Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Advertisement

Updated by Gavin Phillips on 04/15/2017

In home networks, IP addresses aren’t usually fixed, but they do fall within specific ranges. Your router will assign a new IP address automatically if another computer joins the network, or if your configuration changes. For the most part, this works out just fine — you shouldn’t notice a difference to your Internet performance or application functionality if your IP changes.

A static IP address however, is one that doesn’t change. Your computer decides upon the address it wants, and it tells the router. Why would you want to set up something like this? What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing so? Is there a better solution?

What Is A Static IP?

When we talk about IP addresses of home computers, we are usually referring to two types of address. One is your external IP address – the one that the world sees as your Internet connection. Then you have your private IP addresses internally on your home network. Even if you only have one computer on your home network, it will have a private IP given to it by the router. Private IP addresses cannot be routed over the Internet and are strictly for private use. There are a few possible ranges of private IP address, but for most home users this will be 192.168.*.* (where * can be anything).

Your router interface, for instance, is likely accessible through 192.168.0.1 — this is a private address. Your home computers might then be anything from How to Trace an IP Address to a PC & How to Find Your Own How to Trace an IP Address to a PC & How to Find Your Own Want to see the IP address of your computer? Perhaps you want to discover where another computer is situated? Various free tools are available that tell you more about a computer an its IP address. Read More 192.168.0.2 to 192.168.0.254. Most routers will just assign internal addresses on a first come first served basis. The first computer you plug into the router will send out a network request saying “I need an IP address, my hardware address is x.x.x.x.x.x” and will be assigned 192.168.0.2, then the next will get 192.168.0.3.

Advertisement

Your external IP address is not something you can change — it is given to you automatically by your Internet provider. You can purchase a static external IP address, but they are incredibly expensive. If you do need to access your home network from a remote location, consider getting a dynamic address that will update itself when your IP changes Connect To Your Home PCs From Anywhere With DynDNS Connect To Your Home PCs From Anywhere With DynDNS Read More .  For a home network though, you are free to assign static, non-changing IP addresses to whatever computers you want. Let’s a take a look at when you would do this.

static ip address

Why Would I Need A Static Private IP Address & What Are The Advantages?

Essentially, you need a static IP anytime you are trying to forward certain packets from the Internet to certain computers or devices on your home network. For example:

A Local Web Server

In order to set up a web server on your home network How To Build A Linux Web Server With An Old Computer [Part 1] How To Build A Linux Web Server With An Old Computer [Part 1] Read More that is accessible by anyone in the world, you need to forward incoming requests on port 80 to your web server machine. If the web server was to restart and get a new IP from the router, the special rule that you created to forward requests on port 80 to the old server IP address wouldn’t work anymore, and your server would break.

Remote Torrent Management

A few weeks ago I showed you how to manage your torrent client from a remote computer How To Control Your Torrent Client From Your Mobile Phone How To Control Your Torrent Client From Your Mobile Phone Read More or mobile phone, but it involved forwarding requests on port 9091 to the machine running the torrent client. We found out the address of the machine and created a rule based on that, but again, if the address was to change, the remote management wouldn’t work.

Gaming

For some older routers and gaming setups, you needed to forward certain ports to your Xbox, Playstation, or PC to play online multiplayer games. More recent routers include an automated setup procedure called uPNP What Is UPnP & Why Is It Dangerous? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is UPnP & Why Is It Dangerous? [MakeUseOf Explains] Technology in the computer age has been plagued with unsecured features, security loopholes, and general oversights in software architecture. Flash drives can carry keyloggers. Browsers might have open backdoors. Windows constantly updates with security fixes.... Read More which eliminates the need to set up rules by hand.

Disadvantages Of A Static IP

Static IPs need to be configured manually. You will need to make a few changes to your router configuration, too How to Configure Your Router to Make Your Home Network Really Secure How to Configure Your Router to Make Your Home Network Really Secure Default router settings put your network at risk, allowing freeloading strangers to squeeze nadwidth and potentially commit crimes. Use our summary to configure your standard router settings to prevent unauthorized access to your network. Read More . In this respect, they are said to have an “administration overhead,” because you need to keep track of the settings yourself. For home networks, this usually isn’t an issue with only a few machines to worry about. But for corporations and companies this is quite a problem.

Without correct router configuration, you are also likely to see more IP address conflict errors What's an IP Conflict, and How Do You Resolve It? What's an IP Conflict, and How Do You Resolve It? Have any of your devices ever displayed an error message pertaining to an IP address conflict? Read More . For example, if you set one of your machines to the IP address 192.168.0.10, and your router continues to hand out IP addresses automatically, then at some point, another machine will be given the same IP! Basically, static IPs can be quite problematic.

The Solution: Reserved Addresses

Instead of having to manually configure the settings on every PC we want to give a static IP address to, we will simply “reserve” the address we want to give them in the router’s automatic IP address system. By doing this, we ensure our machines have an IP address that will never change, without actually assigning a “static” IP address as such, which would complicate things. To do this, open up your router configuration page and look for a section on DHCP or LAN IP.

Look at the section labelled Static Leases or Reserved Lease Info. There are two or more fields that need to be filled in. First is the hardware address (6 pairs of alphanumeric characters), which is unique to every network device in the world. Second is the IP you wish to assign it. You should be able to see your hardware address in the list of current “leases” (a lease refers to the address that the router has automatically lent to your device) next the IP it is currently assigned. If not, type IPCONFIG /ALL (from Windows command prompt) or IFCONFIG (from an OS X Terminal) and look for either the Ethernet or Physical Address.

how to obtain a static ip address

In this case, I want the device with the hardware address E0:CB:4E:A5:7C:9D, currently with IP 192.168.0.10, to stay that way forever. Enter this information to create a new reserved address.

static ip address

You can also change the IP address from here if you’d like the reserved one to be different to what it is currently, but you will need to restart the device in order to get the new address. You are basically “tying” a particular local IP address to a particular piece of hardware.

Now You Can Be Static

That’s it – now your address won’t change after a restart and you can keep your special routing rules the same.

Confused? Problems? Feel free to ask in the comments! I will endeavor to answer as best as I can – but remember that every router model is slightly different.

Image Credit: Todja via Shutterstock.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *