20 September 2021 | 7 min read

Static vs Dynamic IP Address: Comprehensive Guide to IP Addresses

What is a static IP address? What is a dynamic IP address? Let us guide you through the world of static vs. dynamic IP addresses and help you understand the main differences between the two.

A router device

Static and dynamic IP addresses are two unique types of Internet Protocol addresses.

IP addresses are the cornerstones of your online experience. Each IP address is a unique number assigned to your device, making it easily recognizable on the TCP/IP network

The main job of IP addresses is simple – they link your network and the internet. In simpler terms, an IP address works like your physical home address, just in the online world. Using it, others can easily find you on the web. 

Our main goal is to define the difference between static vs. dynamic IPs. In this report, we introduce you to the ins and outs, pros and cons, and the cost differences of both. 

As you continue reading this guide, you’ll learn all the essential details about IP addresses, and you will be able to make an informed decision on which type is the right one for you. 

A flowchart showing how dynamic and static IP addresses interact.
Static IP address vs. dynamic IP address

What is a static IP address? 

A static IP address is an IP address that never changes. In other words, when devices get dedicated static IP addresses, those unique numbers stay with them for as long as the devices are operational or until the network architecture changes. 

Static IP addresses are sometimes called dedicated IP addresses or fixed IP addresses.

In most cases, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) assign static IP addresses to servers and other essential equipment that need to keep the same addresses for a long time.

A static IP address can be either IPv4 or IPv6. IPv4, Internet Protocol version 4, is the standard protocol used most frequently today. A typical IPv4 address consists of four groups of numbers between 0 and 255 with full stops in between; for example, 184.118.109.31.

IPv6, Internet Protocol version 6, is the more advanced version of the Internet Protocol; however, it is not used as widely today. IPv6 addresses are longer in form and use hexadecimal characters separated by colons; for example, fd39:061e:4acb:4cfd:0000:4346:1r3z4:1353.

IPv6 was created to replace IPv4 due to the limited number of unique addresses. There are around 4.3 billion IPv4 addresses, which is no longer sustainable in today’s world.  

At the moment, internet service providers use static IPv4 addresses when they need to assign permanent IP addresses.

Pros of static IP addresses

A static IP address comes with several benefits:

  • Better DNS support. It’s easy to create and manage static IP addresses through Domain Name System (DNS) servers. 
  • Ideal for hosting servers. A static IP address makes it easier for clients to reach your website via DNS. Therefore, it is perfect for any kind of server, most notably a web or email server. This is particularly important for businesses that require high uptime or have many remote workers. 
  • Necessary for uninterrupted connections. As long as your company uses a feature or service that requires continuous connection, you should use a static IP address. That’s because whenever an IP address changes, it disconnects the connected user, which is why online games and file-system services always use a static IP address.
  • Convenient for VPN use. If your company uses a Virtual Private Network (VPN), having a static address is more convenient. 
  • More reliable geolocation. Static IPs are ideal if you need them to match physical locations more easily. 
  • Better communication. Static IP addresses are better suited for most forms of voice or video communication technologies, including the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). 

Cons of static IP addresses

Unfortunately, there are a few downsides to using a static IP address:

  • Higher costs. A static IP address is more expensive than a dynamic one, and ISPs charge more for them. 
  • Easier to hack. As a static IP address is fixed, hackers can find it more easily than dynamic addresses. Also, when you keep the same IP address, hackers can potentially locate you in the physical world. This is an important reason for businesses to invest in cybersecurity. 
  • Limited number of addresses. A static IP address assigned to a device stays occupied, even when the device is not in use or offline. 

What is a dynamic IP address? 

A dynamic IP address is, effectively, the opposite of a static IP address because it can change at any moment. 

Since there aren’t enough static addresses for every device, we have no other choice but to use dynamic addresses. For instance, if you own a hotel, it makes more sense to have a single static IP address but use different dynamic IP addresses for every individual room. 

In most cases, dynamic IP addresses are the standard addresses for all consumer equipment.

The ISP assigns every dynamic IP address using Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) servers.  

