Static vs. Dynamic IP Addresses: Which is Better?

Learn about the benefits of static IP vs. dynamic IP addresses to understand the situations where you might use one over the other.
Ben Walker, Author
Catherine McNally, Editor
Last updated Jun 24, 2022

Internet-connected devices communicate with each other through internet protocol (IP) addresses. Every device on the internet typically has a unique IP address, which allows the passing of information back and forth.

But did you know that there are two primary types of IP addresses?

Learn about the benefits of static vs. dynamic IP addresses, their differences, and why you might use one over the other depending on the situation. Hint: Dynamic IP addresses are often the more common and safer option for the average internet user.

In this article
What is an IP address?
What is a static IP address?
What is a dynamic IP address?
What are the benefits of a static IP address vs. a dynamic IP address?
Static vs. dynamic IP address FAQs
Bottom line

What is an IP address?

An IP address is a unique string of numbers associated with different devices, including computers and smartphones. We don’t typically have to know or remember the string of numbers that form IP addresses because they’re converted to domain names using a domain name system server (DNS server).

For example, plugging www.amazon.com into a browser will work rather than having to use 205.251.250.0 or another IP address.

What is a static IP address?

A static IP address is an address that doesn’t change. If a device has a static address, it means its unique number should always be the same.

It’s common for a device to receive an IP address from an internet service provider (ISP) when you connect to the internet. But whether a device receives a static or dynamic IP address depends on the situation and your ISP.

Take a look at a few situations where you may or may not want to use a static IP address.

Static IP address pros

You might consider using a static IP address in these scenarios:

  • You’re hosting a website or other internet services.
  • You need remote access to your school or employer network.
  • You want to remotely access your home network.
  • You use voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology to communicate with others.
  • You share devices, such as a printer, within your local network.
  • You need more reliable geo-location services.
  • You have devices that don’t support dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP).

Let’s dive into a few of these scenarios to better understand how static IP addresses work.

1. You’re hosting a website or other internet services

Hosting a server likely means you want visitors to be able to access your server. This could include customers, employees, or other individuals. A static IP address could make it easier for visitors to quickly access your website, email servers, or other services.

2. You need remote access to your school or employer network

You might use a remote access virtual private network (VPN) to gain entry to your school or employer network from home or while traveling. But how does a private network know you are who you say you are?

It’s common for private networks to have protections such as firewalls in place to prevent unwanted visitors from accessing their information. But it’s also possible to whitelist certain IP addresses so employees or students can get the access they need, even from remote locations.

Having a static IP in place simplifies the process so you don’t have to whitelist a new IP address every time you want to connect.

3. You want to remotely access your home network

A static IP address is often easier to locate than a dynamic IP address. This could come in handy if you’re away and need to access your home network.

4. You share devices, such as a printer, within your home network

Giving a printer or other network device a static IP address could make it easier for your household to access the device. No more constantly searching for a device on different laptops or phones to print the paper you need.

Static IP address cons

Here are a few primary reasons you might not want to use a static IP address:

  • You don’t want to pay an extra cost to your ISP or VPN service provider.
  • You want more online security with IP address changes.
  • You don’t want the physical location of your device(s) revealed.

What is a dynamic IP address?

A dynamic IP address is an address that changes, sometimes frequently. Dynamic IP addresses are often more common than their static counterparts and are typically the default type of address assigned to most devices.

Many networks assign devices with dynamic IP addresses because it’s easier. It could also be more secure. Each network typically draws from a pool of IP addresses and assigns devices with an available option if they connect.

Your computer, phone, tablet, refrigerator, Bluetooth speaker, and other devices could all have dynamic addresses assigned by your network router. And adding a new device to the network would automatically give it a dynamic address that’s different from other devices.

Take a look at a few situations where you may or may not want to use a dynamic IP address.

Dynamic IP address pros

You might consider using a dynamic IP address in these scenarios:

  • You connect to any standard Wi-Fi network.
  • You want a cost-effective option (most ISPs charge extra for static IPs).
  • You want better online security.
  • You want better physical security.

Let’s dive into a few of these scenarios to better understand how dynamic IP addresses work.

1. You connect to any standard Wi-Fi network

Dynamic IP addresses make it easy to connect to any Wi-Fi network you have access to. Whether you’re at a friend’s house or visiting family, you know it’s likely to be easy to get on their Wi-Fi.

