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How to Obtain and Set Up a Static IP Address

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Imagine calling your favorite carry out restaurant to place an order, only to find that they changed their phone number without warning…again. This is similar to an IP address that changes frequently when you log on to your computer, also known as a dynamic IP address.

There are many reasons to make the switch to a static IP address, including improved geo-tracking, hosting, and connecting remotely from anywhere. Here is how to obtain and set up a static IP address, and why it makes more sense than sticking with a dynamic one.

What is an IP Address?

An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a unique set of numbers assigned to each device that accesses the Internet. This number follows a specific format: four sets of numbers separated by a “dot.”  The IP address contains geolocations and other identifiers that enable devices to send and receive information to each other.

There are two types of IP addresses, dynamic and static.

Dynamic IP address

Internet Services Providers typically issue a dynamic IP address when you’re setting up devices because it saves money for the provider and for you. It’s reliable and automatic, and it won’t cost any additional money to use the provided IP address.

As the name implies, a dynamic IP address changes intermittently, meaning you may have a different IP address every time you log on. There are a few reasons you may need to know your address, including troubleshooting your device or connecting remotely. There are services to help you find your unique address, no matter how many times it changes.

Dynamic IP addresses are usually sufficient for casual browsers and home use, but if you’re a business owner, a user who needs to have a geolocation in another country, a gamer, or someone who wants to add an extra layer of security to your network, you should consider upgrading to a static IP address.

Static IP address

A static IP address is fixed, meaning it never changes. These are preferred for computers set up as servers, for devices sharing a printer, or to connect to the server from anywhere. Static IP addresses provide more reliable geolocations and increase network security. They also equip users with more capabilities and additional control over network connections, including increased reliability and consistent availability.

Businesses can use a static address for strategic purposes such as hosting and creating servers, using VPNs, and assigning dedicated services including email. Static IP addresses can be chosen in any geolocation, regardless of your physical location, which makes them a flexible option for international operations.

Demystifying IP addresses and DNS

An IP address and DNS are both systems for identifying users in a network. The IP address acts as a physical address for a device, while DNS names them for easier searches.

The DNS (Domain Name Server) stores all IP addresses and their corresponding domain names, such as https://whatismyip.network, into one database. When you type the domain name, the DNS translates your request into an IP address search. Once the IP address is found,the website is loaded. Think of DNS as a phone book storing all phone numbers and corresponding names in one place. Since it would be impossible to remember every IP address for sites you visit, DNS tracks the related IP address for you. 

Why setup a Static IP address

While dynamic IP addresses are fine for casual browsers, there are times when setting up a static IP address makes more sense.

Simpler for administrators

For administrators, static IP addresses are simpler to maintain. Dynamic IP addresses require programs that change or assign the addresses and users may need to change computer settings. Static addresses make it easier to assign access and permissions and track Internet traffic.

Hosting servers

Remote access to closed networks works better with a single, dedicated IP address. These fixed addresses allow different computers and operating systems to search for a single IP address. This consistency also allows computers to find the server, no matter where it is physically located.

Easily connect with your computer

In today’s remote world, it’s important to be able to find files and other information stored on your computer, even when you’re not near it. A static IP address allows users to connect with their computers from anywhere by using VPNs. If a device is connected, all information stored in it is accessible.

Setting up your own email server

There are many reasons you may want to set up your own email server, from privacy issues to filtering unwanted communications, so you can be in control of your own messaging.

VoIP reliability

A static IP address increases the reliability of your VoIP calls as well as apps such as Skype, Zoom, Google Meets, and Facetime.

Increased speeds

Transferring files, uploading documents, and downloading content through a static IP address is faster than devices assigned dynamic ones.

Enhanced security

Dynamic IP addresses are more secure because they are constantly changing, there are additional security layers with static IP addresses that help to ensure that any potential security problem is prevented. 

Better tracking

Static IP addresses provide more accurate geolocation data. This is beneficial whether you’re mining geographical data from visitors to your site, as well as ensuring your business’ location is accurate in local listings.

Sharing devices and resources

If your family or office shares devices, such as printers, giving those devices static IP addresses makes them easier to discover and connect to your users’ personal devices.

How to set up a static IP address

You will need to contact your Internet Services Provider (ISP) for a static IP address. Once you receive this, setup is straightforward. 

For Windows

  • Open the settings app on your computer
  • Choose Network and Internet option from the list on the left
  • Select the connection you are using
  • Find the IP assignment manage known networks > properties > IP settings
  • Select edit under IP assignments
  • Select Manual from the options
  • Select IPv4 and toggle to on

It’s a simple process to switch to a static address, and for businesses and individuals with more complicated internet needs, it’s a great decision.

  • Enter the static IP address
  • Enter 24 in the Subnet prefix length field
  • Find your gateway and DNS by typing ipconfig/all into the command window
  • Add the gateway information in the field
  • Add the preferred DNS address and, if available, the alternate DNS address
  • Remember to click save when you’re finished

For MAC

  • Click the Logo and find About Mac > System Preferences > Network
  • Choose your network
  • Click Advanced
  • Choose the TCP / IP option from the top menu
  • Click Configure IPv4 and choose Manually
  • Find gateway and DNS information in System Preferences > Network  and choosing Advanced > TCP/IP tab for WiFi
  • Enter the new IP address  in the IPv4 Address field
  • Don’t forget to click apply when you’re finished

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