What is Shared IP?

Business owners and organizations often must make a choice between getting a dedicated IP or a shared IP when it comes to hosting their website.


What Is a Shared IP?

A shared IP means the internet protocol (IP) address assigned to a website or hosting account is shared between several domains or websites. In contrast, a dedicated IP is an IP address assigned to only one domain. 


Difference Between a Dedicated IP and a Shared IP

To elaborate, for example, the domain name is “apple.com.” To access the information on the website, it’s assigned a specific set of numbers separated by periods, let’s say 123.123.12.2. This is the IP address. No other website online will have the same string of numbers assigned to it. If only one domain uses the IP address, it’s called a dedicated IP.

On the other hand, a shared IP setup would look like this. The website “apple.com” along with “apple.uk” would both be assigned the IP address of 123.123.12.2. Having a shared IP address doesn’t automatically mean the two websites have shared hosting, although this is often the case.  

There are benefits and risks to opting for a shared IP setup. It’s up to the business owner to decide whether a shared IP for their business or organization is the best move. 


Benefits of a Shared IP 

Lower price, simple setup and privacy are some of the advantages to expect when electing for this type of structure. 

  • Available at a cost-effective price point

A shared IP is more affordable compared to a dedicated IP. It’s inexpensive, particularly when bundled with hosting since the user will share server costs with other users. New businesses and organizations with limited budgets often find this arrangement favorable. 

  • Easy to setup

Having a shared IP can also mean shared hosting. With a shared hosting environment, users have access to pre-loaded software to use on their website or business. These can be installed at a click of a button.

  • IP health and reputation is shared with other websites

By sharing addresses, the IP health is monitored not by a single user but by other domain users as well. This means new businesses can benefit from the good reputation of more established domains using the same IP address. 


Risks of a Shared IP

  • Server resources are shared with other domains

If one or more websites is experiencing heavy traffic or growing at an exponential volume, it can negatively impact all other domain performances within the shared hosting pool. 

  • An attack on one domain can expose the others as well

If one website is hacked, this could result in increased vulnerability for the other sites since they all belong in the same directory. 

  • The negative reputation of one domain can affect the reputation of others

Unsavory practices, like email spamming, by one domain can affect the reputation of the other domains. If one domain engages in this prohibited activity and causes the IP to be blocked, it can have serious consequences for those with the same IP address.  

When Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or Google blacklists an IP, they will mark it as insecure. This discourages users from opening the site. In addition, emails sent using the blacklisted IP address would be marked as spam and immediately forwarded to the spam folder. This can have a grave impact on any business. 


When to Use a Shared IP

Using a shared IP is a personal choice. However, it is common practice for newer business owners and organizations to start with a shared IP then moving to a dedicated IP only after they have established their domain. 

In terms of email marketing, newer businesses focused on establishing a low volume email campaign would find a shared IP to be the ideal structure. 

Every new IP address requires an “IP warming up” period to build a good reputation. This means newcomers should start sending out emails slowly to gain the ISP’s trust. Any new IP address can be seen as suspicious or malicious until they’ve gained a positive reputation, which can take up to eight weeks. 

Issues like this can be minimized when using a shared IP. In fact, most email providers use a shared IP when they only need to send low-volume emails.