What is an IP address? Do I need a Dedicated IP?

An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a number that is associated with each sender or receiver when sending information in packets across the internet.  You might think of it as similar to a phone number.  One number calls the other to communicate between the two.  The sender would have an IP address.  The receiver would also have an IP address.

As there are only a certain number of IP Addresses, websites often use what is known as a shared IP address.  A shared IP address is a single IP address used by multiple websites on a server.  This could be compared to a company that has a single phone number, but can transfer calls between their departments/personnel. One phone number, multiple departments/personnel using the same number.  One shared IP address, multiple websites using the same IP address.

A dedicated IP address is a number bound to a specific website.  No other website is using the same IP address.

Do I need a dedicated IP?
There are many reasons why a dedicated IP address is beneficial.  There are a few reasons as to why a website would need a dedicated IP address.  These are in no particular order.

1. If you are planning on using an SSL certificate for your website. you will need a dedicated IP address.  An SSL certificate is good for business identity and reputation.
 
2.  You can access your website by using the dedicated IP address.  If using a shared IP and accessing the shared IP address, the default site set for the shared IP would appear.  This would not generally be the site you need to access.  Often it is a generic site.  A dedicated IP is bound to only one website.  Therefore accessing a dedicated IP, accesses the website bound to the dedicated IP address.

3.  Using a shared IP, other websites can have a negative impact.  For example: Another website sharing the same IP as your website gets exploited.  This website now sends malware or a virus to anyone accessing it's content.  That website starts getting blocked and flagged as containing malicious content.  Rather than just flagging and blocking the website, the shared IP address could also be flagged and blocked.  So now when people trying to view your website, they may not be able to access it without receiving a security notification.  Your website reputation has now been impacted because another website on the same IP was exploited.  Applied I has measures in place to help prevent this from occurring and limit the impact such an exploit could have. This scenario impacting your website could be avoided if the website were using a dedicated IP.

4. Some third party applications/scripts require a website to use a dedicated IP address.

5.  You may have heard of SNI (Server Name Indicator) technology where a shared IP address can have multiple SSL certificates applied to it as long as SNI is forced for all websites using their own SSL certificate.  This is true for websites on a Windows 2012 R2 server or newer running IIS 8.  The disadvantage of SNI is that older browsers do not handle SNI technology.  This can cause issues such as websites using a valid SSL certificate while using a shared IP and SNI will be flagged as insecure or as an untrusted connection.  A website using a dedicated IP with a valid SSL certificate would not experience this issue in older browsers.

If there are any questions, please contact us to assist you in deciding which SSL certificate may be right for you.

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