Do I Need a Dedicated IP Address?

Website hosting providers typically offer set packages with different features customers can choose from based on their needs. One of the important decisions businesses have to make is whether the IP address that comes with their server is sufficient or if they need to upgrade to a dedicated IP address. There are plenty of benefits to having a dedicated IP address rather than using a shared one, but it all comes down to whether it’s worth the additional cost. These benefits and comparisons between dedicated IP and shared IP should help you determine what is right for your business.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

What is a Dedicated IP Address?

A dedicated IP address is a unique internet protocol (IP) address solely for your websites and hosting account.

Helpful Tip: All managed VPS hosting and managed dedicated servers at InMotion Hosting come with several free dedicated IP addresses.

A dedicated IP can be helpful for many different reasons—such as allowing you to access your website when the DNS is not setup, providing increased speed when the traffic load is high, and bringing increased security.

But basically, a dedicated IP is like having your own unique identifying number in the web.

What it means to have a Dedicated IP Address

A dedicated IP address is defined simply as an IP address that is unique to your website, and which no other websites can use. Most standard shared hosting plans include a shared IP address, which means potentially hundreds of websites are using the same resources from the hosting provider. Sharing resources may be acceptable for businesses that are just getting started or don’t need a significant amount of control over their website. However, a dedicated IP address is a popular add-on from website hosting providers due to the great benefits they offer in general.

Benefits of a Dedicated IP Address

Looking at the big picture of your website and considering your current and future needs can help you determine whether the benefits of a dedicated IP address are worth it for you. Some of the main benefits include:

  • Not having to worry about other websites dictating the performance of your website.
  • Having the ability to access your website 24/7, even if the Domain Name System (DNS) for your domain isn’t pointed over.
  • Flexibility to add, edit, and view files at any time without restrictions.
  • Generally faster website speeds and less lag time.
  • Not dealing with a connection issue since you can connect directly to the server.

Out of these benefits, business owners enjoy being able to access and edit their website anywhere the most. Editing your website is as simple as typing in the IP address into the address bar of the browser you’re using and you can edit it immediately. 

Website speed is also a major concern business owners have since lag times can lead to lost potential customers instantly. While a dedicated IP address isn’t the only factor that could improve your website speed, it is a major contributor. When a visitor comes to your website, the server doesn’t have to search for your website if you’re on a dedicated server. This could take a few seconds on a shared server since it has to search through many other websites, and those few seconds of lag time can be the difference between earning and losing a customer.

Direct Server Access

Another benefit of a dedicated IP address is having complete access to your website no matter where the DNS is pointed.

If you needed to, you could simply type the IP address in your browser’s address bar and you can view and edit your website. This would be impossible to do with a shared IP address.

But this is merely a simple example of the kind of control that a dedicated IP gives you.

IP/DNS Reputation

The reputation of your IP address is also important, especially for email purposes. With a dedicated IP, you can avoid email spoofing with SPF records. This is much more difficult to accomplish with shared IPs.

If you use your server for email, it’s definitely recommended that you consider switching to a dedicated IP at some point.

Check out our complete guide on SPF records to learn more about this topic.

Downfalls of a Shared IP Address

Many business owners will be just fine using the IP address that comes with their shared hosting plan. However, it’s important to understand some of the downfalls and limitations of a shared IP address compared to a dedicated IP address:

  • Inability to quickly and easily update your website using a web browser.
  • Longer load times.
  • Some software will not work on shared IP addresses.
  • A problem on a different website using the same IP address can lead to problems on your website.

When you work with a website hosting provider, you will be assigned a shared IP address to your account without any additional costs. This is beneficial if you need to set your website up quickly before evaluating all of your needs to determine whether it’s right for you. Upgrading is always possible, but you may find that a shared IP address suits your needs in the early stages of your business. However, once you start having more website traffic, the longer load times that come with a shared IP address will be magnified. In some cases, paying the upcharge for a dedicated IP address pays for itself when you consider higher conversion rates and lower abandonment rates.

Consider Your Needs When Choosing Your IP Address

Think about this scenario when weighing the benefits of a dedicated IP address versus a shared IP address. The IP address is similar to a street and your website is the house you live in on the street. With a shared IP address, other houses are on the street and when a request is made to find your specific house, your browser has to search through them all to find yours. On the other hand, a dedicated IP address means you own the street and you are the only house on it. So when a request is made to find your website, there’s no searching and the result is returned much more quickly.

Knowing how IP addresses work can help you determine which one is right for you, but you also have to weigh the benefits and downfalls. One of the very few downfalls of a dedicated IP address is the additional cost you have to pay to receive the benefits. If cost is not a major concern for you, then you’ll likely enjoy the convenience of a dedicated IP. But if you have a small business website with minimal restrictions and not much website traffic, then a shared IP address could be all you need.

With so many things that go into owning a website, it’s easy to get caught up in the details. InMotion Hosting is here to help simplify complexities with your website so you know exactly what you need and whether certain features are worth paying for. Our experts work with large commercial websites as well as startup websites and everything in between. The main goal we have with each customer is ensuring they have exactly what they need to move their business forward without hurting their bottom line in the process. Don’t hesitate to contact us at any time if you have any other questions about shared IP addresses versus dedicated IP addresses and we would be happy to help.

How To Get a Dedicated IP Address with InMotion

In order to get a dedicated IP address on your InMotion Hosting account, you can request one any time in your Account Management Panel (AMP). Our team will let you know when your IP is ready for you.

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