You would want to ensure optimal security for your private network while accessing the internet. The latest routers can help you with that through a wide range of settings and options. Many of them let you create a section of the network that can access the internet but not the rest of the network. This is called a DMZ and can be quite useful to many router users.
DMZ is short for demilitarised zone and works the same way as its name might suggest. You can see it as a buffer between your private network and the internet. Your router can let you set up a DMZ host through the admin interface if this feature is available.
Read on to know how to complete the setup and when to do it, among other valuable information.
How does a DMZ Host work?
A DMZ host is a device in the private network which you set up as the DMZ. Your router will allow you to connect only one of the computers in the network to the internet. So, the other computers would not be able to access the internet. In turn, the computer connected to the internet cannot communicate with the ones in the private network.
As you probably know, your computers can get a wide range of viruses and malware from the internet. Setting up a DMZ host can help you prevent breaches to your private network. However, you must note that it is not an equally effective measure in all situations. It might not always be viable to set up a DMZ host, as we shall see.
When Should You Set Up a DMZ Host?
You can set up a DMZ host quite easily in a few steps. However, you might wonder when you must set it up on your router. You do not need to use this feature in all cases as there are better alternatives to it in some situations.
So, here are the specific cases where you might want to set up a DMZ host:
1. You Want to Host a Web-Based Home Server
You have other options when setting up a web-based home server. However, a DMZ can also be a great option for doing that. Also, you must consider using separate routers for the web server and private network to optimise your DMZ experience.
2. An Application Requires Opening All Your Router Ports
Various applications might ask you to open all the ports of your router. This can significantly reduce your router’s security, as you might know. So, you might look for an alternative to opening all the ports. Setting up a DMZ host on your router would be viable in such situations.
3. For Gaming Consoles
You might need to connect your gaming console to the internet for online gaming or other purposes. A DMZ would be quite effective in such situations, even though you might prefer port forwarding. Also, you might face various issues with port forwarding, which would not occur while setting up a DMZ host.
4. Port Forwarding is not Working
Are you facing issues with port forwarding on your router? In that case, you must consider setting up a DMZ host as an alternative. You can continue this way for a while or until you resolve the port forwarding problems. So, setting up a DMZ can also be a great troubleshooting method for your router.
How to Set Up a DMZ Host on Your Router?
The steps for setting up a DMZ host might differ based on your router model. However, you can complete this process through the web-based interface on all routers. So, most of the steps are quite similar regardless of your router’s model or brand.
You need to connect your computer to the router and open any browser to access the interface. Then, you must find and configure the DMZ option after the admin login. Here is how to proceed with setting up a DMZ host on your router:
1. Connect to Your Router
Use an ethernet connection between your router and computer to proceed with an admin login. You do not need an internet connection to access your router’s interface. Also, you should be able to perform the admin login on any web browser you prefer.
2. Open the Admin Interface
Open your browser and enter your router’s default IP address in the search bar. Then, enter the admin credentials on the login page that opens on your screen. This should take you to your router’s web-based interface, where you can make the necessary changes. In this case, you must find the DMZ option to enable and configure it.
3. Configure Your DMZ Host
The DMZ option is located in different sections in different router interfaces. You might find it under the Advanced settings of your router. Many routers feature the DMZ option under the Port Forwarding section. Regardless of the location of this setting, the process of setting up a DMZ host is usually the same.
All routers usually have the DMZ feature disabled by default on them. So, you must enable it first and then set an IP address. Then, opt for saving or applying the changes before logging out. Try out the DMZ host you set up once you are done.
3 Important Tips for Setting Up a DMZ Host
You must make various important considerations while setting up a DMZ host. Here are some useful tips that can help you get the best out of your router’s DMZ feature:
1. Install the Latest Security Patch on the DMZ Host Device
You must only assign a device that has the latest security patches as the DMZ. Now, that will help you deal effectively with any security threats it might face. Otherwise, a breach on the host device can make your private network vulnerable. So, make sure to install the latest security patch on the DMZ host device.
2. Enter a Static IP for the DMZ
As we have seen, you must enter an IP address while setting up a DMZ host. You must make sure that this IP is static and not dynamic. If you use a dynamic IP, your router might assign it to a device you do not want as the DMZ host.
3. Try to Set Up a “True DMZ”
Do you want to block the web server completely from the private network? In that case, you might not want to use a single router for them. Instead, you must try to use two routers so that they are completely separated.
This is called a “true DMZ” as it truly blocks the web server from the internal network. The device connected to the internet can cause security issues for the private network if you use a single router.
Alternative to DMZ Host: Port Forwarding
Setting up port forwarding on your router is a great alternative to a DMZ host. Moreover, most router users might prefer this feature over the DMZ. You can easily set up port forwarding through your router’s web interface.
Log into your router with the previously-mentioned method and proceed with the following steps:
1. Find the Port Forwarding Option
The location of the port forwarding option might differ from the router model. You can find it in the Forwarding section on some routers while under Application & Gaming on others. Many routers also feature port forwarding in their Advanced settings sections. You must enable and personalise the port forwarding as per your requirements once you find it.
2. Configure the Port Forwarding
You would find port forwarding disabled by default on your router and must enable it. Then, you must change its configuration to suit your usage requirements. You might find a default configuration for the port forwarding on your router. However, you need not necessarily keep using these settings and can select others.
Select the Port Number or Range to Forward
You can select the port number or range that you want to forward. The router interface would usually let you type in this number or range based on your preference. What if you want to forward only one port? In that case, you must type in the same port number in both spaces.
Enter a Static IP Address
You must also type in the static IP of the device for which you are opening the port. Make sure to enter it correctly before moving on to the next step.
Select a Suitable Protocol
You would also have to select the protocol that you want to use for port forwarding. Most router interfaces allow you to choose between the UDP and TCP protocols.
Should You Set Up a DMZ Host?
Setting up a DMZ host is viable in any of the aforementioned situations. You probably would not need to use this feature in any other cases. Port forwarding can help you connect computers in private networks to the internet in all other situations. So, you might find the aforementioned methods for setting support forwarding to be useful as well.