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2 Sep
2019

How to Set a Static IP Address for Your Mac

By: Hannah Fillmore-Patrick

Ip address Every time you go online, your network assigns a string of numbers called an Internet Protocol (IP) address to your Mac. Like the return address on a letter, your browser stamps this string of numbers on every request you send over the internet. It tells your browser where an online data packet (an image, a video, etc.) is coming from and where it should go.

The Difference Between Dynamic and Static IP Addresses

To reduce the number of necessary IP addresses, internet service providers typically pool addresses for their users to share. When you connect to the internet, your network draws an address from this pool for your device. When you disconnect, your network returns the address to the pool. As a result, the IP address of your Mac is constantly changing.

  • A dynamic IP address changes with every internet session. The Domain Name System (DNS) entry constantly changes for networks with dynamic addresses.

Networks that want to be found by other networks have static IP addresses. For example, when you type “google.com” in the address bar at the top of your browser, your browser uses the DNS directory to match that URL with the permanent IP address for Google Search. It’s easy to find a network that has a permanent domain name and a static IP.

  • A static IP address always stays the same. The DNS entry doesn’t change for networks like “google.com” with static addresses.

Use Cases for Static IP Addresses

Because sharing IP addresses among users is efficient for ISPs, most networks have a dynamic IP address, not a static one. These dynamic IP addresses work just fine for everyday internet browsing. A static IP address, though, is necessary in a handful of cases:

  • A static IP lets you use a secure virtual private network (VPN). Whether you’re attempting to connect on site (i.e. where the network is) or remotely, you can verify your identity with a static IP address before you gain access to a secure VPN.
  • A static IP lets you use a secure email account. To gain access to this secure account, you might need to authenticate your identity with a static IP address.
  • Network Address Translation (NAT) is a default router option that hides your secure, private IP address behind an unrelated, public IP address. While NAT makes your network more secure, it limits your ability to play online games. A static IP lets you open your NAT type so that you can play with friends, join lobbies, and host games.

A static IP address ensures that the networking changes you make–to allow VPN access, secure email access, or online gaming–are permanent, even when you restart your computer.

Set a Static IP Address for Your Mac

It’s relatively easy to set a static address for your Mac running Mac OS. To set a static address, you first need to know your current IP address and your DHCP range, which will help you choose a static IP address for your Mac that’s compatible with your router.

To find your current IP address:

  1. Open “System Preferences” and select “Network.”
  2. Choose your internet connection from the sidebar. If you’re connected to a wireless network, select Wi-Fi. If you’re connect to Ethernet, select Ethernet.
  3. Note your current IP address.

To determine your router’s DHCP range:

  1. Navigate to your router’s setup page by entering your router’s default IP address into your browser’s address bar. Most routers have the default LAN IP address 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1. See a full list of default IP addresses here.
  2. Login to access the setup page. The default password is usually “admin,” but here’s a full list of default router passwords.
  3. Look for “DHCP Scope” in the settings. Each router manufacturer arranges its setup page a little differently. If you can’t find “DHCP Scope,” you may want to contact you router manufacturer for assistance.

Once you know your current IP address and the DHCP range of your router, you can select a static IP address for your Mac. To do so:

  1. Start with your current IP address.
  2. The first three numbers in your IP address stay the same. For example, if your IP address is 192.168.1.143, keep 192.168.1.
  3. The last number changes to any number that’s less than 254 and is outside the DHCP range of your current IP address. For example, if your current address is 192.168.1.143 and your DHCP range is 50-150, you might choose the static address 192.168.1.3.

To Set a Static IP Address for Your Mac:

  1. Open “System Preferences” and select “Network.”
  2. Choose your internet connection from the sidebar. If you’re connected to a wireless network, select Wi-Fi. If you’re connect to Ethernet, select Ethernet.
  3. Click “Advanced.”
  4. Select “TCP/IP.” From the “Configure IPv4” menu, select “Manually.”
  5. In the IPv4 Address field, enter the static IP address that you picked out.
  6. Click “OK” and, then, “Apply.”

Now that you’ve assigned a static IP address to your Mac, you’re ready to start accessing secure VPNs or email accounts from the device. If you’re a gamer, you’re also ready to open your NAT type with port forwarding so that you can play with friends, join lobbies, and host games.

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