Dedicated IP and Shared Hosting- What_s the Difference-

If you’re in the market for a new host there are a lot of things you’ll need to consider. Not only are there multiple types of web hosting available, but there are probably hundreds of different web hosting providers to choose from.

Beyond choosing between the hosting provider and style of hosting, you’ll also need to sort through a lot of different technical terms and hosting requirements. After all, it can be difficult to find the right kind of hosting when you don’t know what you’re looking for. Below we look at two very common forms of hosting, shared hosting and dedicated IP hosting.

Learn about what dedicated IP and shared hosting actually are, how they differ, as well as the pros and cons of each, so you can decide what style of hosting is best for your business.

best dedicated server hosting

What is an IP Address?

An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a way to reference and locate a computer that’s connected to a network. In this case, your IP address will reference the location of a server that’s connected to the internet.

Every domain will be assigned an IP address. IP addresses are then mapped via the Domain Name System (DNS). This system works like an address book. When you type in a domain name into your web browser, your ISP will perform a DNS query. This query will then look up the name servers associated with your domain and finally send you to the requested website. That’s a lot of steps, but all of these tasks happen behind the scenes, and all take less than a couple of seconds.

Without the DNS system, we’d be stuck typing in IP addresses into our browsers, instead of easy to remember domain names.


What’s a Dedicated IP Address?

A dedicated IP address is an IP address that’s assigned to a single domain name. Think of this as your personal cell phone, as opposed to a home phone line that can be answered by anyone in your home.

Here are a few of the most common benefits of a dedicated IP address:


On-Demand Website Access

Sometimes you’ll want to start building your website or access it before the domain has effectively propagated. With a dedicated IP address you have direct server access, so you can view your website without having to change the DNS settings.


Improve Email Deliverability

Most businesses have business email addresses that are associated with their domain names. In this case, you might also be sending emails over through an app on the server. If another site using the same IP address is using shady or spammy tactics, then this could have a negative impact on your email deliverability rates. With a dedicated IP address, your site is isolated from these negative consequences.


It’s a Requirement for Some Applications

Some applications and server-side software might actually require that you have a dedicated IP address in order to function properly. This requirement isn’t as commonplace as it once was, but if you’re running a customer server, or require a unique server configuration, then a dedicated IP address might be a necessity.


Some Hosts Require Them for SSL

Before, you needed a dedicated IP for SSL. Today, it’s no longer an across the board requirement, but some hosting providers might require it. It’s worth checking with your current hosting provider, to see if a dedicated IP is required for SSL.


What is Dedicated IP Hosting?

Dedicated IP hosting has a variety of different meaning depending on your hosting provider. For example, it could mean that you have a dedicated IP address, but you’re still using shared hosting. Or, it can mean that you have a dedicated server, along with a dedicated IP address.

Web hosting with a dedicated IP refers to your IP setup, rather than the type of hosting itself. Most hosts will be able to offer you a dedicated IP address no matter the kind of hosting environment you’re currently using.

However, dedicated IP hosting typically refers to dedicated hosting. To define dedicated hosting, it is a style of hosting that provides you with your own physical server. Compare this to shared hosting where you’re sharing a single physical server with hundreds, or even thousands, of other websites.


Dedicated IP Hosting Pros and Cons

The benefits of dedicated IP hosting depend on what you mean by dedicated IP hosting. If you’re strictly referring to a dedicated IP address (no matter the type of hosting you’re using), then refer to the dedicated IP address benefits above.

However, if you’re referring to a dedicated IP server, then these are the benefits your site will receive:


Rock Solid Performance

With a dedicated server, you have access to all of the resources of your server. This means that you’ll never run into bandwidth, disc space, or memory issues. Your site can receive a nearly unlimited volume of traffic without negatively affecting your site’s performance.


High Level of Security

With a dedicated server, you not only receive a dedicated IP address, but you’ll have much higher levels of server security. With a dedicated server, you can create custom security protocols that are engineered to your unique websites. Plus, since you’re not sharing the server with any other users, a spammy or insecure website won’t affect your server.


High Level of Uptime

Dedicated servers have very high uptime. You won’t experience any issues of your site being taken offline due to resource consumption.


Drawbacks of Dedicated Hosting

Still, dedicated hosting isn’t perfect. Here are some of the biggest drawbacks of choosing this form of hosting:


It Can Be Expensive

With a dedicated server, you’re paying for the entire physical server yourself. So, instead of splitting the costs between multiple users you’re responsible for the entire server cost yourself.

However, with the higher dedicated hosting costs you’re getting direct access to a high-performance server. If you’re thinking about upgrading to a dedicated server plan, then you’re probably the type of website owner who can afford it. There are also cheap dedicated server hosting plans available, but with these it is highly recommended to do your research and know what you’re getting before purchasing.


