Port forwarding - how to set up a local desktop machine as your server

This article explains a necessary step when you are using a Windows desktop machine on your local network, to act as your server, and make use of Sitebulb Server's advanced capabilities. This would be your 'crawling machine' - a machine that you can leave it on to crawl all your recurring audits, and will remain accessible to you even when you're not in the office.

You do not need to read this if you are renting a server which is connected directly to the internet.

What you need to do is set up something called 'port forwarding'.

You will not be able to do this if you do not have any control over your firewall and router (e.g. you are in a shared office building). If this is the case, port forwarding is not going to work for you, you may need to rent a server instead (see our server recommendations here).

Why do you need port forwarding?

You need to set up port forwarding so that the 'server computer' on your private network is accessible over the internet, from outside your network.

A port forward is a way of making a computer on your home or business network accessible to computers on the internet, even though it is behind a router or firewall. Once you have set up port forwarding, traffic from outside the network will be forwarded to the 'server computer' based on the requested port.

It sounds complicated but it is actually really really easy - you are just adding a simple rule to your router in the admin area.

How to set up port forwarding

To set up port forwarding, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the local IP address of your 'server computer' (e.g. 192.168.0.102)
  2. Choose a random port between 10500 and 65535 (e.g. port 10505)
  3. Login to your router and find 'port forwarding'
  4. Set up up a rule to forward traffic from port 10505 to 192.168.0.102:10401

Note that the port you choose in step #2 is the 'start port', and 10401 is the 'end port'. The process is slightly different on each router, so you may need to search for a port forwarding guide on your specific router

Additionally, if you have multiple Sitebulb Servers on your local network, you can set up different ports for each, for example:

10500 > 192.168.0.102:10401
10501 > 192.168.0.133:10401
10502 > 192.168.0.145:10401

Next steps

If you have successfully added a port forwarding rule, you will now need to finish the other server setup steps (click here).

Troubleshooting FAQ

Q: I can't figure out how to do port forwarding on my router?

A: It may be hidden in the settings for 'security' or 'firewall', and often in fact 'apps and games'. It also may be called 'port redirection' instead of 'port forwarding' - this is the same thing.

Q: I am using Starlink, can I do port forwarding?

A: If your internet service is provided via a carrier-grade NAT - such as Starlink - you won't be able to set up port forwarding as you have a shared IP address.

Q: Can I do this with mobile phone tethering?

A: No, this is not what Sitebulb Server is designed for. Mobile networks are essentially a carrier-grade NAT (see above).

Q: What about dynamic IP addresses?

A: If you are able, request a static IP address from your ISP. Otherwise the details of your 'host' machine will keep changing, and you will need to keep updating and reconnecting. To get around this, your router may allow you to set up a dynamic DNS, which would solve this problem.