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News alert! Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses are quickly running out!

Internet registries from Europe and North America are almost out of free IPv4 addresses. Other regions like Africa, Asia, and Latin America will also share the same sentiment as the free available IPv4s are officially running out. It may take a few years for this to happen, but when it does, regional authorities will experience a shortage of IPv4 addresses.

What options do we have if this happens soon?

Although a newer version, the IPv6 is in the offing, it may take some time for this protocol to be fully autonomous and 100 percent operational. And although it is a big possibility to purchase recovered IPv4 address space from the authorities, this can be really tedious, time consuming, challenging and very pricey.  

To address this forthcoming situation, we can go through certain things that you need to know about renting an IP address. We will try to provide answers to all FAQs like but not limited to: What are the advantages of renting over purchasing an IP address? What are the processes for renting an IP? What you need to expect and receive?

  1. How are IP Addresses Allocated?

You need to know first how these IP addresses are designated, allocated and who are behind it, before you can even get your hands on. After all, there has to be someone or sort of authority that oversees and controls how IPs are used and maximized. Otherwise, we would have depleted these IP addresses a long time ago. The two protocols, IPv4 and IPv6 are hierarchically assigned.   

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority or the IANA designates identification numbers to lower Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) authorities. Being at the top of the chain, the IANA direct the Internet resources in particular regions across the globe.

The five Regional Internet Registries and what they stand for are the following:

The RIPE NCC and ARIN are considered to be the two most significant RIRs today. The RIPE NCC deals with all European IP addresses and the ARIN handles the United States IP addresses which also includes Canada and some Caribbean islands. Other countries also have their own National Internet Registry or NIR that manages internet resources at the national level.

The RIRs or the NIRs allocate IP addresses to the Local Internet Registries (LIRs) and ISP. These are then assigned, either renting or selling, IPs to the End Users or the EUs.

  1. To Buy or To Rent an IP Address?

In brief, buying or renting an IP address will always depend on what your requirements are and what resources you have on hand. Do you need to build equity or do you want to have more control? Do you want it to provide more flexibility and mobility at a very low cost? To rent or to buy, that will basically depend on what you have and what you really need.

Buying an IP address or leasing one can have their advantages, but will also have their fair share of disadvantages.

II.A Purchase IP Address Space?

RIPE NCC and ARIN members can still have “recovered IPv4 address space,” but the process in obtaining and getting it is not that totally easy. To get your hands on a 24/7 block, you need to be a LIR member first, be eligible to request which can be very hard, sign up to a waiting list, and then wait to get approved, which can take time. RIRs that do come with free available IPs have demanding due diligence on when, who obtains them, and the number of IP addresses they give out.

What are your choices?

You can still purchase IPv4s from third-party companies that has their own IPs, in this case a LIR, or from broker-companies that are always searching for unused IP address blocks that have been given by an RIR or LIR. These blocks are usually brought to the marketplace by these brokers. They can then mediate among the sellers and buyers.

The most important downside when you buy an IP address block is its price. The initial cost can be quite prohibitive, and the price generally increases over time. However the good side when you decide to get an IP addresses is that you can manipulate and have total control over them and you also have more power on your IP. You will no longer need a third-party every time you think about rerouting your traffic.

  • In a nutshell, buying an IP space can be really burdensome and tedious, expensive and the process can be slow.
  • However, buying an IP address can provide you with total control on them.

II.B Lease IP Address Space

When you rent an IP address, you are avoiding the usual slow, tedious and complicated process that goes when you are buying one. Moreover, if you decide to go on renting an IP address, it allows you to skip the hefty price tag and you can opt-out anytime you want out without any significant losses on your part.

If you are making a new ISP, your best choice is to purchase IP address blocks, ideally lots of address blocks.  However if you are searching for a few blocks, say, hundreds or even thousands of them for some months or even years, the perfect approach for this would be to lease out from a reliable LIR provider.

Leasing an IP address is relatively easier and faster. It requires almost no complicated and paper intensive process and you do away with all those hefty initial pay.

