How to Set a Static IP Address for Your PC
By: Hannah Fillmore-Patrick
Each time you connect to the internet, your network assigns a string of numbers called an Internet Protocol (IP) address to your PC. Like the return address on a letter, your browser stamps this string of numbers on every online request you make. 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 make the most out of a limited number of IP addresses, internet service providers pool these 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 so that someone else can use it. As a result, the IP address of your devices change constantly.
- 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. When you type “google.com” in the address bar at the top of your browser, for example, 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 IP addresses work just fine for everyday internet browsing. A static IP address, though, is useful in a handful of use 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 a 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 what you can do in 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 PC running Windows. Before you change anything, though, you need to know your current IP address and your DHCP range. These numbers will help you choose a static IP address for your PC that’s compatible with your router.
To find your current IP address:
- Navigate to “Command Prompt” by using the search or by clicking on “Start” and typing “cmd.”
- Type “ipconfig” and click enter. Your current IP address is “IPv4 Address.”
To determine your router’s DHCP range:
- 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.
- Login to access the setup page. The default password is usually “admin,” but here’s a full list of default router passwords.
- 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 choose a static IP address for your PC. To do so:
- Start with your current IP address.
- 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.
- 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.
Now, change the IP address on your PC to the new static IP address you’ve picked out:
- Open the control panel and navigate to “Network Connections.”
- In “Network Connections,” right-click your internet connection.
- Then, navigate to “Properties.”
- In “Properties,” click “Use the following IP address” to unlock the IP address fields.
- Enter your router’s IP address in the default gateway field. Then, click “OK.”
Now that you’ve assigned a static IP address to your PC, 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.