What is the Difference Between Shared and Dedicated IPs?

Internet users are becoming more conscious of issues surrounding their online privacy and security. A number of high-profile data breaches over the last few years have highlighted how vulnerable our personal data is unless we take specific steps to secure it. One of the simplest, yet most effective, steps that any of us can take to keep our online activities private is to use a VPN.

How Can a VPN Help to Protect Your Data?

A virtual private network (VPN) is a very useful tool for protecting your privacy. When you connect to the internet via a remote VPN server, your device gets assigned the IP address of that particular server. Due to this setup, your actual IP stays hidden and all the data you send and receive is securely encrypted.

By using a VPN, you can hide your internet activity from all kinds of snoopers, including your ISP (Internet Service Provider). Anyone trying to watch you will only see that they are connected to a VPN server, nothing else. As far as websites are concerned, the only thing they will see will be the IP address of the VPN server.

Shared vs. Dedicated IP. What’s the Difference?

Now when looking for a VPN provider, you may notice that some of them offer shared and dedicated IP addresses.

With a shared IP address, you will connect to the internet using an IP address which will also be used by other users of that VPN. Most VPN users don’t see any problem with sharing the same IP address, as it helps to protect their identity when surfing the web. On the other hand, if someone with the same IP gets banned from a particular website, you won’t be able to access its content either.

A dedicated IP address means that you will have an IP address all to yourself. This will allow you remotely connecting to enterprise networks that only allow authorized IPs, and will save you from trouble re-verifying your account every time you want to use services like Google, eBay, or PayPal.

Advantages of a Dedicated IP Address

There are a few situations when you may want to have a dedicated IP. As mentioned above, some services require users to take additional steps to verify their account if the system detects an unknown login attempt. If you share the same IP with other users, chances are you will need to verify your identity each time you want to visit a certain website, which is not very convenient. If you use a dedicated IP, websites will recognize it’s you and will allow you to skip the verification step.

Google and a number of other websites also don’t play nice with shared IP addresses. If the website sees a lot of connection attempts from the same address, it may look to them as a botnet attack. Therefore, VPN users may have to fill out Captchas every time they use Google search. A dedicated IP will allow you to bypass this step.

Also, if you need to connect to a business network or any other network that uses IP filtering, chances are you won’t be able to do that with a shared IP address. Typically, network administrators specify which IP addresses are allowed to log in, so in order to access sensitive systems, you will need a static IP. Just don’t forget to ask administrators to put it on the whitelist.

Which One Should I Choose?

It depends on what you do online and whether you are willing to pay a little extra for your personal IP.

If you use a VPN for general privacy and security, or for bypassing geo-restrictions, a shared IP address is more than enough. A VPN routes your Internet traffic through a remote server, this way cloaking your actual IP address and assigning you with a new one that you will be sharing with hundreds of VPN users at the same time. This setup makes it extremely difficult for anyone to monitor your online activity.

By using a dedicated IP, you will also be protected from snoopers and malicious online threats, because a dedicated IP server is just as secure as regular ones. The only difference here is that a static IP address can be used exclusively by you, which will give you more control and freedom when browsing the Internet. It will prevent Google and other websites from falsely identifying you as part of a bot network, and will also ensure you are not getting blacklisted from your favorite sites.

With a dedicated and whitelisted IP, you will also be able to access your office server from a remote location, which is especially convenient when traveling. If you use your VPN to access your corporate network, even if it doesn’t use IP filtering, your employer will almost definitely appreciate you using a dedicated IP address.

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