However, when you decide to rent or lease an IP address, you will also have lesser control, that is one downside. You will also need a Letter of Authorization or LoA or a permit in order to for you to advertise your new IPs.

III. So how do you obtain a New IP Address?

If you decide to purchase an IP Address space or lease it, it will eventually depend on your resources and requirements. It will likewise depend on the length of time you will use your new address block. Do you need it for a few days, a couple of months or even a few years? What about your plans and your path when it comes to IPv6 migration? If you decide to migrate from the IPv4 to the newer version of IPv6, you most probably will need the older version for a shorter period of time. Below, you will know how the process of leasing IP address works.

III.A Clearly define all your IP requirements

Popular IP rentals use cases are either hosting a website or email server. They also host DNS server, FTP server, VPN, proxy, wireless, data centers (collocated or cloud), web scraping, marketing, ISPs or High-Frequency Trading (HTF).

Think about the approximate number of IP addresses you would need and for how long will you need it for? Using the right network design and forecast, you can be able to know and determine the number of IP addresses that you will be needing. For example, an application may need two of IPv4s /24(256), but a hosting service, proxy, VPN, ISP and the likes, you would probably need more than just a couple of IPv4s.

Think whether you want an IPv4 or the much newer IPv6. If you are torn between the two IPs, it would generally depend on your migration plan. If you want to migrate from your current infrastructure to the latest version, you will have to rent IPv4s.  Or if you are backed up with an infra that supports IPv6, then you can proceed to this version 100%. Below are the following chart that will give you an idea of the number of IPs you will have with the CIDR.

IPv4 CIDR Netmask 

No. of IPs







IPv6 CIDR Netmask 

No. of IPs









III.B What Should You Get When You Rent an IP?

If you want to rent IPV4s, third-party companies that are LIR members are probably the perfect places to go to. LIRs must have a range of IP address blocks to present to you, maybe on IPv4 or IPv6. They should also be able to offer ad provide additional services to make the process run smoother and faster.

Once you have placed your order, you will be given the dedicated bulk of IPs which you can use, only after they are announced on your upstream provider like your local ISP, cloud, enterprise and the likes.

You will likewise receive a Letter of Authorization or LoA. This LoA can be forwarded to your provider in order for them to include your IP block on their border gateways using the exterior protocol, BGP. This letter also provides the service provider the authority to promote the IPs among various Autonomous Systems or AS on the net.

  1. What to Look for an IP Renting Service?

IP Address provider who is in the IP renting business, is actually a registered LIR. They can be a member of one or even more RIRs. When you rent IP address space from them, they will temporarily provide you with an authority (through the LoA) over a part of their IP addresses.

So, what are the traits or features that you probably should look for in these IP leasing services?

IV.A Make sure that the IP Rental Service is the direct provider that owns all IPs

If a company owns the IPs, the distribution should be easy and fast. If brokers and middleman or third party companies enters the scene, they can IP rental more complicated and can cost more in the process. Always remember, these brokers do not own these IPs, they do not have the same authority that of an LIR who owns the IPs. Search for IP renting providers who offer IPv4 address blocks bigger than /24 like /23 and /22. These IP leasing providers are most likely to own the IPs.

  1. B Make sure that the IP Addresses can be deployed fast and easy

When the IPs are owned by the IP leasing provider, it would have a better turn around. These IPs can be deployed almost immediately. So, when searching for IP addresses, look for services that can announce IPs within the next 24hours after placing your order. Moreover, the services for deploying IPs that you should avail must be flexible and agile. You might also need either a dedicated or a virtual server to host the IPs quickly and without any issues.

  1. C Locate What Region is the IP Provider is Registered.

To be able to use the IP address that was given to you by the IP address provider according to what was mandated by the RIR, a LoA is given. Here, you will be able to determine where the provider is registered. And if your private network is spanning more than one region, say, VPs and Proxies, you can be able to announce a prefix that belongs to one region in another. Of course, this would depend on where the business is registered.

