When shopping around for a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you may notice that some VPN providers offer the option to request a dedicated IP. This means that you’ll get a unique, static IP address that’s exclusively for your use only.
Making use of a static IP can have numerous benefits but the significance of having exclusive use cannot be discounted as well. To understand how this works and the advantages of working with dedicated IPs, let’s examine them more closely.
What is an IP Address?
IP addresses are strings of decimal numbers that uniquely identify each device on a network. These help in routing data to its correct destinations. There are various types of IP addresses for different purposes. Two examples are shared and dedicated IP addresses.
What is a Dedicated IP Address?
A Dedicated IP address is one that is permanently assigned to a specific network or device. For example, if you have a dedicated IP address, you will regain the same IP each time you connect to the network. It will never change.
What is a Shared IP Address?
Shared IP addresses are those used by multiple devices. Often, a few IP addresses are rotated among a large pool of devices. Each time one of those devices reconnects, it is assigned the first shared IP address available.
Dedicated IP vs Shared IP VPN
When you connect to a VPN server, you will adopt the IP address of that server when browsing the web. Because most VPN servers are shared with many other users, many will be getting the very same IP address. This is known as a shared IP address.
On the surface, this might not affect you. In fact, in most cases there won’t be any problems. But what about if one of those users somehow misbehaves on a website and gets the IP banned? If you try and use that same service, you may find yourself affected by the ban as well.
Now compare that against a dedicated IP that’s assigned to you alone – does the significance come to mind now? Nobody else will be using that IP address, so unless you get it banned, it will always work.
Having said this, when compared to shared IPs, using dedicated IP addresses also means you’re potentially sacrificing a higher amount of privacy.
With shared IPs, you’re not only using a new IP each time you login, you’re also sharing that IP with tons of others across the globe. This makes it almost impossible to track which IP is associated with which account at any point in time.
But with a dedicated IP, you’re literally removing this element of anonymity as you have a specific number that is attached to your account and all activity can theoretically be traced back to you.
In general, dedicated IP VPNs are also more costly compared to shared IP VPNs. Since the IP is assigned for your exclusive use, the cost of maintaining that IP address is borne by you alone.
Is a Dedicated IP Address Necessary?
In some specific cases, a dedicated IP address might be necessary. For example, if you frequently travel for business and your bank is sensitive to VPN connections. In that case, a dedicated IP VPN might be a necessity.
For example, Bank of America disallows access to online accounts from overseas IP addresses. It also attempts to block some VPN connections, so your choice of VPN brand will matter.
Some streaming services may restrict connections to specific ranges of residential IP addresses. Again, if you can’t live without your streaming services while overseas, you might need to grab a dedicated IP address from your VPN service provider.
From this, you can see two key takeaways. The first is that using a dedicated IP with your VPN isn’t recommended if privacy is your main objective. The second is that there are few real scenarios where you’ll need to use a dedicated Ip with your VPN.
How Much Will a Dedicated IP Address Cost?
Not all VPNs offer dedicated IP addresses for lease. Those that do will invariably have varying charges. Here are some examples of charges that some VPN brands impose for a dedicated IP address:
- NordVPN offers dedicated IP addresses for $89/year
- CyberGhost charges a $5/mo add-on fee for dedicated IP addresses
- Expect to pay a $13.99 add-on fee for a TorGuard residential dedicated IP address
Advantages of Using a Dedicated IP VPN
As with anything else in life, there are pros and cons for every scenario. Dedicated IPs come with their own benefits, for example…
1. Staying Off Blacklists
Shared IPs have many users. A website can block an IP when it detects too many users originating from it at the same time. Additionally, the actions of these other people sharing an IP with you can affects what happens on each site.
When using a dedicated IP VPN, you no longer have to worry about getting banned from websites due to the inappropriate or illegal activities of other users who share the IP with you.
2. Faster Emails
Another strength that a dedicated IP has is that emails from such types of IPs are trusted more by service providers such as Gmail. Email traffic through dedicated IPs often have priority over traffic generated via shared IP addresses.
Theoretically, this means that emails sent via a point of origin with a dedicated IP will get routed more quickly. It is also less likely that such emails won’t end up in the recipients’ spam folder.
3. Secure Remote Access
Some networks and web services are only accessible via specific IP addresses. This is mainly for security purposes – access is controlled by having servers recognize and admit only specific IP addresses.
