One common extra you will find offered by different web hosting providers is a dedicated IP address. People often wonder how dedicated IPs will affect their website and whether or not they actually need one. Considering your shared hosting account already comes with an IP address (which is shared), what are the advantages to having one that’s dedicated?
Dedicated IP addresses are not always necessary, but do offer several different benefits. Both virtual private servers and dedicated servers come with dedicated IP’s by default, but for shared hosting it’s optional.
What Is An IP Address?
Before learning about dedicated IP addresses, let’s discuss what an IP address is. The IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique sequence of numbers that gets assigned to every device which accesses the internet. For your website, the IP address identifies the server where your website’s file are being hosted. IP addresses are part of the DNS (Domain Name System), which is basically an internet phone book. DNS translates the domain name to an IP address so it can load the content from the server. In other words, DNS makes it easy for users to access your website by typing in a website URL (such as domain.tips) rather than trying to remember a long set of numbers and dots.
What Are Shared IP Addresses?
A shared IP address is exactly what it sounds like, an IP address used by multiple domains. This causes the web server to do some extra work when locating your files, but it will not effect your site’s speed. This would be very similar to an apartment building’s address. While all tenants share the same street address, each has their own unique apartment number inside.
What Is A Dedicated IP Address?
A dedicated IP address is the opposite of a shared, an address assigned to your site that isn’t used by any other domains. Since your domain name is tied to the IP address, you can use either one (domain or IP) to reach your website. Similar to how your home address is unique, a dedicated IP is your website’s own unique address on the internet.
Why Are Dedicated IP Addresses Beneficial?
For most users, a shared hosting environment with a shared IP address is all you will need. However, for anyone considering purchasing a dedicated IP, I’ve compiled some scenarios where it will be crucial. If none of these apply to you, a shared IP will be enough.
Email Deliverability – Having your own IP address gives you the ability to control your IP address reputation. IP addresses can earn bad reputation when used for spam or other malicious activities. Since shared IP’s can have hundreds of domains using them, all it takes is one abuser to get the IP blacklisted for everyone else.
Good for E-commerce – If you are planning to host your own online store and won’t be using a third-party payment processor, having an SSL certificate is pretty much a requirement. This will give your customers peace of mind knowing their payment information will be encrypted. While SSL certificates no longer require a dedicated IP address, some web hosts might still require it.
Required for Some Applications/Scripts – You may want to run a particular script or application on your website only to find it requires a dedicated IP address. You will need to review the application’s documentation to confirm if it’s necessary. Weebly, WordPress and other popular scripts don’t require one so if you’re thinking about using any of them, you’re on the clear.
Extended Hosting Functionality – With a dedicated IP address, you gain a higher level of server control. Many functions can only be enabled for accounts using a dedicated IP such as SSH access. Some hosts will refuse SSH access to the server’s shared IP address as it posses a risk to the users hosting under that IP address. If you have a dedicated IP address assigned, you can access your website just by going to the IP address. It’ll display the same contents as if you had entered your domain name.
Should I Get A dedicated IP?
As I mentioned above, chances are you will not need a dedicated IP address if your website is new. These types of IP addresses have very specific advantages which can greatly improve your hosting experience. If you’re looking for enhanced security and administrative access to the server, then you might need to consider VPS or dedicated hosting.