HowNow X - Learning & Support

Port 445 Security

If you receive the following error message, or something similar, when accessing HowNow, please read on to try one of these troubleshooting steps.

HowNow requires port 445 in order to work properly, however this port can potentially be blocked by default by particular ISPs (such as Starlink) or VPNs (such as ExpressVPN), or possibly by your firewall settings. To check if port 445 is accessible for you, check if the following link will load in your browser:

If this link fails to load, it's likely that traffic over port 445 is being blocked.

The link doesn't load for me. What can I do?

The first thing to check is that there are no restrictions for port 445 on the firewall level, it's recommended to check with your IT regarding this as they would know best how the firewall is configured. If you don't have IT managing your firewall then it's unlikely that port 445 is being blocked at the firewall level.

My firewall isn't blocking port 445. What now?

It's likely that your ISP is blocking the port on their end. It's recommended to reach out to your ISP's customer support to request that they unblock port 445. In some cases, particularly with Starlink internet, the ISP will not unblock the port on request.

I have Starlink internet, or am using another ISP that won't unblock port 445. What do I do?

If this is the case, it is recommended to use a VPN service on your machine. This will route all traffic through the VPN, bypassing the block on port 445. Some VPNs such as ExpressVPN are also known to block port 445 traffic, however others such as NordVPN and Private Internet Access do not block the port. If you're in doubt, we recommend contacting the customer support for the VPN and confirming if they block port 445.

Why is port 445 blocked by default at all? Is it unsafe?

No, it is not unsafe. Business Fitness follows industry best practice guidelines to bring you optimal software and services, Our products utilise the latest SMB 3.x protocols with encrypted end to end communication that only requires outbound port 445 traffic, which is entirely safe. The SMB 3.x protocol has introduced many security features including channel encryption which is very secure to use over internet. The reason some services decide to block port 445 is due to historical reasons of vulnerabilities found in lower SMB versions. Ideally, the port should be blocked for only for SMB 1.0 traffic and SMB 1.0 should be turned off on all clients.

If you or your IT are concerned about opening port 445, you can refer to the below articles from Microsoft regarding this port:

Azure Files requires Outbound traffic only, so it's fine to disable inbound traffic on that port if needed.

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