Port Forwarding Android Hotspot: How To?

Here’s how to port forwarding works with your Android’s mobile hotspot:

Generally speaking, port forwarding is not available on LTE mobile networks. 

You can talk to your carrier and see if they offer features, services, or other support for port forwarding. 

More likely, you will need to implement a workaround using VPNs or specialized apps on your Android device.

So if you want to learn all about how to port forwarding a mobile hotspot on your Android device, then this article is for you.

Let’s get started!

What Is Port Forwarding?

Do you have Wi-Fi at home? 

If so, have you ever wondered what prevents anyone on the internet from finding the devices on your Wi-Fi and connecting right to them? 

It turns out that the secret lies in port forwarding.

You see, every device that gets online has an address. 

It’s called an IP address, and it works a lot like your physical address. 

If your physical address can tell people where to find your house, then your IP address can tell internet devices where to find your computer (or phone, or whatever).

As you might imagine, you don’t want the whole of the internet to know your IP address, so your Wi-Fi is actually a private network. 

Unless another device is on your Wi-Fi too, it can’t see your IP address.

This gives you a lot of privacy and security, but it comes at a price. 

If the rest of the internet doesn’t know your IP address, how can a website send you the information you request? 

How does it find you?

That’s where port forwarding comes into play even with your Android. 

Instead of sharing your IP address with everything on the internet your router has its own address. 

So, the router can talk to the rest of the internet, and it acts as a bouncer of sorts for any devices out there that want access to you. 

Port forwarding is the key to this technique.

Your router designates ports for every device on its network. 

Using those ports, it can establish a connection between your computer and a website without giving up your true IP address. 

On the other end of the connection, the server that actually runs the website is often doing the same thing.

It uses port forwarding so that you don’t know its real address either.

The end result is that you get a direct connection between two devices that are on private networks (although port forwarding also works with public networks).

Why Do You Need Port Forwarding?


Port forwarding allows for connections between devices on different networks.

That seems useful, but when do you need port forwarding?

First, you need it to connect devices within the network to just about anything, if your network is private and/or secure. 

There are exceptions depending on your own network, but generally speaking, port forwarding shows up when you check your email, visit social media, Google random things, or stream content.

It shows up a lot.

On top of that, you might need specific port forwarding resources if you want to personally manage a connection with your Android. 

So, if you wanted to host your own website, port forwarding is essential. 

The computer that actually runs the website needs port forwarding in order to maintain stable connections with visitors.

Similarly, if you wanted to set up a Minecraft server, you would need port forwarding. 

It’s something that shows up any time you want to host a connection. 

That’s not always necessary for daily use, but there are plenty of scenarios where hosting a connection does become necessary, and you want port forwarding in those cases.

How Does Port Forwarding With Android Hotspot Work? (3 Ways)

So, if you’re using an Android hotspot and you want to set up port forwarding, then you need to learn the steps.

First off, if you’re just connecting a device like a laptop, and you aren’t doing any hosting, then you don’t really need to worry about port forwarding. 

Carrier networks (which is presumably what your Android hotspot is on) use something called a carrier-grade NAT (Network Address Translation).

Basically, this is a replacement for port forwarding. 

Since countless devices can connect to the same carrier network at the same time, port forwarding isn’t really robust enough to handle the job of masking IP addresses for every device at once. 

A carrier-grade NAT works differently, but it accomplishes the same task.

So, if you’re only connecting one device to your Android hotspot, then the NAT handles your internet anonymity, and you don’t need to worry about port forwarding.

But, if you’re doing something that does require port forwarding, then there are a few things you can try. 

The important thing to understand is that you’re using a carrier network, so you don’t have direct control. 

You’ll need the support of the carrier or a good workaround.

#1 Talk to Your Carrier

So, let’s start there. 

You can contact your carrier and see if they support port forwarding on your Android. 

If they do, then they can help you assign ports and get everything set up. 

There might be an additional fee for this service.

They might not support this feature. 

If that’s the case, you can’t really force port forwarding into a carrier network. 

Instead, you’ll need to look into workarounds. 

But, I have a couple that you can try.

#2 Use a VPN

If you connect to a VPN server, it can help you assign a port to the device you’re using. 

You can set up “de facto” port forwarding with your android using a VPN. 

Things work a little differently with this workaround than if you just managed your own router, but the end result is basically the same. 

Your device can get assigned the necessary port, and you can host whatever server or service you’re trying to host.

The details will depend on what specifically you are trying to accomplish. 

But you can shop VPN services and talk to representatives to explain exactly what you’re doing. 

They can help you find the right service or feature to get it done.

#3 Shop for Apps

There are apps on the Play Store for your android that allow you to reassign ports and implement workarounds for port forwarding. 

Fwd: Port Forwarder is an example of such an app. 

Each one will be a little different, and they will work in any number of different ways. 

But, if you browse the apps, you might find one that provides the specific results you need for your setup.

Looking for how to port forward an iPhone hotspot? Read our detailed guide here.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.