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FSHost Port Fowarding

Firewalls, Routers, and Port Forwarding

 

Running FSHost is easy, and you can use it to host a Flight Simulator multiplayer session for your friends to join so you can all fly together.  But unfortunately Microsoft made it a bit more difficult when it's used with a router (which everyone seems to have on their home network these days) or with a firewall.

 

All of the Flight Simulator programs use specific "ports" for the data.  Think of it like this: your external IP address, like 11.22.33.44, is like the address to get to your house.  And a "port", like 80, or 6073, or 23456, is like a door on your house.  Different ports allow different types of data in.  Once the data gets in, it goes to your router, and then the router has to figure out how to get that data to your PC.  But you might have several PCs connected to the router on your home network, so the router may not know which PC the data should go to (and it's the same even if you have only one PC, unfortunately).  

 

That's where "port forwarding" comes in.  You tell the router that when data comes in to your external IP address on a particular port, the router should forward that data to the PC where you have FSHost running.  If you don't setup the port forwarding, then people out on the internet won't be able to connect to you, and the FSHost Master Server will report an error when you start FSHost, saying it wasn't able to register your server so other people could find it in FSHostSpy.

 

Now, another note about IP addresses.  I said before that your external IP was like the address to get to your house, so people on the internet could use it to connect to you.  You usually only have one external IP, and it's shared by all the computers on your home network.  But each computer on your home network also has a unique internal IP address, which is provided by the router.  It's sort of like a fake IP address that's only valid inside your home network.  When you forward a port in your router, you forward it from your external IP to the internal IP of a particular computer on your home network.  You can find a PC's internal IP by going to Start / Programs / Accessories / Command Prompt, and typing "ipconfig". Then look for a line that shows the IP Address (or maybe "IPv4 Address"). For example, it might be something like 192.168.0.2.  Usually internal IP addresses start with "192.168" or "10.0".

 

One more thing about internal IP addresses... they can be either static or dynamic, and it's better if the FSHost PC has a static internal IP address.  For more information, see the note below about Static vs. Dynamic internal IP addresses.

 

Important: after you get your router and firewall configured, be sure to test everything with my FSPortTest program. It'll check all the FSHost and Flight Simulator ports on your PC and tell you if they're setup correctly.  This forum topic has a download link and more information.

 

Important: anyone connecting to your session will need to configure their router and firewall the same way (except for port 80 -- that only needs to be done on the PC running FSHost). They should run FSPortTest on their system as well, to test everything.  Every player in a multiplayer session connects directly with every other player -- the data is not relayed by the host.  If one player in the session doesn't have things setup correctly, it'll cause problems for everyone else when they try to connect, because they won't be able to connect to that one player.

 

Important: things are a lot easier if you run FSHost and Flight Simulator on the same PC, instead of using multiple PCs on your local network.  This is because when you forward ports in the router, you can only forward them to one PC at a time, and that PC should be the one running FSHost.  For more information, see the note below about Using multiple PCs on your local network.

 

Routers:

 

Every router has a different way of doing the port forwarding, so I can't tell you exactly how it'll be done.  But if you go to www.portforward.com, they have a huge list of instructions for every router ever made -- you just need to know the brand and model number, which you can get from looking on the actual router.  When you go to that web site, ignore the ad about buying a program -- you don't need it.  Select your router from the list, and then select FSHost from the list of applications.  It'll then walk you through how to do the port forwarding for your particular router, for using it with FSHost.  It'll also tell you how to find your internal IP address, and FSHost itself will tell you your external IP address after it registers successfully with the Master Server.

 

Here are all the ports that need to be forwarded to the PC running FSHost (the web site above will list these ports also, but I'll include them here so you understand which ones you might have to change, and why): 

 

  • TCP 80 (or your Remote Access port on Server / Options / Remote Access tab of FSHost)
  • TCP 47624
  • UDP 2300 to 2400
  • UDP 23456 (or your "2004 host port" on the Server / Options / Session tab of FSHost)
  • UDP 6073

 

Firewalls:

Windows XP firewall:

