Every device connected to the Internet has a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address for identifying and locating the specific device or domain. In addition, some use dedicated or shared IP addresses, but what is the difference? This article explains a dedicated IP address, why you need one, and its benefits.
What is a Dedicated IP Address?
A dedicated IP address is a unique IP address exclusively assigned to a web server or domain name. A dedicated IP address is reserved for one website or application, providing several advantages, including performance impact prevention, aiding security, and the ability to use advanced features like Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates. With a dedicated IP address, a website can also be accessed directly through its IP address, which can be helpful for testing purposes or when the Domain Name System (DNS) servers are down.
A server can have multiple IP addresses assigned to it. Currently, IPv4 and IPv6 (the fourth and sixth versions of IP) are the two IP address types available. IPv4 has made significant changes and improvements to prevent depletion of the address pool, since the entire internet is not ready to use IPv6.
Benefits of Utilizing a Dedicated IP Address
As previously mentioned, the benefits of a dedicated IP address are improved website performance and increased security. These features go hand-in-hand. Let’s explore them in further detail.
Performance Impact Prevention
A dedicated IP address helps prevent your website from the impact of other websites sharing the same server and IP address. This is because, with a dedicated IP, your website has a unique address that is not shared with any other website. It also helps improve website loading speed, allowing faster and more direct communication between your website and visitors.
Aids in Security
Dedicated IP addresses serve to separate clients and traffic. If a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack was deployed against your IP, and multiple sites are associated with it, the attack could affect all the sites. Using a dedicated IP address helps isolate the attack at the network level, helping administrators mitigate the attack.
A dedicated IP address is ideal for businesses requiring a secure website connection. A dedicated IP alone does not create a secure connection, but it is a piece of the puzzle that helps bring the entire picture into focus. Whether transferring files via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or remotely accessing a site or server, a dedicated IP address coupled with server configuration adds an additional layer of security for these connections.
Dedicated IP Addresses and SSL Certificates
Previously, a dedicated IP address was required to set up an SSL certificate for your domain. However, thanks to a new Server Name Identification (SNI) technology, getting an SSL certificate without a dedicated IP address is much easier today. This technology matches the server names instead of the dedicated IP address.
Depending on your hosting provider, you may still need a dedicated IP address to obtain an SSL certificate.
How to Obtain a Dedicated IP Address
Obtaining a dedicated IP address is done through your hosting provider. Depending on your provider, this may require contacting your sales or support team for assistance. They will provide the necessary information regarding pricing, steps needed, and any limitations for obtaining your IP address.
Setting Up a Dedicated IP Address
Dedicated IP addresses come set up on your server, depending on your web hosting type. Most managed hosting options that are not shared hosting offer at least one dedicated IP address.
Setting up a new website or application or moving an existing project to another IP may require changing your DNS. If you manage your DNS outside your existing server, ensure you update the IP address with the nameserver the domain is set to use. All required changes can happen on your server if your DNS is managed there.
What is the Difference Between Shared and Dedicated IP Addresses
The main difference between shared and dedicated IP addresses is straightforward. A shared IP address is a static IP on a server that multiple domains use. As mentioned, a dedicated IP address is assigned to a single domain.
When choosing between dedicated IPs vs shared IPs, using a dedicated IP protects the IP's reputation for encrypted traffic over SSL and trusted email addresses, while a shared IP may hinder it. Unfortunately, customers sharing IPs with a spam perpetrator find their email messages in spam folders, or worse, their IP addresses are blacklisted. Removing yourself from a blacklist can be time-consuming, especially if it is repeatedly necessary.
Security and blacklist issues aside, sharing an IP address is not all bad. The value of shared IP addresses is that the cost is significantly less. If you are hosting multiple websites on your server, a few websites sharing the same IP address saves money over purchasing an IP address for each.
Examples of When to Use a Dedicated IP Address
Dedicated IP addresses are necessary when specific applications or scripts require direct access to an IP address, such as eCommerce websites that process their own credit card payments. These companies require Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance. In such cases, dedicated IP addresses provide additional security and reliability to the website and its transactions.
Business and Marketing Email
Dedicated IP addresses are essential for email marketing campaigns and business emails. Shared IP addresses can be susceptible to spamming or other unethical activities, hurting your business email credibility or the reputation of legitimate email marketing campaigns. Using dedicated IP address best practices, such as Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and others, can help avoid possible issues related to sharing an IP.
High-Traffic Website Hosting
Dedicated IP addresses avoid nosy neighbor issues that shared hosting, and thus shared IPs, can cause. This means high-traffic websites benefit from their own IP address and are less likely to have issues associated with sharing an IP address with a bad actor. In addition, a dedicated IP enables users to customize their DNS settings.
It also allows them to establish a unique identity on the internet. In addition, this distinctive ID can arguably benefit company branding and search engine optimization (SEO).
Business owners and developers alike benefit from using dedicated IP addresses. Regardless of your web hosting provider, adding an IP address and updating the necessary DNS records is straightforward. Knowing the benefits and use cases for dedicated IPs, versus shared IP addresses, helps determine which option suits your needs.
Liquid Web offers VPS Hosting, Cloud Dedicated Servers, and Dedicated Servers for your website hosting needs. Each option comes with a dedicated IP address with the ability to add more if needed. Our sales and support teams are available to assist you every step of the way. Contact our sales team to set up new hosting or add to your existing account today.
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