We’re going to shed some light on a hosting question that perplexes many especially if you’re new to webhosting and not particularly tech-savvy. Are you now wondering what an IP is anyway? Well, simply put IP stands for internet protocol.
Protocols are a set of rules that servers use to communicate with each other across the internet. Your Internet Protocol or IP is the address assigned to the domain on the internet.
We won’t get too technical with this but your IP is where servers can find your location on the web.
This article is going to discuss shared IP versus dedicated IP, their similarities, their differences and everything you need to know about choosing between the two for your hosting needs.
Let’s dive in.
What is a Shared IP?
You may have guessed already by the name, a shared IP is exactly as suggested. Your domain is mapped to an address that is shared between multiple domains.
It is an IP address which hosts multiple domain owners (like you) and multiple websites (like yours). This can be one, two, or even ten clients all sharing the same resource.
Shared IP is quite common with hosting providers but doesn’t always necessarily mean it is a shared hosting environment which is different.
A shared hosting environment is a location a server where your website is hosted; in a shared setting, multiple websites share all the server resources. You add-on a dedicated IP with a shared hosting plan for an additional fee.
In terms of IP, we are talking about the address mapped for your website, not its hosting environment.
What is a Dedicated IP?
With a dedicated IP, your domain is mapped to an address that isn’t shared. It is an IP that is reserved for the single use by 1 domain owner (like you) and 1 website (like yours).
A dedicated IP address can be a bit pricey. This depends on your hosting provider and again should not be confused with a dedicated hosting environment.
A dedicated hosting environment is one where a client rents an entire server. In this case all the resources and server components are exclusive for a massive website, i.e. Amazon, Google or Yahoo.
In terms of IP, a dedicated IP functions like your unique home IP assigned by your Internet Service Provider. Having a dedicated IP for your website is quite beneficial because all the traffic flowing to your IP is only coming to your website. As opposed to multiple traffic sources going to multiple websites on a shared IP.
Let’s look at the differences between the two.
Differences between Dedicated and Shared IP Addresses
By definition the difference between dedicated and shared IP is clear. To reiterate, a shared IP is a single address used by multiple websites, whereas a dedicated IP is a single address used by a single website.
Is the difference just down to numbers?
Not exactly. There are various differences when it comes to networking, email use, internet security, etc. when it comes to using dedicated IP versus a shared IP.
Let’s highlight two of the differences below:
- Networking Difference: With a dedicated IP your website can be visited by typing in the IP address alone or the mapped domain name. Whereas with a shared IP you can only access the site with the mapped domain name. This isn’t as significant, mostly because no one uses an IP address to access a website.
- The difference in Price: Purchasing a dedicated IP can become quite costly. On the other hand, shared IPs are very popular and are often a feature of many hosting plans. However, one way to mitigate the costs of a dedicated IP address is to opt for VPS hosting which usually includes 2 IP addresses.
In reality, the only major difference between using a dedicated IP and shared IP is the traffic flow to the IP address. There are similarities shared by both dedicated and shared too and instances where the differences don’t matter much:
- Dedicated and Shared IP won’t affect the speed of your actual website. Even though many websites use shared IPs, it doesn’t impact a website speed whatsoever.
- Both IPs support the use of SSL certificates.
Benefits of having a Dedicated IP
Using shared IPs are a very common practice. In fact, this is usually a part of basic web hosting plans. However, there are many reasons to use a Dedicated IP address for your website on a shared server or even with a Virtual Private Server.
It grants access to your website any time you need.
When building your website, sometimes it is necessary to view your website before mapping the domain name to the server and launching it. With a dedicated IP address, you can simply enter the IP into the browser and view your website on the server directly. No need to change the DNS settings for the domain name at all.
It’s beneficial for the email sender’s reputation.
If a website runs on a single IP address then it is using a dedicated IP. On a shared IP, you run the risk of encountering unpredictable difficulties since many users share a single IP. As a result, your email service may be negatively affected. For example, if another user sharing the same shared IP address with your website gets blacklisted or banned for email spamming it could possibly affect your email service. A dedicated IP mitigates this potential problem with ease.
It is great for a business identity.
If you hope to own an online store or other website related to eCommerce where you have to collect sensitive financial data from users without the use of third-party services to handle payments then using a dedicated IP is crucial along with SSL security for an added layer of protection. This will build confidence in your brand and protect you and your customers.
This is necessary for particular third-party applications or scripts.
In some cases, a specific application or script that you may wish to run on your server (especially speciality software on a VPS or dedicated server) requires a dedicated IP address. Luckily any hosting environment that allows for the installation of special server applications and scripts usually include a dedicated IP.
In the End
Both shared IP and dedicated IP server their purposes and are great choices for webhosting. With that said, if you’re looking to become a leader in your field are to dominate the eCommerce arena then using a dedicated IP with VPS hosting or a dedicated server is the best choice for you going forward.