Is a dedicated IP right for you?

As campaign manager at dotdigital, I’ve been frequently asked what are the pros and cons of a dedicated IP – so I’ve decided to write a blog post to help you in your decision-making process.

Shared or dedicated IP – what’s the difference?

Shared IP

At dotdigital, senders on a shared IP pool are lumped together from a reputation standpoint. The reputation of the IP you’re using is determined by the email practices of everyone who uses that IP / IP pool. The good news is that we’re very proactive about list cleanliness and have strict import rules (Watchdog), as well as proactive monitoring to prevent bad practices from hurting everyone’s deliverability. For this purpose, we’ve developed a proprietary Automated Reputation Manager which uses specific metrics and a scoring system to determine and move clients into the most appropriate pool, based on their email marketing program performance.

As a rule of thumb, you should consider moving to dedicated IP address if:

  • You need complete control over your sending reputation
  • You consistently send a significant number of messages each month
  • You send at least four times a month
  • You have special branding needs (e.g. you are a healthcare, financial services or B2B organization that requires a dedicated IP address for whitelisting)

Pro and cons of a dedicated IP


  • Complete control: you are in charge of your reputation and you’ll not be impacted by bad practice from other senders sitting on your same IP pool.
  • Monitor and action: you can monitor and take immediate actions if any deliverability issues might arise using free tools such as Return Path’s Sender Score.
  • Accreditation and whitelisting: dedicated IP addresses are eligible for whitelisting programs such as Return Path’s Certification, which can help improve deliverability.
  • Protect critical mail streams: transactional mail like shopping cart abandonment mail, receipts and shipping confirmations.


  • Cost: every IP and deliverability plan comes with a cost. IPv4 space is running out, which is significantly driving up the cost of IPs, while IPv6 isn’t widely adopted yet and will take time to come into play for email marketing. You can read more about IPv4 and IPv6 here. What’s more, additional costs can be accrued from whitelisting and monitoring.
  • Reputation is your responsibility: reputation is a huge factor for mailbox providers in determining whether to filter your email to the junk folder or block it altogether. If they choose to block you, your subscribers will never get your messages. If you get blacklisted it might take months before you’re able to see good results from your campaigns, which will drastically impact your bottom line.
  • Good things take time: a dedicated address has no history, so you won’t be able to send emails straight away. You need to follow an IP ramp-up plan to slowly establish a good sender reputation. Look for our upcoming piece on ramping up an IP.

Let’s say you’ve reviewed your situation and you feel it’s time to move to a dedicated IP. What should you expect now?

In many cases, moving from a shared pool to a dedicated IP can unmask hidden issues previously masked by the use of a shared pool. That’s why is key to seek the help of the experts in the field.

At dotdigital, we have dedicated team of deliverability experts with extensive industry experience who have worked on both senders and receivers side, who can help review your own unique situation and provide recommendations on the best solution for you. Our ramp-up plans are individually created based on a client’s list composition, sending cadence, frequency, and previous engagement statistics. Plans are created based on receiver-side compliance and following them shows a very high success rate!

We take pride in knowing that we utilize one of the most comprehensive ramp-up plans in the space, created using years of email delivery experience combined with input from some of the world’s largest receivers (Google, Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo! and Comcast – just to name a few).

Due to the nature of the ramp-up, there is not an average time duration but it would be safe to say that this can take anywhere between four to 10 weeks; this depends on how big the overall list is in combination with the amount of engaged data.

Are you a client wanting to take the next step? You can find out more and purchase via your Account Manager.

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