When you want the IP address on a device to always stay the same, even when the device is rebooted, you will need to either make a DHCP reservation or set a static IP address in the device.
Every device on your network has a unique IP address, and it is important that every device's IP address remains unique. In order to manage the IP addresses on your network, your router comes with a service called DHCP. DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, and as you'll soon see, dynamic is the important word.
IP Address Management
DHCP is the process that your router uses to assign IP addresses to devices on your network. Dynamic IP addresses are normally assigned to each device when that device connects to your network. This includes both when you first connect a device to your network and every time you reboot the device. This is why dynamic IP addresses can change from time to time.
Static IP addresses
In contrast, a static IP address is assigned inside the device itself. This means that the device's IP address never changes, but it also means that you have to manage all the IP addresses on your network yourself. For some devices such as PCs, this is easy, but for other devices like game consoles and security cameras, it can become a management nightmare.
A much better option than attempting to manage static IP addresses all over your network is, instead, to consolidate that management inside your router. Many routers these days offer a service called DHCP reservation. DHCP reservations are a way of getting the best of both worlds; devices on your network can have the same IP address every time they turn on, and you get to manage those IP addresses from a single point.
Free Guides on How to Set a Static IP Address
While a DHCP reservation is almost always a better choice, there are still a few times when you may want to set up a static IP address instead.
The first and most obvious reason is when your router does not support DHCP reservations. Most modern retail routers do support DHCP reservations, but many inexpensive and ISP-provided routers do not. If your router does not support DHCP reservations, then you have no choice but to use static IP addresses.
The other reason to use static IP addresses instead of DHCP reservations is when you have a device that is on an unstable network. When a device boots up and attempts to connect to a DHCP server, it must wait for the DHCP reply before it can talk on the network. Some devices wait a long time. If your network is unstable or your device is on the edge of Wi-Fi coverage, you might notice exceedingly long boot times while the device waits for a DHCP packet. This problem is avoided by setting a static IP address on the device.
You can follow the guides below which will walk you through the steps to set a static IP address, or you can use our Free Software to do it for you.
How to Configure a Static IP Address on a Computer
If you are going to set up a port forward to your computer you want a static IP address on your computer so that it gets the same IP address every time it reboots. Otherwise, the port forward will no longer be pointing to your computer. Set a static IP address on your computer using these guides:
How to Configure a Static IP Address on Game Consoles
Every time your game console turns on it asks your router for an IP address. Many routers will hand a different IP address to your console every time. If you have created a port forward pointing at your console and your console's IP address changes, then that port forward is not going to work. If your console has a static IP address, then every time you turn it on it has the same IP address, and your port forwards always work.
Our free step-by-step guides take you through the process of setting up a static IP in your game console.
For more help with port forwarding visit our Network Help Center.