Trying to figure out if you should use a dedicated or shared IP is a big decision. Before deciding, you need to get to know the basics.
Every email you send or received is delivered through an IP address. Essentially, this is the modern-day pony express (just a whole lot faster!).
The Shared IP Address
Have you ever been privy to a virtual mailing address where you could receive mail at shared locations or even in a shared office space? This is (essentially) how a shared IP address works. When you do this, you wind up co-locating your emails with an array of other senders.
Some things you need to consider with a shared IP include:
Minimal Reputation Control
When it comes to a shared IP, you remain at the whims of the sending “cohorts.” For those that have been following the best email practices, you can benefit from an IP address that has a high or good reputation, but if not, there’s not much you can do to achieve the high delivery rates desired.
In either situation, you need an SMTP provider to monitor sender activity to make sure everyone adheres to the rules and maximizes the opportunity for customers.
Low Volume Sender
If you send under 100k emails each year, you may not need the dedicated IP. This is especially the case if your ESP has made this cost prohibitive. ISPs want to see some type of consistent pattern when it comes to email sending, so if there isn’t a high level of activity, you may wind up with no reputation, which results in lower email delivery rates.
The Dedicated IP Address
Similar to your home address, you are going to be the only domain that’s sending email when you have a dedicated IP address. There are several benefits offered by this, which include the following.
Complete Reputation Control
When you are the only domain that’s sending over an IP, you can monitor and control your sending reputation. This means you don’t have to worry about being affected by another person’s sending activity. This allows you to focus on building a quality email program and use the available email delivery tools for optimizing your email efforts.
High Volume Senders
Dedicated vs. Shared IP Addresses
The majority of senders begin on a shared IP and they make the move to a dedicated IP after their email program has matured and grown. Based on the provider you choose, getting the dedicated IP is often expensive, but you can find options that are more affordable if you do your research.