Public IP Addresses

This topic describes how to manage public IPv4 addresses on instances in a virtual cloud network (VCN).

IPv6 addressing is supported for all commercial and government regions. For more information, see IPv6 Addresses.

Overview of Public IP Addresses

A public IP address is an IPv4 address that is reachable from the internet. If a resource in your tenancy needs to be directly reachable from the internet, it must have a public IP address. Depending on the type of resource, there might be other requirements.

Certain types of resources in your tenancy are designed to be directly reachable from the internet and therefore automatically come with a public IP address. For example: a NAT gateway or a public load balancer. Other types of resources are directly reachable only if you configure them to be. For example: instances in your VCN.

This topic focuses on these subjects:

  • The types of public IP addresses and their characteristics
  • How to control whether an instance has a public IP address

For more information about resources that automatically get a public IP address, see Resources That Always Get a Public IP.

Instances and Public IP Addresses

You can assign a public IP address to an instance to enable communication with the internet. The instance is assigned a public IP address from the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure address pool.

The assignment is actually to a private IP object linked to the instance's VNIC. The VNIC that the private IP is assigned to must be in a public subnet. A given instance can have multiple secondary VNICs, and a given VNIC can have multiple secondary private IP addresses. So you can assign a given instance multiple public IP objects across one or more VNICs if you like.

For an instance to communicate directly with the internet, all of the following are required:


Oracle Cloud Infrastructure FastConnect public peering lets your on-premises network access the public IP addresses of resources in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure without the traffic traversing the internet. For more information, see FastConnect.

The Public IP Object

The Networking service defines an object called a public IP, which has these attributes:

  • Public IPv4 address (chosen by Oracle)
  • Properties that further define the object's type and behavior. For example, each public IP object has an Oracle-assigned OCID (see Resource Identifiers).
  • An assignment to a private IP address used by an instance VNIC.
  • If you're using the API, you can also assign each public IP object a descriptive name.

The term public IP as used here usually refers to the object and not merely to the IP address it contains.

Types of Public IPs

A public IP can have one of two types:

  • Ephemeral: The object is temporary and exists only for the lifetime of the instance.
  • Reserved: The object is persistent and exists beyond the lifetime of the instance it's assigned to. You can unassign it and then reassign it to another instance whenever you like. An exception is a reserved public IP on a public load balancers. See Overview of Public IP Addresses.

The following table summarizes the differences between the two types.

Characteristic Ephemeral Public IPs Reserved Public IPs
Allowed assignment

To a VNIC's primary private IP only


  • One per VNIC
  • Two per VM instance, and 16 per bare metal instance

To either a primary or secondary private IP

Limit: 32 per VNIC


Optionally created and assigned during instance launch or secondary VNIC creation. You can create and assign one later if the VNIC doesn't already have one.


You create one at any time. You can then assign it when you like.

Limit: You can create 50 per region


You can unassign it at any time, which deletes it. You might do this if whoever launched the instance included a public IP, but you don't want the instance to have one.

When you stop an instance, its ephemeral public IPs remain assigned to the instance.

You can unassign it at any time, which returns it to your tenancy's pool of reserved public IPs.
Moving to a different resource

You cannot move an ephemeral public IP to a different private IP.

If assigned to a secondary private IP: If you move the private IP to a different VNIC (must be in the same subnet), the reserved public IP goes with it.

You can move it (unassign and then reassign it) at any time to another private IP in the same region. Can be in a different VCN or availability domain.

Automatic deletion

Its lifetime is tied to the private IP's lifetime. Automatically unassigned and deleted when:

  • Its private IP is deleted
  • Its VNIC is detached or terminated
  • Its instance is terminated

Never. Exists until you delete it.

Scope Availability domain Regional (can be assigned to a private IP in any availability domain in the region)
Compartment and availability domain Same as the private IPs Can be different from the private IPs

When you launch an instance in a public subnet, by default, the instance gets a public IP unless you say otherwise. See Choosing Whether an Ephemeral Public IP is Assigned at Instance Creation.

After you create a given public IP object, you can't change which type it is. Therefore, if you launch an instance and assign it an ephemeral public IP with address, you can't convert the ephemeral public IP to a reserved public IP with address

The preceding table notes the public IP limits per VNIC and instance. If you try to perform any operation that assigns or moves a public IP to a VNIC or instance that has already reached its public IP limit, an error is returned. The operations include:

  • Assigning a public IP
  • Creating a new secondary VNIC with a public IP
  • Moving a private IP with a public IP to another VNIC
  • Moving a public IP to another private IP

Resources That Always Get a Public IP

As mentioned earlier, certain types of resources are designed to be directly reachable from the internet. Examples: a NAT gateway or a public load balancer. These resources automatically get a public IP address upon creation. Oracle chooses the public IP address from the Oracle pool. You can't remove or change the address.

For public load balancers, the address can be either a regional reserved public IP address that you create from a pool and assign to the load balancer at creation time, or an ephemeral public IP address assigned by Oracle for the life of the load balancer. When the load balancer is no longer needed, the ephemeral IP address is returned to the pool of available addresses, but the reserved IP address can be moved to a different resource. While active, this public IP appears in the list of your tenancy's reserved public IPs, which you can view in the Console.

For NAT gateways, the address is a regional ephemeral public IP that is assigned to the NAT gateway. Like other ephemeral public IPs, it's automatically unassigned and deleted when you terminate its assigned resource (the NAT gateway). However, unlike other ephemeral public IPs, you can't edit it or unassign it yourself.

Required IAM Policy

To use Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, you must be granted security access in a policy  by an administrator. This access is required whether you're using the Console or the REST API with an SDK, CLI, or other tool. If you get a message that you don't have permission or are unauthorized, verify with your administrator what type of access you have and which compartment  to work in.

For administrators: see IAM Policies for Networking.

Public IP Tasks