The Internet is built on IP addresses. They are divided into dynamic and static. Today we will look at the features of static and dynamic IP addresses and find out which type of IP address is more suitable for which tasks.
What is an IP address?
An IP address is a unique number that is assigned to each device on a TCP/IP network. Similar to a physical home address, an IP address lets people know where to send your email. IP addresses identify computers and devices and allow them to communicate.
Each IP address is made up of numbers. Just as we use the domain names, we are accustomed to, and computers use addresses they understand. The Domain Name System (DNS) is used to make it all work in harmony. It’s a sort of phone book, so you can use facebook.com to navigate the web, and the DNS will map that address to the address your computer can understand, 126.96.36.199, and direct you to the website you want. These days, many electronic devices in your home can have an IP address. These devices can be anything that connects to the network: computers, TV, a smart speaker, or a robot vacuum cleaner.
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There are only two versions of IP addresses: IPv4 and IPv6. IPv4 has four hexadecimal numbers separated by dots, such as 192.168.0.1, and IPv6 has six hexadecimal numbers separated by colons, such as fd04:2ca1:ab5e:65c8:4e19:382c:12ef:ad68. There are 4.3 billion IPv4 addresses worldwide, and the problem is that today that number is not enough to provide all devices with addresses. But in contrast to IPv4, there are many more IPv6 addresses. Their number is 79,228,162,514,264,337,593,543,950,336 addresses. This number should be enough for decades to come. And so, let’s still discuss and consider static IP and dynamic IP, what are the differences or similarities?
What is a Static IP Address Meaning?
A static IP meaning is permanent; it does not change. When your device is assigned a static IP address, it usually remains until your network architecture changes. They are often used by servers or other essential equipment. These addresses are assigned by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Depending on your data plan or service agreement, your ISP may assign or may not assign you a static IP address. It also increases the cost of your contract with your ISP. A static IP address can be either IPv4 or IPv6. But at the moment, most static addresses use the IPv4 version.
What is a Dynamic IP address?
A dynamic IP address meaning is the opposite of the previous point. It changes periodically. Dynamic addresses are assigned by Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) servers. Since IPv4 does not provide a sufficient number of static IP addresses, it was decided to use dynamic addresses. Thus, all devices connected to the wifi in a hotel, for example, will have dynamic IP addresses. However, the hotel’s primary router will have a static IP address.
Likewise, your home or office on the Internet may be assigned a dynamic IP address by the DHCP server of your Internet provider. In your home or corporate network, in turn, your router will assign a dynamic IP address to your devices – whether they are computers, smartphones, or media streaming devices, tablets, etc. Dynamic IP is a standard used by consumer equipment.
Static or Dynamic: What is better?
It is impossible to say which IP address option will be ideal for everyone and on all occasions. For some tasks, a static IP address is best, and sometimes a dynamic IP address works best. It also depends on your specific needs. For example, a static IP address is more suitable for business, and a dynamic IP address for a home network.
👉 Advantages of a Static IP
Here are the main advantages of using a static IP address:
- Improved DNS support. Static IP addresses are much easy to set up and manage with DNS servers.
- Convenient remote access. A static IP address makes it easy to work remotely using a virtual private network (VPN) or other remote access programs.
- Server hosting. When hosting a web server, email server, or any other type of server, having a static IP address makes it simpler for customers to find you through DNS. This means customers can access your websites and services faster if they have a static IP address.
- More reliable communication. Static IP addresses make it better to use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for teleconferencing or other voice and video communications.
- More accurate geolocation services. With a static IP address, services can map an IP address to its physical location. For example, use a local weather service with a static IP address. You will get a weather report for your region.
👉 Disadvantages of a Static IP
Virtual private networks (VPN) can help solve this problem by hiding your physical location. In addition to the advantages, a static IP address has some disadvantages:
- Easier to hack. Knowing your static IP address, hackers can find out where your server is on the Internet. This makes it easier for them to attack.
- Higher cost. A static IP address is an optional service in consumer ISP plans. ISP business plans often include a static IP address, at least as an option, but they are just as expensive as end-user plans.
- Real-world security issues. With the right networking tools, anyone can find where you and your computers are.
👉 Advantages of a Dynamic IP
Dynamic IP addresses are easy to manage and cheaper to deploy than static IP addresses. They also have some advantages:
- Automatic configuration. In the case of a dynamic IP address, the DHCP server automatically assigns an available IP address to the device. No action is required from the user.
- Cheaper cost. There is no cost associated with using a dynamic IP address because this type of connection is usually the default.
- Unlimited IP addressing. Dynamic addresses allow you to reuse the same IP addresses. Your devices automatically configure themselves with a new dynamic IP address as needed. When you bring home a new computer, there is no need to manually assign it a new address and delete the old one. The router takes care of that. It also prevents conflicts from confusion when two computers try to use the same IP address.
- Potentially increased security. With a dynamic IP address, it will be more difficult for a potential attacker to attack your network equipment. Of course, the same applies to your physical location.
Disadvantages of a Dynamic IP
However, there are situations where dynamic IP addresses lose out to static ones. For example, they may not work well with Internet services like e-mail.
- Not suitable for hosting services. If you want to host a website, email server, etc., a dynamic IP address can cause some problems. Because the address is constantly changing, DNS does not work well with dynamic IP addresses. Dynamic DNS server solve this problem, but they are more expensive and more complicated.
- Limiting remote access. Depending on your remote access software, may have trouble connecting if you use a dynamic IP address.
- More downtime. Sometimes your Internet Service Provider cannot assign you a dynamic IP address, although this is extremely rare. This can interrupt your Internet connection. For the individual consumer, this is a temporary inconvenience. However, it’s much worse if your company’s Website gets disconnected.
- Less accurate geolocation. A dynamic IP address can cause geolocation services to fail because the stored dynamic address no longer reflects your actual location.
As we found out, static IP addresses are more suitable for businesses with websites or Internet services. Static IP addresses also work well if remote workers connect to work via VPN. However, dynamic IP addresses are suitable for most consumers. They are cheaper and pose fewer security risks.
Can I Сhange My Static IP address?
In most cases, if you get your Internet service through an ISP, it assigns you a dynamic IP address. Your devices are assigned dynamic IP addresses on your network by default. Switching to a static IP address is usually straightforward. You first need to contact your ISP to find out if static IP service is available, and if so, ask them to activate it. The ISP will give you your IP address, and you must specify it in the router settings.
How to Protect Your IP address?
Regardless of your IP address, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and hackers can determine where you are and what you do on the Internet. To conceal your IP address and thus protect yourself from surveillance on the Internet, the most effective way is to use a VPN. It fully encrypts your traffic, eliminating the possibility of interception by intruders.