High Level of Technical Expertise

With a dedicated server, there’s a higher level of technical experience required. For example, you or your team will be responsible for server configuration and maintenance. If you don’t have the necessary technical skills, then you may need to bring on additional team members or consider using a managed hosting provider.


What’s a Shared IP Address?

A shared IP address is an IP address that’s shared between multiple domains. It’s probably one of the most common IP address setups today. Hosting providers today are able to utilize a single IP address for multiple domain names, while still delivering users to the web page they specify.

But, just because you’re using a shared IP address doesn’t mean that it’s shared hosting. With shared hosting, you’ll be sharing the server resources amongst multiple users on the same server. They often go together, but it’s not always the case.


What is Shared Hosting?

In this section, we will discuss what is shared hosting so you can have a better idea of which hosting plan is best for you. Shared hosting is by and far the most common type of hosting. It’s well suited for beginners and can usually benefit sites up until they’re getting tens of thousands of visitors per month.

Like we mentioned above, with shared hosting you’re sharing the server hardware and resources with dozens, hundreds, or maybe even thousands of other sites. This is done through server partitioning. Every user will have an allotted amount of storage, bandwidth, and more that they can use however they wish (within the host’s terms of service of course).

Shared hosting is commonly equipped with an easy to use control panel, along with additional tools to help you get your site online as fast as possible, plus it’s usually the cheapest form of hosting you’ll be able to find!


Shared Hosting Pros

Shared hosting is the most commonly used form of hosting in the world. It’s oriented towards beginners and can greatly aid in the site building process. Most site owners will start their online journey with a shared host, eventually “graduating” to other types of hosting as their sites expand.


It’s Cheap

One of the main reasons people turn to shared hosting is because it’s incredibly cheap. Since you’re sharing server resources with other site owners you’ll be splitting these costs as well. When you’re just starting out online and don’t have much of a budget, the cheap monthly rate can be very beneficial.


Easy to Setup

Shared hosting is incredibly easy to use. A shared hosting environment typically comes with pre-installed software scripts, or at least the ability to quickly install whatever kind of technology your site requires to function. For example, with a shared server environment you’ll have access to tools like WordPress, Joomla, website builders, and more. Any technical task can be accomplished through an app within cPanel.


Shared Hosting Cons

Shared hosting can be very beneficial for the right kind of website owner. However, it’s not without its drawbacks. Although shared hosting can be the perfect fit when just starting out, some sites will quickly outgrow the service and need to upgrade to a higher package.


Limited Server Resources

Shared hosting is limited with its disk space and bandwidth. Most websites won’t run into these limitations unless they’re growing quickly or are receiving a very high volume of traffic. However, in some cases, another site on the same server who’s experiencing a heavy load of traffic can actually negatively affect your website’s performance too.


Can’t Support Custom Setups

With shared hosting, you’re given a wide range of software to choose from, but there isn’t much you can do to the actual server environment or underlying technology. You’re stuck with the customization options that are offered by the server environment, usually things like choosing your CMS or website builder, configuring email addresses, and more. If you need higher levels of customization that allows you to optimize your server environment for performance, or for your unique website needs, then you’ll need to upgrade to another form of hosting.


Dedicated IP Hosting vs Shared Hosting

The main difference between dedicated IP and shared hosting is the IP address. The most common type of IP address is a shared IP address. In this scenario, multiple websites that are sharing the same server environment will also share the same IP address.

With a dedicated IP address, your website is the only site that’s using the IP address—it’s yours and yours alone.

When you choose dedicated server hosting it’ll typically be equipped with a dedicated IP address. It can be server specific (and you’ll receive a dedicated IP address for the server no matter how many sites you’re hosting). Or, you can have multiple dedicated IP addresses on a dedicated server environment (for each site that you’re hosting on the server).

With shared hosting, you’re sharing the server resources, along with an IP address. It is possible to have a dedicated IP address on a shared server, but you’ll need to make this request through your host. Not every host has the underlying structure to support a dedicated IP address on a shared hosting environment.


Closing Thoughts

Dedicated IP hosting and shared hosting both address very different needs in the hosting market. Shared hosting is a perfect choice for those just getting started online. It’s easy to use, simple to set up, and can support your site until you’re receiving pretty decent levels of traffic. However, you may run into performance issues, depending on the other site’s you’re sharing the server environment with.

While if you’re using dedicated IP hosting, then you’re most likely on a dedicated server environment. Dedicated servers are oriented toward high-level sites, and and you can even use dedicated servers for games as well. A dedicated server offers you greater levels of server customization, security, control, and support for very high levels of traffic without any issues in site performance.

Hopefully, you have a better idea of the differences between dedicated IP and shared hosting, so you can better choose the right hosting package when building a website.

Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.