Frequently when I am advising customers on various matters ranging from servers to CCTV systems there’s a problem; remote access. Remote access covers things like running an email server or web server to using Remote Desktop to access your home computer. These and many other things which we all do on a regular basis. For instance, right now you are viewing this webpage. The server which you received this page from has a static IP address. (For more information on IP addresses please see this article). Just like the address to your house the servers IP stays the same. If it doesn’t and someone tries to access this webpage then it won’t work, you will try to access one IP when the server with this page is using another. Imagine if your home address changed every week..
Dynamic IP Address
The term “Dynamic” has the same meaning here as anywhere else – it changes. This simply means your IP address will change. Your house, for example, has an IP address, this IP address will change every few days or weeks (it varies on your Internet Service Provider or ISP for short). This IP is assigned to you by your ISP and it’s perfectly suitable for the vast majority of users. Unfortunately, the vast majority isn’t everyone, there are many cases (servers for instance) where a dynamic IP address isn’t suitable.
Static IP Addresses
Just like a Dynamic IP Address, a Static IP Address is as it sounds – it’s static; it never changes. Static IP’s are very useful; in fact they are a necessity for many cases with servers being the main one. The “default” is for IP addresses to be dynamic but when a static address is needed configuration is required. If you are looking for a static IP for your broadband connection then all you need to do is contact your ISP. It’s worth knowing you can get static IP’s from some providers via their website or over the phone. Almost always there will be a small charge for the configuration of a static IP and occasionally there is a monthly charge for keeping one. However, the benefits of one if you have a use for it far outweigh the cost.
There are methods which can have the same effect as a static IP such as what’s called DDNS or DynDNS. This abbreviated term means “Dynamic Domain Name System” but unfortunately requires extra configuration and isn’t as reliable or practical as a Static IP.