What is a static IP address?
Every device connected to the internet or a network has an IP address assigned by your internet service provider. Think of it as your computers address but where as your home address is words and numbers like 6 some street a computers address is a collection of numbers. When connected to the internet this will look something like 126.96.36.199.
A static IP address does not change and is always the same. This has big advantages when you need to be able to access network drives or web servers or other reasons you need to know the IP address of the computer but it does have security risks because the address never changes.
You can find your IP address by going to www.whatsmyip.com
Most of us nowadays have more than one computer connected to the internet via a router. What happens is the router gives out local addresses to devices on its network and then forwards data to the computer requesting the data. These addresses tend to be in the form of 192.x.x.x but not always. For example my computers local address is 192.168.1.100.
To see how we connect to the internet take a look at our “how we connect to the internet” graphic HERE
Benefits of a static IP address
- The main benefit of a static IP address is the fact that your address is always the same. This means that if you have things like NAS drives or computers you want to access from another location you can easily do this by setting up port forwarding
- A static IP is very useful if you run a website from a home or office
- Gaming – If you host gaming servers again a static IP is a must to enable people to find you easily and avoid IP renews
- Remote Desktop – If you use your home computer to access your work computer for example a static IP means you will always be able to access it via the same address.
- Setting Local static addresses means the device will always have the same local address so you can easily access it.
Disadvantages of a static IP address
- It can be a security risk as your IP address remains the same at all times
- Locally it can cause a problem if you move your device to another network as it may not work correctly. For example you may have a clash of IP addresses or the gateway may not be the same.
Setting a static IP address (ISP/External)
If you want your external (internet) IP address to be static this is something that has to be done via your internet service provider. There is sometimes a charge by your service provider for this service.
Setting a Local IP address
To set a local IP address you need to change the settings in your network adapter.
Firstly go to control panel
In control panel select large icons in the top right to make the options easier to find. Then select Network and sharing centre and left click.
Before we can change to a static IP address we need to know the router IP address so that we can set it as the gateway To do this select Local area connection (Highlighted blue in the below image) If you are connecting wirelessly then this may say wireless connection. Left click on it.
You will then get a screen that shows you the details of the connection such as time connected, speed and a variety of options. We want to select details (Highlighted Red)
The details screen will provide you with a lot of information regarding how the connection connects to the router. For security reasons we have removed some of the data from the screenshot below but left on the info we need to proceed.The top number we have pointed to is the current IP address assigned to this computer the second number we have highlighted is the number we need as this is the routers IP address. Write this number down and then close the window and the window behind so you are back at the network and sharing centre screen.
We are now going to change the adapter setting by going to the change adapter settings on the network and sharing screen (highlighted red)
On the next screen you will possibly get a number of different connections. Select the connection that connects to your router that you want to create a static IP address for which is most likely local area connection or wireless connection if you are connecting wirelessly. Right click on the connector and select properties.
You will then get a screen that allows you to change the way your adapter works. We are only interested in the “Internet Protocol version 4(TCP/IPv4)” that is highlighted. Select and then press on the properties button.
The next screen is where we set out static IP address. I have added comments to the screenshot to explain what each section is.
Ensure your blue dot is in “Use the following IP address” so that it enables the options.
IP Address – This is the static IP address that you want the computer to have. We have set ours to 192.168.1.200.
Subnet mask – This is difficult to explain but it is a subdivision of an IP network. When referring to home networks or small business networks this is usually but not always set to 255.255.255.0. If you would like a better explanation of a subnet mask check out http://www.tech-faq.com/subnet-mask.html
Default Gateway – This is the access point to another network and in our case our router. This is where we want to put the IP address of our router that we wrote down earlier.
Preferred DNS server – A DNS server translates an IP address into a domain name. Our router performs this function so in here we put our router address.
Finally press OK.
If you go back a few steps to where we got the router IP address by pressing details and now do that again you should find that your IP address has now changed to the static IP address you chose.
If you no longer require a static IP address of are having issues connecting to other networks you can simply return to the properties and select the “Obtain IP address automatically” and “Obtain DNS server address automatically” options to have them automatically assigned again and remove the static IP address.