Since it is no longer possible for flowing water to deactivate a Nether portal, you can't use pistons to push blocks into the nether portal and finally you can't move the obsidian powering the portal with pistons; is it possible to deactivate the portal some other way with redstone?

I'm not too interested in detonating TNT near the portal either, ideally the method needs to be reusable and not destroy the surrounding mechanisms.

Bonus points for activating a Nether portal with redstone as well.

  • 2
    youtube.com/watch?v=bx0hQKONU3A I haven't tried this yet, but with his design specifically its suppose to work. Is this what you are looking for?
    – Zero
    Commented Jan 23, 2012 at 21:04
  • @Foxtrot that is actually really neat, unfortunately it doesn't work with retail pistons (as opposed to the piston mod). That might work for activating the portal, but it won't deactivate it (pistons can't push blocks through a nether portal). I will try the activation method when I get home.
    – Resorath
    Commented Jan 23, 2012 at 21:08
  • This used to be possible with water, but a recent update (not sure exactly which) removed the functionality. As far as I know, it's currently impossible. Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 0:52

6 Answers 6


You can put a single bucket of water into a dispenser. When a dispenser "dispenses" an empty bucket, it actually "picks up" a source block in front of it. By putting a single water bucket in a dispenser, when it's activated once it dispenses the water and when it's activated again it removes the water.

You can use this to make a button- or other restone device-triggered "off switch" for a portal. This is a complete reference design:

A nether portal with a dispenser in front of it, hooked up to a button.

The dispenser has a water block in front of it, filling the portal with flow blocks.

The trench behind the portal is what keeps the water from flowing everywhere:

A shot from the other side, showing the channel the water flows in to keep it contained.

To turn it back on, you can build a dispenser with Fire Charges directly against the frame. The Fire Charge goes through the frame, lighting it. The only problem with this is that it consumes a resource that has to be occasionally replenished. Thanks to Resorath for the tip and the video that demonstrates the technique:

  • Actually I heard you can shoot a fireball (by using a nether ingredient) through a dispenser to reactivate it. This is great trivia about dispensing and picking up water.
    – Resorath
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 19:30
  • @Resorath I tried Fire Charges, but they don't light the portal if they just hit beside it, and I haven't found a way to have a dispenser make one hit inside the frame. Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 19:41
  • I saw it in a video similar to this one: youtube.com/watch?v=H1Cwxsf6Ulk but I haven't tested it myself yet.
    – Resorath
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 19:42
  • @SevenSidedDice interesting. well, I'll have to play around with it. Seems like a front to back solution though finally!
    – Resorath
    Commented Sep 10, 2012 at 19:47
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    You can actually use a steel and flint in a dispenser as well which will light the portal rather than using a firecharge or having to always set fire to a near by log etc.
    – Peter Fox
    Commented May 31, 2014 at 21:48

I happened to be in need of shutting a portal down from the Nether side.

I built my project in an Overworld test world and when i finally built it i realized i couldn't shut the portal off because i was using a dispenser producing a single tick of water, which unfortunately, doesn't work within the Nether!

I happened to find the simplest of the solutions, that im writing down here just to add to the previous ones. LAVA

By dispensing lava into a open portal, we break it. Nether side fixed. Yeah.

Here is my portal on/off setup, as compact as possible.


Front, off

This is the front, in the left dispenser i put Flint & Steel, in the right one bucket of water (if Overworld side) or bucket of lava (if Nether side)

Hope is useful!


Minecraft version 1.5 allows flint and steel to be used in a dispenser. When the dispenser is activated it will light the Nether portal.


From the wiki, the only ways to deactivate a nether portal are explosions or pouring a water bucket directly into the portal. If you don't want to have anything explode, it looks like you will not be able to deactivate it with redstone.

One option, if you want to try using TNT without destroying anything nearby, you can use obsidian to direct the blast towards the portal and then just make sure that there is nothing important in that direction.

  • 1
    I've read the wiki and hoped someone had a more creative way of doing it.
    – Resorath
    Commented Jan 23, 2012 at 21:05
  • The wiki is pretty exhaustive in most cases.
    – Adam Arold
    Commented Jul 8, 2012 at 9:44
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    As of snapshot version 12w21a, dispensers can both dispense buckets of water and fill empty buckets with water blocks. This allows for using redstone to disable the portal (not the most pretty way though). Unfortunately no way to reactivate it though.
    – Dracs
    Commented Jul 9, 2012 at 2:12

The answer could evolve with time and updates, but:

As of 1.1.0, with a Vanilla client, no, it's impossible. Plenty of mods will allow that however.


You can put a water bucket into a dispenser putting it out.

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