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Shared vs. Dedicated IPs: Which Should you Choose?

Anastasia Romantsova
Shared vs. Dedicated IPs: Which Should you Choose?

Are you trying to determine whether you should be on a shared or dedicated IP? Before you make any decisions, let’s start with the basics.

Email service providers, like Gmail and Yahoo, use the IP address to determine whether or not to deliver your email to the inbox based on your sending reputation. They use two methods to send emails on behalf of their customers: shared IP addresses and dedicated IP addresses.

  • Shared IP: A shared IP is one that is used by more than one sender, i.e. a pool of companies.
  • Dedicated IP: A dedicated IP is one that is used by a single sender. The sender must purchase and set up the dedicated IP with their email marketing provider.

At Mapp, we tailor the solution to our customers based on sending volume and audience details. Keep reading for the benefits and disadvantages of each option.

Going for a shared IP

This solution is perfect for small businesses and senders with small lists, infrequent sends, and limited budgets. With shared IPs, you get the benefit of other senders.

To provide the best service quality, we monitor the performance of emails sent from Mapp’s shared IPs. All emails must meet or exceed the minimum metrics defined by Mapp’s Deliverability Team, specifically:

  • Open rate of at least 5%, better even 7%
  • Unsubscribe rate no higher than 2%
  • Hard bounce rate no higher than 5%
  • Complaint rate no higher than 0.2%

If, for any reason, your email metrics do not meet these criteria, you will no longer be permitted to send from Mapp’s shared IPs, as senders below that mark pose a risk to the quality standards of the shared senders in that pool.

In shared IPs, the sender reputation is defined by the actions of all senders using the same IP. The main risk here is that you can’t really control what other senders are doing. Of course, Mapp’s Deliverability Team does the vetting, routine checks, and other compliance-related actions to make sure that all the senders are behaving correctly.

However, it is possible for a bad apple to slip through the cracks. This will hurt the reputation of the whole pool and decrease the deliverability for everyone.

A benefit of shared pools is that, even if you only send weekly or monthly emails, other senders sharing the pool keep traffic from the IP consistent, which helps maintain a high reputation.

Going for a dedicated IP

A dedicated IP solution is ideal for senders who have a large audience and send frequently. It also has the benefit of enabling a sender to have completely control over their sender reputation.

However, when senders make the effort to adhere to best practices, they reap the benefit of that positive reputation without the risk of other senders possibly detracting from it due to bad actions in a shared pool situation.

So, managing sending volume, building and maintaining a permission-based email list, implementing a list hygiene is your responsibility. You must make sure that your list is of the best possible quality, your content is top notch, and your volume is high and consistent enough for ISP’s to recognize you as sender.

On the other hand, you can take immediate action to correct reputation problems and have control of the impression given to mail providers.

Certification services like Return Path (Validity) and others require dedicated IP addresses.  These services enable you to better pass mail providers’ spam detection measures and display images of the highest quality. These services are usually paid services.

A dedicated IP can be a good option if you are sending to a lot of corporate domains that need to be able to whitelist the IP you are sending from. It makes it easier for your clients or users with those corporate domains to whitelist just that IP instead of all of Mapp’s shared IPs.

Please note that it is not possible to immediately send high volumes of emails from a new IP address. You will need to gradually increase sending volumes using deliverability guidelines to “warm up” the IP address, while ISPs are learning to recognize that mail at this new IP and domain originate from a reputable sender.It’s important to carefully manage a new IP address during the warm up period and requires expertise.

At Mapp, we are happy to help you manage this warm up period. Our Deliverability Team will guide you through the warm up during the first couple of weeks by creating an individual plan and regularly checking results to make sure that you build best possible IP reputation from the beginning and avoid delivery issues for the future.

If you have a large list of addresses and contact your customers on a regular basis, want to have full control of your reputation, and have the money to do so, then go for dedicated IPs.

Not sure which one is best for you?

With that said, the decision about a dedicated or shared IP address should be taken after a scrupulous analysis of risks and finances. Look at your content and how you acquire your email lists. Weigh out the pros and cons of both a shared and dedicated IP address. Each option has positive and negative sides to it.

Mapp’s Deliverability Team is happy to go through these options with you and help you decide what’s best for your company. Save time and feel confident you are set up for long-term success. Our deliverability experts will work as an extension of your team to ensure your email program is correctly set up, getting to the inbox, and delivering value for your business.

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