the network layer. When used with VPNs, it often employs two key ports:

  • Port 500: Used for the establishment of secure communication channels during the Internet Key Exchange (IKE) phase.
  • Port 4500: Commonly used for Network Address Translation Traversal (NAT-T) when IPSec traffic passes through devices that support NAT.

IKE Ports

Internet Key Exchange (IKE), a protocol used for key management in IPSec VPNs, typically uses two ports:

  • UDP port 500: As previously mentioned, this port is used during the IKE negotiation phase.
  • UDP port 4500: Utilized for NAT-T, allowing IKE traffic to traverse NAT devices.

OpenVPN Ports

OpenVPN, an open-source VPN protocol known for its flexibility and strong security features, generally uses:

  • UDP port 1194: The default port for OpenVPN over User Datagram Protocol (UDP).
  • TCP port 443: In some cases, OpenVPN uses Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) instead of UDP, often employed to bypass firewall restrictions.

WireGuard Ports

WireGuard, a relatively new VPN protocol, is recognized for its simplicity and performance. By default, it operates on UDP port 51820. However, custom configurations may use alternative ports based on specific use cases or network requirements.

Port Forwarding and Firewall Configurations

Port Forwarding in VPNs

Port forwarding is a technique that enables external devices to access your internal network through specific ports on your router or VPN server. By using port forwarding in VPNs, you can enhance the performance and accessibility of services such as file sharing, web hosting, and gaming. It can also be beneficial for torrenting, as it allows you to access resources that would otherwise be blocked by the VPN server.

NAT Firewall Configuration

Network Address Translation (NAT) is a process that allows multiple devices on a private network to share a single public IP address. NAT firewalls are designed to provide an additional layer of security by preventing unsolicited incoming connections. However, this can sometimes interfere with certain applications and services that require direct connections, such as online gaming or remote desktop access. To overcome this limitation, port forwarding can be configured on your router or VPN service, enabling specific inbound connections to bypass the NAT firewall and reach the intended device on your network.

UPnP and VPNs

Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) is a protocol that automatically configures port forwarding settings on your router, allowing devices on your network to communicate smoothly and efficiently. UPnP can be an alternative to manual port forwarding, as it automates the process and eliminates the need for users to manually configure their router settings.

However, there are some concerns with using UPnP, as it can potentially expose your network to security risks. UPnP does not provide any authentication or access control, so it can be vulnerable to malicious attacks. This is why some users prefer to use VPNs with manual port forwarding, as they provide a higher level of security and control over the connections coming in and out of their network.

By combining VPNs with port forwarding, NAT firewall configurations, and careful use of UPnP, you can achieve a secure and efficient network setup, catering to specific needs such as file sharing, gaming, or remote access. Be sure to strictly configure your firewall settings and consider the risks associated with each method before implementing them in your overall network configuration.

VPN Services and Port Settings


NordVPN is a popular VPN service that can help secure your connection and access blocked content. It uses various ports for different VPN protocols, allowing you to choose between them based on your needs:

  • OpenVPN (TCP): Port 443
  • OpenVPN (UDP): Port 1194
  • IKEv2/IPsec: Ports 500 and 4500

NordVPN provides a user-friendly interface, making it easy to change the default ports if necessary.


ExpressVPN, another top VPN provider, offers support for various VPN protocols and their corresponding ports as well, such as:

  • OpenVPN (TCP): Port 80 or 443
  • OpenVPN (UDP): Port 1194 or 1195
  • L2TP/IPsec: Port 1701
  • PPTP: Port 1723

ExpressVPN’s apps automatically select the protocol and port depending on the network and your preferences.


CyberGhost supports multiple VPN protocols to provide a secure connection. The main port options for CyberGhost are:

  • OpenVPN (TCP): Port 443
  • OpenVPN (UDP): Port 1194
  • WireGuard: Port 1337

CyberGhost also allows manual configuration with other VPN protocols like L2TP/IPsec and PPTP if needed.


Surfshark offers a reliable and secure VPN connection using various protocols:

  • OpenVPN (TCP): Port 443
  • OpenVPN (UDP): Port 1194 or 1195
  • IKEv2/IPsec: Ports 500 and 4500
  • Shadowsocks: Port 8388

Surfshark’s apps can automatically choose the best protocol for you or let you select a specific protocol and port manually.


PureVPN supports multiple protocols to provide secure connections. Their primary protocol options and ports include:

  • OpenVPN (TCP): Port 80 or 443
  • OpenVPN (UDP): Port 53 or 1194
  • L2TP/IPsec: Port 1701
  • PPTP: Port 1723

PureVPN users can choose between these protocols, and the app will automatically use the appropriate port.

Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access (PIA) is another popular VPN service providing support for various protocols:

  • OpenVPN (TCP): Port 443
  • OpenVPN (UDP): Port 1194
  • WireGuard: Port 1337

PIA’s app can help you automatically select the best protocol and port option for your connection, or you can manually choose your preferred settings.

Troubleshooting and Tips

VPN Connection Issues

Sometimes, your VPN might not connect properly due to various factors. To resolve this issue, check your internet connection to ensure it is working correctly, restart the VPN software, and clear your device of any old VPN software. You can also consult the VPN’s help function and make sure your VPN is up to date1. If connection issues persist, checking the logs for error messages can provide further insights.

Choosing the Right Ports for Specific Use Cases

Different VPN ports are suited to different use cases. For example, choosing the right ports can ensure that email traffic using protocols such as IMAP, POP3, and IRC is routed through your VPN. This can enhance the security and privacy of your emails. Here are some common ports used with email protocols:

  • IMAP: 143
  • POP3: 110
  • IRC: 6667

To optimize the cost-effectiveness of your VPN usage, it is essential to understand which ports are best suited for your specific needs.

Preventing Misuse of VPN Ports

A man troubleshooting VPN port Ensuring security while using a VPN also involves preventing the misuse of its ports. To accomplish this:

  1. Enable logging and monitor VPN logs regularly, helping you detect any irregular or unauthorized activities.
  2. Limit access to specific ports based on user requirements and reduce the risk of unauthorized usage.
  3. Regularly update your VPN software to ensure it has the latest security patches and improvements.
  4. Use strong authentication methods, such as two-factor authentication, to prevent unauthorized access to your VPN.

By following these tips, you can ensure a stable and secure VPN experience while making the best use of your resources.

Frequently Asked Questions

What ports are used for different VPN protocols?

Different VPN protocols use specific ports for establishing secure connections. For example, PPTP uses TCP port 1723, L2TP uses UDP ports 500 and 1701, IPSec uses UDP 500 for IKE and 4500 for NAT-Traversal, and OpenVPN typically uses UDP port 1194. These default ports can be customized by the user to enhance security and avoid conflicts with other services. For more information on VPN ports and protocols, visit NordVPN.

How does VPN port forwarding work?

VPN port forwarding allows incoming connections to be forwarded through the VPN tunnel to your device, improving its accessibility and connectivity. This feature is useful for applications like gaming, torrenting, and remote access. When enabled, your VPN provider assigns you a virtual IP address, allowing devices outside the VPN network to connect with your device through the designated port number. Remember that enabling port forwarding could potentially expose your device to external threats, so it’s crucial to consider the security risks before using it.

Which is the best port to use for a VPN?

The best port to use for a VPN depends on your networking setup, firewall restrictions, and the VPN protocol you’re using. Generally, using non-standard and less common ports can help bypass network restrictions and improve VPN performance. Many users find port 443 optimal, as it’s the standard port for HTTPS traffic and unlikely to be blocked by firewalls. However, it’s essential to consider your specific needs and network configuration when choosing the best port.

Is port 443 commonly used by VPNs?

Yes, port 443 is commonly used by VPNs as it is the standard port for HTTPS traffic. Since most websites use HTTPS, it’s challenging for firewalls and network administrators to block port 443 without disrupting web access. This makes it a popular choice for VPN providers to bypass network restrictions and offer seamless connectivity. VPNs using SSL/TLS protocols can operate over port 443 to mimic regular HTTPS traffic, allowing secure VPN connections even in restricted environments.

What is the purpose of port 1723 in VPN?

Port 1723 is used by the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), which is an older and less secure VPN protocol. PPTP creates a secure VPN tunnel using TCP port 1723 for control messages and the GRE protocol for encapsulating data. Although it’s faster than other VPN protocols due to its lower encryption, PPTP has several security vulnerabilities. For this reason, it’s not recommended for use in situations requiring robust security, and other protocols like OpenVPN or IKEv2/IPSec are preferred.

How to find your VPN’s port number?

To find your VPN’s port number, consult your VPN provider’s documentation or support pages. Typically, VPN providers offer detailed instructions on setting up their service and include information about the default ports used by their VPN protocols. Alternatively, you can try checking your router or firewall settings, which might display the VPN ports in use. If you’re still unable to find your VPN’s port number, contact your VPN provider’s customer support for assistance.

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