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What is a static IP and why do you need it?

A static IP is a useful solution for remote access systems and can help to protect your security. In this article, we’ll explain how a static IP address differs from a dynamic IP address and explore some potential use cases for static IPs.

What is a static IP and why do you need it?

What is a static IP address?

A static IP address is an IP address that doesn’t change over time. IP (internet protocol) addresses are numerical signifiers that allow data packets to be sent and received from networks and devices.

Most IP addresses are dynamic, which means that they change occasionally. A static IP, on the other hand, is always the same sequence of numbers.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of IP addresses: public and private. A public IP address allows data from the internet to find its way to you. Meanwhile, your device has a private IP address to connect to your local network. Static and dynamic IP addresses both fall into these categories and can be either public or private.

Why would you use a static IP address?

Static IP addresses can serve a number of useful functions.

  • Remote access solutions. The most common use case for a static IP address involves remote access systems, like VPNs. A company can make access to its resources and databases dependent upon the user having a specific IP address. Users can then use a VPN application on their device to connect to a company server with a static IP address (the address needed for privileged access), and this will allow them to connect to and use company files and networks.
  • Server hosting. If you’re setting up and hosting a server, using a static IP address can make it easier for devices to find and quickly connect to it.
  • Faster data transfer from your internet gateway. If you set a device to use a static private IP address, data can be sent from your internet gateway (usually a router or modem) to that device a little faster. The boost to your speed will be minimal, however.

Static vs. dynamic IP addresses

The only difference between a static and a dynamic IP address is how often they change. A static IP address stays the same, while a dynamic IP address changes at semi-regular intervals.

In the early days of the internet, when dial-up connections were still widely used, dynamic IP addresses changed every time you connected to the internet. Today, most people keep their internet gateway on almost all the time — you don’t switch off your router when you’re not online, after all. As a result, a dynamic IP address won’t change as often now. If you don’t reboot your router, you may only get a new IP address once or twice a year.

A static IP address, whether public or private, doesn’t change. The device associated with it is configured to always connect to the internet using the same IP address. You can usually change it manually, however. For example, if you’re having problems with an IP address conflict on Windows, you may wish to change your static IP or switch to a dynamic address.

How to get a static IP address

You can get a static IP address through the settings interface on most devices. It’s a relatively simple process that involves switching your current IP address settings from dynamic to static and, in some systems, inputting your preferred IP address. However, keep in mind that these instructions will only help you make your private IP address static.

You can change your dynamic IP address to a static one on Windows by accessing your network settings, opening its properties, and entering static IP details in the IPv4 settings. If you’re using MacOS, visit “System preferences,” open your network’s interface, and enter the static IP address details into the IPv4 configuration menu. You can also configure your router to have a static IP address. In most cases, you do this by logging into your router’s admin panel and making some small changes to its default settings.

For more detailed instructions, read our article on how to set up a static IP address on various devices.

If you want to switch your public IP address to a static one, you should contact your internet service provider (ISP) and ask them to issue you a static IP. Bear in mind that depending on your ISP and your contract with them, you might need to pay an additional fee for this service. You can also get a static IP address through NordVPN, which offers static dedicated IP addresses in a variety of locations, including the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, and Germany.

Watch our video on how to set up a static IP MacOS, Windows, Android, and iOS.

Advantages of static IP addresses

The main advantage of using static IP addresses relates to remote access solutions, as we discussed above. Being able to create an allowlist of permissioned IP addresses, which are then set as the static IP addresses on company gateways or VPN servers, is a good way to enhance company security.

However, it is worth remembering that having a dedicated IP address has few advantages for individual internet users. Most of the time, using dynamic IP addresses on your device or your router will work fine for your daily needs.

Disadvantages of a static IP address

There are no major disadvantages to having a static IP address. Having a static IP could, in theory, make it easier for hackers to target you, assuming they are able to find out what your IP address is. However, the dynamic IP on your router already changes so infrequently that the risk factor is not massively increased by using a static IP address.

The main disadvantage of a static IP is simply that it offers so few advantages to most everyday internet users. Unless you’re running a server, for example, you can probably stick with a dynamic IP address for now.

How to protect your IP address, whether it’s static or dynamic

You can protect your IP address online with a VPN, regardless of whether it’s static or dynamic. VPNs hide your IP address from the websites and servers you interact with online, allowing you to operate under the address of a VPN server.

What can someone do with your IP address? Quite a lot, actually! It can be used to target you with annoying ads, to ruin your internet experience with DDoS attacks, and even to find out your location information.

To protect your IP address, get a premium service like NordVPN. With one NordVPN account, you can protect up to six devices, including your router. As soon as you connect to the VPN, your data is routed through a VPN server. This means that any website you visit will only be able to see the IP address of the server, and not that of your own network. Your online activity will be much more private; even your internet service provider won’t be able to monitor your browsing habits.

NordVPN also offers more security and privacy with its additional Threat Protection Pro feature. This powerful feature limits the risks of malware, stops intrusive online trackers, and blocks annoying adverts.

Online security starts with a click.

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