An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label assigned to each device (e.g., computer, printer) participating in a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a unique number assigned to every device on a network. Just as a street address determines where a letter should be delivered, an IP address identifies computers on the Internet. Network devices use IP addresses to communicate with each other.
The Internet uses DNS (Domain Name System) to enable people to use words instead of numbers for Internet addresses. You can think of DNS as an Internet address book, mapping domain names to IP addresses. When you type a URL into your browser, your browser looks up that domain name in DNS. For example, if you type into your browser, your browser would ask DNS for the IP address. DNS would return the IP address assigned to Google’s domain. Your browser then connects to that IP address. [Ref. 1]
What is the difference between a dynamic and static IP address?
When a device is assigned a static IP address, the address does not change. Most devices use dynamic IP addresses, which are assigned by the network when they connect and change over time. [Ref. 1]
Static IP address Advantages [Ref. 2]
- Address does not change – good for web servers, email servers and other Internet servers.
- Use DNS to map domain name to IP address, and use domain name to address the static IP address. Similar can be achieved with Dynamic DNS for dynamic IP address, but it’s not as clean as the static IP address.
Static IP address Disadvantages [Ref. 2]
- Expensive than dynamic IP address – ISPs generally charge additional fee for static IP addresses.
- Need additional security – Since same IP is assigned to a machine, hackers try brute force attack on the machine over period of time.
Dynamic IP address Advantages [Ref. 2]
- Cheaper than static IP address.
- Changing IP address gives more privacy.
Dynamic IP address Disadvantages [Ref. 2]
- Requires DHCP server to obtain an IP address.
- Non-static. Each time IP address changes, you may have to find you IP address again.