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Static vs. Dynamic IP Addresses

Is one more secure than the other?

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By
&
Aliza Vigderman
Gabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated Jan 1, 2024
By Aliza Vigderman & Gabe Turner on Jan 1, 2024

In researching Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, you may have come across words like “static” and “dynamic,” but what do these terms mean, and which type is better? On this page, we’re breaking down the differences, similarities, pros, and cons of static and dynamic IP addresses. You’ll find out which one is best for you and, most importantly, how to get it when you’re connected to the internet on your home network and beyond.

Static vs. Dynamic IP Addresses

First, let’s define our terms.

What Is a Static IP Address?

A static IP address is an IP address that doesn’t change. Typically, users enter static IP addresses manually; the other option is the internet service provider (ISP) assigning it.

Pros
  • They have better DNS support.
  • They work well with VPNs.
  • They’re better for anything requiring VoIP protocol, like video chat.
  • They’re more reliable for geolocation services, like changing your location on Tinder.
Cons
  • They’re more hackable than dynamic IP addresses.
  • They cost more than dynamic IP addresses.
  • They make users easier to locate.

What Is a Dynamic IP Address?

A dynamic IP address is an IP address that changes, meaning it’s active for a certain duration and then expires. Unlike static addresses, dynamic IP addresses are assigned by a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server.

Pros
  • They make it harder for anyone to follow you around online.
  • There’s no need to enter an IP address manually.
  • They’re more affordable than static IP addresses.
Cons
  • Websites won’t necessarily be able to fill in your information automatically.
  • They don’t work well with DNS web servers.
  • Geolocation data may not be accurate.

Similarities

Both static and dynamic IP addresses show your location, but just your region and ZIP code. If you’re wondering what someone can do with your IP address, know that without your personally identifiable information, they can’t do much.

Differences

While static IP addresses remain the same, dynamic addresses change. Additionally, static addresses are created manually, while dynamic addresses are typically assigned by a DHCP.

You’ll commonly find the terms static and dynamic IP addresses in VPNs. The main difference between a static VPN and dynamic VPN is that with a static VPN, you’ll get the same IP address when you connect to a particular server. With a dynamic VPN, the IP addresses assigned to you by the server will change every time you start a new session.

When They’re Needed

Static IP addresses are not usually necessary, except with websites that need to remember your IP address.1 In most cases, dynamic IP addresses make more sense.

» Further Info: Read How To Get a US IP Address

Which Is Best for You

While static IP addresses are better for businesses with their own websites and internet services, dynamic addresses are better for consumers using the internet for personal reasons.2

How to Get Static vs. Dynamic IP Addresses

To get a static IP address, you’ll need to enter it manually in your device’s settings. With dynamic IP addresses, you don’t need to take any action, as they’re assigned automatically. Most VPNs, for example, will change your IP address every time you connect to a server.


Your private information

My IP Address

IP:
193.186.4.207

Status:
Unprotected

My IP Information

Internet provider:
Google LLC

City:
Dublin

Region/ State:
County Dublin

Browser name:
Chrome

Browser version:
122.0

Device brand:

Device type:
desktop

Latitude:
53.34044

Longitude:
-6.23615

Postal code:
D04 K858

All About IP Addresses

Now, let’s take a step back and talk about IP addresses in general, from what they are to how to find and change them.

Public vs Private IP Addresses
Public vs Private IP Addresses

What Is an IP Address?

An IP address is an Internet Protocol address, or a device’s identifying number. IP addresses are associated with a network or the devices on a network, letting devices communicate in and out of the network. Since IP addresses reveal the device’s region and ZIP code, hackers can use them to track users’ physical locations.

» Learn more: How Can You Get a UK IP Address?

How Can I See Which Type of IP Address I Have?

How to see which type of IP address you have depends on your operating system. Once you find your IP address, restart your computer and look again to see if it changed or not. If it’s the same, it’s static. If it changed, it’s dynamic.

However, the first step is to find your original IP address.

TIP: To find your IP address without using your settings, use our IP address lookup tool.

