Your device’s IP address is a label used to identify it on your network. By default, Windows requests an IP address from your broadband router. The router hands out an address which your device can use for a set period of time (usually a day or a few hours). At the end of the “lease”, the device must make another request and the router may issue a different IP.
You can configure Windows to use a “static” IP instead. As implied by the terminology, a static IP is exactly that – static. It’ll never change and Windows doesn’t need to consult the router to “request” an IP. Having a static IP is useful when connecting to your PC from another device on your network, as it ensures there’s a consistent label identifying each of your machines.
To set a static IP in Windows, open the Settings app and click the “Network & Internet” category. On the Network Status page, click “Properties” under the network interface which is displayed. Most of the time, you’ll likely see only a single option here but some devices may have multiple – for example wired Ethernet and Wi-Fi. If that’s the case, select the one you want to use the static IP with. IPs must be configured on a per-connection basis.
On the properties page, scroll down to the “IP settings” heading. Click the “Edit” button and select “Manual” from the dropdown box which appears. We’ll concentrate on IPv4 for now but setting up IPv6 to use a static IP works in exactly the same way. It’s usually best to leave IPv6 alone unless you already know you’ll be using it.
Change the toggle button under IPv4 to the On position. Next, fill out the form as follows:
- IP address – The IP address you’d like your device to have. For example,
- Subnet prefix length – This should usually be
255.255.255.0unless you know otherwise for your network.
- Gateway – Set this to the IP address of your router. (You can find this out by opening Command Prompt from the Start menu and running the
ipconfigcommand; it’ll be listed as “Default Gateway”.)
- Preferred DNS – This should usually match the gateway given above.
Once all that’s setup, click the Save button to apply the changes. It’s important to note that the values above are purely for illustrative purposes; the example IP address may be inappropriate depending on how your network’s setup.
You should generally take your router’s IP address and change the final number to determine a valid static IP – in the example above, we’d expect the router to have an address of
192.168.0.XXX. When in doubt, you can try consulting your router’s manual which should contain information on how its default settings and how you can configure static IPs to work with them.