Dedicated IP Vs. Shared IP for Email Marketing: Are Dedicated IPs Necessary?

Dedicated vs Shared IP
Josh M
Author: J. Michaels
Mateo B
Reviewed by: Mateo Beltroy
Dedicated vs Shared IP

When it comes to email marketing, should you use a shared IP or a dedicated IP? Well, as with anything else in marketing, it depends.

A shared IP is exactly that. It is shared by various senders just like you. Because the IP is shared by many users, it is usually a more cost-effective option.

The only drawback? Your sender reputation can be affected by the behaviors of the other users on your IP.

With a dedicated IP, you can solve that. Instead of having to worry about how other senders may damage your reputation, you can remain in total control with a dedicated IP. This option is usually more expensive, but it can be worth it depending on your email marketing strategy.

So, how do you decide which is right for your strategy?

Let’s talk about these options in detail so you can make a more informed decision.

What’s an IP address?

Your IP address is a unique identifier, given to you by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), that distinguishes your internet connection or web domain from all others on the internet. It’s a string of numbers separated by periods, for example, and each number can range from 0 to 255.

When you go online, your ISP assigns an external IP to locate your device. Any web request you make sends your IP address along, allowing for IP tracking. IP geolocation can identify your general location based on this address.

However, you can maintain IP anonymity using a proxy, like a Virtual Private Network (VPN), that assigns you a proxy IP address, effectively masking your real one.

Why do IP Addresses Matter for Email Marketing?

IP addresses play a role in establishing your sender reputation. This reputation greatly influences whether your emails land in the inbox or the spam folder. Your IP reputation and domain reputation together form your sender reputation. ISPs scrutinize your sending IP’s history to determine your trustworthiness as a sender.

The deliverability impact can be significant. If ISPs deem you untrustworthy, your emails run a higher risk of being flagged as spam or not delivered at all. This is where reputation management comes into play. Keeping track of your sender reputation and maintaining high-quality content can increase your chances of landing in the inbox.

Email segmentation can also help improve your sender reputation. By segmenting your emails, you can manage your sending frequency more effectively and avoid being flagged as a spammer.

Lastly, don’t forget the IP warming process. The IP warming process is the same process as domain warming, and together they are known as email warming. This process involves gradually increasing your email volume over time, which can help you build a positive sender reputation and improve your email delivery rates.

Dedicated IPs vs. Shared IPs

Choosing between dedicated IPs and shared IPs can be an important decision in email marketing, as it directly affects your sender reputation and email deliverability. With a dedicated IP, you’re the sole user. This means you have ultimate sender control, as your email deliverability is exclusively tied to your actions. It’s a double-edged sword, as you’re also solely responsible for maintaining a positive IP reputation.

On the other hand, with shared IPs, you share the IP, and consequently, its reputation with other senders. This is known as reputation pooling. While you may benefit from the positive actions of others, reckless behavior from any user could affect everyone’s email deliverability. This could be a risk if you’re grouped with irresponsible senders.

Ultimately, this decision is not the most important decision you will make when it comes to email marketing. Only after you level up in the email marketing game should you even begin to consider switching to a dedicated IP. There are many other things you need to focus on first, such as setting up DKIM, SPF, and DMARC, to have a good sender reputation.

Dedicated IP

Like we said before, with a dedicated IP, you’re the only user, giving you complete control over your email sending reputation and simplifying the process of identifying and addressing any IP issues. This exclusive control benefits your email marketing efforts by guaranteeing that your sending behavior exclusively impacts your IP reputation. This means you don’t need to worry about the negative consequences of sharing an IP with spammers or other careless senders.

One key advantage of this is better email deliverability. Since your IP reputation is entirely under your control, you can guarantee consistent, high-quality sending behavior. This increases the chances of your emails being successfully delivered and not flagged as spam. This is especially important for marketers with large lists that send out large quantities of emails each day.

Also, dedicated IPs simplify IP management. When multiple senders share an IP, it can be challenging to troubleshoot issues, as it’s difficult to determine the source of the problem. However, with a dedicated IP, all sending behavior originates from you, making it easier to identify and resolve any issues. This streamlined IP management, combined with the control benefits, makes dedicated IPs an excellent choice for maintaining a strong email marketing program.

Shared IP

Often, shared IPs can be an effective choice for smaller senders or groups of senders with solid reputations, offering a more cost-effective solution than dedicated IPs. The shared IP cost effectiveness is particularly beneficial if you’re just starting to send emails, as it provides a financially feasible option until your email volume increases.

One of the shared IP benefits is the collaborative nature of this IP type. Multiple senders share the responsibility of maintaining the IP’s reputation, making it easier to keep it in good standing as the reputation is averaged by the behavior of all of the senders. This shared IP collaboration results in a healthier IP compared to one managed by a single sender.

Your shared IP reputation also benefits from the good standing of other senders. If you’re part of shared IP sender groups that contain well-regarded senders, your emails can gain credibility from their established reputations. This is particularly beneficial if you’re a smaller or newer sender.

Which Type of IP is Best for You?

If you’re a consistent high-volume sender, a dedicated IP might be your best bet. This will allow you to deploy reputation-building strategies and manage your IP address effectively, without other senders tarnishing your reputation. However, it’s important to contemplate the cost comparison analysis, as dedicated IPs are more expensive.

On the other hand, if you send emails inconsistently or in low volumes, a shared IP could be a more cost-effective choice. You’ll benefit from the good reputation of your shared IP partners, which can help legitimize your domain. But remember, your reputation building will take longer due to your lower sender volume.

Typically, we like to think that dedicated IPs are for more sophisticated and experienced email marketers. The benefits can be huge for established marketers that need to protect their campaigns. However, the benefits are not as big for smaller or beginner marketers.

Basically, your choice between a dedicated and shared IP should be guided by your sender volume considerations, budget, and domain legitimacy factors.

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