What Are Some Different Kinds of Computer Ports?

There are two types of computer ports: physical and virtual. Examples of these ports include USB ports, video ports, audio ports, legacy ports and network ports. Computer ports are the connection openings or interfaces with other peripheral devices. A peripheral refers to any kind of hardware that is not built inside a PC.

Ports are often described by their use, such as a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port or an Ethernet port. Most of the ports are directly attached to the motherboard. Physical ports help to connect a computer using a cable and a socket to a peripheral device. Virtual ports are data gates that enable software application (network) to interface with hardware resources without interruption. Physical computer ports include serial ports (DB9 socket), USB ports (USB 2.0 or 3.0 socket/connector), parallel ports and Internet ports. The USB port allows for communication between a computers and peripheral. It also acts as a power supply for devices such as digital cameras and mobile phones.

A virtual (network) port is associated with an IP address and a protocol used for communication. Network ports are typically Ethernet or FireWire. Video ports are generally a combination of VGA, DVI, RCA/component, S-Video and HDMI. Audio ports comprise of mini analog audio jacks or RCA. Legacy ports are associated with old computer models and are rare to find on modern computers.