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What is port forwarding and what is it used for?

What is the difference between NAT and Port Forwarding? Are they two different names for the same thing? Could you provide me with short practical example, please?

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marked as duplicate by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Xavierjazz, Oliver Salzburg, slhck, studiohack Jun 4 '12 at 20:20

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NAT and Port Forwarding are different, but often used in conjunction with each other.

NAT is Network Address Translation. It translates traffic from one IP to another. An example: NATing your WAN IP 1.2.3.4 to your internal webserver 192.168.0.1.

Port forwarding (sometimes called PAT - Port Address Translation) is similar, but it functions on the port level. You can forward port 80 from your WAN IP to your internal webserver, for example. You can also forward to a different port - i.e. port 8080 on the WAN is forwarded to port 80 on your internal web server.

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+1 and thank you for very good explanation. i will mark this answer as the "accepted answer". –  Bunkai.Satori May 30 '12 at 18:25
    
When you are forwarding WAP IP 1.2.3.4 to 192.168.0.1, don't you need any specific port to do the forwarding? –  Zhenxiao Hao May 25 at 1:09
    
Zhenxiao, normally you would specify a specific port or range of ports, but you can NAT all traffic from one IP to another. –  Jim G. May 27 at 16:07

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