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Shared or Dedicated I.P. Addresses

by John Carthy on August 14, 2007

When looking for a good webhosting company, there are a lot of important factors to consider. WebHosting Talk, a forum devoted to webhosting, recently published a survey indicating that reliability, security and support were considered the three most important factors  as identified by SME customers – when selecting a potential web host.

These are relatively easy things to investigate. Netcraft.com an independent 3rd party that doesn’t provide hosting services monitors the performance of hosting companies and makes their findings publicly available.

When investigating support, look for a 24/7 tool free telephone number on the website and make sure it’s included with the plan you want to subscribe to.

Security is a little more involved: What is their datacenter like? Have they had any major security breaches? How long have they been doing business? (this is important as companies who haven’t figured this out don’t tend to last very long)

But there are other factors that aren’t discussed as much. One of them is having something called a dedicated IP address which can have a major impact on site security.

An IP address, for those that don’t know, is the 12 digit number behind a domain name used to resolve a request. Domain names were invented because people can’t remember really long numbers so a name was essentially mapped to a number. For example if you type 168.144.1.9 into your browser you will go to http://www.softcom.biz. Either the domain name or the IP will work.

Because there is a limited number of IP addresses available, many hosting companies give their customers shared IP addresses (many domain names under one IP address) and then use programmatic methods to resolve any request for a domain name on a shared IP address. Visitors will be able to reach a website hosted on a shared IP address but there are some shortcomings.

The main shortcoming is SSL security. If you are running an eCommerce site or any type of content that requires encryption, you will want to have a dedicated IP address. Otherwise visitors will get a warning that the site name doesn’t match the name on the SSL key.

There are also SEO or search engine optimizations concerns to consider. Many people have found that sites with a dedicated IP address do mysteriously better in search engine results than those utilizing shared IPs. This isn’t proven, but why take a chance with something as important as being indexed in the major search engines.

myhosting.com was fortunate enough to get a large block of IP addresses when it was founded 10 years ago and provides a dedicated IP address with all its sites that are on Windows hosting. As for support and reliability you won’t find anyone better.

John Carthy
V.P. Sales and Marketing
SoftCom Technology Consulting Inc.

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  5. The Case for Hyper-V VDS over Dedicated Hosting

{ 7 comments }

PotsNPans December 17, 2010 at 3:25 PM

Reliability, security, and support are the top 3 factors for me, too–although I would definitely rank security as the #1 factor by far!

Stoddard December 22, 2010 at 4:11 PM

After reading this, I definitely want a dedicated IP address because the security systems are so much better.

PotsNPans January 4, 2011 at 11:25 AM

That’s very interesting how dedicated IP addresses do better with SEO than shared. I wonder how VPS does with SEO compared to dedicated.

WrigleyF February 21, 2011 at 3:27 PM

I wouldn’t want a shared IP address simply because of the issue of SSL security.

Rusher April 13, 2011 at 6:54 AM

Good thinking about getting all those IP addresses way back when. Now that’s foresight!

Texas2Step November 23, 2011 at 5:19 AM

This article gave me a lot to consider when looking for a new dedicated or shared IP address. There’s more to it than I’d thought! But what’s a good way to find out if a datacenter has had any major security breaches?

Randy5 February 8, 2012 at 7:19 AM

Is it still the case in 2012 that dedicated IP addresses fare better with SEO than shared addresses? Even if that’s no longer the case, however, I’d still want a dedicated address for the reason that people cited above: the security!

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