  1. D Extra Features to make your IPs deploys quicker and without much hassle

Please note that some the features below can be beneficial in certain cases only:

  • Reverse DNS resolution or rDNS. This protocol locates the domain name associated with the IP. When you get the new lease IP address block, you need to make their rDNS records or entries. Make sure that the service will help you with the rDNS configuration.
  • Geolocate your Internet Protocols. It can be very helpful if you can geolocate your IPs. This feature however can only be useful in specific cases like personalizing content, identifying fraud, targeting ads, geo fencing and doing traffic analysis. It is also likely that the IP renting service will not have this feature or they will not have an IP geolocation service to offer to you. It will be big help though if the IP leasing service works with the top third-party geo IP providers. These providers can map your IPs to an accurate geographical location. They can do this by starting from your home RIR, down to the country area, weather code, local ISP and your zip code.
  • Conform with Bring Your Own IP (BYOIP). Currently, big cloud provider allows you to Bring Your Own IP or BYOIP address space and applies them with their services. Example, you can bring your leased IPs deployed on an apps to update firewall rules in say, CloudFlare, or use them in other cloud platform like the AWS Global Accelarator, Oracle Cloud, Google Cloud Platform and more.
  • Servers or VPSs. Search for services that offers flexibility during deployment. Some of these services can also offer infra or Virtual Private Servers (VPS) to launch your new IP addresses.
  1. E Flexible and Transparent Paying Alternatives

Make sure that they offer transparent and flexible paying options. Check if these Lease IP Company allow and accept payments aside from the traditional options. They should be able to accept any of the following traditional payment options; credit card, debit cards, Paypal, check payments and even cash. They should likewise accept payment from newer alternatives like bitcoins or other cryptocurrrencies. Aside from this, ensure that they allow flexibility in terms of short terms and long terms. Rent for a year if you will be using the IPs for a long haul. However, try to check other apps like pen-testing and sandboxing.

Word of caution: make sure that there are no hidden charges that the proposed rental provider may include in your statement. Also check for any accumulative price increases.

  1. F Customer Support

One of the most vital considerations that you have to think about when getting a new IP is the customer support. A good IP company will have lots of good reviews, they are highly recommended and its reputations are clearly intact. Check those out carefully. Please note however that some of these reviews and recommendations can be dubious as well, thus you have to be discerning on what are real and dependable reviews. Also, check if they provide SLA? What kind of customer support do they offer? Check if the support is just a chatbox (usually on a 24/7 basis) and sets of FAQs? Are they able to solve all problems and concerns? Do they have reliable and highly knowledgeable live agents who you can talk to real time? Before making a decision, always make sure that you have thoroughly checked this one out.

  1. Benefits of Renting IP Address Space:

Obtaining a new IPv4 space block by becoming a Local Internet Registry or LIR is not practical. Becoming a member of an RIR is likewise unrealistic. The LIRs, allocate IP addressing space to all end-users of the network services. ISPs are the usual and most common LIRs. Here customers are their own network end-users. To become an LIR, you need to submit a request to your RIR. You also need to open a ticket, then, wait for the approval. You will most likely experience a delay for say, a couple of months without having any idea if you will get approved.

One thing is certain though, our IP addresses are quickly running out, IPv4 to be exact, and that is a fact! IPv4 pools from RIRs are almost depleted, zero, zilch. So the chance of obtaining IPv4 space is likewise getting lower and lower.

What are the other key benefits from renting IP address space?

Leasing from direct owners. You could, obviously, rent IP address space from a third party company but if you do this directly to the owner, it will save you time, money and resources. If you get rid of the middleman, the cost goes down, the streamlined process becomes faster and hassle free.

Avoid blacklisting with your dedicated IPs. Services like but not limited to app/website hosting, domain names are more likely to share one IP with other domains. If the other domain who shares your IP generates a bad traffic and gets flagged down, your domain will most likely suffer the same fate. It can get blacklisted as well. To avoid such issue, lease IP that are clean and dedicated.

Lastly, acquire a large IPv6 address space and start migrating. Now that almost everybody is running out of IP addresses, now would be the best time to contemplate and think about migrating to IPv6. A small-medium IPv4 address block is your best bet to begin with your migration plan to the newer version IPv6.

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