The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is a network management protocol used on Internet Protocol (IP) networks for automatically assigning IP addresses and other communication parameters to devices connected to the network using a client–server architecture.[1]

The technology eliminates the need for individually configuring network devices manually, and consists of two network components, a centrally installed network DHCP server and client instances of the protocol stack on each computer or device. When connected to the network, and periodically thereafter, a client requests a set of parameters from the server using DHCP.

DHCP can be implemented on networks ranging in size from residential networks to large campus networks and regional ISP networks.[2] Many routers and residential gateways have DHCP server capability. Most residential network routers receive a unique IP address within the ISP network. Within a local network, a DHCP server assigns a local IP address to each device.

DHCP services exist for networks running Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4), as well as version 6 (IPv6). The IPv6 version of the DHCP protocol is commonly called DHCPv6.