Almost all web hosting providers recommend a dedicated IP to site owners, especially to business owners and organizations. But the question is, is it really worth paying a premium for a dedicated IP?
What is a Dedicated IP?
Just as the name implies, a Dedicated IP is a unique internet protocol (IP) address dedicated solely to a single website and hosting account. In contrast to a shared IP, which is used by multiple websites on a shared web server, a dedicated IP is only connected directly to one account.
To make the distinction clearer, picture an IP address as a real-life street address. A shared IP address is a street with several houses along with it and those houses all share that same address. On the other hand, a dedicated IP address is a street with only one house. The practical relevance of this distinction is that a mailman or courier can find the house with a dedicated IP faster and deliver mail or goods immediately. The same goes for their virtual counterparts.
Benefits of a Dedicated IP
Website access increased security, and better performance are the primary benefits of having a dedicated IP address. Specifically, a dedicated IP:
Enables use of private SSL certificates
A dedicated IP used to be a requirement for private SSL certificate use. Today, new technologies, like the Server Name Indication (SNI), allow users to install multiple SSL certificates on a single server. However, issues, including incompatibility with older operating systems, may arise using an SNI. So, even if it is no longer necessary, a dedicated IP is still recommended for the use of SSL certificates.
Protects from IP blacklisting
A shared IP address can get blacklisted when spamming or when unauthorized activities are detected from that IP. For instance, when one user sends spam emails from their domain, everyone else using the shared IP gets tagged. Having your own dedicated IP protects you from this.
Facilitates use of own FTP server
Businesses and organizations that share significant amounts of resources can do so more effectively using FTP. An FTP server gives them better control over their website and enables them to share files with employees, clients, or other users. To run their FTP server efficiently, they will need to have a dedicated IP.
Allows site access by IP address alone
A dedicated IP enables you to log in via FTP or access your website using an IP address. This is useful when you are building a website but have not registered a domain name yet. The dedicated IP gives you access to the site you are building via IP address alone.
Faster site speed
Since you have the address all to yourself, your site with a dedicated IP won’t be affected much by lags even during high traffic periods. It will have a faster loading and response time relative to sites with shared IPs.
Meets software requirements
Some server software and scripts require the use of a dedicated IP. Often, these are software with processes that take time to run. When used on a site with a shared server and IP address, the processes might terminate before they are completely run or initiated.
Permits game server management
A dedicated IP and a dedicated server are necessary for running your own gaming server at the highest possible level of gaming. A dedicated IP will help you avoid performance issues by minimizing lag and optimizing your bandwidth. It also enables you to configure your game server easier and faster.
How to Get a Dedicated IP
A dedicated IP is typically offered along with a dedicated server hosting, but you can still get it without upgrading to a dedicated hosting account. The actual process and rates for getting a dedicated IP vary per web host. In general, you apply for the service by logging into your hosting account if you already have an existing website.