Ports are used by our devices to send and receive requests from servers. Each application typically uses a specific port for a specific purpose. Please consider the following examples that are related to VPN:
(TLS/SSL) – 443 TCP/UDP
HTTP – 80 UDP/TCP
OpenVPN – 1194 TCP/UDP
PPTP – 1723 TCP/UDP
L2TP – 1701 UDP
SSTP – 443 TCP
Cisco IPsec – 1293 TCP/UDP, 500 TCP/UDP
IPsec/IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange) – 500 TCP/UDP
IPsec Nat Traversal – 4500 UDP
SSH tunnel – port 22
SOCKS proxy – 1080 TCP
Obfsproxy – dynamic (custom setup)
BitTorrent – 6881-6889 TCP
SMTP – 25 TCP/UDP
DNS – 53 UDP
If you are interested in a more detailed info, please refer to our article on VPN ports.
When ISPs, governments and other entities want to block specific activities, they generally block ports that are used by those activities. For instance, by blocking port 1194, they essentially prevent OpenVPN protocol from connecting to the VPN server. As a result, VPN is unable to establish connection which forces a user to switch back to a regular unencrypted browsing.
Port blocking is common on school, corporate, and public networks like hotels & restaurants (not to be confused with DNS filtering that only blocks access to specific websites). Generally, these networks only block ports associated with torrenting and similar “illegal” activities, but they may go as far as blocking the ports that are used by VPN encryption protocols.
When torrenting doesn’t work, it’s because the admins either blocked default BitTorrent ports or blocked all ports, but the ones that are most necessary.
Port forwarding is an amazing feature that solves the issue. Port 443 and 80, for instance, is used by web browsers (Chrome, Safari, Edge) to send requests. If 443 and 80 ports were blocked, you would not be able to access the Internet through your web browser at all. Port forwarding allows you to reroute OpenVPN to use an open port (like 443) instead of blocked a port 1194 in this case.
When it comes to torrenting, some ports may be slower than others, even switching between TCP and UDP or to the designated BitTorrent port could increase the speed of torrent traffic. For this reason, being able to setup custom VPN port is an invaluable feature for torrenting.
All VPN providers listed below support custom TCP and UDP ports. ExpressVPN is the only one that does not allow for custom configurations, however. ExpressVPN app sends OpenVPN through port 443 by default.
China, Iran, Syria and similar repressive governments have a state-wide blocking on VPN services and VPN protocols. Simply forwarding your traffic through other ports won’t work. If you are looking for a VPN provider that works in those countries, please read our Best VPN for China guide.
ANNUAL PRICE: 3.33 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 6.95 USD
PIA is a leading no logs VPN provider with a massive amount of servers (over 3,000) that deliver excellent speeds and a very reliable service. PIA VPN does a great job protecting users’ privacy from surveillance, cyber attacks and other online threats. PIA network is protected behind NAT Firewall. Native apps offer a built-in Kill Switch and DNS leak protection features to secure connection from unexpected data leaks. PIA software also offers switching between UDP and TCP connections types, port forwarding to 443, 80, 110, 53, 8080, 9201. For faster streaming and torrenting, PIA allows using 128-bit or 256-bit encryption levels. To read a full PIA review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 2.88 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 10.95 USD
Hong Kong based PureVPN is a proud owner of a massive 2,000 servers network in over 140 countries with over 60 server locations specifically optimized for torrenting. PureVPN allows up to 15 custom UDP/TCP ports with their port forwarding add-on. PureVPN is a fast and reliable VPN provider with exclusive streaming servers to unblock Netflix, Hulu and similar services. PureVPN online gaming VPN servers are dedicated for gamers’ traffic only. Low ping offered by optimized PureVPN servers make it possible for gaming and streaming users to enjoy entertainment with the fastest load time. Secure PureVPN infrastructure is protected behind NAT Firewall. PureVPN offers custom apps for all devices, while desktop apps have a built-in Kill Switch feature that guards the users from unencrypted data leaks when the internet connection drops. To read a full PureVPN review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 2.50 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 12.95 USD
VyprVPN is a leading no logs VPN provider with over 700 ultra fast servers worldwide that support Google Fiber gigabit Internet connection (1,000Mbps). VyprVPN has done independent public audit by Leviathan Security to ensure that no logs are collected. Unlike most VPN providers, VyprVPN doesn’t rely on 3rd party hosting – they own and manage their own VPN servers. VyprVPN infrastructure is amazingly fast offering ultra fast speeds and low ping times for high speed HD streaming. With their server clusters located in close proximity to major gaming servers, VyprVPN also delivers a better overall gaming experience. VyprVPN custom software is very reliable and protects users from various IP leaks. In addition, VyprVPN is an excellent provider to bypass even the strictest firewalls that block VPN connection. To read a full VyprVPN review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 4.49 USD/mo [promocode]
