Hosting Manager, Mark, takes us on an explanation behind what a Dedicated IP address is.

What does a dedicated IP do?

To understand dedicated IP's, we need to understand how IP addresses work.

IP addresses route internet traffic to the right place, much like a post code. And like post codes, different people can share the same IP.

  • If you have a shared hosting account, and most websites are on shared hosting, you probably share your website IP address with dozens of other websites. In some cases, you might share it with hundreds if not thousands of other sites.Sharing is not a problem. Your hosting company will handle the incomingrequests for different sites on the same IP, and then ensuring that it can serve the right content to each request, and it only takes milliseconds.
  • A dedicated IP address is exclusively yours. And generally you only have the one website that is using that IP. You might choose to have more of your sites on that IP address, but you're ultimately in control of who's using it.

So you would think that a dedicated IP was better, right? Let's look at some of the benefits we associate with them.

SEO and dedicated IPs

There are two aspects to the SEO argument: ranking and spam.

Some search engine optimization (SEO) professionals believe search engines are more likely to trust a site on a dedicated IP address and give it a higher search engine ranking.There is a lot of debate about that theory,and almost no evidence to back it up.

Lets take Google for instance, Google does use IP addresses in some of its calculations, but mostly to determine how much to trust an inbound link. Links from similar IPs are usually trusted less. But the odds of being impacted by this are very slim, even on a shared server.

In terms of spam, Google may distrust sites that share an IP range with spammers, junk blogs and other violators of their 'best practices'.On a shared server, the unethical behaviour of someone on your shared IP could result in a penalty for everyone - in theory.

But it's not really clear cut. Google obviously understands that millions of websites use shared hosting, so blanket penalties would be counter productive.

Speed and dedicated IPs

Can a dedicated IP address help your site load more quickly? After all, there's less traffic flowing to that IP right?

But lets look at it another way. Every server has to inspect a request, examine the request and deliver it to the correct domain. This holds true if there is one site on an IP or one thousand sites. Every server has to go through this same process; so the number of possible destinations doesn't really matter.

Therefore, the difference in processing time is so small it would have no to very little impact on load times.

Should you bother with a dedicated IP?

Say you have a website that has a shop orsome sort ofpayment form for clients to complete to pay for accounts. If your customers are entering their credit card and other personal information, you want to offer them the security of protecting that information with an SSL. Therefore you must have a dedicated IP in order to get an SSL certificate on your site.

If your site is just providing content then you will get by just fine without one.

Conclusion

Don't worry if your site is on a shared IP address, most sites are. In most cases, this doesn't affect you. Dedicated IP hosting may be required if you need to have some sort of special access to your website, like SSL. If you have no special requirements, then a shared IP will work fine under most conditions.

I hope this has helped clear up some of the misconceptions and misunderstanding when dealing with IP's. And if you have any further questions please don't hesitate to get in contact with us. We are here to help.

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