How to Get a Free Static IP Address

by Ian Kenney

Most computer users are basic Internet surfers who watch a little video, read some e-mail off a web-based e-mail service and play the occasional online game. For them, a dynamic IP address---one assigned by the router that can change upon a reboot---works just fine. But for a power user who runs a server at home, an FTP site or any other application that requires external access, a static IP---one that does not change---is a necessity. Setting one up is straightforward, and you can do it on your own for free.

PC

1

Click on "Start" from your PC's desktop, then select "Run." In the box that appears, type in "cmd."

2

Type "ipconfig/all" in the black command prompt on your screen. All your IP information will appear, including the address, default gateway and subnet mask. Copy down or print this information, and close the command prompt.

3

Click on "Start" again then right-click on "Network." This opens the "Network and Sharing Center" in Windows Vista. Windows 7 users should type "Network and Sharing Center" in the search box after clicking "Start," then select "Network and Sharing Center" from the list.

4

Select "Manage Network Connections" from the task pane on the left in Vista. Click "Change Adapter Settings" from the task pane on the left for Windows 7.

5

Right-click on "Local Area Connection" and select "Properties." This and the remaining actions are the same for Vista and Windows 7 users.

6

Highlight "Internet Protocol Version 4" and click the "Properties" button. Under the "General" tab in the dialogue that appears, select the radio button next to "Use the following IP address."

7

Type into the appropriate boxes the IP address, subnet mask and default gateway you wrote down. The only change you need to make is to the digit following the last "dot" in the IP address. If your router's IP address that you wrote down is 192.168.1.1, for example, change the last digit to "10" or "100". It can't be the same address as the router, so pick any number between 2 and 254 (the maximum).

8

Check the box marked "Validate Settings on Exit" to ensure there are no connection problems, then click "OK." Your computer will establish a connection with the new, static IP address. Repeat these actions for each computer on the network for which you'd like a static IP address, and choose a unique final digit for each machine.

Mac

1

Select "System Preferences" from the Apple Menu at the upper left corner of your screen.

2

Click the "Network" icon in the "System Preferences" pane.

3

Navigate to the "TCP/IP" tab in the dialogue box that appears, and change the drop-down value from "Get from DHCP" to "Manually."

4

Change the value following the last "dot" in the IP address to one that is unique to this machine. It can be any value between 1 and 254, as long as it doesn't conflict with the router address or any other machines operating on the network. A value of 100 is usually a good place to start.

5

Leave the router address and subnet mask unchanged. You can prevent further changes to this screen by clicking on the padlock icon in the lower left-hand corner of the "Network Preferences" dialogue before you exit.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera network image by Allyson Ricketts from Fotolia.com