There will come a time for every website owner when they will need to decide if getting a dedicated IP is something that will help them meet their goals for their online presence. Common questions include: How will having a dedicated IP help me and what is the difference between a shared IP and a dedicated IP? What is an IP and why is it important?
An IP is a unique series of numbers that identify individual computers that access the Internet. If you have a domain and you want to look at its website, your computer is able to access the server (or computer) that your domain is hosted on because your domain is pointed to an IP – which is its own unique address on the Internet. If you have a dedicated IP, you can visit your site just by going to the IP as well as going to the domain in your browser. Generally most websites start using a shared IP. With shared IP addresses you are sharing the IP with potentially hundreds of customers with multiple domains. This can be fine if you don’t have the highest of expectations for your site, however it can potentially affect your email’s reputation among other things.
There are many blacklisting companies — such as Spamhaus, TrendMicro, and the CBL — that will blacklist IP addresses based on the type of activity that comes out of them. If you have hundreds of domains sharing an IP and just one email account on the IP becomes compromised and sends spam emails, that can get the IP address blacklisted by major blacklisting companies. Popular email and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) look up each IP address that it receives an email from with the blacklisting companies it partners with. If an IP is on the blacklist, the email will be rejected from the email provider since all they see is that it could be potential spam. If you don’t want unknowns to affect your email use and reputation, then getting a dedicated IP means you are in charge of all of the information passed through it. In order to provide a quality service and prevent this from becoming an issue with our Shared Hosting Solutions we use multiple email proxy servers so other user’s emailing practices won’t affect you.
With online stores, chances are you’re looking to have people buy products through your website. If you want to have a website that can encrypt and protect your customer’s information when they make purchases on your site, you’re going to need an SSL certificate. When you visit a website that has http://, you are visiting a non-secure site. That means any information you submit to that website travels from your computer to the website in plain text, which leaves you and your information vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks. If you are visiting a website that is https://, that means that you are accessing a site that will encrypt any data to and from the site to your computer so your information can’t be exploited by attackers. In order to get a SSL, you will need a dedicated IP!
A dedicated IP is also helpful if you require higher performance for your site. You can get longer process timeouts for long-running applications, faster handling of website traffic from the web server, and better protection if the server’s shared IP gets attacked by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. DDos attacks are very nasty, they cause an overload of increased traffic that tries to disable a web server, making it totally unresponsive. Thankfully, we have protection in place and in the case of a DDoS attack on the server’s shared IP, the allowed traffic to a shared IP goes into an ultra-filtering mode where it only allows so much traffic to actually access the web server. If a query to your site or an email being sent to you isn’t one of the allowed data packets that just happen to make it through this filter, then people may not be able to visit your site. Or if they send an email they will get a bounceback saying that the web server was unavailable for delivery. Having a dedicated IP in this instance would ensure that even though there may be other targeted IPs on the server with this traffic filtering in place, it doesn’t affect your website or email and you can go on business as usual!
If it is important for you to have a secure site through the use of an SSL certificate, having a manageable email reputation and dedicated resources are necessities for you and your business, and getting a dedicated IP is your first step to a better online experience.
We offer multiple hosting packages that come with a dedicated IP and SSL certificate included and also some starter packages if you want to feel things out first. Finding your comfort level and what your needs for your site are all contribute to helping make sure you’re doing everything possible to get the most of your hosting experience.