To find your IP address on a Mac:

  1. Open the System Settings…
  2. Select Network.
  3. Select your Wi-Fi network.
  4. Click Details…
  5. Your internal IP address should then be listed.
IP address location on a Mac
IP address location on a Mac

To find your IP address on Windows 11:

  1. Click on the Taskbar.
  2. Click Wi-Fi Network.
  3. Click Select Network.
  4. Select Properties.
  5. Look under IPv4 Address for your IP Address.
IP address location on Windows 11
IP address location on Windows 11

Android

To find your IP address on an Android:

  1. Click “Settings.”
  2. Click “About.”
  3. Select “Status.”
  4. Select “IP Address.”
IP Address on Android
IP Address on Android

Finally, to see your iPhone’s IP address:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click Wi-Fi.
  3. Under the lowercase i, click Network.
  4. You’ll find your IP address under IPv4 Address.
Locating the IP address on an iPhone
Locating the IP address on an iPhone

How Do I Change and Protect My IP Address?

There are a few ways to change your IP address. Our favorite way is to use a VPN, but we’ll detail some other methods as well.

In case you don’t already know, VPNs are virtual private networks that not only change your IP address but also encrypt your web traffic. They will replace your current IP address with another one that’s either dynamic or static, depending on the VPN. To set up a VPN:

  1. Download a VPN app or browser extension to your device.
  2. Log in.
  3. Connect to a server.

Another way to hide your IP address is to use Tor as your web browser. It will encrypt your IP address three times along with your web activity. You can download the Tor app from the Tor Project website.

Logging onto our Proton Mail account using the TorWeb App
Logging onto our Proton Mail account using the TorWeb App

The last option is proxy servers, which hide only your IP address. We recommend VPNs over proxy servers, as proxies only encrypt your IP address, not your web activity. Still, here’s how to get a proxy server across your devices.

On a Mac:

  1. Open Safari.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Advanced.
  4. Under the Proxies section, click Change Settings.
  5. Update your settings with the necessary information that was provided to you.
Proxy Settings on Mac
Proxy Settings on Mac

On a PC:

  1. Open your Settings.
  2. Click Network & internet.
  3. Click Proxy.
  4. Click Set up under the automatic or manual section.
  5. Enter your proxy information.
  6. Click Save.
Proxy settings on Windows
Proxy settings on Windows

On an iPhone or iPad:

  1. Open your Settings.
  2. Click Wi-Fi.
  3. Select the lowercase i, in the WiFi section.
  4. Scroll to HTTP Proxy section.
  5. Click Manual.
  6. Change the setting from Off to Manual.
  7. Enter in the Server and Port information needed.
Proxy Settings on iOS
Proxy Settings on iOS

On an Android:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Connections.
  3. Tap Wi-Fi.
  4. Tap Settings next to the network name.
  5. Tap View More.
  6. Tap Proxy, then select Manual.
  7. Enter your proxy port and hostname.
  8. Click Save.
    Proxy Settings on Android
    Proxy Settings on Android

IPv4 vs. IPv6 Addresses

Aside from static vs. dynamic, you may have heard about IPv4 vs. IPv6 addresses. Both are Internet Protocol versions, but most internet providers use IPv4, an address based on 32 binary bits. Unfortunately, IPv4 addresses will run out eventually, and when that time comes, coders will change to IPv6, which isn’t backward compatible with IPv4. Unlike IPv4, IPv6 addresses won’t run out.

» Do You Know: How to find your printers IP address?

Recap

That’s all we have about static and dynamic IP addresses, but to learn more about IP addresses and VPNs in general, visit our VPN how-to hub.

FAQs

We’re not done just yet. Read on for our answers to the most common questions about static and dynamic IP addresses.

  • Is it better to have a static or dynamic IP?

    A static IP address is better for businesses, DNS servers, and VoIP protocols, while dynamic IP addresses are better for consumers and anyone who doesn’t want to pay for an IP address.

  • Is a static IP address more secure?

    No, dynamic IP addresses are more secure than static IP addresses because it’s harder to track someone online if their IP address keeps changing.

  • What is a dynamic IP address?

    A dynamic IP address is one that changes periodically. It is assigned by a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol server and expires after a certain period.

  • Do I need a static IP address?

    If you are a business and need better DNS support or compatibility with VoIP, then you need a static IP address. However, if you are using the internet for personal reasons, you don’t need a static IP address, and dynamic will be better.

Citations
  1. Google Fiber Help. (2021). Static vs. dynamic IP addresses.
    support.google.com/fiber/answer/3547208?hl=en

  2. Avast Academy. (2021). Static vs. Dynamic IP Addresses.
    avast.com/c-static-vs-dynamic-ip-addresses#topic-2