What Is A Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Defined

A Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)  is a network management protocol that provides fast, automatic, and central management for the distribution of IP addresses.  

A DHCP server enables computers to request IP addresses and networking parameters automatically from the Internet service provider (ISP), which in turn, reduces the need for a network administrator to manually assign IP addresses.

In most homes and small businesses, the router acts as the DHCP server, while in larger networks, a single computer might act as the DHCP server.

Benefits of having a DHCP include:

  • Reliable IP address configuration as a DHCP minimizes configuration errors caused by manual IP address configuration.
  • Reduced network administration as a DHCP has the following features:
    • Centralized and automated TCP/IP configuration.
    • The ability to define TCP/IP configurations from a central location.
    • The ability to assign a full range of additional TCP/IP configuration values by means of DHCP options.
    • The efficient handling of IP address changes for clients.
    • The forwarding of initial DHCP messages by using a DHCP relay agent.

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