Difference between a Shared IP vs. a Dedicated IP

By Staff Reporter , Updated Jun 11, 2019 10:57 AM EDT
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Whether you belong to the hosting community or not, you must have come across the most common question of whether or not you require the use of a dedicated IP address or a shared IP address for your website hosting.

While the answer to that is debatable, we'll make it easier for you to understand by covering the ins and outs of both IP structures so that you can make a sound decision for yourself. The reason why we're still debating over this is that there are a lot of inaccurate sources in regards to dedicated IPs and how they work.

During our research, we learned that in most cases, you don't really need a dedicated IP unless you want it. Let's begin our analysis by explaining to beginners what's an IP address and then we'll proceed forward with the difference between a shared IP and a dedicated IP address.

What is an IP Address?

Before we jump in, let's understand what an IP address is. An IP address stands for Internet Protocol address. It's a unique domain on the web, for example, 192.168.0.50. IP addresses are linked to domain names using the Domain Name System or DNS.

DNS holds the web addresses just like your contacts app holds contact details. When you type a web address on your browser's web address bar, it's the DNS query that performs your request through your Internet Service Provider.

Essentially, a DNS assigns a name to IP addresses. Without a DNS system in place, internet users would have to type something like 245.40.175.333 to get to a particular website. For a techie, that might be more than okay; however, for a layman, IP addresses might get challenging to remember considering the number of websites we access daily.

Types of IP addresses

Presently, we've got two types of IP addresses that we use on the web, IPv4, and IPv6.

IPv4 is the most widely used internet protocol. IPv4 uses a 32-bit address scheme allowing for a total of 2^32 addresses (just over 4 billion addresses). As the internet grew, experts realized that the number of devices that are connected to the internet is growing exponentially, which is why IPv6 was designed so that when IPv4 runs out, we've got IPv6 covering us.

Now, coming back to the difference between a shared IP address and a dedicated IP address.

What Is a Dedicated IP Address?

A dedicated IP address does exactly what it sounds like, provides you a dedicated IP address that's solely and wholly for you. The dedicated IP address isn't shared or used by any other website.

With a dedicated IP address, you get direct access to a particular website and its backend. You can ask your ISP for a dedicated IP address or get a dedicated IP VPN if you're looking to secure your online activities.

What Is a Shared IP Address?

Unlike a dedicated IP address, shared IP address does exactly what shared stands for, which means that your domain address is shared between several other domains. Shared IP addresses have been here for the longest of time, and people use it for hosting their website.

When it comes down to the best IP address among the two, it really depends on the website infrastructure you're trying to build and what are your websites' needs.

The benefit of having a dedicated IP address over a shared IP address are:

  • Run Program Scripts

With a dedicated IP address, you can run program scripts for as much time as you need or until the script ends up taking the server's memory. Whereas, with a shared IP address, you won't be able to get that much time as the server memory is shared between other users.

  • Send out emails

Emails sent via a dedicated IP address land directly into the Inbox of the recipient as the IP address has a solid reputation. That's not the case with a shared IP address as you're unaware of what other users are doing on their website. Their activities might be unethical, which could affect your line of work. When you see emails in your Spam folder, you now know it's coming from a shared IP address.

  • Less Downtime

With a dedicated IP address, you experience little to no downtime as you're the only one who's in charge of the website; hence, you can work on things calculating the system memory it'll take. With a shared IP structure, few users could face slow time in website loading as their website might be consuming too much of the server's memory.

  • Emails

If a shared IP address faces a ban due to any spamming activity, the email address linked with the shared IP address will also be affected. On the other hand, a dedicated address saves you from such an event.

  • SSL Security

If you're hosting a website that facilitates online financial transactions, it's highly recommended that you use a SSL certificate. For example, online shopping websites use a SSL certificate to ensure the safety of your financial transaction. A dedicated IP address avoids any risks of online security and slow website loading (something you don't want on your high traffic website).

A shared IP address doesn't guarantee that you won't be affected by cyberattacks or activities of other users on the shared structure.

In the end, it really comes down to what type of requirement you have for a website. If it's just an ordinary website with little traffic and nothing significant, a shared IP could prove to be best for you. However, if you're running a website which boasts integrated payment methods, multiple scripts, high traffic, then it's probably best that you get a dedicated IP address.

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