  • Go to Control Panel / Windows Firewall, and change to the Advanced tab.
  • In the white box near the top, you should see a list of network connections. Yours might be called "Local Area Connection" or "Wireless Network Connection". Check the checkbox next to the one(s) you're using and then click the Settings button just to the right of that list.
  • Add the first port:
    • Click the Add button.
    • For the "Description of service", enter something like "FS TCP 47624".
    • For the "Name or IP address", enter the internal IP address of the PC running FSHost. (see notes above about IP's) Most internal IP addresses begin with 192.168, but not always.
    • Enter 47624 for both the External and Internal Port number, and select TCP. Then click OK.
  • Repeat these steps to add each port listed above.
  • Note about TCP port 80: you may get an error when adding this port. Windows XP already includes an entry for that port, called "Web Server (HTTP)". Instead of adding a new entry for TCP port 80, just use the "Web Server (HTTP)" entry instead. First check the checkbox next to it, and then click Edit. For the "Name or IP address", enter the internal IP address of the PC running FSHost. Then click OK.
  • Note about UDP ports 2300-2400: unfortunately Windows XP doesn't allow a range of ports to be entered. But instead of adding each port individually, just enter the first five or so, and usually Flight Simulator will pick one of those and it'll be fine (even if you have more than five players connected to the session). So repeat the steps above to add UDP 2300, 2301, 2302, 2303, and 2304.

Windows Vista firewall:

  • Go to Control Panel / Windows Firewall, click "Change settings", and then change to the Exceptions tab.
  • Add the first port:
    • Click the "Add port" button.
    • For the "Name", enter something like "FS TCP 47624".
    • For the "Port number", enter 47624.
    • Select "TCP".
    • Click OK.
  • Repeat these steps to add each port listed above.
  • Note about UDP ports 2300-2400: unfortunately Windows Vista doesn't allow a range of ports to be entered. But instead of adding each port individually, just enter the first five or so, and usually Flight Simulator will pick one of those and it'll be fine (even if you have more than five players connected to the session). So repeat the steps above to add UDP 2300, 2301, 2302, 2303, and 2304.

Windows 7 and Windows 10 firewall:

  • In Windows 7, go to Control Panel / System and Security / Windows Firewall.
    In Windows 10, go to Settings / Network & Internet / Ethernet / Windows Firewall.
  • Click "Advanced settings" on the left side of the page. This will open a window named "Windows Firewall with Advanced Security". Maximize the window and then in the upper left, select "Inbound Rules".
  • In the upper right, click "New Rule", and enter the TCP ports first:
    • Select "Port" and click Next.
    • Select "TCP" and "Specific local ports". Then enter the ports like this but without quotes: "47624, 80" (refer to the list of ports above and make sure yours are the same in FSHost). Then click Next.
    • Select "Allow the connection", and click Next.
    • Then leave Domain, Private, and Public all checked, and click Next.
    • For the Name, enter something like "Flight Sim TCP", and click Finish. (Your new rule "Flight Sim TCP" may be at the top of the list instead of sorted correctly.)
  • In the upper right, click "New Rule" again, and enter the UDP ports:
    • Select "Port" and click Next.
    • Select "UDP" and "Specific local ports". Then enter the ports like this but without quotes: "2300-2400, 23456, 6073" (refer to the list of ports above and make sure yours are the same in FSHost). Then click Next.
    • Select "Allow the connection", and click Next.
    • Then leave Domain, Private, and Public all checked, and click Next.
    • For the Name, enter something like "Flight Sim UDP", and click Finish. (Your new rule "Flight Sim UDP" may be at the top of the list instead of sorted correctly.)

Test with FSPortTest:

Important: be sure to test your router and firewall settings with my FSPortTest program. It'll check all the FSHost and Flight Simulator ports on your PC and tell you if they're setup correctly.  This forum topic has a download link and more information.

FSNavigator port:

Although FSNavigator technically uses UDP port 23432 to connect to a session, it always tries UDP port 6073 as well, since that's the "alternate DirectPlay port".  For that reason, you really only need to forward the ports listed above, and there's no need to forward UDP port 23432 at all.  As a matter of fact, FSHost doesn't listen to port 23432, so FSNavigator will never actually connect on 23432 -- it will always connect initially on 6073, and then switch to a port in the 2302-2400 range.



Posted By: Dan McMahan

News Id: 14 posted on 2017-04-11 10:20:38
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