If you’re trying to decide which VPN provider to use or switch to, you’ve probably looked through many feature lists and reviews. One of the features you may have seen is the offer of a “Dedicated IP”. This guide will explain what a dedicated IP address means and will cover why you may or may not want one.
VPN providers can have millions of customers but may only have a few hundred or thousand servers. Obviously not all VPN users are active at once, but there are still way more users than servers. This creates an issue where each user must share a server and IP address with many other users. A “dedicated IP” is an offer where you will be assigned your own individual IP address for all of your communications. This comes with some potential advantages and disadvantages.
A number of content sites such as Netflix constantly monitor usage and analyse what IP addresses are connecting to them. If they find that one IP address is having hundreds of different accounts sign in, then it’s likely that the IP is from a VPN and is being used to bypass geographic licence-based content restrictions. As such it doesn’t take too long for VPN servers to be identified and blacklisted from the network.
Getting a dedicated IP address means that no other users are using your assigned IP address. This makes it almost impossible for Netflix and other service providers to determine that your IP address is in fact the IP address of a VPN, meaning your IP address won’t get blacklisted.
Similar to blacklists, some websites may identify suspicious usage patterns such as hundreds of different logins from a single IP address and require extra verification to perform tasks such as logging in. If you’ve got a dedicated IP address from your VPN provider, you don’t need to worry about this. As you’re the only one using the IP address, there are no suspicious patterns of activity.
Unfortunately, dedicated IP options will cost money. Partly this is a standard business decision to charge you for an extra feature. It’s also related to the fact that there are only a limited number of IPv4 addresses in the entire scheme and all of those have been assigned, VPN providers will only have a limited number of IPv4 dedicated IP addresses that they can hand out and the cost will reduce demand. Unfortunately, not all VPN providers support the newer IPv6 address scheme, which could provide an almost limitless supply of IP addresses.
One reason people use a VPN is to regularly change the IP address they use to connect to websites. Doing so makes it harder for tracking companies to build up a profile of your usage as they end up with a partial profile for each connection.
Purchasing a dedicated IP address means that you’re tying yourself to a single IP address, making it possible for a more comprehensive profile to be built on you, which can be used to target you with personalised ads. Additionally, a more complete profile could potentially be used to link together other identities and potentially be used to identify you individually.
Using a dedicated IP with a VPN is like using a pseudonym in real life, services can get to know you rather than being an anonymous visitor with multiple fake identities.
A dedicated IP VPN is a VPN feature where you get assigned your own individual IP address for your VPN traffic. This can make some services run more smoothly, but it can also be used to draw a more accurate profile of your activity by trackers. If you’re struggling with being able to access services, and don’t mind a more complete usage profiled being built on you then it could be worth it.