MONTHLY PRICE: 8.99 USD
Offering over 3,000 servers in 50 countries, all mainstream protocols and 5 simultaneous connections, TorGuard rightfully earned its place as a top VPN provider. No logs TorGuard offers a reliable, fast and secure VPN connection. Their SOCKS5 proxy is an excellent feature for high speed multimedia streaming and torrenting as it integrates with the main BitTorrent applications. TorGuard native apps offer advanced security features like Kill Switch to ensure no data leaks, even when the connection drops, and port forwarding to custom TCP/UDP ports. TorGuard’s StealthVPN protocol is an effective tool to bypass strict firewalls and VPN blocking. To read a full TorGuard review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 4.99 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 9.95 USD
Based in Malaysia, Hide.me is one the most secure and fastest VPN providers offering ultra fast VPN servers that provide gigabit Internet connection. Hide.Me VPN is extremely reliable and very fast which makes it a perfect choice for security oriented users who would like to enjoy uninterrupted streaming and browsing experience. Hide.Me offers incredibly convenient custom apps for all devices with a number of advanced security features for maximum protection. Hide.me is a no logs company that has custom software with a built-in protection against IP and data leaks, obfuscation tools to bypass strict firewalls. Dynamic port-forwarding (UPnP) allows Hide.Me users forward up to 10 TCP/UDP ports. Hide.Me provides in-house uPnP server implementation which handles original protocol security deficiencies to ensure the data is securely authenticated and handled by the server. To read a full Hide.me review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 6.67 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 12.95 USD
ExpressVPN has one of the largest and fastest infrastructures with over 2,000 servers in 94 countries. Ultra fast ExpressVPN network supports gigabit Internet connection which makes it a perfect choice for ultra high speed streaming and torrenting. ExpressVPN default configuration for OpenVPN is port 443. ExpressVPN app does not support custom ports other than port 443. ExpressVPN aligns itself as one of the Internet’s leading advocates for net neutrality, for a democratic and open internet. Considering they have a no logs policy, accept Bitcoin and are located on the Caribbean Island, they are a great choice for privacy oriented customers who want to protect their data from surveillance, bypass censorship and access restricted materials. To read a full ExpressVPN review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 9.99 EUR/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 12.99 EUR
Perfect Privacy is an ultra fast (gigabit servers) VPN provider with a heavy focus on advanced online security. Perfect Privacy integrated firewall enforces all traffic to be sent through secure tunnels thereby protecting their users from all known IP leaks when the app is running, it even prevents unencrypted online access after OS reboot. In addition, Perfect Privacy offers a unique Multi-Hop VPN feature that allows cascading over up to 4 OpenVPN servers at the same time along with SOCKS5 and Squid proxies. Perfect Privacy can bypass strict firewalls by obfuscating OpenVPN to look like normal HTTPS traffic with OpenVPN over SSH feature. For additional firewall penetration Perfect Privacy allows 5 custom port forwardings or 3 default random ports. What really separates them, though, is their ability to resolve .onion (TOR) addresses without the need for the Tor Browser. To read a full Perfect Privacy review click HERE.
MONTHLY PRICE: 10 USD
ANNUAL PRICE: 69.95 USD
StrongVPN is a no logs VPN provider offering OpenVPN, IPsec, PPTP and L2TP protocols along with OpenVPN obfuscation tools in order to bypass restrictions in countries like China, Iran, Syria. With almost 500 servers in 21 countries StrongVPN offers an impeccable speed for streaming Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Pandora, Amazon Video and many other services as well as torrenting. To read a full StrongVPN review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 4.50 EUR/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 7 EUR
AirVPN is an Italian VPN provider created by privacy activists whose main goal is data protection. AirVPN has over 200 servers in 23 countries that have Perfect Forward Secrecy through Diffie-Hellman key exchange DHE. Essentially key negotiation is performed every 60 minutes to avoid data breach if the key is compromised. AirVPN offers OpenVPN dynamic port forwarding on 80 TCP/UDP, 443 TCP/UDP and 53 TCP/UDP. Additionally, AirVPN offers OpenVPN over SSH and OpenVPN over SSL that mask OpenVPN and make the use of encryption tools invisible to some of the most advanced firewalls. To read a full AirVPN review click HERE.