Forums/OpenDNS Community/FAQ: Networks with Dynamic IP Addresses

Dynamic IP: General Information for OpenDNS usage

Matt Prytuluk
posted this on January 3, 2014, 11:33

Does this article apply to me?


You may use OpenDNS as is without ever reading this page.

This information is for those who want to change some of the OpenDNS default settings or view statistics about your DNS usage. For instance, using web content filtering requires a network, which requires an IP address. Knowing more about dynamic IP addresses is useful, especially for home users.

For Umbrella Dashboard users, click here to scroll down to the relevant information. 

Quick Steps:


Know enough about dynamic IPs already? Want to get it done? Do the following:

  1. Create an account and login to your Dashboard
  2. Go to the Settings tab.
  3. Add a network using your current IP address (displayed on the page).
  4. Click your new networks's IP address to access its settings.
  5. Click "Advanced Settings" on the left.
  6. Check the box to "Enable dynamic IP update." Be sure to apply your settings at the bottom of the page.
  7. Learn how to keep your address updatedIf you don't keep the IP updated, your preferences will not be applied, and your statistics will not be collected — although you will still be using OpenDNS.

Multiple networks with dynamic IP addresses in a single network are supported. Learn more.

General information about Internet Protocol (IP) addresses


What is an Internet Protocol (IP) address?

An IP address is a number which computers use to identify a location on the network, whether the public Internet or a private network. The number is in the format #.#.#.# where the # may be any number from 0 to 255. For example, Learn more technical details.

Do I have an IP address?

Yes, everyone on the Internet has an IP address, whether you know it or not! To locate your IP address, visit

How does OpenDNS use IP addresses?

OpenDNS uses IP addresses to know that a DNS request is coming from you. With a free OpenDNS account, you establish and verify an IP address or range of IP addresses as under your management as a network. A network may be a single IP address on up to many thousands of addresses. OpenDNS delivers custom DNS preferences and statistics based on the network association, which you establish and verify with a free OpenDNS account in the Dashboard.

Note: OpenDNS does not provide IP addresses. Those come from your Internet provider.

We also do not provide Authoritative DNS services.  Those come from your DNS hosting provider. 

What is a dynamic IP address?

Simply, a dynamic IP address is one that changes periodically. The ISP (Internet Service Provider) or network provider makes the change, not the individual user.

Note: Static IP addresses are easier for the individual, but a static IP address may cost more or not be available from your ISP. Ask your Internet provider for more information if desired.

How do I know my IP address?

On the OpenDNS Dashboard, your current IP address is displayed at the top right of the page. (screenshot)

You may also confirm at — you're shown your public IP address, nothing more.

How do I know if my IP address is dynamic?

If you don't know, then your IP is probably dynamic.  If you're unsure, you should contact your ISP. 

What do I need to do if my IP address is dynamic?

To keep your settings applying to your network and ever changing IP address, use our Dynamic IP Updater client to keep your IP address up to date. 

Public versus private IP address

OpenDNS, like all public Internet services, only sees your "public" IP address when you make a DNS request. At an office or school or behind a router at home, your individual computer may have a different, private IP address, visible only to those inside your network. If an IP address starts with 192.168 or 10.10, for example, that is a private network IP address, not available to the public Internet.  For more information on private IP addresses, please see RFC 1918

How to maintain Umbrella on Networks with Dynamic IP Addresses

The majority of home, small school, and small business networks typically are provisioned by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that issue a dynamic IP address when defining each unique Internet network.   Chances are if you're not sure if you have a static IP address- you almost certainly have a dynamic IP. 

Dynamic IP address means that the 'public' IP of your network will change over time when the 'lease' for that IP address changes.  Your IP may stay the same for several weeks but the lease will eventually expire and be given to another customer of your ISP. 

When the IP you've registered with Umbrella changes, the Umbrella security settings will not apply as it no longer matches the information on your account. 

To avoid this,  we recommend installing the OpenDNS Dynamic IP Updater onto at least one computer within the network that you've registered in the Umbrella.

  1. In Umbrella's Network Configuration (Configuration > Identities > Networks) select the Network identity that's on a dynamic IP and ensure the checkbox named Dynamic is selected. 

  2. For ease and greatest consistency, download an OpenDNS Dynamic IP Updater onto at least one computer in the network, according to these guidelines:

  • The computer should be stationary to the network and not a laptop (only used in the network on which you are configuring OpenDNS).
  • The computer should always be powered on (or turned on before any other computers log on to the network.)

The OpenDNS Dynamic IP Updater automates the discovery and registration of a network's IP address to your OpenDNS account whenever the IP address should change. 

This ensures consistent protection provided by your OpenDNS settings to your network and to all computers and devices that connect to your network.


In addition to the OpenDNS Dynamic IP Updater, most Dynamic DNS (DDNS) clients will work to achieve the same purpose of keeping your network updated. However, any DDNS 3rd party clients cannot be supported by OpenDNS' support team. If you are developing your own Dynamic DNS client, follow this link for related information.

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