What Is DHCP And How Does It Work?

Last Updated: December 28, 2021By

Close up of ethernet port on black router

DHCP provides a central database of IP addresses to computers and other devices so they can be assigned an address when requested instead of statically assigning one or using a default value.

This article will discuss how DHCP works, its benefits, and why you should use it on your network!

What Is DCHP?

DHCP is the acronym for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. It is a protocol that provides an automated way to assign IP addresses, subnet masks, default gateways, and DNS servers to computers when they are connected to a network.

How Does DCHP Works?

DHCP is a way of assigning dynamic IP addresses to devices on your network.

Without DHCP, you would need to manually configure each device with an address and other networking information such as the subnet mask and default gateway (router).

Not only does this take time, but it creates room for human error since we forget to set some things or enter the wrong information.

DHCP dramatically reduces the amount of time it takes to set up a network and also eliminates errors that can occur when manually configuring devices. DHCP dynamically assigns addresses based on a predetermined range of numbers (or IP address pool) that your router is configured to use.

When a device joins the network, it requests an IP address lease from the DHCP server, which in turn assigns an available IP address to that device. When it is time for your device to “renew” its assigned IP, it negotiates with the server again, and if all goes well (no one else has requested a lease), you get to keep using your same old IP!

However, if the DHCP server is unavailable or if all IP addresses within the pool have been assigned, your device will either need to use a static IP address or wait until an available address becomes available.

DHCP is just one of many protocols that make up TCP/IP, which is the backbone of the Internet.

Without DHCP, we wouldn’t be able to dynamically assign addresses and keep track of all the devices on our networks. DHCP is a critical part of IP networking and helps make it possible for us to connect to the Internet from anywhere in the world!

DHCP is especially suitable for very small networks, but it can also be used on large enterprise-class networks with complex requirements and multiple subnets or VLANs (virtual LANs).

Why DHCP Is A Critical Part Of IP Networking?

Close up of plugged lan on ethernet port

DHCP is a critical part of IP networking for several reasons.

First, DHCP allows devices to obtain an IP address automatically. This eliminates the need for manual configuration of each device on the network.

Second, DHCP provides a mechanism for distributing other important network configuration information to clients, such as the location of a DNS server or the addresses of routers on the network.

Third, DHCP assigns a lease to clients for an IP address that limits how long it is valid. This ensures that if a device leaves the organization or otherwise stops communicating on your network, its IP address can be reused by another client.

Benefits Of DHCP

There are many benefits of DHCP and some reasons why you may not want to go back.

The first is that it provides an effortless way for users or computers on your network to obtain an IP address. If you have ever added another computer onto the same office LAN as others, then you know how much work can be involved in getting it to communicate with other computers on the network.

DHCP eliminates this problem by taking care of obtaining an IP address for you, so all your new computer needs is a physical connection via Ethernet or Wireless, and it’s off communicating through Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.

If there are any problems getting your device online, DHCP also provides a way to release and renew your IP address so you can quickly get back online.

Additionally, DHCP provides a way to manage and keep track of all devices on your network by assigning each a unique identifier, called a MAC address. This is especially important if you need to identify or troubleshoot any device on the network that is not working correctly.

This is just some of what makes DHCP such an essential service for networks of all sizes. With its ease of use and reliability, it’s hard to imagine going back to a life without DHCP.

When Should You Use Static IP Addresses Instead Of DHCP?

There are some times when you may want to use static IP addresses instead of DHCP.

One example is if you have a web server or other device on your network that always needs to use the same IP address.

In this case, you would set the device to use a static IP and then configure it to point to the appropriate DNS servers and gateway. This way, you can always know that your web server will be available at the same IP address.

In most cases, however, using DHCP is the best way to go because it takes care of all these details for you automatically. With just a few simple clicks in your network’s administration tool, you can have DHCP up and running without any hassles.


DHCP is an essential part of IP networking. It allows devices to obtain an IP address automatically, provides other network configuration information, and assigns leases for clients so that if any device leaves the organization or otherwise stops communicating on your network, its IP address can be reused by another client.

There are many benefits of DHCP, including ease of use and reliability. It’s hard to imagine going back to a life without DHCP, but there are times when using static IP addresses instead of DHCP may be the best way to go.