What is the difference between static IP and dynamic IP?

One cannot access the internet without an IP address. Whenever you are scrolling on Instagram or watching videos on Youtube, your device is connected to the internet via an IP address. This IP address is provided to you by your internet service provider. Based on your need and the configuration of your network device such as your router, your ISP might provide you with either static IP or a dynamic IP. Both static and dynamic IP have their own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we have listed out the key differences between static and dynamic IP so that you can make a better decision about which one to choose.

Introduction to IP addresses 

IP(internet protocol) is a unique identifier for your computer devices. Just as you have street addresses for your homes, computers have IP addresses. An IP address helps a computer talk and send data to other computers. An IP is made of numbers and characters. An example of an IP address would be: 45.17.52.3

There are two main versions of IP addresses commonly used today: IPv4 and IPv6. IPv4 was developed in the early 1980s for the deployment of SATNET and ARPANET. In technical terms, IPv4 is a 32-bit identifier expressed by 4 numbers separated by dots. It is a very old protocol and has been in use for a very long time. IPv6 is a recent introduction designed to fill in the gaps created by IPv4. 

When IPv4 was designed, the internet was not commercially available to the public as it is today. It was only used by big corporations, the military, and the government. Therefore IPv4 was designed in such a way that it would offer up to 4.3 billion unique addresses. After the commercial boom of the internet, there were concerns that we would run out of IP addresses. To deal with this issue IPv6 was introduced as a possible solution. The number of addresses offered by IPv6 is  2^128. An example of IPv6 would be fe80::200:5aee:feaa:20a2.

What is a static IP address?

A static IP address is an IP address given to a device that will not change. Once a static IP is assigned to your computer or your router, it will stay the same even if you reboot or restart your device. This is the basic principle behind static IPs. They don’t change. Static IPs are typically used by media servers, web servers, or FTP servers where the IP needs to be unchanged. 

Almost all ISPs provide their customers with static IPs for an additional fee. The fee amount ranges from ISPs to ISPs and increases with the number of static IPs. ISPs charge separately for static IPs because they have to reserve IPs from their IP pool which are used by other customers. Every time someone buys a static IP from his/her ISP, the total number of IP addressed in the IP pool is reduced by 1. This means the total number of internet connections the ISP can provide its customers is reduced by 1.  

Static IPs are very useful when you have devices that need constant access. For example, if you own CCTV cameras at your home and want to access them while you’re away from home, you can set up a static IP with your camera system and access them anywhere in the world.

What is a dynamic IP address?

The dynamic IP address is just the opposite of a static IP address. As the name suggests dynamic IP addresses change over time. Whenever you reboot your router, your ISP dynamically assigns your networking device with an IP address picked randomly from the IP pool via the DHCP server.  DHCP is a protocol used by the DHCP server for automating the task of assigning IP addresses. The DHCP server usually tends to reassign the same IP for the same machine so you may find your IP to be unchanged for days or weeks. However, this is not guaranteed. Dynamic IPs are cheap for both you and your ISP. They offer better privacy compared to static IPs.

Dynamic IPs are advantageous when you have complicated networks with many nodes. With dynamic IP allocation, you can easily avoid the repetitive and tedious task of assigning IPs manually to each node on the network. It’s easy to allocate IPs to smaller networks but as the network grows it really gets troublesome. Overall, dynamic IPs are cheap and require little to no maintenance. 

Conclusion

We hope this article gave you a better understanding of Static and Dynamic IPs. In short, if you don’t require a nonchanging IP, go for dynamic IP. It’s the most common option for general users and it almost costs nothing. However, if you own a business with a website or an internet service then you might have to go with static IP. With static IPs, you have the advantage of uninterrupted connections. Static Ip is also a good option to choose when you want to host a web application or a media server at home and want to access it remotely.

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