When you sign up for a hosting account, most providers will host your site on a shared IP address, especially if you’re on shared hosting. However, they’ll offer you a dedicated IP either via an upsell during the initial order or as an option in your hosting panel. In this article, we’ll explain what a dedicated IP address is and why you may need one. Let’s dive straight into the subject!
Before dealing with dedicated and shared IP addresses, let’s remind ourselves what an IP address is.
Table of Contents
- What Is an IP Address?
- What Is a Dedicated IP Address?
- What Is a Shared IP Address?
- Dedicated IP vs Shared IP Address
- What Are the Benefits of a Dedicated Ip Address?
- Do I Need a Dedicated Ip Address?
- Final Words
What Is an IP Address?
In a nutshell, IP (Internet Protocol) is a string of numbers separated by periods that identify a device on the Internet or a local network. It acts as a unique identifier that provides a valid location of a machine or a website in a given network.
Each domain on the web has an assigned IP address. For example, the IP address of yourdomain.com is 184.108.40.2065. IP addresses are mapped to domain names via DNS (Domain Name System). In essence, DNS is a database that links meaningful names (known as hostnames) to a specific IP address.
What Is a Dedicated IP Address?
A dedicated IP address is exclusively assigned to a specific device or hosting account. In contrast to shared IP addresses, where multiple users or websites share the same IP address, a dedicated IP address is uniquely allocated to a single entity.
Dedicated IP addresses provide a unique identity for a device or website, ensuring that any communication sent from dedicated IP is associated with the specific platform assigned to it.
A dedicated IP address allows hosting websites or applications direct access to the server using the IP without port forwarding or other methods.
Since the Domain Name System (DNS) translates domain names (e.g., example.com) into IP addresses, visitors can access a website directly via its IP address. For instance, instead of accessing a website as “example.com,” you can enter it using “http://192.0.2.1” if that’s its dedicated IP address.
Where a Unique IP Is Used?
Dedicated IPs are suitable for high-traffic websites. If you have a busy site, a dedicated IP address can help ensure smoother performance by eliminating potential bottlenecks associated with sharing an IP.
E-commerce websites often require a new IP address to establish secure connections for online transactions. Payment gateways and merchant accounts often have specific requirements for SSL certificates, which may need a dedicated IP.
Besides enhancing website performance, dedicated IP addresses help users remotely connect to a specific device or network via a VPN (Virtual Private Network) setup.
What Is a Shared IP Address?
Again, as the name implies, a shared IP address is a single address assigned to multiple websites within one web server. You’ll commonly find shared IP addresses with shared hosting providers or managed WordPress hosts.
Having your site on a shared IP is not necessarily a bad thing. It doesn’t impact your website’s performance the same way as shared hosting does, where server resources are limited. Nowadays, a shared IP offers you almost the same benefits as a dedicated one, but there are a few instances where you may consider upgrading to the dedicated option.
Where a Shared IP Is Used?
ISPs (Internet Service Providers) often use shared IP addresses to allocate addresses dynamically to their customers. When you connect to the internet, your ISP assigns you an IP address from a pool of available shared IPs, allowing them to manage IP resources and reduce costs.
A router or firewall can use Network Address Translation (NAT) to share a single public IP address among multiple devices in a private network. allowing them to access the Internet via a single IP.
Many small and medium-sized websites are hosted on shared hosting platforms, where multiple websites share the same IP address allocated to the server.
Finally, public Wi-Fi networks often use shared IP addresses to serve multiple users simultaneously. Each user connected to the network shares the same IP address when accessing the internet.
Dedicated IP vs Shared IP Address
Think of dedicated IP addresses as personalized phone numbers. Just like having your own exclusive number, a dedicated IP address is assigned to a specific device or website alone. It’s like having a private line that ensures any communication sent or received is directly associated with you. Dedicated IP addresses come in handy for various reasons.
On the other hand, shared IP addresses can be linked to party lines. Imagine a group of neighbors sharing the same telephone line. In a shared IP setup, multiple devices or websites share the same IP address. It’s like many websites residing together under a single address.
