Column (blog is so passé)

Do I Need A Dedicated IP Address?

12.12.12

Do I need a dedicated IP Address?
A Website hosted with a "dedicated IP" never changes location. The advantages of having a dedicated IP number is that dedicated IP's tend to lend themselves much better to advanced web development, they are much easier to work with and they are more compatible with server side applications.

So why don’t all hosting companies offer all their customers a dedicated IP? There are numerous reasons ranging from cost to the availability of IP addresses.

Let's break things down in laymen's terms and have the conversation from the point of physical street address.

Think of a website like a home. Some people live in detached houses and some live in apartment buildings or condos. Shared IP’s are like units in a multi-unit building. You have a street address, i.e. 3 First Avenue. And then you have a unit or apartment number. One of several hundred. People and the mail show up at the front door and the gatekeeper (Doorman) lets them in and points them in the right direction. People usually find your apartment, right?

A Dedicated IP address is like living in a detached house and your address is 3 First Avenue. There is no unit number. People knock on the door, you answer. There can be no confusion. Only you live here. Little chance of somebody showing up at the door saying, "Oops, wrong apartment!" Delivery is faster with less chance of someone getting lost. (Anyone who has ever ordered a Pizza to an apartment building certainly understands the hassles - and cold pizza.)

On the internet, Search engines “BOTS,” as they're known, come looking for you. The want to see your "place" (your website) and they want to add you and your content to their index so that when people are looking for content like yours, the bots will know where to send them. And maybe there is a problem in your "building" - Maybe the elevator to your floor is not working today or there is police tape over the elevator doors because some cyber crime occurred. So, the bot goes off to the next building and you won't get indexed until the next pass. Maybe a month from now?

The same would be true for potential visitors, because there was a problem in your building that day, you are not getting the traffic you were hoping for.

Now do you want to be in that apartment building if you neighbour is a spam artist? Do you want to be in that apartment if the people above you a running a high volume mail order business? Sucking up all the available bandwidth?

Sometimes you're kept waiting for the elevator to come so you (your data) can leave or your customers are waiting at the front door because of you neighbours high use of the front entrance.

Other advantages to having a unique IP for your site is if you change servers, you can point your users to a new IP, so they don't have to wait for the domain name change to propagate. With a dedicated static IP, it can also be simpler to upload and test your site before transferring the domain name to a new server. Setting up Secure sockets (SSL) is also much simpler.

Just like a detached house, having a dedicated (static) Ip address is not without its extra costs and burdens.

Static IPs cost extra and it varies. If you manage a server there is that expense and time…

But, it’s generally more stable having your own dedicated IP for your Website.

An organization called ARIN hands out IP addresses in the western hemisphere.

They noticed, several years ago, that we were going to run out of IP addresses eventually because of the proliferation of web-sites. At the time, every website had its own dedicated IP address that was associated with its domain name.

The solution? A new protocol called HTTP 1.1 (to replace HTTP 1.0). The new protocol allowed more than one domain/website to share the same IP address. In fact, hundreds of websites can now share the same IP address. The new type of hosting is called "name based", "shared IP", "http 1.1", etc.

All this becomes mute when the internet moves to IP6. You can make the move now - we can help.

So where do I stand? With the cost of servers and unlimited user software down below the $1000 mark, and ISPs offering a static IP address for under $60.00/mo. I think the answer is clear - Especially if your server is a Mac Mini server running Snow Leopard. They you will barely even need my help!

Regards,
WebSavvy.