If you utilize security cameras or a mobile application that connects back to a ‘server’ at your consignment store, then this question will likely come up.
Before we get into Static vs. Dynamic, we need to know what the heck an IP address is!
What is an IP address?
Similar to how each house and business has a unique address so the post office can find you, so does each location that has Internet access. Your local ISP typically provides you with one IP address. The issue is, they typically do not guarantee this address will always be the same — i.e. it’s Dynamic.
Why does that matter? When you configure security cameras or a mobile app such as Liberty Mobile, you’ll need to know your store’s unique IP address so the app can ‘get back to your store’ when you’re not there. That’s as easy as visiting a site such as What Is My IP?. Once you’ve entered your store’s IP address and if everything else is properly configured — e.g. port forwarding, etc. — your mobile app should be able connect and do what it needs to do.
Things will typically continue working for a period of time, but since your store’s IP address is Dynamic, it will likely change some day. When that happens, your mobile app will no longer be able to connect. Now, there’s nothing stopping you from going right back to What Is My IP? to find out the new IP address, then entering that in your mobile app(s). Some ISPs let you keep your IP address for weeks or even months. Others will expire it on an almost-daily basis, so you could end up constantly updating your mobile app. Or, the store’s IP address could change at a time when you can’t quickly find out the new one and your mobile app would be dead in the water until you find out the new IP.
In order to deal with this issue, there are typically two options to pick from:
- Ask your local ISP for an IP address that won’t change — i.e. a Static IP address — which typically comes with a monthly fee @ roughly $5-$15/mo.
- Utilize a Dynamic DNS service, such as Dyn. Not only is the cost lower @ roughly $25 per year, but you also have the added benefit of a user-friendly address to use with your cameras and mobile apps – e.g. mystore.dyndns.biz
We typically recommend the latter of the above options, not only for the savings, but for the added benefit of a user-friendly address/URL. Some could also say there’s an added, although minimal, security benefit by not having the same IP address at the store.
How do you configure a Dynamic DNS service such as Dyn?
It’s relatively easy to do, although it could be confusing for those not familiar with some of the terms and and concepts. In summary, the following would need to happen:
- Register a Pro account at Dyn and choose a unique address/host name — e.g. mystore.dyndns.biz. If you do this from your store, Dyn should automatically update your account with the most-recent IP address.
- Enter your Dyn account information in your router (if it supports Dynamic DNS services) or download, install, and configure the Dyn Updater software on a computer at your store that will always be powered-on.
- Enter your new address/host name into your mobile app.
That’s it! From here on out, your mobile app(s) should continue to work, even if your store’s IP address changes.
How do I know if I have a Static IP address?
You’ll need to contact your local ISP to verify if you do in fact have a Static IP address. Most ISPs do not include this with their services, so it’s typically something you have to go out of your way to request. It might even show as a line item on your monthly bill.
If you have any questions or if you’d like The Computer Peeps to configure any of this for you, don’t hesitate to give us a buzz at (888) 374-5422.