Shared IP vs. Dedicated IP: Which Should You Choose?


dedicated ip vs shared ip - 1
January 15, 2024
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Shared IP vs. Dedicated IP: Which Should You Choose?

Trying to determine whether you should be on a shared or dedicated internet protocol (IP) address? Before you make any decisions, let’s start with the basics. An IP address is how email gets delivered. It’s basically the Pony Express for email but a lot faster.

Inbox service providers (ISPs), such as Gmail and Yahoo!, use the IP address to determine whether to deliver your email to the recipient’s inbox based on your sending reputation. If you have a good reputation, your email is more likely to get delivered. If you don’t, then you might not have much luck getting inboxed or delivered at all.

Should you choose a shared or dedicated IP address, and how can it impact your sending reputation? Let’s explore the differences and what you should consider when making the choice.

What is a shared IP address?

Have you ever had a virtual mailing address where you could receive mail at a shared location? Or perhaps you’re reading this in your shared office space? This is basically how a shared IP works: you co-locate your mail streams with several other senders.

Here are some things to consider with a shared IP:

No reputation control

With a shared IP, your reputation is at the mercy of your sending cohorts. If they follow email best practices, you can reap the benefits of an IP address with a high reputation. But if they don’t, there’s little you can do to ensure high delivery rates.

In either case, it’s important for your SMTP provider to regularly monitor sender activity to ensure that everyone adheres to the rules and optimizes their program for good deliverability. 

Good for low-volume senders

If you send less than 100,000 emails per year, it might not be worth moving to a dedicated IP. Consider the cost of a dedicated IP and the return on investment for your email program. Plus, ISPs like to see consistent sending patterns, so if you don’t have high enough activity levels for a dedicated IP, this could impact your reputation and result in low email delivery rates.

What is a dedicated IP address?

A dedicated IP address is like a home address—you’re the only domain to send email through that address. The benefits of a dedicated IP include:

Full reputation control

Because you’re the only domain to use a dedicated IP, you can control and monitor your sending reputation directly. This means you don’t have to worry about another sender’s activity affecting your reputation. Instead, you can focus on building a healthy email program and optimizing your deliverability. 

Best for high-volume senders

If you send over 100,000 emails per year, it might benefit you to switch to a dedicated IP address. At this volume, you can establish a consistent sending pattern and build a solid reputation. Plus, if you choose an email service provider plan that includes dedicated IPs, you can typically also take advantage of advanced features that help improve email deliverability

Shared IP vs. dedicated IP: Which is right for you?

When it comes to choosing between a shared IP and a dedicated IP, the decision hinges on your email volume, sender reputation, and the level of control you desire over your email deliverability. Both options have their merits, and understanding your specific needs will help you make the best choice for your email program.

1. Email Volume

  • Shared IP: Ideal if you send less than 100,000 emails per year. Great for startups or small businesses with lower email frequencies.
  • Dedicated IP: Recommended for sending over 100,000 emails per year. Suitable for large businesses or those with heavy email marketing campaigns.

2. Sender reputation management

  • Shared IP: Your reputation is influenced by the combined practices of all users on the IP. A risk if others don’t follow best practices, but managed by Twilio SendGrid for overall health.
  • Dedicated IP: Complete control over your reputation. Your email practices solely determine your deliverability rates, offering precise management of your email strategy.

3. Cost considerations

  • Shared IP: More cost-effective, especially if email is not your primary marketing tool. Lower initial investment and maintenance costs.
  • Dedicated IP: Higher cost but offers more value for high-volume senders. Consider the return on investment for your extensive email activities.

4. Sending patterns

  • Shared IP: Less critical to maintain consistent high-volume sending patterns. Suitable for irregular or sporadic email campaigns.
  • Dedicated IP: Requires consistent sending patterns to establish and maintain a positive sender reputation. Ideal for regular, high-volume senders.

5. Level of control

  • Shared IP: Limited control over IP reputation due to shared usage. Reliant on the provider's oversight and management.
  • Dedicated IP: Full autonomy over email practices and reputation management. Best for those who want direct influence over their email deliverability.

Choose a shared IP if you're a low-volume sender seeking a cost-effective solution and are comfortable with shared reputation management. It’s a practical starting point for many businesses.

Opt for a dedicated IP if you have a high email volume, need complete control over your sender reputation, and are willing to invest more for better email deliverability outcomes. It’s ideal for large-scale email marketers and businesses where email is a key communication channel.

Send over a shared or dedicated IP address with Twilio SendGrid

While most senders start out on a shared IP and then move to a dedicated IP once their email program grows, sending consistency should be a major consideration in your decision to go the shared or dedicated route. Should you choose the latter, and depending on your provider, getting a dedicated IP can be pricey, but Twilio SendGrid focuses on affordability. 

We do this by giving you a dedicated IP with our Pro 100K plan and charging just $30 per month for each additional dedicated IP. This plan has additional benefits for your program, like email validation, subuser management, and single sign-on. 

In the end, you want maximum control. Sharing is great for some things, like cookies, but not so much for your reputation. So if you’re consistently sending at a high volume, it might be time to upgrade to a dedicated IP. 

Learn more about how Twilio SendGrid’s Email API can help you send exceptional emails at scale, or try it out for free today. 


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