But why is that? Because other than needing to know the network password, you don’t typically have to do anything. You’ll be assigned a dynamic IP address and that’s it.

If you were to already have a static IP address assigned to your phone and you try to connect to another network, you might run into some issues.

2. You want potentially better online security

Knowing a device’s IP address allows unsavory characters the opportunity to attack your devices or network. This could lead to a potential leak of information and possibly even identity theft.

Your IP address should frequently change if it’s dynamic, potentially reducing the risk of cyberthreats.

3. You want potentially better physical security

An IP address could give information about the physical whereabouts of your device. If the device is your home computer or another personal piece of equipment, your physical address could be at risk of being leaked.

This isn’t to say your IP address automatically reveals your home address, but having this information is potentially one step closer to that result.

Dynamic IP address cons

Here are a few primary reasons you might not want to use a dynamic IP address:

  • You frequently need to use a remote access VPN for work or school.
  • You want to connect to your home network while traveling.
  • You do server hosting and want to be easily located.
  • You want to avoid potential internet connection disruptions.
  • You want to know your IP address at all times.

What are the benefits of a static IP address vs. a dynamic IP address?

The benefits of a static IP address vs. a dynamic IP address depend on the situation. Take a look at these scenarios to see where one option might be better than the other:

1. You don’t use the internet for anything more advanced than everyday activities.

If you don’t want anything to change in your daily routine of using the internet, then using dynamic IP addresses is likely the best option. Most networks already use them and there’s nothing to adjust on your end.

Winner: Dynamic IP address

2. You connect remotely to a private network.

With the popularity of remote work, it could make sense to use a static IP address. This is especially true if you need to access private networks for school, an employer, or your own home. Having a static address could simplify the process of communicating with these networks.

Winner: Static IP address

3. You want to protect yourself as much as possible from cybersecurity threats.

Static IP addresses don’t change. So if someone knows your address, there’s no worry for them about it changing to something else. This is beneficial for hackers who might want to access your personal information, but it’s obviously detrimental for you.

Winner: Dynamic IP address

Which type of IP address should you use?

The type of IP address you should use depends on your situation.

In most cases, a dynamic IP address is likely fine. It’s more common, often the default option, and potentially safer than a static IP address. This is typically what the average internet user uses on a daily basis.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t scenarios where a static IP address could come in handy. You might prefer a static address if you’re an advanced internet user and have specific situations where it might be useful, including hosting a web server.

Keep in mind that using a VPN could help you easily change your IP address. This could be beneficial if you want to hide your true IP address or if you want to set up a dedicated IP address for specific purposes.

Static vs. dynamic IP address FAQs


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Which is better, static or dynamic IP?

The better option between static and dynamic IP addresses depends on the situation. You might prefer a static IP address if you host a server or work remotely with a VPN or other program. You might prefer a dynamic IP address for potentially better online and physical security.


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Is static IP safer than dynamic?

Static IP addresses aren’t typically considered safer than dynamic IP addresses. This is because a static IP address never changes, so an unethical hacker or another bad actor would likely have an easier time tracking you online. And if they find your IP address, they might be able to find your physical location.


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Is static or dynamic IP faster?

Static IP addresses are generally considered to be faster than dynamic IP addresses, though it could depend on the situation. This is typically true for web servers that use static IP addresses and if you’re using VoIP technology. It’s not common, but you might experience interruptions with your internet connection if you use a dynamic IP address.


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When should you use a static IP address?

You might consider using a static IP address in these scenarios:

  • You’re hosting a website or other internet services.
  • You need remote access to your school or employer network.
  • You want to remotely access your home network.
  • You use VoIP technology to communicate with others.
  • You share devices, such as a printer, within your home network.
  • You need more reliable geo-location services.
  • You have devices that don’t support DHCP.

Bottom line

The primary difference between static and dynamic IP addresses is that dynamic IPs change while static IPs don’t. This often means that dynamic IP addresses are more secure than their static counterparts.

But in general, choosing between the two for your everyday internet needs likely won’t matter. Most devices are assigned dynamic IP addresses by default, so you might already be using the safer option.

For increased cybersecurity, learn whether you need a VPN to help encrypt your online traffic and mask your IP address.

Author Details
Ben Walker
Ben Walker is a writer at All About Cookies with a passion for all things internet and technology, whether it's using VPNs while away from home or organizing his life with password managers.