A dedicated IP VPN is an Internet service that assigns a unique IP address to every one of its users so as to improve their online browsing experience. In many cases, such a platform delivers a level of convenience that’s virtually indistinguishable from going online without a VPN, though that extra bit of luxury usually ends up costing you more.
Virtual private networks come in all shapes and sizes, not all of which are equally capable of protecting your online identity and Internet traffic. Likewise, some of them have a tendency to inconvenience you due to their rudimentary setups. Have you ever been blacklisted by a website while using a VPN, or perhaps bombarded with annoying CAPTCHAs?
You have your VPN provider to thank for that.
You see, while neither your ISP nor the websites you’re visiting by rerouting your traffic through a VPN can identify you or harvest your data, that doesn’t mean they can’t tell regular traffic patterns from anonymized ones. And an ordinary VPN server really can’t do much to hide its true purpose. After all, it was designed to shield your identity and hide your browsing history from websites, ISPs, and other third parties, and it does so rather blatantly.
When you connect to a traditional VPN server, you hence share its public IP address with every other user rerouting their traffic via that same point. This is actually conducive to protecting your privacy on the World Wide Web since your ISP wouldn’t be able to track your activity even if by some bizarre misfortune you and your VPN shared the same provider.
Yet that feature tends to transform into an annoyance when you visit popular sites your VPN-using comrades are frequenting as well. Imagine you’re an admin of a popular website and you start seeing dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of different requests from a sole IP address all at the same time.
Not only is that kind of traffic almost impossible to monetize effectively as networks like Google Ads can’t really target anonymized users with accurately personalized content and charge marketers a premium for doing so, but it’s also putting a strain on your servers – and that’s a best-case scenario.
If you’re less fortunate, such a traffic pattern can indicate you’re on the receiving end of a DDoS attempt. A distributed denial-of-service attack is an infamous technique for essentially suffocating servers by overwhelming them with bogus requests. As such queries often come from a smaller number of clients, those sources tend to share IP addresses.
Any half-decent security network like Cloudflare will rather blacklist suspicious IPs instead of risking a server crash. In real-world scenarios, that sort of anti-DDoS policy may easily ban more legitimate VPN users than botnets while driving the former insane with CAPTCHA walls.
So, what is a dedicated IP VPN, then? A way to completely eliminate that downside of protecting your online privacy.
By receiving a unique public IP from a VPN provider, you still avoid revealing your identity to tracking cookies and hide your Internet activity from your ISP, all the while not attaching a figurative “MIGHT BE PART OF A BOTNET” label to every request you send.
That setup consequently reduces the chances of services like eBay and Facebook flagging your traffic as suspicious to essentially zero. Your IP address is static and not given to any other subscriber of the same VPN provider, so it can’t come up in access request logs other than your own. Short for actually being a criminal hacker orchestrating a DDoS attack through a VPN, having a dedicated IP will allow you to avoid those annoying extra human verification requests and outright blacklistings.
An email sent from a dedicated IP address also has minimal chances of ending in your recipient’s spam folder for much the same reasons. Furthermore, many email services deprioritize shared IPs when handling requests, meaning you can expect your emails to be sent faster if you rely on a unique address instead.
One final thing to consider is that over the years, on-demand content services like Hulu and Netflix built a reputation for cracking down on VPN users. Not in the sense that they’ve been suspending accounts but in terms of crippling their subscribers’ ability to access geographically restricted movies and TV shows through VPNs.
Needless to say, that’s the main reason for accessing those content networks via a rerouted connection in the first place. A dedicated IP eliminates this annoyance by doing away with the most reliable external indicator of a VPN user.
The main advantage of having a static VPN IP is also its biggest drawbac. Despite not being associated with your real IP in any way, this is still an address unique to you and, therefore, one that allows advertisers to profile you and serve you personalized ads even if they don’t know who you are.
From a privacy standpoint, this side effect of using a dedicated IP VPN makes it more akin to a proxy, a simpler alternative for masking your online identity.
Then there’s the fact that such solutions are more expensive to run than systems of shared IPs, with VPN providers unsurprisingly passing those additional costs to consumers. While the difference often comes down to a couple more dollars per month, some may still find it hard to justify given how they aren’t paying for a universally superior VPN service but one that requires them to tone down their expectations of privacy in exchange for some convenience.
None of that’s to say using a VPN with a dedicated IP isn’t worth it, just that you shouldn’t do so without careful consideration of all of its aforementioned pros and cons.
“What is a dedicated IP VPN” was written by Dominik Bosnjak, a long-time VPN-user-turned-advocate who spends more time scrutinizing VPN Providers on a daily basis than he’d like to admit. When he isn’t writing VPN Guides and covering general Tech News, he’s probably spending time with his dog, video games, or both. Fun fact: the Shih Tzu in question is the only remaining creature in Dominik’s life who hasn’t told him they’re sick of him talking about Best VPN practices and government-sponsored erosion of digital privacy which made using the Internet less convenient over the years. He occasionally dabbles in video editing, Wall Street memes, and demonstrating a remarkable lack of guitar-playing ability.
If you want more tidbit-sized rants about any of those things, you can find him on Twitter @dddominikk.