Possible Duplicate: 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? What would be a short practical example?


1 Answer 1


NAT and port forwarding are different, but they are often used in conjunction with each other.

NAT is network address translation. It translates traffic from one IP address to another. An example: NATing your WAN IP address 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 address 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". May 30, 2012 at 18:25
  • When you are forwarding WAP IP to, don't you need any specific port to do the forwarding? May 25, 2014 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, 2014 at 16:07
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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, 2016 at 15:29
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    I believe port forwarding and PAT are not the same. Feb 15, 2018 at 8:03

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