What is a PORT in computer networking?

As usual, you can find the video version of this article about what is a port in computer networking, at the end of it.

Simply put, a port in computer networking is a communication endpoint that is always associated with an IP address of a host and the protocol type of the communication.

The port is the location where information is sent to a server we’re connecting. For example, port 80 is the HTTP network port. Port 443 is usually the HTTPS network port. That means non-encrypted traffic is usually sent to port 80 and encrypted traffic, backed by an SSL certificate, is sent to port 443.

Ports are numbered for consistency and programming. Each port set or range is usually assigned specialized jobs or functions.

Okay, but protocols? What do these have to do with everything?

Protocols refer to data transmissions on the internet.They are a set of established rules that dictate how to format, transmit and receive data so computer devices from a server, routers, switches to endpoints can communicate regardless of the differences in their underlying infrastructures, designs, or standards.

When referring to protocols in this explanation, I’m specifically talking about TCP that comes from Transmission Control Protocol and UPD that comes from User Datagram Protocol. I’m not going to go into too much detail but I will say that TCP is usually preferred as it’s not loss-tolerating as UDP. (UDP is a connectionless protocol – data is sent regardless of the destination’s status, so there is no guarantee that the data will ever be received, in what order or in what condition)

By the way, did you read my article on hiding your IP?

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