What is a Static IP Address?

Firstly, let's spend a bit of time determining what is meant by an IP address. IP means Internet Protocol and refers to the guidelines and rules that govern the operation of the internet. Every device from a computer to a baby monitor that's linked to the internet has an IP address. Without that address, the device cannot function on the internet. IP addresses are expressed as a series of numbers, in groups separated by a dot (.) with a range of 1 ‚Äď 4 numerals.

As users of the internet, we are unaware of the IP addresses of all the devices that are out there. We don't need to know them unless we experience problems with our computer or router when having the IP addresses makes troubleshooting easier. Each time we try to access a website, we enter its hostname into our computer, press Enter, and almost immediately, the website appears on our screen.

Our computer has found out what the IP address of that website is and connected to it via the internet. IP addresses are all held on DNS servers at various locations throughout the
internet. Your computer also has its private DNS cache containing the IP addresses of the websites you frequently access. It does not have to roam the internet to find the necessary IP address, as it has it close at hand.

A static IP address is one that doesn't change, while a dynamic IP address does change. A static IP address can be configured for any device that uses an IP address. There are many types of devices that need an IP address, with additional ones coming on to the market regularly. Some, like routers, will give out IP addresses, while others will need a static IP address typed into them.
When a computer has been given a static IP address, the router running the local network has to be configured to recognize that address so that it will direct all incoming messages to it.

Static IP addresses are sometimes called fixed IP addresses or dedicated IP addresses.

Why Use a Static IP Address?

A static IP address is just like your home address. Everyone who needs to will know that's where they can find you. It's the address for your mail, your amazon deliveries, or your online groceries. A static IP address is just the same. Once your computer has a static IP address that will never change, other devices on the internet know where to send your emails or any other inbound items.

If you host a website at home, have a file server as part of your network, use printers on your network, run a print server, or employ a remote access program, then having a static IP address is a bonus. Because that IP address never changes, it can be easily contacted by other devices. Hosting a website at home can be quite tricky if you choose not to use a static IP address. In this situation, whenever the computer gets a new IP address, you will have to change your router settings.

If you don't, no-one will be able to reach your website as the router will not be able to direct requests for access. The router won't know which device in the network is the one that is serving the website. Static IP addresses also work well with DNS servers. DNS servers use static IP addresses so that other devices will always be able to connect with them. Changing the IP address frequently will mean having to reconfigure the DNS servers on your router and computer each time there is a change.

There are times when the domain name of a particular device is not accessible. Computers can be configured to connect with a server using its static IP address rather than the hostname. Should the DNS server malfunction, the computers will still link with the file server by using the IP
address. A remote access application like Windows Remote Desktop can be used with a static IP address.

This means that a computer can always be reached using the same address. Having a dynamic IP address that changes often means you will need to know what it changes to before you can make a remote connection.

Dynamic IP Addresses vs. Static IP Addresses

The routers used by most home and business networks will use public IP addresses and will be dynamic IP addresses. Large companies usually have static IP addresses allocated to them, which do not change. A local network in a home or small business will usually have a private IP address. The devices on a local network will most likely be configured for DHCP, and so use dynamic IP addresses.

Static IP addresses do limit computer downtime. If only static IP addresses were available, the world would have run out of IP addresses years ago. Dynamic IP addresses, on the other hand, are more flexible. There are always addresses that are not being used and can be re-allocated.

This maintains a supply of available IP addresses to meet demand. If a server hosts a website, an online video game, or a file-sharing service, then a continually changing dynamic IP address would be entirely unsuitable. Where constantly active connections are needed, a static IP address is a better choice.

Disadvantages of Static IP Addresses

The most significant disadvantage of using a static IP address is that the devices using them have to be manually configured. A home network server will need to be set up by you with an IP address, and then you will have to correctly configure your router so that it can communicate with the address you have just set up. This operation is much more work and is more time consuming than plugging your router in and then allowing it to give out dynamic IP addresses through DHCP.

Networks do differ in the type of IP addresses that they provide. A device given one type of static IP address may not be able to function correctly if you go to a network that issues a different type of IP address. The device then will have to be reconfigured to use DHCP issued IP addresses. Alternatively, you can use a static IP address that the new network recognizes.

The third problem with static IP addresses is the issue of security. As a static IP address never changes, hackers have a longer time to work out how to break into the network. Dynamic IP addresses are much harder to crack because they are constantly changing, and hackers get less chance to gain access.

Why Change your IP Address?

Online bans can be avoided by changing a computer's IP address, as can the restrictions some countries place on online content. It is also useful to be able to change an IP address when a mistake is made, especially where a static IP address is given the wrong numeric range.

Sometimes a malfunctioning router will provide incorrect or misleading addresses. A change of IP address will usually overcome that problem. Also, when installing a new router and the reconfiguration of the home network to use the default IP address is carried out.

How to Change Your IP Address

Your router will have two IP addresses. A public one, which is used to connect with the internet, and a private one, which connects with the devices on your home network. The public IP address can only be changed by your Internet Service Provider. Sometimes, an ISP will allocate a static IP address to a subscriber. When this is the case, the subscriber has to contact the ISP and request a change of IP address.

Changing a local or private IP address can be carried out by the user. To change the router's private IP address.

  1. Log in as the Administrator
  2. Change the IP address from the Control Panel.
  3. When changing your IP address use ipconfig/release and ipconfig/renew commands in Command Prompt.

A static IP address will probably be held in the network router and can be changed from there. However, the steps for carrying out this procedure vary from brand to brand and model to model.

Fake a Static IP with DDNS 

A dynamic DNS service (DDNS) will link a dynamic IP address with an unchanging hostname. This acts as a static IP address, but at much less cost.

Emil S.

Emil is a Data & Design Specialist with a degree in BS Information System, specializes in Admin Support & Creative Design.

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