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IP addresses are a basic component of Internet services that many often overlook in selecting an Internet service configuration, yet the difference between the two in terms of stability and security means that workflows and requirements ought to be scrutinized before coming to an informed decision on the choice of IP address that best suits business needs.
Internet Jargon: What is an IP address?
An IP address is a unique string of numbers that is assigned to a device as a form of identification across the Internet so that other devices can transmit information to it. IP stands for “Internet Protocol”, and is specific to the Internet, not the web or computer networks in general.
Dynamic vs. Static
A static IP is an IP address that is assigned to you by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and does not change even upon restarting your computer, provided your contract with them is in good standing. A dynamic IP address is also assigned to you by your ISP (Internet Service Provider), but you receive a new one each time your computer or router is restarted.
Pros and Cons
Does not change
Changes upon restart
Security & Privacy
Static IP addresses generally cost more than dynamic IPs. Internet Service Providers (ISP) generally assign dynamic IP addresses from a pool of reusable IP addresses that they have on hand at timed intervals, whereas there is a limited source of public IP addresses that can be used as static addresses. The providers end up purchasing these IP addresses and thus the cost is also reflected in the total bill.
In addition, there are more technical and manpower resources needed to maintain and manage static IP addresses as they need to constantly be running in the background.
Some resources, such as domain names and corresponding email addresses, or processes such as file downloads, can sometimes be linked to an IP address. In such cases, if IP addresses were to reset every time the computer or router was restarted, it could cause a lapse in email or server access.
Security & Privacy
Dynamic IP addresses changes with each session on the network and is more difficult for hackers to compromise data security. As static IP addresses never change, they can become a security risk as it is easier to track the computer it is linked to. Static IP addresses also cannot be easily changed after a hacking attempt, therefore, it makes the system susceptible to consequent hacking attempt. However, this security risk can be easily circumvented with use of a good and updated internet security suite or firewall.
What Do You Really Need?
At the end of the day, static IP addresses are much more reliable than dynamic IP addresses at the expense of cost, privacy & security. If your business needs to facilitate large amounts of data exchange, it is recommended that you have a static IP address so that your stakeholders can reliably connect to your server. It also ensures that your domain name and corresponding emails have minimal downtime. For all other purposes, a dynamic IP address is not only gives you added privacy, but is also more cost-effective and secure.