Understanding what comes with your hosting package can help you improve your service for your users, which in turn, can help you bring in more sales and money to your team. One of the most commonly debated topics is whether you need a dedicated IP address or not.
Most basic hosting partners can give you a dedicated IP address ON TOP of your regular package. This is not a common inclusion for the basic or bottom-tiered packages. It is usually included in more premium setups like dedicated hosting packages.
But what does it really mean to have a dedicated IP address? Does a simple blog about parenting styles really need it? What do you lose if you have a shared IP address? We will discuss these questions (and answers) in the section below. Hopefully, this will help you understand what these tech jargon means and how it affects your website.
Think of your IP address as a postal code. Some postal codes cover a wide area while some cover a very dense and yet small area. Some towns have a dedicated postal code while other towns share its postal code with its neighbors. This is very similar to how an IP address works. An IP address routes your data to the correct destination.
You may change your domain name, for example, but you can retain your IP address. It is like the coordinates to your house. So unless you move your house, your IP address (coordinates) stay the same. So it kinda means having a dedicated IP address is good right? Well, yes and no. it really depends on what you are planning to do with your site.
You need a dedicated IP address when:
- You need to do lots of stuff with your server like hosting a dedicated gaming server on one IP address
- You do not want to be affected by the SEO practices of your other co-owners of the IP address (although there is much more to SEO than just IP addresses)
- You want to install and run your own SSL certificates
- You do not want to be marked as spam, in case your other co-owners are already marked as spam
- You essentially do not want to share an IP address.
These are highly specialized needs and typically, any website will do fine with a shared IP address. If you can afford it, why not? But it you cannot, do not despair. There are lots of things you can do with a shared IP address. Even the speed of your site is not really improved greatly if you have a dedicated IP address.
To make things extra clear, here are the things that you need to accept when you are sharing your IP address with someone else:
- Your requests won’t be wrongly served to you just because you share the same IP address. The server still knows who owns what in terms of routing the correct information. So your email won’t wrongly land in their Inbox. Ever.
- Your SEO tactics may affect others, the same way that theirs may affect yours. BUT there is a lot more to SEO than IP addresses. Google knows that majority of the websites share IP addresses.
- You save money that is otherwise spent on getting a dedicated IP address
- You may experience some downtimes when there is a sudden surge of requests coming from one IP address but this happens rarely.
So the bottomline is, you really don’t have to get your own IP address. You can easily make do with a shared one. Unless you are planning a massive and resource-intensive website like a global financial comparison site like CompareHero.my, you are good with having a shared IP address.
If your website is one of the following types, you don’t have to worry about having a shared IP address:
- Local e-commerce site specializing in couture dresses and shoes
- Fashion blog detailing your outfits of the day like Wendy’s Lookbook
- Parenting site with some photos and tips for new parents
- University website that displays your courses offered, admission policies etc.
- Real estate brokerage site with galleries and geo-located searches.
If you are running a site that is similar to the examples below, then you might want to have your own IP address:
- Web gaming portal with specialized billing platforms for your users
- Photo-uploading site that allows users to share their photos across multiple platforms, like Flickr or Photobucket
- Online forums that allow users to post multiple replies to posts like Quora
It really depends on your roadmap for your site but for now, if you are starting small, you are good with a shared IP address.