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.
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.
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.
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 22.214.171.124. 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
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.
Disadvantages of Dynamic IP Address
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.
Do You Have a Static or Dynamic IP Address?
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
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.