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Beginners Guides: Firewall Setup and Configuration

Beginners Guides: Firewall Setup and Configuration - PCSTATS
Abstract: Firewalls are a necessity, but configuring them so that every internet-based program still works is often troublesome. With this guide, you can have your Firewall, and MSN File Transfers too.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Jul 31 2007   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Virtual Server Firewall Configuration

Instead, you will need to create a virtual server (also known as port forwarding) for each service that you wish to make available over the Internet. A virtual server is a set of instructions given to the home router, telling it that if data comes in over a specific port (say TCP port 80 for hosting a website) that data should be allowed through the firewall and forwarded to a specific computer inside the network. In this way, you can make your website (or whatever else) available without otherwise compromising your firewall security.

Creating a virtual server tends to be the same in almost all home router models. First consult your documentation to find the configuration page for 'virtual servers' or the equivalent.

Let's run through creating a virtual server for hosting a website (TCP port 80).

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When creating a virtual server, you will need to first enter the IP address of the computer that is hosting the website. Next you need the port that data enters that system on. Enter TCP port 80, since this is the default port for HTTP, the language of the web. Finally, you need to choose the port that will be open on the router to receiver the data. In most cases, this will be the same as the port on your hosting computer, so enter 80 here too.

Once you save this information, all data coming from the Internet to the firewall on TCP port 80 will be redirected to your hosting computer, thus allowing access to your website.

Monitoring your firewall (optional)

Most firewalls will automatically keep logs of all dropped traffic that could be considered suspicious. Some will also keep track of all successful (accepted) connections. This data is kept in the log files created by the firewall software. While it's by no means essential for home security, checking the logs can reveal some interesting information.

The XP firewall log is disabled by default. You can enable it by checking the options in the 'security logging' tab within the firewall settings page (see 'Strengthening the XP firewall' above for details). The log is a text file and lists connection type, the time source and destination of each incident.

Zonealarm has a sortable log viewer built into the program. You can find it in the 'alerts and logs' section under the 'log viewer' tab.

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All home routers should have a log viewing option built into their status screen. The one thing common to all logs is that they will reveal the source (IP address) of incoming data, as well as the port it was intended for. This can be useful information, especially for a business that has been compromised.

By now you should have a fully configured (and free) firewall set up, and hopefully feel a lot better about your system's safety on the big bad Internet. For an in-depth guide to other methods of securing your data, see our 10 step guide to a more secure PC . Carefree surfing is still possible; it just takes a bit of preparation and foresight.

If you have any comments or questions, please post them in the PCSTATS Forums. Find out about this and many other reviews by joining the Weekly PCSTATS Newsletter today! Catch all of PCSTATS latest hardware reviews right here.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Firewall Setup and Configuration
 Pg 2.  Activating the Windows XP firewall
 Pg 3.  Zone Lab: Zonealarm
 Pg 4.  Home Internet sharing device firewalls
 Pg 5.  Strengthening the pre-Service Pack 2 XP Firewall
 Pg 6.  Strengthening Home router firewalls
 Pg 7.  Allowing applications through a Windows XP firewall
 Pg 8.  Configuring Exceptions with the SP2 XP Firewall
 Pg 9.  Hosting with the Windows XP Firewall
 Pg 10.  — Virtual Server Firewall Configuration

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