Static or dynamic IP addresses?

An IP address is similar to a phone number. It is a 32-bit number that identifies clients and servers on the Internet. Simply stated, every computer on  a network like the Internet has a unique identifier. In the similar way that the address on a letter functions, computers use  this unique identification to send and receive data. The most common  standard protocol used to communicate over networks is the TCP/IP protocol; and within this protocol, the unique identifier for a computer is called its IP address. Put in more technical terms ” Each packet sent across the Internet includes the sender’s and receiver’s IP addresses in order to route the packets correctly.. ” (

The Difference between Static and Dynamic IP addresses.

As their names indicate, dynamic  IP addresses are addresses that can change, while static IPs remain constant.  In other words, dynamic IP addresses can change each time you connect to the Internet but static IP addresses are reserved from you and do not change. Dynamic IP addresses are commonly used in residential Internet connections. Static IP addresses are most often used by business and commercial entities with leased lines and who are running their own server.

The reason  why dynamic as opposed to static IP addresses are used is due to the fact that  that there are a limited number of IP addresses available. Consequently, because the number of available IP addresses are not infinite, measures  have to be taken  to ensure that there is enough ” space” available on the Internet for everyone to have an address; hence the use of dynamic IP addresses.

“With dynamic IP addressing, there is a pool of IPs that your ISP can assign to users. When you connect to the Internet, your computer is leased one IP address from that pool for a number of hours. When you disconnect, or when the lease expires the IP address is freed and put back into the pool of available IPs”.


Should you use dynamic or static IP addresses and why?

Whether you choose to have a static or dynamic IP address will usually be determined by what you want to do or achieve online. For example, if you are a business concern and wish to host your own server, you would obviously choose a static IP address that is always the same. The main advantages of static IP addresses are:

  • greater reliability
  • You can always be reached at the same address
  • best option for Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP)
  • a static IP is more reliable in hosting a gaming site
  • you can use  a Virtual Private Network for secure access to files from your company network computer.


You should also consider a static IP address if you want to use your computer as a server.  Another, possible advantage of having a static IP address is that , unlike dynamic addresses, you are not sharing your IP address, which makes it less open to spam and other intrusions.


Dynamic IP address also have a number of advantages; including the fact that it is considered to be more secure as there is a lower security risk; in that  your computer is assigned a new IP address each time the customer logs on. They are also more economical and cost effective as well as being easier to administer with automatic network configuration.

The bottom line is that your choice of static or dynamic IP address will depend on your aims and requirements online.

How to choose

While these points will not necessarily apply to all cases, here are some rule of thumb indicators about which addressing system to choose.

You need one or more Static IP addresses if :

  • you wish to run a web server on your site that requires Internet access
  • You run one or more Email servers on your site
  • You wish to run an FTP server or a DNS server
  • You run services that require Internet access- such as a Financial Terminal Client
  • You need ‘incoming’ Video or Audio services.

On the other hand You will probably not need a static IP address if you:

  • only need to browse the Internet
  • You use an off-site mail sever such as your ISP’s mail server
  • if you use instant messaging or chat services you will not need a static IP
  • if you run services that only need access to your local network

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