8 Most Common IP Address Mistakes

IP addresses identify individual computers within a correlated telecommunications network (like the street address affixed to a house). Without unique IP addresses, devices can’t communicate with each other.

Marketers use IP addresses for various business-to-business marketing initiatives, such as analyzing website traffic or understanding firmographics. However, there are many hurdles marketers must overcome when it comes to leveraging IP data.

1. Not Using DHCP

Most home network routers and other devices, such as NAS storage and Internet of Things (IoT) appliances, include DHCP by default. This is because DHCP provides a simple and efficient way to assign IP addresses to these devices.

When a device tries to access a DHCP-enabled network, it broadcasts a message looking for a server. The request includes the device’s MAC address, which is a unique identifier for that device’s network adapter. The DHCP server then sends the device an available IP address and monitors the use of that address. Once the device stops using the address, or its lease expires, the DHCP server returns it to the pool of available IP addresses.

DHCP clients must check in with the DHCP server periodically to renew their IP address settings. The DHCP server then sends back an acknowledgment (DHCPACK) packet to the client with the new information. If this process fails, there is usually an issue with the network connection or device configuration. In some cases, the DHCP server may not have an appropriate amount of IP addresses available to hand out.

2. Using the Wrong Subnet Mask

A subnet mask is an important part of the TCP/IP network protocol. It defines the boundaries of the IP address range and helps ensure that devices on the same network can communicate with each other.

A misconfigured subnet mask can lead to connectivity problems. For example, if the netmask is too wide (prefix length too short), hosts on the same subnet may be unable to communicate with each other. This can be a serious problem, especially if you’re using an IPv6-only network, as all hosts must use the same subnet mask.

In Windows, you can change the subnet mask for your network adapter by opening the Settings app and selecting Network & Internet in the left sidebar. Then, click or tap the ethernet or wi-fi connection that you want to change and scroll down to the “Edit IP settings” section. Here you can view and change the network adapter’s IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway. You can also change the subnet mask from your router’s web interface if you have one. For additional assistance in managing and optimizing your IP settings, you may want to explore the features of an IP API.

3. Using the Wrong Router

If you have two devices on the same network with the same IP address, it’s called an IP conflict and can cause problems. To resolve it, try using DHCP to automatically assign a unique IP address to each device so that they’re not competing with one another.

If this doesn’t work, try restarting your computer. Sometimes machines get “stuck” and just need a reboot to reset their network settings. If you’re still having trouble, try using the ipconfig /release and ipconfig /renew commands to give your computer a new set of IP addresses.

Another common mistake is using the wrong router as a default gateway. If you use the wrong router, it can cause communication problems between computers on a local network. This can be especially problematic if you’re using an older version of IPv4 and haven’t upgraded to IPv6 yet. To avoid this problem, make sure you record any older router settings before upgrading. This will prevent your new router from accidentally overwriting any important information. Also, be sure to choose a secure password for your router so that hackers can’t access your data.

5. Using the Wrong DNS Server

When you enter a web address into your browser, the internet does its best to translate it into the IP address of the server that hosts the site. This is done through the decentralized Domain Name System (DNS), which acts like a giant database across thousands of servers. If something goes wrong with the DNS, you’ll get a “DNS Server Not Responding” error on your computer.

Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can try to fix this problem. You can start by ensuring that your DNS settings are correct. You can do this by going to your Control Panel, and selecting “Manage network connections.” Then, look at the properties for each of your network connections and make sure that the IP address and DNS server addresses are set to obtain automatically.

It’s also a good idea to refresh your DNS cache, which will delete any outdated information and force the system to use the latest data. You can do this by using the command prompt, and entering “ipconfig/flushdns.” You should also consider contacting your ISP if you’re still experiencing problems with your DNS.

6. Using the Wrong Gateway

Default gateways are the next hop for packets looking to go out to the internet, so it’s important to make sure all devices have the right one. If they don’t, a number of issues can arise, from slow or interrupted web traffic to the classic 502 Bad Gateway Error.

Often, the problem can be fixed by restarting the computer in question. This will open a window with an old-school DOS aesthetic that will allow you to enter the command “ipconfig” to release your computer’s current IP address, then “ipconfig /renew” to assign it a new one.

Another common cause of the wrong gateway error is a netmask that’s too narrow (prefix length is shorter than it should be). This will affect communications between hosts on the same network, but will allow computers to communicate with outside networks by using their default gateway. However, the host will then incorrectly resolve its MAC address and send a packet to the wrong gateway, creating confusion. This issue can be solved with good network monitoring tools and a proper subnet layout.

7. Using the Wrong Default Gateway

A device’s default gateway acts like a guide to network communication. If a data packet is looking for an address outside the local network, it will send that information to the default gateway to see if there is a path to its destination.

If the default gateway isn’t configured correctly, a computer may be unable to communicate with devices outside of the local network. This is a common issue that can easily be avoided with proper monitoring and good management tools.

To fix the problem, first try restarting your computer. This will reset the current IP addresses and may resolve the issue. If that doesn’t work, you can also use the ipconfig command on your computer to release its previous settings and then renew its IP address. This should resolve the “Default gateway is not available” error. For more troubleshooting tips and to learn about automated systems that can help you manage your IP addresses, check out this resource.

8. Using the Wrong Domain Name

When someone types a domain name into a web browser, the internet will try to translate it into the IP address of the server where the site lives. This is done by a complicated lookup procedure, and sometimes mistakes happen. One mistake people often make is using a bad domain name, such as ones that are difficult to spell (‘occasion’ or ‘amoeba’), homonyms (‘piece’ and ‘peace’), or have different spellings for different English-speaking cultures (‘color’ vs. ‘colour’).