The static IP address is a permanent IP address allotted to a computer by the Internet Service Provider. It is “static” as it does not change. It is also called a fixed address. The computer with static IP address always connects with the internet with the same IP address.
Any device like a tablet, phone, desktops, laptop, etc. which can use an IP address can be set up to have a static IP address. Static IP addresses are used primarily in gaming, website hosting or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services.
It is costly and insecure and so should be used only when needed.
When would you opt for a static IP address?
Following situations describe the essence of using static IP addresses.
For remote access applications
Other devices always know how to contact a device that uses a static IP address. With remote access applications like Windows Remote Desktop, using static IP address means one can access the computer with the same address.
If the IP address were the one which keeps changing, then one would require to know to what address it changed to. After that, the new address can be therefore used for the remote connection.
When the website responds to queries
Domain name is what customers will enter into a browser. To make sure one’s website replies to the queries for that domain name, it must be associated with one’s static IP address.
It helps when the domain name becomes inaccessible. Computers connecting to a file server at a workplace network can be set up to always connect to the server using the server’s static IP in place of the hostname.
Even if the DNS server does not function properly, the computers will still have access to the file server. They would communicate with it through the IP address directly.
Email/chat servers, database servers, and others
There are circumstances where having a static IP address makes communication smooth and comfortable over the internet. They are email or chat servers, database servers, network equipment and a virtual private network (VPN).
Why would you want to use a static IP address?
Static IP address comes with a bundle of advantages which lead people to opt for its use.
Some of the advantages of using static IP addresses are
It is easier to assign and maintain. It helps network administrators to track internet traffic and grant access to users based on their IP address verification.
Static IP addresses are stable since they are fixed and never change. Applications like authenticated services on web servers and file downloading need a stable connection. A little interruption in connection concerning static IP does not terminate the entire packet transfer.
Convenient remote access
While connecting to a remote device, one need not worry about changes in IP address during the session. Also, one need not fear about losing IP addresses while using an application like remote desktop.
Static IP never resets. Hence there is no request for its renewal. It makes it a preferable choice for proper connectivity.
As it is fixed and dedicated, it is suitable for gaming, VoIP, VPN and other applications.
What are the differences between static and dynamic IP addresses?
There are few differences between static and dynamic IP address. A tabular representation will be more helpful in grasping this concept.
|Sl.No.||Feature||Static IP Address||Dynamic IP Address|
|1.||Type||It is permanently assigned to a device and cannot be changed. It is fixed and dedicated.||It is not permanently associated with a device. Instead, it is used for a particular time and then returned to the address pool for other devices to use it.|
|2.||Cost||It is costly.||It is cheaper than static IP.|
|3.||Tracking Access||A computer with a static IP address is much easier to track down.||Changing IP addresses offer more privacy.|
|4.||Security||The security risk is high due to permanent addresses.||The security risk is lower as the computer is assigned a new address every time it logs in.|
|5.||Configuration||Static IP configuration is manual and complex. It may require external software too.||The user need not worry about the configuration.|
|6.||Application||In gaming, VoIP, VPN, larger companies||Mostly, in a home and business users.|
Static IP and DHCP
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is a protocol used for assigning free IP addresses to computers that are connected to the network.
While it is tiresome for figuring out which IP is not in use when having a static IP address, DHCP is advantageous. It excludes the repeated task of assigning an IP address to each computer on the network.
Even wireless access points use DHCP so that users no longer need to configure their laptops to connect. Though DHCP and dynamic IP addresses are highly beneficial, yet there are applications where static IP address is required.
One example is when one has a local web server installed. DHCP can assign both static and dynamic IP addresses.
Static IP assignment is achieved by pairing the IP address to the unique MAC address of the network card. When a computer requests an IP, the DHCP server identifies this MAC address and assigns the same IP.
What are the disadvantages of Static IP addresses?
We have so far gone through the positives of using static IP addresses. We have also compared its features with the dynamic IP addresses. In spite of all these, there lie some disadvantages concerning static IP addresses.
Since the IP address is never-changing, hence the website is always highly susceptible to security breaches and prone to hacking. Static IP addresses cannot be easily changed. Once hacked, the door to constant attacks is opened.
Preventive measures like Internet security suites and router firewalls must be in place before obtaining static IP addresses.
One of the major drawbacks of static IP is that the configuration is done manually. The process is complicated and requires effort. Often, the external software may be necessary.
Keeping pace with technology
Technology is rapidly advancing and transforming to new levels each day. So, it is quite feasible that a static IP computer running a server can turn obsolete in future. Reconfiguring settings of such a static computer into a newer one is very difficult.
Static IP and Dynamic DNS service
Dynamic DNS service is essential while accessing one’s home network via a remote access program. At the same time, one doesn’t wish to pay for static IP too.
Dynamic DNS services allow linking the dynamic IP address to a never-changing hostname. It is like having own static IP at no extra cost.
No-IP is an example of a dynamic DNS service. After downloading their DNS update client, it redirects the hostname one wishes to be associated with the current IP address.
ChangeIP.com and DNSdynamic are also free dynamic DNS services which can be used for this purpose.
A static IP is thus fixed and permanently assigned to a device on the Internet. It is expensive and has security risks. Still, it plays significant roles in many applications.
It is suitable for web servers, email servers, gaming and other internet servers. Devices with static IP are easy to track down, and in this way, it is easy to locate any user who gets access to copyrighted content. Many users have raised privacy concern because of this.
It remains debatable whether an ISP should provide details of a user, concerning a particular IP, in this context.