Install and configure DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol)

Paul Hill

December 22, 2020 • 5 min read

    DHCP Overview

    DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) is a networking service that will automatically assign and manage computer IP addresses on their network.

    DHCP is commonly used to manage client computers such as laptops and mobile devices. It is less likely to be used to configure server infrastructure (like domain controllers or web servers) because these servers generally require a static IP address.

    DHCP will hand a computer an IP address with a lease for any number of days (default is 8). Once that lease expires, the DHCP server will then negotiate with the DHCP server and obtain a new IP address.

    Install DHCP

    Step 1. Open Server Manager

    To install DHCP, open Server Manager by clicking the Windows button and clicking Server Manager or by searching for Server Manager.

    Step 2. Add roles and features

    Inside of Server Manager, select Manage > Add Roles and Features:

    Add Roles and Features

    Step 3. Proceed to the Server Roles page

    Now click Next until you reach the Server Roles page. Click the DHCP Server checkbox.

    Image 1
    Add DHCP

    After you click this checkbox you will see a popup for adding the features that are required by DHCP. Click Add Features then click Next until you get to the install page.

    Step 4. Begin the Server Role Installation

    On the install page, click Install and wait for the installation to complete.

    Image 2
    Install the DHCP Server Role

    Wait for the installation to complete. Leave the wizard open so we can easily launch the post installation configuration once it is done.

    Step 5. Complete DHCP Post-install Wizard

    Once the installation is complete you can click the Complete DHCP configuration button:

    Image 3
    Complete DHCP configuration

    Once the Post-install configuration wizard appears click next until you get to the Authorization page.

    The default option should work. In my case I am using the domain administrator credentials so I will click Commit:

    Image 4
    DHCP Post Installation Configuration Wizard – Authorization

    Now click Close to close the DHCP config wizard.

    Configure a DHCP Scope

    We have successfully installed DHCP but it won’t do anything yet. That’s because we need to configure a DHCP scope. A DHCP scope tells DHCP what range of IP addresses it should hand out to DHCP clients.

    Step 1. Start the DHCP Console

    We need to start the DHCP console which can be done by switching back to Server Manager then clicking Tools > DHCP:

    Image 5
    Launch the DHCP Server Console

    Step 2. Create a New Scope

    Expand your DHCP server and right-click IPv4 and select New Scope…

    Image 6
    Create a new IPv4 Scope

    Click next until you get to the Scope Name page.

    Step 3. DHCP Scope Name

    I am going to use the name “DHCP Clients” and click Next.

    Image 8
    DHCP Scope Name

    Step 4. IP Address Range

    Now enter your desired start and end IP address ranges. I am going to use –

    Image 9
    Define your DHCP Server Scope

    Now click Next.

    Step 5. Configure DHCP Exclusions and Delays (optional)

    If you want to exclude an IP address or range of IPs that fall within the scope you specified above you can enter that now.

    You can also add a subnet delay which is the amount of time the DHCP server will wait before offering an IP address. This would only be useful when you have multiple DHCP servers and don’t want the possibility of them both to answer at the same time.

    Image 10
    DHCP Exclusions and Delays

    I don’t need to use any of these settings so I am going to just click Next.

    Step 6. Configure your lease duration

    A DHCP lease duration defines how long your DHCP clients will hold the IP address by DHCP before it is released back to the server and the client needs to obtain a new IP.

    This can be useful for mobile devices and laptops so if a user gets an IP address from your DHCP server, then leaves the facility the DHCP server can cycle that IP address and hand it out to another user.

    I am going to proceed with the default value of 8 and click Next.

    Image 11
    DHCP Lease Duration

    Step 7. Configure DHCP Options

    The next screen will give you the opportunity to configure the DHCP options related to your DHCP scope. This is where you configure things like the default gateway, DNS servers and the AD domain.

    Select the Yes I want to configure these options now and click Next to continue.

    Image 13
    Configure DHCP Options

    Step 8. Configure the Router (default gateway)

    Enter your default gateway and click Add. In my case, it’s Your default gateway will almost certainly be different.

    Image 14
    DHCP Router / Default Gateway settings

    If you’re unsure you can open CMD and run the ipconfig /all command:

    Image 15
    ipconfig /all

    Step 9. Domain Name and DNS Servers

    The next page allows you to define your parent domain and DNS servers. Since my host is already joined to active directory and has these settings configured they are already populated for me.

    Image 16
    Configure DHCP Domain Name and DNS Servers

    Click Next to continue on to the next screen.

    Step 10. Configure WINS Servers (optional)

    The next step allows you to configure your WINS (Windows Internet Name Service). WINS has nearly been entirely been replaced by DNS so it’s pretty unlikely you will need to configure these settings… but you can do so here if you need to.

    Image 17
    Configure DHCP WINS server

    I’m going to click Next without entering any data.

    Step 11. Activate the DHCP Scope

    Most likely you will want to activate the DHCP scope so just click Next unless you have a need to activate it at a later time.

    Image 18
    Activate your DHCP scope

    Once you click next you can click Finish to close the wizard and finalize your DHCP scope.

    Image 19
    Finish your DHCP Scope Configuration Wizards

    That is all you need to do to get DHCP up and running! Great job getting through this one.

    Remember if you want to learn more about DHCP or take your Windows Server IT skills to the next level consider signing up to Server Academy with a free trial!

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