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Are there any known hosts online that make themselves available for port scanning in order to learn tools like NMAP? Thanks!

closed as off-topic by schroeder May 24 at 14:17

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http://scanme.nmap.org/

This host exist solely for the purpose of testing nmap. Here is the wording from the page:

We set up this machine to help folks learn about Nmap and also to test and make sure that their Nmap installation (or Internet connection) is working properly. You are authorized to scan this machine with Nmap or other port scanners. Try not to hammer on the server too hard. A few scans in a day is fine, but dont scan 100 times a day or use this site to test your ssh brute-force password cracking tool.

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While @Jack's answer is absolutely correct and in the vast majority of cases the preferred way, scanning your own machine or a virtual machine running on your system is a viable option as well, which also gives you some advantages in comparison to an external machine:

  • Higher availability: If you don't have an internet connection, localhost will still be accessible to you. This could be relevant, for instance, on a long ride home from university.
  • Ability to modify the environment: If you want to try something specific, such as a specific script, service detection, OS detection, etc.
  • Safe from Proxies: If you are in a network where an overzealous proxy is blocking your port scans, then scanning a local machine is the only option.
  • Higher stability: While arguably unlikely, it's not certain that nmap will keep scanme.nmap.org alive indefinitely.

So in conclusion, don't be afraid to scan your own machines too.

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