Do I Need A Dedicated IP Address When Hosting?

do i need a dedicated ip address

A look on whether having a dedicated IP address improve the SEO score, performance, and security of a website hosted online.

What is an IP address?

An (IP) address is a unique numerical address or “digital address” that defines a location or a device and allows a system to be recognized by other systems connected via the internet (TCP/IP) protocol.

Every node of an Internet Protocol (IP) network, such as a web server, computer, router, or network printer, is assigned an IP address that is used to locate and identify the node in communications with other nodes on the network.

In a nutshell, an IP address is similar to your home address and allow your website, devices and other internet-connected things to be found.

IPv4 vs IPv6

There are two standards for IP addresses: IPv4 and IPv6.

Most systems with IP addresses have an IPv4 address but with the explosive growth in mobile devices and internet of things (IOT), it became apparent that IPv4 is not equipped or scalable enough to deal the sheer number of IP addresses that are coming online or will come online.

Thus a new address system called IPv6 was introduced to deal with the long-anticipated problem of IPv4 address exhaustion.

IPv4 made something close four billion IP addresses available.

But the IPv6, the next-generation protocol provides approximately 340 undecillion IP addresses.

That is ten to the power of thirty-six or 1 followed by 36 zeros.

Holy moly!

What is a dedicated IP address?

In web hosting, a dedicated IP address is an IP bound to a single web hosting account.

A dedicated IP address can be used to host multiple websites as long as they belong to the same reseller or hosting account.

It can also provide an easy way to reach your server if for some reason your DNS is still propagating or recently changed.

On the other side of the coin, a shared IP address is an IP address that is shared among any number of websites regardless if they belong to the same account or not.

A dedicated IP address can be used to host multiple websites as long as they belong to the same reseller or hosting account.

Do I need a dedicated IP address?

The answer is simply “no” if all you need is a web space to host your domain and things like EV SSL certificate or sending transactional emails sounds like something that only geeks can understand.

This is because as far as server resources are concerned, there’s no difference between shared IP vs dedicated IP addresses.

Shared hosting with shared IP used to have a bad rep but modern hosting has negated all these.

A good web hosting platform built for the 21st century (especially if the team behind it knows what they are doing) has ways to mitigate all the problems that shared hosting used to have.

Having said that, if you are a web hosting customer with unique tastes, or a web hosting reseller or an e-commerce shop owner who wants to maintain a distinctive image for his or her website, then you may consider getting a dedicated IP when using a shared hosting service.

Other reasons might be for:

Transactional Email Sending/Website Reputation

It is all about reputation.

If a website is added to the Google blacklist as a site that knowingly or unknowingly do dumb things like malware distribution, it will be excluded from Google search results which can be devastating for business

You know eons ago, one bad website can indeed spoil the whole bunch hosted along with it in a shared hosting environment.

In fact, it one of those things that gave shared hosting the unenviable reputation that it isn’t as safe as it should (something that it is now trying to shake off).

In those days (and probably still is in those fossilized hosting dinosaurs that exist because of their big names), shared web hosting was one where your account is crammed with other thousand users into a space I will call a “ghetto”.

Well, when an infectious disease strikes a “ghetto”, it spreads like rapid fire.

The only way you can avoid it is by using a different route, walling off your space and enforcing the non-interaction rule with your fellow ghetto-dwellers.

That’s what a dedicated IP can do for you in such an environment.

It simply ensures that whatever the dirt and bad reputation your neighbor picks up, it remains solely their problem.

This helps especially when it comes to e-commerce hosting or email hosting.

If you are sending transactional emails (such as e-commerce sales emails), you probably need a dedicated IP.

An IP will bad reputation will definitely impact its delivery rate.

So for transactional email, use a dedicated IP if you are consistently sending more than 5,000 messages per month, in order to isolate your reputation and help to prevent throttling. Consistency is key – this is all about establishing a trust relationship with the ESPs to whom you send.

And use a shared IP if you are sending less than 5,000 messages per month, or if your sending is volatile, with large spikes and dips in volume. ESPs may assume those large spikes are spam and treat your sending with suspicion. Sending too few messages can be as bad as sending too many for an IP’s reputation.

E-commerce/Online Shop Hosting

The internet is brimming with online stores, merchant gateways, and more e-commerce solutions than you can shake a stick at.

For users who are running their own stores, or who simply want to be able to securely access their email, an SSL or TLS certificate is a necessity.

SSL Certificate

Eons ago, SSL implementation is only possible by binding each virtual host to one dedicated/unique IP address.

