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!
What is an IP Address?
Before dealing with dedicated and shared IP addresses, let’s remind ourselves what an IP address is. 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 188.8.131.525. 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?
The name speaks for itself. A dedicated IP address is a unique IP address assigned exclusively to your website, usually by your hosting provider. It’s not shared or used by any other domain names. You can also purchase a dedicated IP address as an add-on for a small fee.
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. Below we’ve listed a few benefits of a dedicated IP address?
Back in the day, the main selling point of dedicated IP addresses was the 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.
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.
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 DNS settings for the domain name.
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. , 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.”
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 IP’s 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.