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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?

marked as duplicate by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Xavierjazz, Der Hochstapler, 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 to your internal webserver

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.

  • +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 to, don't you need any specific port to do the forwarding? – Zhenxiao Hao May 25 '14 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 '14 at 16:07
  • In which case will the IP get replaced? Because I have an exposed server in port 80 (im not the router's administrator) but the IP the log has is the gateway one. So I don't see the real IP of the request – JorgeeFG May 13 '15 at 15:53
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    -1 What about NAPT? can you explain if NAPT is NAT with port forwarding? You've said that PAT is Port Forwarding, so that'd mean that NAPT is not NAT and that is false or very unclear at best. – barlop Jan 20 '16 at 15:29

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