Are you looking into getting a static IP address but have concerns if it’s really your own? Do you need to secure remote access for employees and contractors? And, what else can you use a dedicated IP address for?
This article explains the concept of a dedicated IP address and the context of its use.
Table of contents
What is a dedicated IP address?
A dedicated IP address is an IP address that is permanently assigned to you, and remains available for your use only. It allows you to use a dedicated server to handle only your traffic and no one else’s.
Is a dedicated IP the same as a static IP?
Often, yes. Static IP address and dedicated IP address are the same concept, but they differ in the context of their use.
Every time a user connects to the internet, they are assigned an IP address. A static/dedicated IP address will be the same every time the user connects, unlike a dynamic IP address, which has limited duration and may change with every connection. For more about static and dynamic IP addresses, check this article.
A static IP address that is reserved for one user/organization only is called a dedicated IP address. So, you could say that a dedicated IP address is a subtype of static IP address, although the term static IP address is vastly sufficient for industry practice.
Because the use cases of a dedicated IP address require it to be accessible through the public internet (more about that later), you may also encounter the term public static IP address, which is synonymous to dedicated IP address.
Dedicated IP vs shared IP address
A dedicated IP address is different from a shared IP address, which, though it can also be static, is used by several users at the same time.
This is a common offering of local internet service providers (ISP) and retail VPN vendors because a static IP address, albeit shared, allows users to build more complex home networks and receive more accurate metadata.
Tab. 1 – Overview of IP address types
Why would I want a dedicated IP address?
Having a static IP address that is uniquely dedicated to you has significant benefits:
- Restrict network access – You can restrict network access to your internet-facing services with a firewall rule.
- Enable remote access – You can enable remote access to a resource on the local network represented by the dedicated static IP address.
- Secure access to cloud resources – You can whitelist access to a cloud repository for a device with a static IP address (such as a VPN server), which speeds up access and improves security.
- Publish your online services – You can publish your services (webserver/mailserver) to the internet thanks to your IP address being fixed, globally unique, and publicly accessible.
How to get a dedicated IP address?
If you need to cover the above-mentioned use cases with a dedicated IP address, you need a business cloud VPN. In this scenario, your VPN gateway will have a dedicated IP address globally unique to your organization, which you can then use as a trusted address for the above purposes.
Alternatively, you can buy a dedicated IP address from an ISP and build and manage your own infrastructure, but that takes time and work. For more on the subject, check this article.
A dedicated IP address is, for most practical purposes, the same as a static IP address, and many sources treat them the same.
But when it comes to business VPNs, the distinction is worth making because not every static IP is uniquely dedicated to a user/organization, and there are legitimate business networking use cases that depend on a dedicated static IP address (i.e. restricting network access, enabling remote access, and securing access to cloud resources).