Pretty simple question.

What is the industry best practice? In a small business which has computers which require static IP addresses is it better to set static IP addresses for devices on the devices themselves, or in the router/managed switch? All non-static IP requiring devices can use DHCP.


  • How do you want to set IP for an end device in router? The only way is by configuring DHCP on router which is again dynamic IP Address assignment for the end devices. If you have less number of devices then static IP assignment won't harm. – MUSR Apr 14 '16 at 3:35
  • I've clarified the question. – Joshua Michael Apr 14 '16 at 5:43
  • It's about what is economical for you. Setting a DHCP for, let's say, 5 devices is not economical. If you have 100 devices then you don't want to configure IP for all of them. The point is how many devices do you have and what kind of devices are they - PC, Phones etc. If you have DSL connection then your DSL modem already has an inbuilt DHCP. As soon as you connect a device it gets an IP Address. If you only have PCs and DSL Modem can accommodate all of them then you don't need to do anything. – MUSR Apr 14 '16 at 6:12
  • It's more a question of best practice. At a company where they have many computers that report to one server. The server requires a static IP on the network, and all the other computers on the network are happily over on DHCP. However when it comes time to remote into the server(Port forwarding or locally) it needs to have a static IP. Thus should the standard be to set everyones static IP in the router/managed switch, or should the static IP be set in each of the servers. I know it can be either, just want to know which is best practice. – Joshua Michael Apr 14 '16 at 6:16
  • How many devices do you have and what kind of devices are they? Do you have some special requirements for the devices? Please provide details. – MUSR Apr 14 '16 at 6:30

This is what I think you're trying to ask: When I have a DHCP network but want a handful of hosts to have static IPs, is it best to reserve the IPs on my DHCP server or set static IPs on the hosts themselves? If that's your question, edit it and I'll take out this paragraph.

The only benefit I see of configuring static IPs on select hosts themselves is that the address is permanently set and not relying on the interface's MAC to reacquire the "reserved" IP. However, reserving address already handed out by DHCP is quick and easy and doesn't require any access to the host. For instance, if I put a wireless print server on my WLAN and want it to maintain a specific address but don't care what, I can reserve the address it is assigned without every touching the print server.

As an aside, you mention this is a small business. For an office of five or 10 people I would personally set static IPs as a best practice. No DHCP server needed, nothing ever changes, and perhaps it adds just a tiny extra bit of security in that one can't just plug a device into the network and have instant access.

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  • Peter Green notes an important point below: Setting a static IP on devices allows those devices to continue to communicate when the DHCP server is offline. – Ted Quanstrom May 1 '16 at 16:35

Theres advantages to both approaches. It's down to you to decide which is more relavent on your network.

The advantage of setting on the device is that the devices can still talk to each other if the dhcp server goes down or if a rouge DHCP server shows up.

The advantage of setting on the DHCP server is that you don't have to go round to every machine individually if you ever need to do a mass renumbering.

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If you are planning a long term network, I guess you should use static IP address on your workstations, so that you can apply security policies on a domain controller, or control Internet access by user profiles. DHCP is the perfect way when you don't need to apply special policies to specific users, all PCs shares a profile and do what it permitted.

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Consider yet another scenario. Imagine you have an external WIFI dongle, it has its own MAC address. Now if it stopped working and you will have to replace it, or you decided to change connection type to cable, the MAC address will change, so the IP to MAC assignment will become out of date. If you want to have stable static IP not dependent on the MAC address of the device responsible for connection, then configure static IP on the computer connected to the router, ignoring DHCP. If you are ok with having IP-MAC dependency, then you can configure it on Router's DHCP.

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