Dedicated vs Shared IPs

Explaining the differences with a simple metaphor involving sporting teams, coaches and referees could be a simpler way to guide clients around the most important factors to consider while evaluating options for email delivery.

In a sense, using shared IP addresses to send your email looks a lot like playing soccer as part of a team made up of random strangers that join or leave the game at any time. Some of them will play very well, others will barely know which way to kick the ball. In this context the experience and quality of the mail streams is the equivalent to your soccer proficiency.

You’ll be bummed if you’re among the good players, because the not-so-good players will continuously drag you down. In this case, if your mail is perfect and wanted by your subscribers, has great engagement and no issues, you’ll be affected by the errors that your team mates might be making on their own messages.

On the other hand, if you’re among the average players, you’ll benefit from the skills of the better players in the team. Here, the great email being sent by other good senders sharing the IP addresses with you is helping your not-so-great email go through.

To keep the team from disbanding someone has to put rules in place and decide when a player is too good or too bad to be on a team. This is the role that ESPs frequently take, by arranging their customers so that they can share resources such as the IP addresses in ways that are as beneficial to them as possible.

And of course we have the referees, typically representing ISPs, who will judge the way your team plays and respond accordingly. If your team is causing too much trouble, a few red cards will take care of it all.

Contrast this with having your own, dedicated IP address. This looks a lot like a team where you’re the only player and therefore, your actions influence directly the results of the match. Make a mistake, and there’s nobody else to cover for you. Score a goal, and you’ll be the only star.

For organizations with solid processes and controls, proven mailing lists and a history of great engagement, playing by yourself using dedicated IP addresses is a way to leverage your strengths to achieve direct results on your own deliverability, without the dilution that comes from having other less savvy operators sharing your IP address. This is where solutions such as our Managed Email Tunnel come in handy, as they provide you with low-friction, dedicated addresses with just the right amount of support to get you to the next level.

Have you had issues with your IPs before? We would love to hear them. Email or tweet.