I noticed recently an ad from a VPN provider specifying that they provide static and dynamic IP addresses. Then I couldn’t help but wonder if everybody’s aware of why having a static IP VPN address can be a great feature.
But before digging into the details, let’s see how most VPN providers are managing their IP.
IPv4 and IPv6
As you surely know, IPv4 addresses are now scarce resources and the internet doesn’t seem to be ready yet to fully deploy IPv6. In fact, from the beginning of the internet, no one was ambitious enough to think that IP addresses would come to exhaustion. Simply put, IPv4 addresses are set the following way: a.b.c.d: a, b, c or d can take values from 0 to 255. I know that’s oversimplifying, but if you want more technical details, feel free to check the very good explanation here. So, at the very beginning, big players went on reserving big classes of IPv4 addresses. Ans it was only later on that ISP came into the game and requested IP addresses to be distributed to their client’s computers.
But once the public internet usage exploded, each ISP had a big issue: they couldn’t have enough IP addresses to distribute to their customers anymore. Some alternative solutions came then into play, like Network Address Translation- but they have some limitations. So, they found one way to deal with it: since most customers are not permanently connected to the internet, they decided to share the same IP address to multiple clients, so long as those same clients don’t connect simultaneously- hence the concept of “dynamic IP address”. This kind of solution is mainly used for dial-up internet connections, including xDSL and mobile phone connections.
Pros and cons of dynamic IP addresses
There are good and bads with dynamic IP addresses. If the client’s intent is only for surfing the web- they work great. They can even provide some additional layer of “online anonymity” since the same IP address can be used by multiple users as we move along the timeline. Remember, IP addresses are unique, apart from the private ones; so if some websites need to identify who’s the person behind one IP address , not only does this website owner get in touch with the ISP who owns the IP address, but that same IP has to go through his log so as to identify which computer has used that same IP at that specific time period.
So that’s about dynamic IP addresses. But why would you need a static IP address? and especially a VPN with a static IP address?
Why do you need a static IP VPN?
In fact, if you are dealing with some remote sites that provide some “private resources”, chances are that the administrator of that remote site would require that you only connect from a specific computer. That same administrator would request to set up his firewall thereby only allowing specific IP addresses to get in while others would be kicked out.
With a static-IP VPN, you can get that same IP address no matter where you connect from: hotels, public Wi-Fi, at home or wherever elsewhere an internet connection exists. And that’s the beauty of having a static IP VPN solution.
Static IP VPN providers
Most of the VPN providers have servers with static IPs. It is more cost effective to have a server with only one IP that is used by all connecting users, that having an entire class of IPs allocated to a server. Nowadays, the IPv4 IPs are scarce and quite expensive.