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Friday, August 7, 2009

Why Your Site Needs A Dedicated IP Address

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Today i get article from ezinearticles about
"Why Your Site Needs A Dedicated IP Address"

This issue came up recently with a client of mine who was experiencing a few "problems" with her website. My client put me in touch with her hosting provider and, after speaking with the host, I discovered the website was using a shared IP. Naturally, I was bothered by that. But, you know what bothered me even more? The hosting provider actually told me that a dedicated IP address was not necessary!

Yikes! It dawned on me that if this "tech guy" didn't understand the value of a dedicated IP address, there's a very good chance that many small business owners don't understand it either.

What exactly is an IP address? Think of it this way - computers only work with numbers. They don't understand "". When someone types your domain into their browser, the url is "looked up" in a huge database of numbers to match the domain name with the corresponding IP address. Then your website it displayed. All this goes on behind the scenes, and many small business owners don't even know what their website's IP address actually is.

IP addresses are made up of four numbers, 0-255, with periods between each number. There are about 4 billion possible IP addresses, and while this might seem like an extraordinary amount, we're actually using them up very quickly. To work around this, many hosting companies use the same IP address for hundreds of different websites. This is called a shared IP.

The easiest thing to compare an IP address to is a phone number. If you're old enough, you might remember party-line phone numbers. That's when several households would basically share the same phone line. A friend of mine had a party-line when I was (much) younger. Sometimes we would be chatting on the phone, and then we would hear someone else (somewhere else) pick up the line and start making a call. All of a sudden there would be another phone conversation going on. Not only was this annoying, but it degraded the quality of our original conversation.

According to a Harvard Law School study, 87% of all websites are on a shared IP address and more than 66% of current websites share their addresses with fifty or more sites. In fact, if you haven't paid an additional charge for a dedicated IP address, you are most likely sharing one.

What's wrong with a shared IP address? It's the guilt by association factor. If one of the many sites sharing your IP address "breaks the rules" by spamming, hacking, spoofing, phishing, etc., there is a good chance the entire IP block will be penalized. The search engines can ban the IP address, which effects every site using that address and prevents your site from being indexed. The IP address can be added to blacklists, which prevents your email messages from being sent. It can also be added to blocklists, which triggers spam filters and also effects your ability to send email.

Now, you might be saying "My hosting company would never sell their services to a spammer." But keep in mind, today it is easy to get reported for sending spam. Almost all of the major mail clients have a "this is spam" link built right into each message. Many readers mistakenly think that clicking that button is the same as unsubscribing from your mailing list. Unfortunately, what they're actually doing is sending your IP address to the ISP. If this happens several times with several readers, you are blocked as a spammer with that ISP.

How can you get a dedicated IP address? It should be relatively easy. Just ask your hosting provider. If he tells you he can't provide a dedicated IP address, I highly suggest you switch hosts. Be prepared to pay a little extra. A dedicated IP address is not the same as a dedicated server. If the added expense of dedicated servers have scared you off, have no fear. Because of their scarcity, IP addresses do carry a premium, but it's typically just a few dollars each month. And the protection is most definitely worth it.

Time to implement: Switching to a dedicated IP address is a rather simple process. You might need to transfer your files. Your host probably has different machines for shared IP addresses and dedicated IP addresses, which means you'll need to move your files to the other machine. It's a simple matter of FTP so it should only take 15 minutes or so and, again, the added protection is definitely worth the added work.

Karen Scharf is an Indianapolis marketing consultant who helps small business owners attract and retain more clients. Karen coaches and trains website owners on various tricks and techniques that have been proven to increase website conversion. She offers coaching programs and a Marketing Makeover to turn your ineffective advertising into a profit-pulling system. Grab your FREE checklists, whitepapers and reports at And learn the professional secrets to successful web site marketing at


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SEO for traffic: Why Your Site Needs A Dedicated IP Address