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Dedicated vs. Shared IPs: What Option is Right for You?


Trying to figure out if you should use a dedicated or shared IP is a big decision. Before deciding, you need to get to know the basics.

Let’s begin with the basics!

Every email you send or receive is delivered through an IP address. Essentially, this is the modern-day pony express (just a whole lot faster!).

Internet Service Providers, like Yahoo! And Gmail, use the IP address to figure out if they should deliver your email to your inbox based on the sending reputation you have. If you have developed a good reputation, your email is much more likely to be delivered. If this isn’t the case, then you may not have much luck in being delivered. It’s important to make sure that it’s up to the service providers to calculate email deliverability properly.

The Shared IP Address

Have you ever been privy to a virtual mailing address where you could receive mail at shared locations or even in a shared office space? This is (essentially) how a shared IP address works. When you do this, you wind up co-locating your emails with an array of other senders.

Some things you need to consider with a shared IP include:

Minimal Reputation Control

When it comes to a shared IP, you remain at the whims of the sending “cohorts.” For those that have been following the best email practices, you can benefit from an IP address that has a high or good reputation, but if not, there’s not much you can do to achieve the high delivery rates desired.

In either situation, you need an SMTP provider to monitor sender activity to make sure everyone adheres to the rules and maximizes the opportunity for customers.

Low Volume Sender

If you send under 100k emails each year, you may not need the dedicated IP. This is especially the case if your ESP has made this cost prohibitive. ISPs want to see some type of consistent pattern when it comes to email sending, so if there isn’t a high level of activity, you may wind up with no reputation, which results in lower email delivery rates.

The Dedicated IP Address

Similar to your home address, you are going to be the only domain that’s sending email when you have a dedicated IP address. There are several benefits offered by this, which include the following:

Complete Reputation Control

When you are the only domain that’s sending over an IP, you can monitor and control your sending reputation. This means you don’t have to worry about being affected by another person’s sending activity. This allows you to focus on building a quality email program and use the available email delivery tools for optimizing your email efforts.

High Volume Senders

If you send more than 100k emails each year, you may find it beneficial to move to a dedicated IP address. When you reach this point, you will have a consistent sending pattern, which means you can also build a solid reputation. You can also take advantage of an array of other services, such as being whitelisted for improved email deliverability.


Dedicated vs. Shared IP Addresses

The majority of senders begin on a shared IP and they make the move to a dedicated IP after their email program has matured and grown. Based on the provider you choose, getting the dedicated IP is often expensive, but you can find options that are more affordable if you do your research.

Even if you don’t send as much email as what is noted above, you can use consistency as the driver in the decision you make to choose a dedicated or shared IP addresses. In the end, your goal should be to maximize your control. Sharing is ideal for things like pins and likes, but not for your reputation.