One example of this would by how large enterprises control access to their company servers. In these scenarios, a dedicated IP can be very useful to gain access to a certain network. It not only allows you faster access recognition, but also help protect the service you’re connecting to.
This can be especially useful for those who want to set up a secure home network of their own. Security can be kept high thanks to you knowing what IP addresses to be permitted to admit.
4. Online Banking
When you perform your online banking, take note that banks will flag your activity if you appear to log in from various locations in a short time, which will happen if you do your banking via shared IP VPNs. When this happens, your bank may even block your account.
In fact, some banks may require that you only use specific ranges of IP addresses to log in. For example, a US-based bank may require you to originate from a US IP address in order to get to your account online. This can cause problems when you travel, for instance.
However, with a dedicated IP, your bank will see that all traffic is always coming in from the same location. Of course this structure is a bit rigid and may also cause problems depending on the IP you get when signing up for the VPN service.
5. Online Gaming
Since online gaming sessions are region-based, using different IPs can cause you to be disconnected from your group or sessions. Your gaming experience can turn unpleasant due to slow speeds caused by pings sent via multiple distant servers.
Using a dedicated IP can mean a much improve your gaming experience – and in fact, some games may require it. But there are other benefits as well sometimes, including fewer problems with pings, payments, servers you connect to, and more.
6. Geoblock Bypassing and Streaming
When it comes to geo-restricted services, dedicated IPs could be more advantageous. This is because services such as Netflix are less likely to block an IP used by a single person as compared to one used by tons of users each month.
7. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) Login
Whenever you try to login to websites that require 2FA, you’ll notice that it can be frustrating especially when you’re using shared IPs. This is because the site will keep thinking that a new person is trying to log in every time so it will prompt you to input twice for verification purposes.
However, with a dedicated IP, you won’t have to worry about this at all. Websites often work on a system of trust, and using a dedicated IP increases that trust in many cases.
Disadvantages of a Dedicated IP VPN
There’s always two sides to a coin. Aside from higher price tags, there are other factors which may serve to dissuade you from using a Dedicated IP VPNs as well.
1. It’s Not Often Cost Effective
Let’s get the elephant out of the room first. A dedicated IP VPN will come at a premium price. Typically, you have to pay for the VPN subscription and an add-on fee for the static IP.
For those who need it, it’s a nominal fee that won’t matter much but for the average internet user this extra isn’t really worth the price. It also stacks up for long term use since these are subscription-based services, not one-time fees.
2. Limited Server Locations
Your dedicated IP often limits you to only a certain number of server locations. In contrast, shared IP servers are often widely available at locations around the globe.
If you really need to make use of a dedicated IP – always check how this works with the particular provider you have in mind. At the very least, it should be in a country where you need it to work for you.
3. Less Anonymity
Another important downside to a dedicated IP VPN is that you could be sacrificing some of the privacy that a VPN provides. The irony of a dedicated IP VPN service is that it adds an identifiable number to a service that’s supposed to make you anonymous in the first place.
Since there is now a specific number that is attached to your account, all activity can theoretically be traced back to you. While most good service providers don’t keep logs – why take the risk at all?
4. Less Choice
Not all VPN service providers will offer dedicated IP services. In fact, you may literally have to hunt for one. This limits you much more when you should be focusing simply on the best performance, features, and price you can get for an anonymity-based service.
Options Available in the Dedicated IP VPN Space
There are some great VPN brands in the market that do offer dedicated IP services, but they may be less common than you think. Some examples of top VPNs offering the service include NordVPN, IP Vanish, Surfshark.
The former is a good choice for dedicated-use static IPs since it comes with a strong network that offers you more locations to choose from even if you go for a dedicated IP service – at a price, of course.
Surfshark on the other hand work in a slightly different way. All subscribers get access to static IPs – not dedicated IPs. Although these are more limited, they also don’t cost extra. It’s a kind of compromise between dedicated static IPs and completely dynamic ones.
Not all VPN service providers offer the option of static or dedicated IPs. Many refuse to offer dedicated IPs due to the concerns that come with protecting their customers’ identities. This is because using a dedicated IP, can compromise their privacy.
By now you should be aware of some of the advantages and disadvantages on both sides of the equation. Unless you really need a dedicated IP, it’s best to go with other users and focus on finding the best features you can get from your service provider instead.