If you’re doing business online, you likely have a general idea of what an IP address is.
IP stands for Internet Protocol which in layman’s terms, is a string of numbers that identifies your website. For example, a standard IP address would look like this: 18.104.22.168.
What you may not know, however, is that IP addresses are classified into two types.
Dedicated IP addresses only identify a single website, whereas shared IP addresses identify several websites sharing the same IP address.
Not sure which one is the best for you? Keep reading and find out the benefits and differences between a dedicated and a shared IP address, as well as their impact on your website.
What is a Dedicated IP Address?
Simply put, a dedicated IP address is a unique sequence of numbers that identifies your website.
In other words, a dedicated IP address is assigned specifically to your domain. It isn’t connected to or used by any other domains.
For example, if you were to type your dedicated IP address into your search bar instead of your website’s URL, your website would pop up on your Internet browser.
What is a Shared IP Address?
A shared IP address is a string of numbers that identifies several different websites.
For this reason, the actions of one domain can impact other domains (e.g. if one domain is sending spam, your shared IP address can get blacklisted, which affects all domains sharing the same IP address).
More often than not, if you’re using shared hosting for your website, the hosting provider will assign it a shared IP address.
That said, shared hosting and a shared IP address aren’t mutually inclusive. You can also opt for a dedicated IP address with shared hosting.
Differences Between Using a Dedicated IP vs Shared IP Address?
Here are the main differences between using a dedicated IP address and a shared IP address you should be aware of:
- Number of domains. While a dedicated IP address identifies a single domain, a shared IP address identifies multiple domains.
- Other domain activity. If you’re using a shared IP address, your IP address reputation depends on the activity of all domains connected to that IP address. With a dedicated IP address, on the other hand, you’re in control of your IP address reputation.
- Software. Although it happens rarely, some software may require you to use a dedicated IP address.
- Price. Once you sign up for a hosting service, a shared IP address comes free of charge as part of the hosting plan. Using a dedicated IP address, however, costs a monthly fee.
Benefits of a Dedicated IP vs Shared IP Address
Both a dedicated IP and a shared IP address can be beneficial to your business for different reasons.
So, here’s how the benefits of a dedicated IP compare to those of a shared IP address:
Dedicated IP Address
Some of the main benefits of using a dedicated IP address may include:
- More reputation control. With a dedicated IP, you’re in control of your IP reputation. As such, you don’t have to worry about other domains damaging your IP reputation, which may cause your emails to land in the spam folder. Or for example, you don’t need to worry about sharing an IP address with adult content websites.
- Better performance. A dedicated IP address is only used by your website, so other websites don’t affect your website’s performance.
- Increased access. With a dedicated IP address, you’re able to access your website any time with just your IP address, even if DNS settings have not yet propagated.
- Improved connectivity. A dedicated IP address allows for a direct connection to the server, which can help you avoid connectivity issues and interruptions.
- Easier troubleshooting. If your IP has a problem, it’s much easier to spot it and resolve it with a dedicated IP address than a shared IP address.
Shared IP Address
Here are the main benefits of using a shared IP address:
- Less expensive. Using a shared IP address is more cost-efficient than using a dedicated IP address.
- Easier IP reputation monitoring. A shared IP is, for the most part, a team effort. So, if other domains are eager to monitor and keep up a good IP reputation, it can be easier than doing it by yourself.
- Increased reputation for new domains. For new domains, it can be beneficial to use a shared IP address as it allows less effort to build a good reputation. You can piggyback off the reputation that other domains have built.
How Does Your IP Address Type Impact Your Website?
Here’s a quick breakdown of how using a dedicated or shared IP address can impact your website:
#1. Speed & Performance
A shared IP address doesn’t necessarily equal a slower speed and worse website performance.
For example, using shared hosting can decrease your website performance regardless of the IP address type you use. That’s because you’ll be sharing server resources with other websites.
Although a dedicated IP address used to be a necessity if you wanted to add an SSL certificate to your website, today it’s no longer the case.
You can encrypt your website with an SSL certificate if you’re using a shared IP address, too.
In short, your IP address type has no impact on your SEO.
So, if you’re looking to improve your SEO, you should focus on other factors, such as content or page speed.
#4. Mail Deliverability
IP addresses with a good reputation have a better delivery rate and rarely, if ever, go to the spam folder.
In this case, a dedicated IP address can positively impact your mail deliverability. More often than not, it’s easier to manage your IP reputation when it doesn’t depend on the activity of other domains.
On the other hand, you should keep in mind that dedicated IP addresses used specifically for sending emails are only a good choice if you are a big-volume email sender. Unless you are sending 100,000+ emails per month, you should not use a dedicated IP address.
Your hosting provider will assign you a shared IP address without any additional fees.
While some hosting plans include a dedicated IP address, it usually comes as a paid add-on.
The price of a dedicated IP address depends on the hosting provider. You can expect to pay from a few dollars to $100+ per month for a dedicated IP address.
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