Key Differences Between DHCP And DNS

Key Differences Between DHCP And DNS

An IP address or Internet Protocol address is an identifying number, which is associated with a certain computer or computer network. The primary function of this number is that it makes it easy for the computer to receive and send information. Two common terms that work directly or indirectly with IP addresses are DHCP and DNS.

DHCP is an acronym that stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. On the other hand, DNS stands for Domain Name System. Furthermore, both DHCP and DNS work across the client-server architecture, making it easy for us to connect to the internet. But here’s a burning question; is there any key difference between these two terms?

DHCP is a network protocol created to assign an IP address and other network parameters to a client. On the other hand, DNS functions primarily to convert domain names into IP addresses, which the machine can read. That said, the key difference between them is that DHCP assigns IP addresses while DNS resolves domain.

There’s no denying that DHCP and DNS have a lot to do with IP addresses. However, you need to understand that both of them function differently. In the rest of this post, you’ll find out everything you need to know about DHCP and DNS, including the key differences between them.

What You Need to Know About DHCP?

The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol or DHCP is an automated configuration protocol. It was first defined in RFC 1531 in October 1993. Furthermore, the network protocol is designed based on the Bootstrap Protocol (BOOTP) – this is a protocol that clients make use of to acquire IP addresses from a configuration server. 

DHCP is known as an automated configuration protocol because its primary function is to configure and assign DHCP-enabled clients automatically with IP addresses.

Benefits of DHCP

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol offers a host of benefits to people. Let’s have a quick look at some of them below:

  • Reliable configuration 

As earlier mentioned, the most important aspect of DHCP is that it offers us a reliable IP address configuration. You’ll surely agree with me that it can be very stressful and time-consuming to set up, configure, and manage an IP address. This is where the DHCP comes into play.

The network protocol makes everything easy by assigning DHCP-enabled clients automatically with IP addresses. That’s not all; DHCP also goes as far as helping them to hold and manage the addresses until the lease duration is over.

  • Eliminates configuration errors 

Another benefit of a DHCP is that it helps to mitigate configuration errors, which are often caused by manual IP address configuration. These errors could be typographical or caused by IP address conflicts – this happens mostly when an address gets assigned to multiple clients at a time.

  • Reduced network administration

Another benefit of a dynamic host configuration protocol is that it helps to reduce network administration using several different features.

For instance, the network protocol makes it easy to perform a centralized and automated TCP/IP configuration. That’s not all; it also goes as far as defining the TCP/IP configurations from a central location.

How does DHCP work?

As we all know, the primary function of a dynamic host configuration protocol is to assign and offer IP addresses and other necessary information to the DHCP-enabled clients. However, you need to understand that this doesn’t just happen.

  • The work of a DHCP often starts with a boot process. After that, the client will send out a broadcast message, called DHCPDISCOVER in search of the available DHCP servers.
  • Up next, any available DHCP server, upon seeing DHCPDISCOVER, will respond with a DHCPOFFER.
  • As soon as the client sees the “DHCPOFFER” broadcast message, which could come from several different servers, it’ll respond with a broadcast message called a DHCPREQUEST, accepting the first offer.
  • Lastly, the server whose offer was accepted will acknowledge the client’s action. It’ll do this by responding with a “DHCPACK” broadcast message. This time, the packet will come with the client’s IP address and other IP information.

What You Need to Know About DNS?

A Domain Name Server (DNS) is a global network that primarily functions to link URLs to their IP addresses.

Furthermore, it is a hierarchical and decentralized naming system that takes hostnames or alphanumeric domain names, and translates them into numeric IP addresses that the system can read.

Benefits of DNS

A domain name server offers several great benefits for online users. First, it’s the only available system that allows us to browse the internet with ease.

DNS makes it possible and easy for online users to find various websites using their preferred web browsers. All they need to do is to type the name of the website and the DNS does the job for them.

Furthermore, DNS helps to eliminate the need for us to memorize numbers, which are IP addresses needed to assess the internet. Instead, it helps to convert the addresses into domain names, which are a lot easier to memorize.

DHCP vs. DNS: What Are the Key Differences Between Them?

Now, let’s go back to the burning question; what are the main differences between DHCP and DNS?

To answer the question, I’ll be using different factors, such as ports, protocol supported, their, and function.

  • Functions

As earlier stated, the primary difference between DHCP and DNS can be seen in the way both of them work. The DHCP is specifically designed to help assign IP addresses to clients. On the other hand, the DNS primarily functions to resolve the domain.

That’s not all; the domain name server works in a decentralized system. This is unlikely of a DHCP; it only functions in a Centralized System.

One of the differences between the DHCP and DNS is that the dynamic host configuration protocol only functions on two ports; 67 and 68. On the other hand, the domain name server only utilizes a single port, which is port 53.

Furthermore, the dynamic host configuration protocol only offers support for User Datagram Protocol (UDP). Although DNS also uses UDP for names and queries, that’s not the only protocol it supports. In addition to that, a domain name server also utilizes TCP, or Transmission Control Protocol, for Zone transfer.

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