DHCP high availability or failover on Windows Server can be configured in two ways.

  1. Load balancing
  2. Hot standby

Load balancing allows you to share the load between two DHCP servers while hot standby provides DHCP redundancy. In hot stand by mode, if a primary DHCP is down, secondary will keep on working and providing IP addresses to client machines. In this guide, I'll show you how to configure DHCP high availability in load balancing mode.

DHCP High Availability in Load Balancing Mode on Windows Server


This tutorial has the following prerequisites:

  1. Administrator account has a strong password.
  2. Static IP is configured.
  3. Latest Windows updates are installed.
  4. Firewall is turned off.
  5. A secondary or partner server with DHCP is already configured.

Installing DHCP on Primary Server

Step 1: Open server manager dashboard from task bar and click Add Roles and Features

Add Roles and Features

Step 2: Ensure the mentioned requirements are met and click Next

Check requirements

Step 3: Choose Role-based or feature-based installation and click Next.

Choose Role-based installation

Step 4: Choose the destination server on which you want to install DHCP and click Next.

 Choose the destination server

Step 5: Choose DHCP Server from roles and click Next.

 Choose DHCP Server

Step 6: Click Next.

 Install .NET Framework

Step 7: Read the notes and when you are finished reading it click Next.

 Confirm the install notes

Step 8: Click Install to start the installation process.

 Start the installation

Step 9: Click Complete DHCP configuration.

 Complete DHCP configuration

Step 10: Click Commit to complete the configuration of the DHCP server on the target computer.

 complete the configuration of the DHCP server on the target computer

Step 11: Click Close when the security groups have been created.

 click on close

Step 12: Click Close when an installation succeeded.

 Click Close when an installation succeeded.

Creating New Scope on Primary DHCP Server

Step 1: Open server manager dashboard and click Tools and scroll down the menu. Click DHCP.

 Open server manager dashboard

Step 2: Right-click IPv4 located under machine name and scroll down the menu. Click New Scope.

Add a new scope

Step 3: Click Next to proceed with the new scope wizard.

 new scope wizard

Step 4: Provide name and description. When you are done click Next.

 Enter the name and description

Step 5: Provide the IP address range for this new scope and click Next.

 Enter the IP address range

Step 6: Provide an IP address (es) you want to exclude and click Next.

 Exclude IP addresses from DHCP

Step 7: Keep the default lease duration and click Next.

 Set the DHCP lease time

Step 8: Choose No, I will configure these options later.

 Configure more options later

Step 9: Click Finish.


Step 10: Right-click the scope and scroll down the menu. Click Activate.

 Activate the scope

Configuring Failover at Primary DHCP Server

Step 1: From DHCP server console, right-click IPv4 and scroll down the menu. Click Configure Failover

 DHCP server failover

Step 2: Click Next in DHCP failover setup wizard.

 DHCP failover setup

Step 3: Provide the IP address and hostname of the partner or secondary server. Click Next.

 IP address and hostname

Step 4: Choose Load balance from Mode drop down and uncheck Enable Message Authentication. Keep other options as default. Click Next.

 Loadbalance mode

Step 5: Click Finish.

 Finish the setup

Step 6: Click Close and you are done configuring DHCP  high availability.

configuring DHCP high availability


I have configured DHCP high availability in load balancing mode and the configuration of hot standby mode is similar except there is a mode change at step 4. To confirm the configuration go to secondary or partner server and expand the Ipv4 node, you will notice the same scope of the primary server. You are done!!

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