Static Addressing vs. Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol

Static addresses

As the name implies, static addresses are hard-coded addresses that will only work on one specific network segment. Such addresses are intended for computers that are stationary and believed to be in continuous operation at one location, such as a desktop or workstation.

Reasons for wanting a static address:

  • Your computer does not support DHCP.
  • You want a fixed name and address because you run a web server.

Please refer to the IP Addresses and Domain Names section of this website for more information on how to obtain an IP address.

Dynamic addresses

In contrast, dynamic addresses, which are provided through a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) service, work best with portable computers, such as laptops, that move between network segments all across campus.

Please note that the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) will work just fine for assigning an address to a desktop machine, so if you're uncomfortable configuring the machine's default router, subnet mask, DNS servers and IP address yourself, DHCP will do all that for you.

Reasons for wanting a dynamic (DHCP) address:

  • You use a laptop.
  • Using DHCP makes it much easier to configure your machine.
  • DHCP can account for network addressing changes automatically.