3 Myths and 3 Truths about Having a Dedicated IP
Many shared hosting users sometimes ask themselves “Do I need a dedicated IP?”. There are many misunderstandings about having a dedicated IP address on shared hosting. This post is to clarify the real purpose of having it because sometimes it’s not how it looks like.
What is dedicated IP
In most cases, every shared hosting server has several IP addresses assigned to it. All the accounts hosted on the server are distributed among these IP addresses. Also, there is a so-called mailout IP which is used for sending email from a server. The truth is when you are hosted on a shared server, your account may share IP with lots of other people.
Just about all hosting providers provide an option of purchasing a dedicated IP address. This means only your account will have this IP assigned. Pretty simple, heh? However, there are many myths about dedicated IPs and their real purpose.
Myth 1. Dedicated IP and SEO
Some people still believe in a dedicated IP SEO myth that shared hosting with dedicated IP may be useful for your position in search engine output. Perhaps, this misunderstanding comes from the time when one website with malware could trigger warnings on other websites hosted on the same IP. However, these times have passed and that’s not the case in 2017. So, the answer to the “Do I need a dedicated IP address for better SEO?” question is “No, for better SEO dedicated IP is not a must”. SEO is mostly about good and unique content, security and speed. You’d better focus on these three aspects.
Myth 2. A dedicated IP is necessary for SSL certificate installation.
This was the right assumption 3 years ago. However, nowadays the vast majority of hosting providers have SNI (Server Name Indication) on their servers. It’s an extension for TLS protocol which allows determining the hostname which is being contacted by a browser when the handshake process is initiated. Speaking shortly, SNI allows installing SSL certificates on a shared IP address. This means you simply don’t need to buy a dedicated IP to install SSL. A small drawback of SNI is that it’s not supported by some older browsers.
Myth 3. A dedicated IP improves website speed.
Apparently, this comes from the fact that for websites hosted on shared IPs, a webserver has to conduct additional operations to direct a request to a right website. That’s true but the thing is those additional operations can’t be compared with the effect of other website speed issues. The effect of a dedicated server may be noticeable for high-traffic websites but in such case hosting on a shared server is not the best idea. This means you actually don’t need to worry about that if you don’t have a very loaded website and it’s better to focus on optimization of your website.
Now Real Dedicated IP Benefits
Even though there are myths around this topic, there actually are real reasons to have a dedicated IP. Let’s see:
Truth 1. Dedicated IP lets you access your website during DNS propagation. Though, there are other ways to do that.
After you switch nameservers for a domain which was accessed from your ISP before, there will be a 24-48-hour period when you’ll see old content in your browser. This is triggered by DNS cache of your ISP which is intended to make your access to websites faster.
Sometimes there is a necessity to have access to your website right away after the DNS switch. In such cases, a dedicated IP is useful because you can use it to access your website in a browser. However, there is another free option – you can edit a local hosts file on your computer and access the domain in the browser.
Truth 2. Use of Dedicated IP vs Shared IP for Your Email Reputation.
I’ve mentioned the mailout IP address above. One of the best features of a dedicated IP is that you can set it as a mailout IP for your account only. This resolves a serious problem of modern shared hosting – you will avoid issues with email delivery which are triggered by IP blacklisting.
The truth is spam issues is a pain in the brain for hosting providers. Smart spammers may use a shared IP address for outgoing spam and it may be not detected right away. As a result, the IP may get blacklisted and the hosting provider will have to change mailout IP which may take some time while your emails won’t be delivered. Having a dedicated IP eliminates this risk. So, if you are dependent on sending emails from your shared hosting account then a dedicated IP is a good idea. And don’t forget to ask your hosting provider to assign the IP as a mailout one because usually, they don’t do that by default after you purchase a dedicated IP. And having a specialized email hosting will help you avoid this issue completely.
Truth 3. There are some special situations when you actually need a dedicated IP.
For example, SNI maybe not an option for you when the vast majority of your target audience is using old browsers. Also, you may have a busy e-commerce store and conduct transactions. Then it makes sense to have a good SSL and a dedicated IP. Additionally, some software requires you having such IP. However, these situations are not widespread among shared hosting users because it’s better to have a VPS for such purposes. And sure you don’t need a dedicated IP if you have let’s encrypt.
Conclusion. Does a Dedicated IP Help for SEO?
Obviously, having a dedicated IP may bring some use in certain cases. However, you need to understand whether personally, you need it. Otherwise, you may save money avoiding overpaying for a personal IP address.