Typically when someone visits a website, their web browser/client connects with the web server and sends it the name and domain name of the web page.

This a tad complicated when using an SSL/TLS connection, because the browser will require a digital certificate from the server before it even knows what page the browser wishes to access.

It will then compare the name on the certificate from the server with the name of the page it is trying to make a connection with.

If the names match, the connection will be made.

If there is a name mismatch, your website visitor will not see the website but a browser warning message as the failed connection could indicate a man-in-the-middle attack.

To prevent this, websites that use SSL are required to have their own IP addresses.

This allows the web server to use the IP address to check which website the visitor wants to connect to and send the right certificate to the browser or client

But this requirement has changed since SNI became a thing.

Server Name Indication often abbreviated SNI is an extension to TLS that allows multiple hostnames to be served over HTTPS from the same IP address.

Without SNI the server wouldn’t know, for example, which certificate to serve to the client, or which configuration to apply to the connection.

A properly configured web server definitely will support SNI support and this allows the server to have multiple certificates all installed on the same IP address.

Users on such servers that support SNI will be able to install their own certificates and bypass the need for a dedicated address.

For EV SSL certificate, while it is not a technical requirement, it is common for such SSL Certificate to require its own dedicated IP address.

Since a dedicated IP address will barely cost you more than $5.00 per month, having it for an enterprise or e-commerce website with an EV certificate is preferable.

The reason why you may NOT need a dedicated IP address for your website are:

Performance

On a good web hosting platform run by engineers that knows what they are doing, using a shared IP address will neither increase or decrease the performance of your website.

Security

A web host should be able not only to be able to build a virtualized file system that locks each user in his or her own ‘cage’, yet retaining a fully functional filesystem, but should also have an in-depth view of what the reputation of each website hosted on their system is.

If you are a 2cPanel customer, our integration with Google Safe Browsing API made this a breeze.

And if a website hosted on our systems is found to be putting the reputation of other accounts on the system in jeopardy, it is suspended, terminated and excised at once before it spreads its rot to others.

SEO and Dedicated IP Address

With so much of the word “SEO” bandied about these days, it is often difficult to know what that really means or works with seach engines.

We have had situations where a customer hosting his or her website with 2cPanel will want to use the services of an SEO expert.

The “expert” instead of doing the grunt work that defines what a good SEO process should be will ask the customer to start by asking our technical team for a dedicated IP address.

Granted, it has its uses and benefits.

But if you go through Google’s General Webmaster Guidelines that tells you what you shouldn’t do or Web Fundamentals for Developers that defines what forms the core foundations of delightful web experience (which helps boosts your SEO ratings if followed correctly), has anything to do with a dedicated IP.

Dedicated IP Address Limits:

Even with a dedicated IP, there is are still some caveats.

For an example, if a bad apple or website on a server with a hostname configured (as a well-configured server should be – i.e hostname matches IP), got itself pickled (that is earned a bad reputation), chances is that that this might also affect the hostname especially if the server is configured in such a way that it doesn’t give the dedicated IP customers hosted on it the opportunity to take advantage of that privilege.

A well-configured server should be able to offer additional protection to any tenant using a dedicated IP.

Another thing to consider is that given the fact that a single IP address can be assigned only to one interface/device (IPv4) at any given time, it might be that the machines ability to handle dedicated IPs will be determined by the number of network interfaces the machine is capable of handling.

If the set number is 8, then once that limit is hit, adding additional IP will require a new web server which your web host might or might not be willing to rustle up.

Moreover, as IPv4 becomes a scarce commodity (most software use in the web hosting environment still relies on static IPv4 to function), your hosting provider probably will need good justification to be able to have access to a large number of dedicated IP.

do i need a dedicated ip address

At 2cPanel, most of our customers use our default shared IP pool to host their website and send emails.

These IPs have excellent, longstanding reputations with all major search engines and inbox providers and they are extremely warm.

If you are worried about reputation, we have a sophisticated back-end system built with Google Safe Browsing APIs (as we have hinted before) that prevents websites with an unsavory reputation to be hosted on our systems.

But if you really, really need a dedicated IP address, we can certainly accommodate your request for a flat, monthly fee of $4.50.

Did I miss anything or got something wrong?

Please let me know and I will buy you a mocha when we meet.

Published by Trax Armstrong

A figment of someone's imagination that doesn't really exist. He lives inside a sci-fi simulation, reads philosophical and metaphysical books when he is not fighting aliens that want to steal his soul & always quote Star Trek to make his points.

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