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Newbie network/routing question


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One Microserver gen 8 and laptop in the same local network.

Microserver has a domain name assigned (with non local ip address, but external router ip) and requests on router port are forwarded to server.

If I open domain name in browser, how will the packets travel? Will they leave the local network, briefly go into the WWW and come back?


I installed owncloud on my gen8 and, when I used the domain name, see the access is logged a non local IP (not 192.168.2.x), but the external router ip. I'm wondering if the upload speed of my Internet connection could become a bottle neck.


I hope I got all the terms and explanation right.

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www.example.com has ip address assigned.




laptop -- example.com --> router -- --> Microserver




laptop -- example.com --> router -- --> Provider --> Router --> Microserver


I guess the DNS lookup will go outside. But will the router understand it's actually a local request, when it has resolved the IP address? 


Sorry, I'm a true novice. Hope it does not sound like a stupid question.

Edited by Royco
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Not a stupid question at all. Different versions of it have been asked several times on the forums, but to do with Windows systems.


Unfortunately, the answer is "it depends".


If your router knows how, it will route the request to your MicroServer. A lot of inexpensive consumer routers can't handle it. My Untangle UTM does.


I do not know this for sure, but I think it partly, at least, depends on whether your router is doing DNS proxy/caching. Picture it this way:


laptop -> router's DNS -> -> laptop -> send to router -> -> MicroServer


IOW, your laptop sends a DNS request to your router. Your router looks in its cache and sees that it knows that the domain is at and sends that IP back to your laptop. You laptop then sends the actual request with IP to your router. Your router sees that it owns the IP and processes the request locally. It sees that the port requested in the packet means it supposed to send the packet to, so it sends the packet to your LAN.


In the scenario I just described there would be no effect on your Internet connection, because your router is handling everything internally. However, apparently not all routers know enough to route packets addressed to their WAN IP back to the LAN.


The best thing you can do is try it, with your domain name and IP address. If you get to your MicroServer then you can be pretty sure your router is smart enough. What happens to people who don't have smart enough routers is they get Page Not Found errors.

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Thanks for the answer.


I compared the upload speed between domain name and local ip address. It seems to be the same speed. Seems I've a smart router.

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The feature is referred to as NAT loopback or NAT reflection. If your router supports it (and it sounds like it does) then the data packets never actually leave the local network. There will probably be an external DNS lookup, unless you are running your own DNS internally in which case you can add the proper entries.

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Thanks jem101. I could picture how it would work, but never had a name for it. I suspect, as long as his router has its own DNS, hopefully with caching (is there a DNS that doesn't have caching?), he wouldn't even have to add any entries.

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Thanks to jem101 I now have a name and wikipedia entry:



NAT loopback

NAT loopback, also known as NAT hairpinning or NAT reflection,[6] is a feature in many consumer routers[7] which allows a user to connect to his/her own public IP address from inside the LAN. This is especially useful when, for example, a website is hosted at that IP address. The following describes an example network:

  • Public address: (this is the address of the WAN interface on the router)
  • Internal address of router:
  • Address of the server:
  • Address of a computer:

If a packet is sent to the public address ( by a computer at, the packet would normally be routed to the default gateway (the router), unless an explicit route is set in the computer's routing tables. A router with the NAT loopback feature detects that is the address of its WAN interface, and treats the packet as if coming from that interface. It decides based on DNAT (port forwarding) rules on the destination for the packet. For example, if the data were sent to port 80 and there is a DNAT rule for port 80 directed to, then the host at that address will receive the packet.

If no applicable DNAT rules are available, the router's firewall drops the packet. An ICMP Destination Unreachable reply may be sent. If any DNAT rules were present, address translation is still in effect; the router still rewrites the source IP address in the packet. The computer ( sends the packet as coming from, but the server ( receives it as coming from When the server replies the process is identical as for an external sender. Thus, two-way communication is possible between hosts inside the LAN network via their public IP address.

NAT loopback is especially useful when the server hosts a domain name that resolves to a public address. When the router does not perform NAT loopback, any connection attempts to that IP address fail.


Just as you both described it.

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