Deciding between a shared or dedicated IP address for a website is a controversial topic, in that some information on the web recommend having a dedicated IP to improve site performance and security. While Kinsta does offer customers the option of getting a dedicated IP address, they use shared IP addresses by default. Below we explain why most sites don’t need a dedicated IP and will be just fine on a shared one.
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To start, it’s important to understand the difference between dedicated and shared IP addresses. A dedicated IP address for a domain means it’s not used or shared by any other domains. In contrast, a shared IP address means multiple domains share that IP address. Shared IP is actually very common these days for most WordPress hosts.
Kinsta itself offers one shared IP address for all of its hosting plans. This is because they don’t think a dedicated IP address is necessary at all. Note that shared IP does not mean shared hosting. Kinsta hosts each WordPress site in its own isolated container which doesn’t share resources with other sites, even your other ones. There are no shared hosting plans on Kinsta, so it doesn’t suffer from performance impact that results from this type of hosting.
Performance and Speed
Having a shared IP address doesn’t mean having a slower website. Page loading speed depends a lot more on the web host’s infrastructure and optimization. In Kinsta’s case, their entire infrastructure is built on the Google Cloud Platform, which is quite different from the typical shared, VPS and dedicated hosting classifications. Kinsta reports that nearly all sites that migrate to their servers saw an improvement in overall performance.
In fact, the most common reasons presented for dedicated IP addresses are:
- It lets you access the website via the IP address, e.g., entering “18.104.22.168” in a browser will take you to Google.com.
- It provides easy server access via FTP in case your DNS has not finished propagating.
- It adds extra port access, though these are typically blocked by most hosts.
Kinsta sees none of the above as an actual advantage. No one really enters IP addresses to visit websites anymore. As to the second reason, you can edit your host’s file instead. Most hosts block standard ports as a security measure given how they can be exploited, so even a dedicated IP address won’t make it an advantage.
Previously, one of the top reasons to get a dedicated IP is due to it being a requirement for an SSL certificate. But this is no longer the case since the creation of SNI or Server Name Identification. SNI allows multiple SSL certificates on a single IP, giving visitors the certificate matching the server name requested. SNI now has nearly 99% browser support, too.
Using SNI, Kinsta allows clients to use both free and custom SSL certificates with its Let’s Encrypt integration. This lets you enable HTTPS with one button on the MyKinsta dashboard. Since shared IP addresses work well for SSL, and Kinsta’s isolated container guarantees protection, having a dedicated IP address for site security is unnecessary.
Perhaps the best reason to get a dedicated IP address is if you’re sending thousands of emails per year, such as transactional ones from ecommerce sites. Because IP addresses have a reputation recognized by email clients, the IP you use will have an impact on email delivery rate. A better reputation will get your emails into your audience’s inboxes much more likely.
However, it’s still better to get a dedicated IP from a third party email provider, not your hosting provider. This is because your host’s IP addresses are still tied together, so if one of them gets blacklisted (such as if one site suddenly starts spamming), your own sending will be affected. The worst part is you’ll be depending on your host to resolve the issue.
Using your own dedicated IP but sending only a low volume of emails may also be detrimental since it will only take a few bad reports to hurt your IP’s reputation. Email services monitor the shared and dedicated IP addresses they provide to ensure optimal delivery rates. They typically charge extra for a dedicated IP but the pros are usually worth it.
Google’s webmaster guidelines have no mentions of dedicated IP addresses being good or bad for SEO. The fact that many top brands, like CNN, Coca-Cola, and Google themselves use shared IP addresses for multiple domains. Sharing an IP with spammy sites can be a problem, but it’s still up to the hosting provider to control which sites they continue to allow to run on their platforms.
This is why it’s important to get a high quality host. While you can’t control which websites you’ll be sharing an IP with, the host can cull hacked sites and such. Also, even if you share an IP with websites with negative SEO, Google can take this into consideration when ranking your pages.
Switching your IP address, such as when you migrate a site to a different host, also doesn’t impact SEO performance. Google themselves note that they know it’s very common for sites to use the same IP address and that’s how the Internet typically works.
Finally, if you already have a dedicated IP, you won’t be able to migrate it to a new server and still keep the IP address. You can’t have two hosting accounts for the same domain name, so you’ll have to get a new IP.
Nowadays, dedicated IP addresses do not have inherent advantages over shared IP addresses. It also costs more to get a dedicated IP as part of a high performance hosting plan or as an add-on. On Kinsta, they offer a load balancer add-on that costs $200/month, but it comes with a unique dedicated IP address.
Just keep in mind that many of the common myths regarding dedicated IPs are just that, myths. Shared IP addresses doesn’t always mean shared hosting and it has no impact on your site speed either. You can enable SSL certificates without a dedicated IP through SNI technology. Migrating IPs is not possible but you can change IP addresses without affecting site speed or SEO performance.
Yes, you can obtain a dedicated IP address on Kinsta by purchasing their load balancer add-on.
In most cases, a dedicated IP address is only worth the extra cost if you’re sending a lot of emails (around 100,000 emails per year). Otherwise, a shared IP address is cheaper and doesn’t have any disadvantages.
No, you can’t migrate a domain to a new server and still keep the same IP address. The IP will change every time you change servers or hosting providers.
Not necessarily. Google doesn’t distinguish between shared and dedicated IP addresses when determining rankings for websites.