In computing, BOOTP, short for Bootstrap Protocol, is a UDP network protocol used for a network client to get the IP address automatically. It is usually done in booting process of computers or operating systems running on them. The BOOTP servers assign the IP-address from a pool of addresses to each client with a certain lease time. It is originally defined in RFC 951.

The protocol enables computers to get the IP address without any disk operations against floopy disks or hard disks. Historical UNIX-like diskless workstations tended to use BOOTP to obtain their IP address as well as the name and location of their boot image or kernel.

DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) is a new and advanced protocol based on BOOTP. Because BOOTP is considered rather obsolute, DHCP is usually recommended to use.

See also: RARP.

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