Modern security cameras use the Internet Protocol (IP) to communicate with other digital devices such as recorders. IP addresses, much like your physical street address, help identify you over the vast web. But the camera can use either of the two types of addresses to identify you – static and dynamic.
Searching for whether you need a static IP address for security cameras or not? Or maybe you’re unaware of which IP address is best for your security camera. In any case, read ahead as we explore whether you need a static IP to get your camera functional.
Do I Need a Static IP Address for Security Cameras?
Both static and dynamic IP addresses can be used for security cameras. However, static IP addresses have a slight edge over dynamic addresses as they don’t change frequently and will be reserved for the camera only. Static addresses are also easily configurable if you wish to remotely access your security camera.
If you’re confused – let’s take it slow.
First thing’s first – an IP address is used to identify a device from an array of devices. So, when we talk about static addresses, the IP address (or your device’s identifier) doesn’t change and remains assigned with the asset (device) forever. On the other hand, a dynamic IP address keeps changing.
Let’s take an analogy – how frustrating would it be for people to locate you if your address kept changing? We say it’d be maxing out the frustration scales.
It’s the same with IP addresses. If your security camera keeps getting a new IP address, you’ll have to locate it every single time. See, this is where a static IP address is best for your security camera. They change less frequently and no other asset can use that particular address.
Now you might think – what if my security camera’s static IP address is being used by a different device?
See, when we use a dynamic address, the router (your main ‘internet’ guy) provides the device an address. Whereas, for a static address, you’d be assigning it yourself. So, technically, the router takes the statically assigned IP address off its pool and won’t be providing it to a different device. Though it should be noted that you should assign a static IP that wasn’t in use already!
Hey! I still can’t access my security camera when I’m away from my device. What’s up with that?
Let’s talk about that next.
Can I Access my Security Camera Remotely Using a Static IP Address?
If you have a public static IP address assigned by your ISP, you can access your security camera remotely. You will have to forward ports in your router such that the camera can be accessed via your public IP address. Though you should consider the security risk of exposing your security cameras online.
Public and Private IP Addresses
What’s a ‘public’ static IP address now?
The static IP address we were talking about before was a private static address. These usually begin with the following numbers:
- 172.16.xx.xx – 172.31.255.255
- 10.xx.xx.xx – 10.255.255.255
- 192.168.xx.xx – 192.168.255.255
These are only accessible when you’re using your own home router. So, if you were to write your camera’s IP address (e.g., 192.168.11.1) in your web browser – a live feed should be visible. But if you were to access the same address from your office – it won’t work.
This is where public addresses come in. These addresses are assigned to you by your ISP which provides you an internet connection. Usually, ISP’s only give out dynamic IP addresses but you can avail a static IP address for an additional cost (it’s a tad bit pricey as the ISP would have to configure it such that no other user can access it other than you).
Accessing Security Camera Remotely via Port Forwarding
Now that you have a public static IP address – simply head to your router. Find the ‘Port Forwarding’ section and enter your security camera’s private IP address (that should be static as well) and a port (a random number between 1025-65535).
Save the settings, reboot your router, and try accessing your security camera feed by writing your public IP address in your browser (along with the port you chose).
If all goes well – your static IP addressing must’ve done it’s magic and your security camera should be accessible online. Mind you – you should secure the camera by authentication pages such that the users have to enter a username/password combination. Otherwise, anyone on the internet can access your security camera easily!
FAQs About Static IP Address for Security Cameras
Questions, questions, and more questions! Lucky for you – we’ve got answers. Let’s switch our focus to answering some of the most common queries by people like yourselves inquiring about static IP addresses for security cameras.
How can I access my security camera without a static IP?
If you don’t have a static IP address for your security camera, you can use the DDNS service to access it remotely. It will cost you a few bucks to get a hostname (like a website’s name) and can be configured to use dynamic IP addresses. However, DDNS is not required if you only want to access your security camera locally.
Using a DDNS provider such as No-IP, you can purchase an easily memorable hostname. Once that’s done, head over to your camera’s admin page and enable DDNS. Authenticate yourself by entering your hostname and credentials. That should be it!
Try accessing your camera feed over the hostname now.
Do security cameras have IP addresses?
Yes, security cameras use IP addresses to identify themselves to other digital devices such as a DVR/NVR. If you use an NVR, the recorder itself assigns an IP address to the security camera. Otherwise, you’d have to manually assign a static address to your security camera.
Mind you – an NVR uses DHCP (another protocol) to assign dynamic addresses. If you’d like to use a static IP address internally, you’d have to modify the recorder’s settings.
Is it better to use static IP or DHCP?
Static IP addresses are much better for security cameras. You won’t have to recheck the camera’s IP address every now and then, and the IP address will stay with the camera forever. Whereas, DHCP, the protocol behind dynamic addressing, automates assigning addresses so it’s a bit easier if you don’t have to access the camera again and again.
NVR and most modern routers are DHCP-enabled devices. It’s why most of the devices in your house don’t require additional changes to allow internet access. You already have a leased address and the router decides when to change it.
Do you need a static IP address for your security camera? It’d be better if you have one. It costs a little less than setting up a DDNS-hostname and your ISP can easily provide you a static address. If your ISP’s quote for a static address is too expensive, do check out a DDNS provider to get yourself a memorable hostname.