Difference between BOOTP and DHCP

BOOTP, Bootstrap Protocol, is used to configure the host and get the host address along with bootstrap info. DHCP, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Server is an extended version of BOOTP and is used to configure the hosts dynamically.

Read through this article to find out more about these two protocols and how they differ from each other.

What is BOOTP?

The Bootstrap Protocol is a networking protocol that allows a configuration server to provide an IP address to network devices automatically in Internet Protocol networks. RFC 951 was the first to define the BOOTP.

When a network-connected machine wakes up, its IP stack sends out BOOTP network signals asking for an IP address. When a BOOTP configuration server receives a request, it assigns an IP address from a pool of addresses that an administrator has prepared.

BOOTP is implemented with the UDP as the transport protocol, with the (DHCP) server accepting client queries on port 67 and the client receiving (DHCP) server answers on port 68. Only IPv4 networks aresupported by BOOTP.

What is DHCP?

The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is a network management protocol for Internet Protocol (IP) networks that assigns IP addresses and other communication settings to devices connected to the network using a client-server architecture.

DHCP is a client/server protocol that automatically assigns an IP address and other configuration information to an Internet Protocol (IP) host, such as the subnet mask and default gateway. When using DHCP, the server uses port 67 and the client uses port 68.

When a computer is connected into a different location on the network, DHCP allows a network administrator to oversee and distribute IP addresses from a central location, and it immediately transmits a new Internet Protocol (IP) address.

The technique removes the need to manually configure network devices by combining two network components: a centrally deployed network DHCP server and the client instances of the protocol stack on each computer or device. When a client connects to the network forthe first time, it utilizes the DHCP protocol to ask the DHCP server for a set of parameters.

DHCP may be used on a variety of networks, from small home networks to big university networks and regional ISP networks. DHCP server capability is available on many routers and residential gateways. Within the ISP network, most residential network routers are assigned a unique IP address. A DHCP server allocates a local IP address to each device on a local network.

DHCP is versatile than BOOTP and it also supports backward compatibility which means DHCP can interoperate with BOOTP clients.

Difference between BOOTP and DHCP

The following table highlights the major differences between BOOTP and DHCP.

Full FormBOOTP stands for Bootstrap Protocol.DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.
Temporary IP AddressBOOTP has no support for temporary IP Addressing.DHCP Server supports temporary IP Addressing but for limited period of time.
Client SupportBOOTP does not support DHCP Clients.DHCP server supports BOOTP Clients.
Configuration TypeIn BOOTP, configuration has to be done manually.In DHCP, configuration is automatic.
Mobile Device SupportMobile devices are not supported.DHCP supports mobile devices.
Error ProbabilityConfiguration being manual, it often leads to errors.Automatic configuration prevents the chances of errors.


Both BOOTP and DHCP are address assignment protocols, but they differ in the way they handle the process. BOOTP is an older protocol, which is obsolete now. DHCP is an advanced protocol and is widely used today.

BOOTP supports static configuration of the IP addresses, while DHCP supports dynamic configuration, which means that DHCP automatically assigns and obtains the IP addresses from the computer connected to the Internet

Updated on: 22-Aug-2022

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