Static IP Addresses
The HTTP 1.1 protocol, as well as the advent of being able to put multiple domain names on the same IP address, made shared hosting possible; a hosting company no longer needs to have a separate IP address for each and every customer (which is good, because IP addresses can be hard to come by, expensive, and hard to move around if necessary).
At DreamHost, we use shared name-based hosting. It makes things a lot easier, and there is no difference at all for your site on the web.
Please note, though, having a unique IP address does not mean your IP will never change --- these IPs are not STATIC.
How do I create a unique IP address for my domain?
Just go to the Domains > Manage Domains area and click "Add IP" for the domain you want!
Unique IPs are just $5.95/month each. You can pay monthly or once a year ($59.95).
Why don't I just get a unique IP instead of a domain name for my site?
That's a pretty bad idea!
- It's a lot harder to remember an IP than a domain.
- Your IP address may change!
- You can add sub-domains to domains, but not to IPs.
- You can't manage your ips with as much flexibility as you can a domain.
- Domains are CHEAPER!
PS: Do remember that an IP address can be assigned to one website only and cannot be shared among more than one domain (or subdomain) hosted on your account.
Will my unique IP change?
This could also be rephrased, "Is my unique IP static?"
The answer is, your unique IP could change. We reserve the right to change which unique IP address is assigned to you, even though we promise you'll always be the only site set up on it.
Sometimes we have to move an account to a different server, or even to a different data center (possibly very far apart and on different physical networks). For this reason, your IP may change. We have scripts that will seamlessly make the move (you won't even notice), but it may be impossible to bring your IP address along for the ride.
Although we try to never move sites, and to keep people on the same IP address forever, we make no guarantees we will be able to do so.
So what this means is, it is a very bad idea to publicly announce your IP address as the way to get to your site (or other service), unless you're willing to update that information with everybody any time we may possibly change your IP. You have been warned!
Why would I want a unique IP?
There really aren't too many good reasons. If you want browers that don't support the http 1.1 protocol to be able to visit your site, you'd need a unique IP. Just about every browser released since 1996 supports this protocol, including text browsers (like lynx), webtv, wap devices, obscure browsers, and the big two.
You might need a unique IP if you run some sort of service from your hosting account (not a website) that requires its own ip. Generally to run these sort of things you should be on a higher plan anyway, which include a unique IP if you'd like it for no extra charge.
One good reason, for those to whom it applies, is to have a domain-dedicated SSL certificate that assures users that their browser is really communicating with yourdomain.com (for example), and to avoid generating any browser security warnings. A domain-dedicated SSL certificate requires a unique IP.
Some SEO experts recommend having a unique IP for each site. They explain that web search bots will be able to access a site easier and check it more efficiently. According to search engine statements, it does not matter whether your site has a static or shared IP, the real king is content! However, if you still want to have a unique IP for SEO, no problem, it is your decision after all.
That's really about it! Those are the only reasons we can think of you'd want one.