Time for another e-mail from our readers:

How can I buy static IP addresses and how long does it remain valid?
Do I renew it by subscribing year by year?

IP Address assignment is a very different process from domain name registration.

It has become customary for Internet Service Providers (ISP) to charge money for IP addresses, but ISP’s are not the source of IP addresses; ICANN or more specifically, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is.  IANA delegates the allocation and assignment functions for IP addresses and Autonomous System Numbers to the Regional Internet Registries (RIR).

There are five Regional Internet Registries:

  • ARIN – North and South America, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • RIPE – Europe, Middle East, Central Asia
  • APNIC – Asia, Pacific Rim
  • AfriNIC – Africa
  • LACNIC – Latin America

The RIR’s have different policies about who they will distribute IP addresses to, and policies about the size of the blocks they will provide. The RIR’s always distribute large blocks (a CIDR /22 or larger). Which RIR you use depends upon where your network is located.

All IP addresses themselves are a ‘free public resource’, but the RIR’s charge a membership fee and may charge a subscription or other fee that has to be renewed every year.  Failure to pay the fees results in your IP addresses being reclaimed by the RIR.

Some RIR’s (RIPE, LACNIC) frequently delegate IP address allocation, assignment and sub-assignment functions to Local Internet Registries (LIR); however, LIR’s are typically ISP’s.  ARIN treats ISP’s as LIR’s.

If you only need a few IP addresses (less than 127), you cannot obtain them from the RIRs or an LIR, you must obtain them from your ISP.  ISP’s charge a monthly, or yearly fee for IP addresses.   The fee structure for IP addresses which ISP’s charge is based on their own policies and varies greatly from one ISP to another.

For more information, see the tutorials within this site:

  • IP Addresses
  • Regional Internet Registries
  • IP Adddress Allocations
  • IP Address Assignments