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What in the heck are PORTS and how do they affect my firewall?

On second thought, what's a FIREWALL?

A firewall is a term or name given for a service that regulates inbound and
outbound network traffic. For example, Internet access can be given to Jane
while Paul can be blocked from gaining access to the Internet. By the same
token, incoming traffic can be granted or taken away as well. Blocking incoming
traffic is how the firewall protects the personal computer (PC) on the network
from hackers.

Now, in order to allow access to an internal PC by authorized people, the firewall
will need to be opened. This is where PORTS come in.

There are around 9,999 ports that make up the firewall. Think of it as a big brick
wall. To pass information through the wall you will need to make a hole in it. This
is called opening a port. We open individual ports rather than the whole fire wall
to maintain some level of security from hackers.

Now within the firewalls software, we can tell the firewall what port to open and to
which PC to send the information to.

For example, an Internet browser uses port 80 to communicate with web
servers like the one you are viewing right now. If port 80 were closed on my
firewall, you would not be reading this wonderful FREE education. Your request
for www.4maxvideo.com would have been blocked by my firewall. For me to
allow others to access my web server I had to open port 80. Other examples of
common ports would be FTP- port 21, Telnet port 23 and port 5631 for

My philosophy:
Block all incoming traffic. Open only the ports that are needed.