What’s an IP Address, Difference Between Static & Dynamic IP Address?


If you are a regular internet user, I am sure you must have landed on pages showing a warning that they are monitoring your IP address, and thus you need to be a bit more careful with what you do etc etc.

No, it’s not FBI or CIA that’s after you (well, not always I’ll add), it’s just that some secured sites like banking and corporate firms always monitor the user’s device IP address.

For example, The current  IP address of the device from which you are browsing this article is:

(courtesy: what is my ip)

Lets have a brief look at what is an IP address and what are its 2 main types.

What is an IP Address?

An Internet Protocol address (IP address) in layman’s terms is basically the address given to your computer when it’s connected to a network. Technically speaking, an IP address is a 32-bit number that signifies the address of both the sender and receiver of packets on a network.

Let’s take an example: suppose you want to send an email to your friend. Though your email may be broken down into millions of data packets before it’s transmitted, right now for simplicity’s sake consider it a single information packet. The IP addresses are embedded on each packet that is transmitted over the network and are used to identify the machine.

Network 2

If you want to picture this stuff in your everyday life, you can see the email as the inland letters (Yes, the hand written letters we used once upon a time), the data packets as envelopes, the IP address as the receiver and sender address on the envelope and the network as the postman.

You must be thinking that I have not used the word Internet but network while talking about IP address. It’s because, it’s not only when you are connected over the internet that you have an IP address assigned to your system. Even when you are connected to a local network via LAN or Wi-Fi your computer is assigned an IP address. The IP address are subdivided into different classes for the same purpose.

ClassAddress RangeSupports
Class A1.0.0.1 to networks with many devices
Class B128.1.0.1 to networks.
Class C192.0.1.1 to networks (fewer than 256 devices)
Class D224.0.0.0 to for multicast groups.
Class E240.0.0.0 to for future use, or Research and Development Purposes.

Note: It’s totally possible for your computer to have two IP addresses at the same time. One may be for the Internet and another one for the local area network.

These IP addresses are further divided into two main types: Static and Dynamic IP address. Let’s have a good look at both for better understanding.

Static IP Address

As the name speaks, the static IP addresses are those types of IP address that never change once they are assigned to a device on a network. No doubt this type of addressing is cost effective but could have a high security risk. Static IP addresses are mostly used by web, email and gaming servers who don’t care much about hiding their locations.

Dynamic IP Address

On the other hand, a Dynamic IP address changes each time the device logs in to a network. This kind of IP address is very tough to trace and are thus used by companies and business firms.

You must be thinking as to who or what allocates this Dynamic IP address every time the device logs in. Well, these IP address are assigned using DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol). Talking about DHCP in detail is beyond the scope of this article and we will take it up in a future post.

Which is better, Static or Dynamic?

You are probably wondering which type of IP addressing is better, Static or Dynamic? Static IP addresses, as I already mentioned above, are used in places where security is not a big concern like web servers, FTP and dedicate VOIP services. Dynamic IP addressing, on the other hand are used when you browse through the Internet, receive mails, download files, etc.

That was a basic overview of an IP address, and the difference between static and dynamic IP addresses. Of course, there is much more to these concepts than what we have talked above but for a beginner’s guide, this article should work.

Still have a doubt? You can always clear them via the comments section.

Last updated on 02 February, 2022

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