Understanding DHCP

by Barry Dysert
(last updated June 12, 2017)

DHCP is an acronym standing for "Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol." It is a communications protocol that exists among network computers which allows them to automatically exchange networking parameters. DHCP is used quite extensively on the largest network of all, the Internet. Thanks to DHCP, there is little need for system administrators to update these parameters manually.

Depending on the network, there may be many DHCP servers. These servers maintain client configuration parameters, e.g., IP addresses, domain names, default gateways, etc. When a client device is connected to the network, it broadcasts a DHCP request in order to obtain such information for it to use.

DHCP client software is built into the Windows operating system, so whenever a Windows computer connects to a network it engages in a "conversation" with a DHCP server (perhaps through "relay agents"). The client computer then automatically uses the information obtained in this conversation in order to join the network.

 This tip (9985) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Adding and Removing Desktop Widgets

You can add and remove widgets on a whim. Both operations are just a couple of mouse clicks away. Removing a widget from ...

Discover More

Using Your Own Pictures as Wallpaper

You can change the image that is displayed for your desktop background to your own picture. Changing the wallpaper to one ...

Discover More

Renaming Multiple Files at the Same Time

It's possible to rename multiple files at the same time, but the new names of the files may leave a bit to be desired. ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Creating a Desktop Shortcut for a Favorite Web Page

If you visit a certain Web page frequently, you may wish to create a desktop shortcut to take you there. This tip tells ...

Discover More

Overview of OneDrive

Using the cloud to store and transfer files is more common today than at any other time. With OneDrive and Windows 10 you ...

Discover More

Understanding IP Addresses

IP addresses are at the heart of computer networking. They are typically handled automatically, but you may find it ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 + 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.