How to Set Up DHCP Failover on Windows Server 2012 R2

This article will guide you through the steps to install and configure DHCP Server in failover environment on Windows Server 2012 R2.

There are two method to provide DHCP failover:

1. Load Balancing
2. Hot Standby

Load balancing allows you to share the load between two or more DHCP servers while the Hot standby mode simply provide DHCP redundancy. We will be using Hot Standby mode in this guide.


  • To set up DHCP failover, you need two Windows Server 2012 machines.

You need to install the DHCP Server role on both machines in order to configure DHCP failover.

Open up Server Manager > Add Roles and features > Select DHCP Server > Click Next

Click Add Feature

Leave it default and Click Next

Click Next

Click Install

Open up DHCP Management Console, Right-click on IPv4 from the left column and select New Scope, then name it:

Specify the range of IP addresses that will be assigned by the scope. Note, we are configuring a scope for the Office network (IP range

You can add exclusions to the range of IPs:

Default lease duration settings are fine:

Choose Yes:

Add the gateway IP address:

Specify the DNS servers:

You don’t need to specify a WINS server:

Choose Yes:


Right-click on Scope from the left column and select Configure Failover:

Check Select all:

Click Add Server to add the partner server: 

Select the failover mode, then specify the role of partner server (in our example Hot standby mode):

Click Finish:

Check if all the jobs are completed successfully:

Right-click on Scope on the left column and select Properties, then open Failover tab:

Review the failover configuration status:

Repeat the operation on the partner server:

Review the failover configuration status of the partner server

You’re ready to test the Hot standby failover! Set the PCs of the LAN to obtain the IP address through the DHCP Server (in our example the master server is

Stop the DHCP service on the Master server:

From the Windows prompt send the ipconfig /release command and then ipconfig /renew, if the failover works fine the IP address will be assigned by the server partner (in our example

That's it.

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