"We are supported by our readers and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site"

What Is the Difference Between Static and Dynamic IP Addresses?

Static and dynamic IP addresses offer their own set of benefits and limitations. Either could be a good choice for you, depending on your needs and environment.

This article will cover the key differences between static and dynamic IPs, and the advantages and disadvantages of both. But first, let’s review the basics of IP addresses and how they function:

What Is an IP Address?

Any computer in the world that is connected to an internet network has a unique identification number, known as an Internet Protocol or IP address. The easiest way to conceptualize this is to think of an IP address as your computer’s house address. If someone wants to send a letter to you (or your computer), it would need your machine’s IP address for successful delivery.

An image featuring the Security Gladiators logo comparing static IP address versus dynamic IP address concept

IP addresses are also used to identify computers that have an internet connection. Every device on your home network has to use an IP address to communicate with any other device on the network.

Of course, computers don’t understand words in the same way humans do. This is where the Domain Name System (or DNS) comes into play.

The internet uses DNS to simplify the communication process and allow humans to make use of words to surf the internet while ensuring computers can convert those words to numbers and interpret internet addresses correctly.

If there was an online address book for the whole internet, it would be the DNS. The primary job of a DNS is to map IP addresses to names and vice versa.

For example, when you open up a web browser and input a URL like www.google.com in the URL bar, your web browser must first look at the domain name you used (www.google.com) in the internet address book, the DNS. In the case of www.google.com, your web browser would ask the Domain Name System to respond with Google’s official IP address.

An image featuring IP Address text with blocks on top of a notebook with a laptop, coffee, phone and glasses in the background

The DNS will take that request, process it and then return it with the correct IP address. The IP address for www.google.com is 74.125.239.35. This is what your web browser connects to when you want it to go to www.google.com.

With that out of the way, now it’s time to talk about the differences between static IP addresses vs dynamic IP addresses.

Static and Dynamic IP Addresses

If you’re wondering whether your IP address is static or dynamic, you should know that it all depends on your internet service provider. Your ISP may assign you a dynamic IP address or a static IP address:

Dynamic IP Address

As the name suggests, this type of IP address changes almost constantly. However, just because your IP address is dynamic does not mean it is changeable at any time.

Advantages of Dynamic IP Address

An image featuring a cool red DHCP text representing dynamic host configuration protocol

Compared to static IP addresses, dynamic IP addresses are easier to configure and sometimes automatically configured. The DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server mostly takes care of everything that has to do with assigning different devices their required IP addresses.

Dynamic IP addresses are also cheaper and offer unlimited IP addressing. That means you can reuse a given IP address. The DHCP server can automatically configure new IP addresses for all your devices on a given network on a need basis.

If you bring your work laptop to your home and connect to the internet, it will connect. You won’t have to remove your old IP address and then use a new one. Your router and/or network will automatically give it a new IP address. This also guards against IP conflicts.

In some cases, dynamic IP addresses offer more security since hackers don’t know for sure which of your devices has which IP address. Using a virtual private network can help if you want more security.

Disadvantages of Dynamic IP Address

An image featuring a cool yellow DNS text representing domain name server

Dynamic IP addresses are not suitable for hosting services. Generally speaking, you should not use this type of IP address when you are hosting a website or email server. DNS servers also have problems working with dynamic IP addresses due to their changing nature. You can find dynamic DNS services, but those will add to your expenses and make the whole operation more complex.

Dynamic IPs also don’t work great when you want remote access. Of course, a lot will depend on the software you use for remote access, but dynamic addresses are known to cause problems. For example, you may lose your internet connection if your ISP hasn’t assigned you a new IP quickly. This might not bother you too much if you’re a residential user, but if you’re running a company that operates online, having your website down is a big problem.

Note:

Dynamic IPs don’t play well with geo-location tools either. These addresses don’t give out your current location accurately at all times, which is why some services might have trouble locating you.

Static IP Address

Again, as the name suggests, this type of IP address stays the same no matter what. If you have a static IP address, it will never change.

Advantages of Static IP Address

Static IP addresses do have some advantages. For residential users, having any of the two types of IP addresses may matter little. But for businesses, this option is clearly more optimal.

Services that offer dedicated and narrow products like web servers, FTP and email also prefer static IP addresses. If you’re into hosting servers, a static IP address is the best option to go with. Geo-location services also find it easier to work with static IP addresses, which makes location marking easier and more accurate.

These advantages make up part of the reason why ISPs demand more money from customers of any type who want static IP addresses.

This is important:

We should also mention here that you will need to have some technical skills to set up a static IP address properly, or you can call your ISP to ask for help.

Disadvantages of Static IP Address

Since with a static IP, you are stuck with a single unchanging IP address, if a hacker finds it, they would know where you are. As such, hackers find it easier to attack users with static IP addresses.

As mentioned, static IPs are costly. Your ISP will charge you more, especially if you are a residential user. If you are a business, there’s a chance they’ll include a static IP option.

Static IPs come with more security concerns since hackers know where you are—all they need are the proper hacking tools. With a VPN, though, you can hide/change your IP address with just a few simple clicks.

Read about the top VPNs on the market here.

Do You Have a Static or Dynamic IP Address?

An image featuring a person using his laptop in a server room representing a modern ISP (Internet Service Provider)

Modern ISPs usually offer a dynamic Internet Protocol (IP) address that keeps changing without issuing you any notification. They do that because, in the long run, it is more profitable for them and you.

But if you’re a regular everyday online user, you don’t get a say on which one you’d like to have. Assuming you have a static IP on your home network, that is what you will have whenever you connect to the internet from your home network.

Also, just because you’ve moved from one place to another doesn’t mean you will have the same IP address. It all depends where you connect from.

For example, if you went to a coffee shop and connected to the internet via the Wi-Fi connection available there, your IP address will change. Once you go back home and connect again, you will have a different IP address.

As mentioned above, if you have not paid your ISP something extra and asked for a static IP address, you should assume that you have a dynamic IP address. Almost all modern ISPs only provide static IPs if the given customer is willing to pay extra for it and actually requests it.

Conclusion: Difference Between Static IP vs Dynamic IP Address

An image featuring a keyboard that has a key that says IP Address with red text on it

If you own a business, go with a static IP address. That includes any internet service and/or website. If you know you will remotely access your computer a lot, the static IP is the way to go. However, if you’re just a regular internet user, a dynamic IP address is better since it costs less and is slightly more secure than static under certain conditions.

Using a VPN can help with securing not only your IP address but also your device/phone, data and identity, no matter what networks you use.

Zohair A. Zohair is currently a content crafter at Security Gladiators and has been involved in the technology industry for more than a decade. He is an engineer by training and, naturally, likes to help people solve their tech related problems. When he is not writing, he can usually be found practicing his free-kicks in the ground beside his house.
Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.