I'm creating a local network that I would like to have DHCP capability.

I have a primary Windows 10 PC that will be on the local network full time. Is it possible to configure this PC as a DHCP server when other PCs connect to the local network? I'm curious if this is possible or if I will need to be a router w/ DHCP capability.

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    You need a DHCP server software for Windows then even Win10 should be able to provide DHCP services. As Windows 10 is a client OS the DHCP server is not available from Microsoft. – Robert Jan 15 at 21:13

Windows 10 itself doesn't come with a good DHCP server. It has a very minimal one, as part of the "Internet Connection Sharing" feature (still exists on Win10), but you can't really configure it in any way and I wouldn't recommend using it.

(That said, Windows Server editions have a fully featured DHCP server as an installable feature.)

It is possible to install and run third-party DHCP server software on Windows, and there are several free and commercial DHCP server apps available if you search.

Alternatively, the PC could run a virtual machine which provides DHCP services, e.g. regular Linux/BSD (or indeed even Windows Server) or specialized pfSense/RouterOS/etc. The primary requirement is that the VM must be directly bridged to the host's Ethernet connection. (I think all VM software has this mode.)

The DHCP server does not need to be on a router, as long as it correctly advertises where the router is (i.e. the correct "default gateway" parameter).

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    An alternative approach could be to use docker with a dhcp server. (hub.docker.com/r/networkboot/dhcpd/…) That way, you can run it in Windows 10. – LPChip Jan 15 at 21:29
  • Hmm, I haven't used Docker yet, but I've heard enough horror stories about its approach to networking that I really wouldn't want to dockerize anything like DHCP (or anything else that has requirements beyond elementary TCP), especially not if it's someone's first try at doing DHCP on their own. – user1686 Jan 15 at 21:35
  • It really depends on you understanding what Docker is and how much you need to deviate from the default packages. In the case of this dhcp server, its pretty much install and run with minor tweaks to setup how the dhcp is setup. At work we have a NAS with docker on it that runs a full Active Directory. Far more advanced than this and works well. Docker works great when setup to just do one thing without much interaction, other than what it normally provides to you. – LPChip Jan 15 at 21:38
  • Well no, Active Directory has fewer requirements than DHCP does – the DC can easily sit several routers away or even behind NAT, less so with a DHCP server... My worry is about situations where it fails to do its "one thing" for some mysterious reason. – user1686 Jan 15 at 21:44
  • luckily, as it is dhcp, when it fails you find out quickly, but as a docker container it would be a matter of restarting the docker to fix it unless there is a misconfigure somewhere. – LPChip Jan 15 at 21:47

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