The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) enables host systems in a TCP/IP network to be configured automatically for the network as they boot. DHCP uses a client and server mechanism. Servers store and manage configuration information for clients, and provide that information as a result of a client's request. The information includes the client's IP address and information about network services that are available to the client.
A primary benefit of DHCP is its ability to manage IP address assignments through leasing. Leasing enables IP addresses to be reclaimed when not in use and reassigned to other clients. This ability enables a site to use a smaller pool of IP addresses than would be needed if all clients were assigned a permanent address.