What Are the Benefits of a Dedicated Ip Address?
A dedicated IP address can offer numerous benefits for individuals, businesses, and organizations seeking greater control, customization, and security in their online presence. Below we’ve listed a few of them:
1. SSL Certificates
Back in the day, the main selling point of dedicated IP addresses was SSL certificates. To install a commercial SSL cert on your server, a dedicated IP address was a must. However, with the introduction of SNI (Server Name Indication), running multiple SSL certificates on the same IP address became possible.
Today, SNI is compatible with all the major browsers and server systems. However, some older Safari and Android versions don’t support SNI. While this may not be an issue for regular websites, for enterprises running on older systems or having a large client base, a dedicated IP address is still the better option. With many users browsing via outdated Android devices, even a blogger may consider getting a dedicated IP address to reach a larger audience.
2. Email Deliverability
Sometimes, a user sharing the same IP address with you may get banned or blacklisted for spamming, which may affect your email service as well. A dedicated IP address eliminates this scenario from ever happening. Dedicated IP addresses are also beneficial for large-volume senders such as e-commerce sites, where sales emails must reach high delivery rates. An IP’s reputation can impact your delivery rate and customer outreach.
3. Easy Access to Your Website Anytime You Need
Sometimes, you need to check how the website will look before pointing the domain name to the server and launching your website on the web. With a dedicated IP address, you can access the server directly without changing the DNS settings for the domain name.
4. Custom DNS Settings
Custom DNS is another notable benefit of having a dedicated IP address. With a dedicated IP, you have the flexibility and control to configure and manage your own Domain Name System (DNS) settings, enabling you to have a more personalized and optimized online presence.
The DNS is responsible for translating human-readable domain names (e.g., example.com) into the corresponding IP addresses that computers and servers understand. By customizing your DNS settings with a dedicated IP, you can enhance your control over how your domain name is resolved and associated with your IP address.
5. Reliable VoIP and Gaming
With a dedicated IP, your VoIP (Voice over IP) calls or online gaming sessions are not affected by the activities of other users sharing the same IP address. This isolation ensures a more stable connection, minimizing disruptions and maintaining consistent voice quality or gaming performance. On top of that, the latency (delay between sending a request and receiving a response) is low.
In VoIP and gaming, high latency can lead to noticeable delays and hinder real-time communication or gaming interactions. With a dedicated IP, you can experience reduced latency because you don’t share your connection with others.
6. A Word About SEO
Some dishonest hosting providers in their desperate attempt to earn more profits will lead you to believe that the type of your IP has an impact on SEO and that a dedicated IP address is better. However, the type of IP address doesn’t influence your SEO and Google rank whatsoever. In a video uploaded on Youtube, John Muller, a Webmaster Trends Analyst from Google, dispels the myths of IP addresses and SEO:
“All the same IP address — that’s really not a problem for us. It’s really common for sites to be on the same IP address. That’s kind of the way the internet works. A lot of CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) use the same IP address as well for different sites, and that’s also perfectly fine.”
Do I Need a Dedicated Ip Address?
Now, let’s see why you might prefer a dedicated IP address. Firstly, it’s like having a VIP pass for secure connections. Some special security certificates require a dedicated IP to work. Additionally, if you’re concerned about your email reputation, a dedicated IP allows you to maintain a separate identity, shielding you from the actions of others who might share an IP address. Finally, traffic-heavy websites and e-commerce platforms benefit from enhanced performance and security when using a dedicated IP.
Choosing between a dedicated and a shared IP depends on your specific needs. If you need enhanced security, unique access controls, or custom requirements, getting a unique IP address is the best choice. However, if you’re seeking cost-effectiveness and resource optimization and don’t mind sharing it with others, a shared IP address might be a more viable option.
Now that you know what a dedicated IP address is, and how it is different from a shared IP, you can decide whether your website needs one or not. Dedicated IPs are not expensive, so if you’re looking for small-margin improvements in customer communication and website management you may get one. However, shared IPs are perfectly fine and won’t have a negative impact on your website’s performance.