Almost every web host offers dedicated IPs as upsell for all hosting packages. If the original package does not have a dedicated IP address included, you can always buy dedicated IP separately for a small monthly fee over the subscription. The question is whether you should buy it or not?
Dedicated IPs have been a source of a lot of discussion about their benefits and disadvantages. In the below lines we are going to have a look at the pros and cons of dedicated IP and in what ways it can benefit you.
What is the Actual Benefit of a Dedicated IP?
In order to better understand dedicated IPs, it is appropriate that we first thoroughly understand how IP addressing works on the internet.
In a layman terms IP addresses are used for routing internet traffic much like the real world zip codes. And as is the case with zip codes, the IP address can also be shared by multiple people.
With shared hosting account, you are most probably sharing the IP address with possibly dozens of others. And in certain cases, it is likely that the IP address of your website is shared with hundreds of other websites. The sharing of IP address is not a problem in itself. Hosting servers have necessary software installed which routes the traffic to destination websites on the same IP address correctly and these decisions are made in the millionth of a second.
In comparison a dedicated IP address belongs to a single person and it is possible to server many websites from the same IP address. But the key thing is the control you have in this case. Given below are some of the benefits of dedicated IPs:
SEO Benefits of Dedicated IPs
There is a belief among the search engine optimization (SEO) community that the search engine ranking is improved as a result of having a dedicated IP address. This is a well debated theory without any actual evidence to back up the claim.
It is correct that the IP address is taken into consideration by Google but that is mostly to gauge the authority of the inbound links. Incoming links from the same IP have less level of trust but there are slim chances of getting affected by this calculation even on a shared server.
However, spam is a serious issue and Google does not like sites that are sharing the IP address or range with spam originating sites, worthless blogs and other Google best practices violations. Theoretically, if someone indulges in unethical behavior on a shared IP on a shared server, it might attract penalty for other ‘innocent’ websites as well.
But this is not something hard and fast. Google also understands the complexity of the problem because millions of websites are powered by shared hosting therefore one blanket penalty can be detrimental.
Speed Benefits of Dedication IP Address
Do the websites with dedicated IPs have faster loading times? Since less traffic will be coming to a particular dedicated IP, you can expect this to be the case . However, every host has to analyze packets and route these to the correct domain on a particular IP immaterial of the fact that whether there is one website or hundreds of websites on an IP address. Therefore, the processing times are so small that speed benefits, if any, may be totally negligible.
Real Benefits of Dedicated IPs
Regardless the above two benefits, dedicated IP gives you more control of your server. For example a dedicated IP address is the required for installing your SSL certificate for your website. You could also install an FTP server on the IP address or a gaming server or other IP address based services ( these generally require permissions from your web host.)
Almost all web hosts do offer shared SSL certificates and these are a good enough benefit for most of the websites and the need for an IP based FTP server is very less and restricted to only a few people. However, there are some very clear benefits in certain cases.
Should You Get a Dedicated IP?
It is preferred to have a dedicated IP but life moves smoothly even without it. There are certain very specialized benefits of having a dedicated IP and the most widely debated SEO benefit has been mostly discounted.
The most critical thing is always looking out for spam originating from the IP address. Always keep checking your site’s status in the Google Webmaster Tools and if you suspect that there are bad websites sharing your IP address, it is best to change hosts and not rely on just getting a dedicated IP address for solution of the issue.