If you are an Internet user, you must have met the word ‘IP addresses’ at least once. Actually, each electronic device on the Internet has its own IP address, which means there are now billions of IP addresses existing.
Apparently, they are an indispensable part of computer networking and play an important role in data exchange. In fact, you won’t be able to go online without an IP.
There are four main types of IPs. But today, we’re going to discuss in detail 2 of them, static vs dynamic IP addresses. Plus, this article will illustrate how to check your IP addresses.
What is an IP Address?
Internet Protocol (IP) Address is a unique identification number of a hardware device on the Internet or on a network.
In other words, an IP address provides a device’s identity on a network, similar to a home or a business address. They will help devices on the network be able to distinguish, share, and communicate with each other. Simply speaking, different devices have different IP addresses.
For example, if you want to send a package to a friend in another country, you need to know his/her exact address. That is to say, you have to write down the specific address by looking it up in the phone book. Not just write your friend’s name and expect the package to reach the correct location.
The process of sending and receiving data over the network is similar to the example above. However, instead of a phone book, the computer uses Domain Name System (DNS) servers to look up a hostname to find its IP address.
To illustrate, you enter a web page, like passwordprotectwp.com, via a browser. A request to load this page will be sent to DNS servers. Then your computer will look up the hostname (passwordprotectwp.com) to find its corresponding IP address. If there is no IP address attached, your computer will have no idea what it’s looking for.
4 Types of IP Addresses
There are 4 main kinds of IP addresses: private, public, static, and dynamic IP addresses.
Private IP Addresses: They are also known as internal IPs. You can set them up manually or automatically. They appear on an internal network such as a school, company, or organization network. Private IPs can only connect to the local network through a router. It means that your computer can’t communicate directly with any other IP beyond the router that they connect to.
Public IP Addresses: Unlike private IPs addresses, public IP addresses are community IPs. Your computer will be authorized to access the global network and communicate between routers. In simple terms, you can reach any piece of information on the global network.
Static IP Addresses: These IPs are fixed in nature and don’t change over time. You have to manually configure the static IP addresses for devices on the network. A static IP comes as a fixed address reserved for one user or one group. It will normally be assigned to a server with a specific purpose, for example, a mail server, web server, etc.
Dynamic IP Addresses: These IPs are automatically assigned to each connection or node on the network, such as mobile phones, desktops, or tablets. The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server will customize devices’ IP addresses on the network. To put it another way, dynamic IPs change regularly.
While public and private IPs indicate the devices’ location (inside or outside the local network), static and dynamic IPs indicate their stability. In this article, we will focus on the differences between static and dynamic IP addresses.
Reasons for Using Static IP Addresses
Using static IPs may bring numerous benefits to you:
- Convenience: Static IP addresses make connections faster because users don’t need to re-issue new IPs. Simply put, a static IP is similar to an email or home address. It won’t change, making communication and use conveniently.
- Reliability: Working environments that use multiple computers, business fax machines, or systems should consider utilizing static IPs. They will minimize the risk of data loss and help computers work together more stably.
- Stability: Static IP addresses don’t change, which normally results in a more stable connection.
- Accuracy: With a static IP, the computer knows exactly where your real location is. For example, you log into a weather forecast website using a static IP. Then you will get the weather report you need, instead of the one for another city.
Besides those advantages, static IPs have some notable disadvantages:
- Time-Consuming Process: The static IPs’ biggest drawback is that you have to configure the devices manually. You need to not only set up the device with an IP address but also properly configure the router to communicate with that address. So it requires a lot of time and effort.
- Weak Security: Since static IPs never change, it’s easier for hackers to find vulnerabilities.
- High Cost: Using static IP addresses is not a cost-effective method as they often charge much more than dynamic IPs.
Dynamic IP Addresses
Dynamic IP addresses benefit you in many ways:
- Flexibility: Dynamic IP addresses are more flexible than static IP addresses. For example, a specific IP address will be assigned to a laptop on the network. When the laptop disconnects from the network, that address will be used by another device on the network.
With this type of IP address, there is no limit to the number of devices that can connect to the network. Offline devices will disconnect and release address memory for other devices.
- Simplicity: You don’t have to assign IP addresses for new devices connecting to the network manually. All you need to do is enable DHCP on the router. It will automatically configure IP addresses to your devices.
- Security: Contrary to static IP, the constant change of dynamic IP makes it difficult for hackers to locate your exact address. So it’s almost impossible for cybercrimes to track your devices as well as your physical location.
- Low Price: As mentioned above, the cost for setting up dynamic IP addresses is usually not as expensive as static IPs.
This type of IP would create certain benefits, but there are also some drawbacks:
- Incompatibility: Since the dynamic IP addresses change constantly, you might face a few troubles, such as IP conflicts on your computer. For instance, if you want to host an email server, you shouldn’t employ a dynamic IP address. This is because DNS servers usually don’t work well with dynamic IP addresses.
- Slow Connections: Due to its continuous changes, a dynamic IP address will slow down your internet connections.
Static vs. Dynamic IP Addresses
Generally speaking, both static and dynamic IP can identify hard devices on a network. But there are several disparities. The following table will summarize the differences between static and dynamic IP addresses:
|Static IP||Dynamic IP|
|Definition||Fixed and permanent IP||Changeable and temporary IP|
|Nature||Can’t be changed once it is assigned||Changes each time when connecting to a network|
|Assigned||Manually by the administrator||Automatically by the DHCP server|
|Suitable for||Mail server, web server, etc.||Large network|
How to Check If You Have Static or Dynamic IP
With just a few simple clicks, you can check if you are owning a static or dynamic IP.
Do the following steps to trace your IP address on Windows 10:
- Right-click on the Start button in the bottom left corner of the screen.
- Find Command Prompt on the search bar and click on it.
- In the Command Prompt window, type ipconfig/all and press Enter
- Look for the DHCP Enabled item and look at the value next to the item. If the value of DHCP Enabled is Yes, your IP address is dynamic. And if the DHCP Enabled value is No, your IP address is static.
To check your IP address on macOS, follow these steps:
- Press the System Preferences icon in the Dock or select Apple Menu → System Preferences
- Click on the Network option
- Head to Advanced → TCP/IP
If the Using DHCP is next to Configure IPv4, your device has a dynamic IP address. If it says Manually, your device has a static IP.
How to Change from Static to Dynamic IP Addresses
Follow the guide below to change static IP to dynamic IP:
- Right-click the Network icon and press the Properties button
- Choose Change Adapter Settings
- Click on Wireless Network Connection, then select Properties
- Hit Local Area Connection to change the IP address
- Double-click on Internet Protocol Version 4
- Choose the option Obtain an IP Address Automatically. At this point, the IP has been changed from static to dynamic mode.
- Click OK 2 times to finish
Choose The Static or Dynamic IP Address Best Suits Your Needs!
There are two basic differences between a static and dynamic IP to remember. Static IP doesn’t change over time and requires you to configure it manually. Meanwhile, dynamic IP changes each time you connect to the network and the DHCP server will help you assign the IP address.
No IP address, whether static or dynamic is perfect for everyone. The choice should be based on your needs or each specific situation.
This article has provided all the information you need to know about static and dynamic IP addresses. So it’s time to make your choice!
You can also learn more about top WordPress plugins to block country IP addresses.