IP Addresses

IP addresses, short for Internet Protocol Addresses, is a unique number that is assigned to every single device that accesses the internet. Typing in “IP”, “My IP”, or “What is My IP”, into Google, will show you the IP address you are using to access the web. It will look something like 66.777.8.999.

Hosting companies advise how many IP addresses are included with VPS plans and dedicated server plans. Typically, plans will have one or two unique IP addresses assigned to them. Additional IP addresses can be purchased with your plan. Prices range from $1 per IP address up to $10 per IP address. The price will depend upon the hosting company you are using.

IP addresses are not even mentioned with shared hosting plans as you will be sharing your IP address with hundreds of other customers; however some hosting companies may permit you to purchase an IP address if you wish to do so.

The question that many shared hosting customers ask is: Do I need to have a dedicated IP address?

In many situations, it is beneficial to use a unique IP address for your websites. Let's look at some of the reasons why it may be in your interests to purchase a dedicated IP address.

SSL certificates

SSL Certificates are essential if your website is handling sensitive information such as payment details. An SSL connection will displays the padlock icon on a user's browser address bar and ensures the user uses the more secure https protocol. This ensures a more secure connection between a server and a user's browser.

This additional security is why most eCommerce stores purchase SSL certificates.

In order to acquire an SSL certificate, you must be using a unique IP address. Some hosting companies will charge you one price for a unique IP address and SSL certificate. Others will charge a fee for both; however the total price could still be less than what other hosting companies charge for both.

High Traffic

I have read many people claim that if your website is receiving a high level of traffic, a dedicated IP address can help manage all of your visitors more effectively. This is kind of a poor argument for shared hosting users as if your website was receiving a huge amount of traffic, you would not be hosting on a cheap shared hosting plan anyways.

It is, however, common for high traffic websites to use multiple IP addresses to manage the load their website traffic generates. Techniques such as round-robin DNS can be used to associate multiple IP addresses to a single domain.

If you are lucky enough to be generating a high volume of traffic to your website, speak to your hosting company to see what is the best solution for you moving forward. Alternatively, drop by Rise Forums and start a new thread about the issue and we will try our best to point you in the right direction.

SEO?

The debate over whether a dedicated IP address is necessary for SEO reasons has raged on for many years. It continues to be a topic that is covered on SEO blogs regularly.

Back in 2010, Matt Cutts addressed the issue of whether hosting on a shared hosting plan using the same IP address as hundreds or thousands of others could negatively affect your website's rankings.

The question posed to Matt was “My SEO client is using shared hosting for one of their websites. When I checked other sites hosted on their server, I found some spammy websites. Will that affect the ranking of my client's website?”.

Can a spammy website affect the ranking of other sites hosted on the same server?

Matt's response was that most servers that have been configured for shared hosting plans have a large variety of websites hosted on them, therefore a small percentage of spammy websites would not negatively affect the other users. However, he did note that if there are thousands of spam websites using the same IP address as you, it could be bad for you.

My own opinion is that if you purchase a hosting plan from a reputable hosting company, you would not have to worry about using the same IP address as thousands of spam websites as the hosting company would not allow it.

Additionally, I feel that anyone who is seriously about their business would not be hosted on a shared hosting account in the first instance. At the very least, everyone who is serious about their online presence will be hosted on a small VPS plan that has a unique IP address. VPS plans can be purchased from around $15 per month; which is not a lot of money to ensure your website is hosted on a dedicated IP address.

In summary, those of you who are hosted on a shared hosting plan should not worry about being negatively affected by not using a unique IP address.