Is port forwarding of the same service running on distinct hosts behind a NAT, on the same port possible? For example, if there are two hosts and using the gateway(NAT) to access the Internet both running a web server on port 80, to which host is an external client directed upon sending an HTTP request to the NAT(to its public address)?

Can a same request(towards the NAT's public address) be made from within the LAN?

  • On the NAT level, no you cannot. Using name-based VHosts may work for HTTP but not anything else.
    – qasdfdsaq
    Commented Sep 7, 2015 at 16:08

1 Answer 1


Port-forwarding is intended to be used with fixed rules. Although you could write a script to switch the destination host time-to-time to "distribute" the traffic, it is not a good idea as NAT does not know about the HTTP sessions. The result would be a lot of lost connections and one host would be hit by 100% of the traffic at any given time.

You might want to use a session aware HTTP proxy/loadbalancer for this like HAProxy or nginx.

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