Pros of dynamic IP addresses

A dynamic IP address always comes with a few advantages:

  • Lower costs. Dynamic addresses always cost less than static IP addresses. 
  • Easy configuration. You don’t need to configure a dynamic IP address or do anything with it, for that matter. The DHCP server always does everything automatically. 
  • Potentially improved security. If you’re using dynamic IP addresses, hackers typically have a harder time targeting your equipment or locating you in the physical world. 
  • Unlimited number of addresses. You can reuse dynamic addresses. Within the same network, whenever a new device appears and requires a new IP address, the local network automatically assigns a fresh, dynamic IP address without you having to tamper with the router settings.  

Cons of dynamic IP addresses

Sometimes, it’s better to use a static IP address, and that’s mostly due to these dynamic IP disadvantages:

  • Not suitable for hosted services. If your business deals with server hosting, a dynamic address can cause problems. Dynamic DNS can be problematic as DNS servers don’t deal well with changing IP addresses. You can use the help of specific Dynamic DNS services, but this is usually expensive. 
  • Occasional downtime. It’s not very common, but in some instances, there can be a delay in new dynamic IP assignments, which may interrupt the internet connection. This is a minor annoyance for regular users but can be devastating for businesses. 
  • Less reliable geolocating. A dynamic IP address doesn’t always reflect the real world address, which is a problem for geolocation services. 
  • Problematic remote access. Many remote access programs don’t work well with dynamic addresses. Instead, they are more suited for static IP addresses. 

How to check if you have a static or dynamic IP address 

Checking your IP address is easy. You can use simple web services like What Is My IP Address or What is My IP, or simply type the question into a search engine, and the result will come up without you having to visit a specific website. 

What is my IP address typed into a search engine's search box.
Learn what your IP address is via a search engine

That said, websites that provide IP-related information can also tell you if your IP address is static or dynamic. 

Bear in mind that if you are using a laptop and have a static IP address, it will change when you go to another location and connect to a different Wi-Fi network. This is because you are no longer connected to your home network, and the address has to change. 

Also, a dynamic IP address doesn’t necessarily change constantly, but there is no need to worry if it doesn’t change for an entire month or more. 

No matter which type of IP address your business uses, you can always change it via the router or have the system administrator do it for you. 

The cost of static vs. dynamic IP addresses

Both dynamic and static IP addresses have different costs, and they largely depend on the internet service providers selling them. The costs also depend on whom ISPs are selling them to. 

However, one thing is certain – a static IP address will always cost more than a dynamic one. 

Scales showing that static IP addresses are more expensive than dynamic IP addresses.
A static IP address is more expensive than a dynamic IP address

That said, even though that’s the case, there’s no need to always opt for dynamic IP addresses. Leasing IPs can be cheaper than buying them, and if you need static IP addresses, you can always lease them from the IPXO Marketplace. 

IPXO is an automated IP address lease and monetization marketplace that aims to alleviate the global IPv4 shortage problem. IPXO enables businesses to rent reputable IP addresses or monetize them for an easy profit. 

You can lease the static IP addresses you need to scale your business with ease at competitive prices. We make static IP addresses more accessible for any business. 

If you have more IP addresses than you need, IPXO makes it easy to monetize IPs by leasing them to reputable companies. When you monetize your IPs, you are in full control and can manage your resources via our easy-to-use platform.

Static vs. dynamic IP address – who are they for? 

Now that you are familiar with the different types of IP addresses and the pros and cons of each, you might already understand that different users require different IP addresses. 

In most cases, a static IP address is more suited for businesses, while a dynamic address is best suited for a regular Internet user. 

Businesses are most likely to benefit from static addresses, especially if they need internal and external devices to keep permanent addresses. 

Using a static IP address is recommended if your business does the following:

  • Hosts websites
  • Uses VPNs
  • Requires everyone to remain connected
  • Manages remote workers
  • Uses a DNS server

Overall, static IPs provide many advantages for business users, who can benefit from using them instead of dynamic IPs. On the flip side, regular users connecting to their home networks and using their private computers can successfully use dynamic addresses.

Conclusion

As you can see, the main difference between dynamic and static IP addresses lies in the very names. Static addresses don’t change, while dynamic addresses do. This brings a whole host of other differences, most of which we have covered in this article. 

In general, businesses are advised to use static addresses, while regular users will typically use dynamic addresses successfully without even realizing it.

Of course, you need to assess your situation and decide which type of IP address is the right fit for you. If you need a static IP address for your businesses, consider leasing them from IPXO.