Written by Paul Hill on December 22, 2020
Paul Hill is the founder of ServerAcademy.com and IT instructor to over 500,000 students online!
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.
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:
Step 3. Proceed to the Server Roles page
Now click Next until you reach the Server Roles page. Click the DHCP Server checkbox.
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.
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:
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:
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:
Step 2. Create a New Scope
Expand your DHCP server and right-click IPv4 and select New 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.
Step 4. IP Address Range
Now enter your desired start and end IP address ranges. I am going to use 10.1.0.100 – 10.1.0.200.
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.
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.
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.
Step 8. Configure the Router (default gateway)
Enter your default gateway and click Add. In my case, it’s 10.0.0.1. Your default gateway will almost certainly be different.
If you’re unsure you can open CMD and run the ipconfig /all command:
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.
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.
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.
Once you click next you can click Finish to close the wizard and finalize your DHCP scope.
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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