What is an IP address?
An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical number assigned to any device connected to the Internet – your PC, tablet, or smartphone, your Nest thermostat, your refrigerator, your Whistle GPS pet tracker, and so on. The purpose of this address is to identify different devices and the user/host. Your IP address allows the Internet, websites, Internet service providers, and servers to identify you.
What’s the difference between dedicated and shared IP addresses?
Just as their names imply, a “dedicated IP address” is one that is dedicated to the use of a single company, while a shared IP address is one that’s used by multiple companies. The number of companies sharing the same IP address can vary dramatically from a few to several thousand. Depending on what?
Benefits and drawbacks of shared IPs
Certain Types of Senders Should Consider a Shared IP
Shared IP addresses have advantages that will entice some senders to choose this option over a dedicated IP address. Since you are sharing IPs with other senders, your sending reputation is aggregated. For low-volume senders, this will definitely be beneficial; you will be able to piggy-back off other sender’s reputations and consequently establish a sending reputation.
Seasonal senders should seriously consider a shared IP as well. If you have inconsistent sending volume, you’d need to warm up a dedicated IP address every year. With a shared IP there is no need to worry about that. Your volume will be combined with the other senders on the shared IP, which generally has a pretty consistent sending volume – so no red flags to receiving servers.
A Shared IP is Less Expensive
Using a shared IP address costs less than a dedicated one. For small businesses and low-volume senders, the cost of a dedicated IP may not be a practical (or necessary) expenditure for their email marketing budgets.
The fact that sending reputation is shared among the senders of a shared IP can be beneficial, but for some senders it could be a drawback.
The senders with great sending habits and who adopt industry best practices experience a consistent medium or high volume are the ones raising the average of the sender reputation on the shared IPs. These senders may be put in the position of “taking one for the team,” though, if the others on the shared IP are inconsistent senders, or have poor list management practices. If you’re a sender with the less-than-stellar sending habits, find out what you can do to improve your own practices so you don’t negatively affect the group.
Benefits and drawbacks of Dedicated IPs
Types of Senders
The main reason for moving to a dedicated IP address is to control your own reputation. The senders most eligible for a dedicated IP would be the consistent medium- to high-volume senders. I’m not saying low-volume senders cannot opt for a dedicated IP as well; it’s just that in terms of improving your reputation, a low-volume senders may not see as large of an increase, as a medium- or high-volume sender.