• Email DIY

Dedicated vs Shared IPs: Which One Should You Use?

Mary Dolan
5 min read

Ah, IP addresses. We’ve all heard of them, had them, and seen technically questionable movies where actors punch random keys on a computer and say stuff like, “They’re hacking our IP to access the mainframe!” Hollywood magic at its finest.

But, as ubiquitous as they may seem, it can be difficult to know which kind of IP is right for you. These IP types are referred to as dedicated IPs and shared IPs, and each type has specific benefits. We’ll get you up to speed on dedicated versus shared IPs, and ensure that you know exactly how they can help you send messages, manage your domain reputation, and maybe even access a mainframe of your very own.

What are the differences between dedicated and shared IPs?

Let’s start from the top. If you’re trying to figure out which kind of IP is right for you, you probably want to know how these types differ. Their main difference is pretty simple, and it’s included in their names.

Dedicated IPs are identified with only your website domain. You are the sole owner of the IP. Shared IPs are identified with multiple domains. A shared IP is associated with you, but it is also associated with other domain owners who use it.

What are the benefits of each IP?

Which IP you will want to use depends a lot on your individual needs. There are benefits to both, and you may end up trying out both before you decide what suits your domain.

Dedicated IPs

With dedicated IPs, their main draw often lies in your ability to have total control over—and responsibility for—them. Their benefits include:

  • You have full control over your message sending reputation. You don’t have to worry about other domains on your IP that may bring the IP reputation down by sending spam or doing other negative activities.

  • You can more easily pinpoint and fix IP issues. When several domains use an IP, it can be hard to figure out where an issue originated from and how to fix it. With a dedicated IP, you’re only maintaining your own domain.

  • Some larger internet service providers don’t allow shared IPs. Some ISPs, like Yahoo!, only allow dedicated IPs. This puts shared IPs at a sending disadvantage.

Shared IPs

Shared IPs can be a great choice for smaller domains and groups of domains with good reputations. Their benefits include:

  • They’re more cost effective than dedicated IPs. If you’re just starting to use and build your domain, it’s more financially feasible to use a shared IP until your domain has a proven track record.

  • Many other domains help monitor the IP’s health. Keeping an IP reputation squeaky clean can be a challenge, but shared IPs have other domains invested in keeping the IP in good shape.

  • You can benefit from other domains’ good reputations. If you’re a smaller or newer domain that shares an IP with well-regarded domains, you can benefit from the reputation and goodwill they’ve already built.

Wait, does the type of IP you use impact your SEO?

This one’s simple: no. Your SEO is not affected by the type of IP you use. Your SEO success is all yours. 🎉

Which type of IP should you use?

Now that you know about their benefits, you may be trying to figure out which IP is best for you. Luckily, we’ve got a few recommendations for each one.

When should you use a dedicated IP?

Use a dedicated IP when you’re planning on sending a consistent amount of high-volume email. By sending a lot of email regularly, you can quickly build your reputation without help from other domains on the same IP. Also, consider a dedicated IP if your shared IP partners are giving the IP a bad reputation. It can be difficult to recover from a bad IP, and your efforts alone will most likely not balance out other domains’ shady activities.

Finally, only use a dedicated IP as long as you can afford it. If you’re just starting out and/or have a small budget, the cost of a dedicated IP may be detrimental to your goals.

When should you use a shared IP?

Use a shared IP when you’re sending inconsistent or low-volume amounts of email. Your reputation will take longer to build, and a shared IP can help legitimize a domain with a less-static sending pattern. On a related note, stick with a shared IP when the other domains using it have built it a good reputation. You’ll be able to bask in that glow while your domain begins its journey.

On the flip-side of a dedicated IP, use a shared IP when you’re trying to keep your costs low. Don’t hinder yourself with a high-cost dedicated IP before your domain has been successful.

Dedicated and shared IPs with Mailgun

If you happen to be using a new dedicated IP, or making the switch from a shared IP, check out Mailgun’s IP warm-up service. It’ll help you prepare your IP for primetime, high-volume sending without actually having to manually warm things up. Best of all, it’s Captain Falcon-approved.

For help with the sending and success of high-volume email, take a look at our deliverability services. They’ll help your emails land safely in the inbox, and ensure that they get there faster than even, well, Captain Falcon.

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Learn about our Deliverability Services

Looking to send a high volume of emails? Our email experts can supercharge your email performance. See how we've helped companies like Lyft, Shopify, Github increase their email delivery rates to an average of 97%.

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Key takeaways about dedicated versus shared IPs

Now that we’ve covered both types of IPs, you’re aware of their benefits and when they should be used. Dedicated IPs—which belong only to your domain—are great for domains sending consistent high-volume email, and shared IPs—which are shared with other domains—are a smart choice for new and smaller domains looking to build their email platforms.

Ultimately, the IP address that is right for you depends on your email program goals and needs. So, next time you need an IP to get to a mainframe, shut down your runaway dinosaur park, or just send a few emails, consider which IP option is best for you, and try it out.

Last updated on June 26, 2020

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