What is a Dedicated IP, and Will It Improve Your Email Campaign Stats?

What is a Dedicated IP, and Will It Improve Your Email Campaign Stats?
24 May, 2024 • ... • 113 views
Dmitry Teckel
by Dmitry Teckel

When you’re out for a drive, it’s not enough to have a nice car. Without a proper driving license, you won’t get any further than the first document check at a police post. It’s the same with newsletters: each email campaign has so much more under the hood than just great content.

An authenticated IP address is the closest thing that email marketers have to a driving license. Reliable IP identifies you as a trustworthy sender and helps you avoid security blocks such as spam filters. Professional marketers and large businesses can choose between dedicated IPs and shared ones — and many prefer the former, although there’s no uniform solution.

But what is dedicated IP, how exactly does it improve your email performance, and do you need it at all? Read this article to find out.

What is a dedicated IP address?

IP (Internet Protocol) is the basis of the modern web. This protocol ensures the worldwide connection by transferring data packages back and forth between devices, or hosts. For the whole process to work, each host, be it computers, servers or websites, should have its own identification. That’s why every device is assigned an IP address — a unique set of numbers that identifies its location within the network. 

IPs can be dedicated or shared. Let’s take a look at how these types work. 

An infographic shows how shared IP and dedicated IP work. Senders 1 to 3 send their emails through the same shared IP, while sender 4 uses a dedicated IP.
  • A dedicated IP is a fixed address that can be utilized by only one user or company. The easiest way to obtain a dedicated IP if you’re planning to use it for email marketing purposes is to buy it from an email service provider that offers such an option. And if you have the necessary resources, you can establish your own private servers to deal with mailing.
  • A shared IP address is the one that is used by multiple senders. Shared IPs are often provided by email marketing platforms. When you send out your emails, you do it from the same address as many other users of the same service.

Benefits of a dedicated IP vs shared IP

First of all, dedicated IPs are not for everyone. In email marketing, there are cases when a shared IP can be a preferable option. 

Some examples include having budget constraints, sending a moderate number of emails (roughly under 200K per month), or not sending them regularly.

A shared IP might be a better option for you if:

  • You have a smaller sending volume (roughly under 300K per month) and you don’t send regularly yet.
  • You want to try out email marketing first without investing too much in it.
  • You have budget constraints.

So, what exactly are the benefits of dedicated IP vs shared IP? First and foremost, when using shared IP, you have no control over the reputation of the address. If someone frequently indulges in some questionable marketing activities, it may affect other users of the same IP. It falls on the marketing platform to filter and prevent such harmful behavior, of course. However, your brand’s sender reputation still might suffer in some cases. But when you have a dedicated IP, its usage and reputation solely depend on your own actions, making you sure nobody else tempers with them. 

Other notable benefits of using a dedicated IPs are:

  • Increased security. With a dedicated address, you have a better chance against such threats as phishing attacks or hacking attempts. On a shared IP, one cybersecurity slip may cause trouble to all of the server’s users.
  • Easier troubleshooting. It is much easier to narrow down and solve technical issues when you are the only owner of the IP. On shared servers, logs can be hard to navigate due to large amounts of traffic, or you can have no access to them at all.

Also, using a dedicated IP usually has a positive effect on email deliverability.

How dedicated IPs affect email deliverability

Deliverability is the most important metric of your emails. Both shared and dedicated IPs provide solutions that can make or break your campaign stats. Here are some unique features of the dedicated IP.

Positive impact on sender reputation

Mailing engines have security measures that check the sender’s reputation. If it drops too low, you’re in trouble — your newsletter just won’t break through spam filters and reach your customers anymore. Major email services like Google Gmail tend to trust dedicated IPs more than shared IPs, so emails sent from dedicated IPs are less likely to be considered suspicious and get caught in the said spam filters. 

Also, having more control over dedicated IP than shared IP safeguards you against reputational problems caused by other users of the IP address However, even with a dedicated IP, you still need to upkeep your reputation, properly warm up your address and maintain good marketing practices to avoid being blocked (more on that later).

Mitigating risks of shared IP issues

Reputation risks can be the main issue of shared mailing servers. You may do your best to follow guidelines, provide useful content and respect your readers’ privacy. But if some other business sends spam from the same IP, you all run a risk of getting blocked by the recipients’ mailbox protection. If you worry about maintaining a good image and not wasting any resources, it’s best to exclude such wild cards from the very start by using a private IP.

More control over sending volume and schedule

Having a dedicated IP means that you have more options for setting up technical aspects of your newsletter. Since you don’t have to share your IP with other senders, you can also implement customized sending schedules and regulate the volume of emails sent to become friends with anti-spam systems. As a nice bonus, a dedicated IP allows for using unique domains to make your emails look more trustworthy to your recipients.

Best practices for using a dedicated IP for email marketing

If you don’t want your newsletter to become one of the email marketing SCPs, there are a few things to consider even when you choose to implement a dedicated IP.

Warm-up process

When you’re just setting up a freshly acquired dedicated IP, don’t jump head-first into massive campaigns. First, you need to warm it up so that you don’t get blocked by spam filters. If you send out large volumes of messages from a previously inactive server, it will act as a distinct red flag for mailbox protection services. Even if your content is good, you need to gradually scale it over time to avoid deliverability issues.

Maintaining sender reputation and email volume

It is not enough to just warm up your address — you need to upkeep it. Sporadic campaigns won’t do you any good. Mailing activity should be regular, so you don’t get blacklisted. This is where shared IPs actually have one benefit over dedicated ones: when you have a lot of users, it’s easier to maintain a constant traffic flow. If you are all by yourself, you need to carefully plan an email strategy that will provide you with enough content to evenly run it over time. 

Implementing authentication protocols (SPF, DKIM, DMARC)

Email services require you to use several authentication protocols as another security measure. Starting with 2024, it is now mandatory to use all three of such protocols:

  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF) — a list of who can send emails from your domain.
  • DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) — a set of keys that confirms your sender identity to a mailing server.
  • Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) — a protocol that uses SPF and DKIM to confirm authentication, handle delivery failures and send you analytics on your traffic.

When using a dedicated IP, you’ll need to implement this set of protocols to ensure that your emails pass the protection tools of recipients’ mailboxes and don’t get blocked as spam.

Final thoughts

Dedicated IP is important when you want to have full control over your reputation and deliverability. On the other hand, you have the additional responsibility to warm up, scale and authenticate your traffic and you also have to have a bigger sending volume of about 300K emails per month. 

That is why email marketing for small businesses is usually based around services that provide shared IPs so that you have fewer cybersecurity measures to worry about. Dedicated IP is one of the more flexible tools intended for pros — so make sure that you know what you’re doing with it if you opt to use it.

Article by
Dmitry Teckel
I got into digital marketing 5 years ago. When writing, I combine this experience with my background in journalsim. My passion is to research complex marketing stuff and turn it into a gripping, easy-to-read story. Writer by day, by night I play in a band and carve wood.
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