Mass surveillance and mandatory data retention laws have become incredibly common among different countries in the EU and US jurisdictions. This poses a great threat to netizens and their personal information, as their online activities are subject to monitoring. Not only is this exceedingly invasive, but also poses risk to their anonymity. This is why many users are investing in VPN solutions.
Trying to decide the better option between shared and dedicated IP VPNs? Read this comparison guide to ease the decision-making process!
These privacy tools offer complete online protection, keeping your identity hidden from prying eyes. They also shift your IP address to a new location. One thing most are not aware of, though, is that there are two types of IP addresses available with VPNs. These are dynamic (or shared) IPs and static (dedicated) IPs. Read this guide to learn about their differences, and the better choice among the two!
What are Shared IP VPNs?
As the name implies, these VPN services use shared IP addresses. Almost every other provider uses this IP, shared between multiple users (sometimes exceeding the 100 count). This allows you to leverage better user privacy, as many customers connect to the internet through the same endpoint. Combined with the encryption provided by VPN services, you literally disappear online.
Why Invest in a VPN that Uses Shared IPs?
- Excellent Anonymity for Public Wi-Fi – In comparison to dedicated IP VPNs, those that use shared IPs offer better anonymity/privacy on public Wi-Fi hotspots. This guarantees increased protection from cybercriminals, who may be tricking users via phishing or malware/viruses that steal/delete private information. A shift in location makes you technically invisible, saving you from hackers/prying eyes!
- Affordable Option for Those on a Budget – VPNs that use shared IPs will not charge you extra for receiving good anonymity online. It is generally cheaper to maintain shared IP servers than one that uses dedicated IPs, as their primary product. If you simply want to bypass geo-restrictions in countries with tough internet laws or engage in P2P/file sharing, shared IPs are the perfect choice.
- Better Security for P2P/File Sharing – One of the best things about signing up with a VPN that uses shared IP addresses is that since you are virtually anonymous, you do not have to worry about getting caught when indulging in torrenting activities. The shared pool makes it difficult for any website or copyright infringement agency to figure out your true identity. Say goodbye to hefty DMCA fines!
- Myriad of Shared IP VPNs Available – Majority of the providers in the marketplace of VPNs only offer shared IPs for users to utilize. From what we can gather, only a select few of 7 to 10 providers offer dedicated IPs. While this may not exactly be a benefit, having multiple options available always works in favor for users. They can find a suitable provider, based on their budget requirements and needs.
Disadvantages of Using a Shared IP VPN
- Higher Chances of Getting Blacklisted – With shared IPs, you never know if there are any illegitimate or illegal practices being conducted by other users. Spammers/hackers often use shared IPs to leave no trace. If they are caught by a particular website, the IP may get flagged. As such, you may be blocked, slowed, or Captcha’d by popular websites, thanks to the “bad neighbor affect”.
- Slower Speeds on Some Servers – Though there are plenty of reasons that affect the speed of your VPN connection. One of the most common one includes using a shared IP address with a high user count and server load. This may reduce your bandwidth drastically. As a result, you may to connect to different servers to find one that works smoothly.
What are Dedicated IP VPNs?
A Dedicated IP VPN is one that uses a static IP address reserved only for your use and personal activities. In simple words, it is assigned to only a single customer. Static IPs are usually available as an add-on by providers. They tend to be a bit more expensive than shared IPs, thanks to bearing an element of exclusivity. This means your safe from the “bad neighbor affect” described above!
Why Invest in a VPN that Uses Dedicated IPs?
- Bypass Blocking of VoD Services – VoD services like Netflix are introducing powerful algorithms that block VPN users, by monitoring the number of similar IP addresses on their website. This makes streaming an impossible task, especially if you want to gain access to the complete American US database. Dedicated VPNs offer better compatibility with VoD services, as the IPs are unique.
- Enjoy Higher-Speed Streaming – Multiple users overload dynamic IP servers, hindering bandwidth speeds. Since dedicated IPs are only assigned to a single user, there is a zero data traffic ratio. As such, you will receive a substantial increase in your network speeds. This grants entertainment-geeks the ability to browse and stream smoothly, minus the irritating buffering/lagging.
- Securer Option for Online Banking – Shared IPs are highly unsecure for indulging in online banking. You may fall victim to identity theft, resulting in great monetary losses. Dedicated IPs grant better security, since you will be the only one using it. They also may prove handy; in circumstances you are visiting another country, and need to access your banking details securely from a local network.
- Security for Enterprise Servers – Static IP VPNs are a great option for expats who need to visit different countries for their work. It grants frequent travelers the ability of safely accessing their headquarter servers by connecting to a VPN with a unique IP address, familiar to enterprise servers. If an employee establishes a connection from an unauthorized IP, the connection will terminate.
Disadvantages of Using a Dedicated IP VPN
- More Expensive than Shared IPs – VPNs that offer dedicated IPs often charge extra for the add-on, as it grants them better security for unblocking VoDs, reduces lags in online gaming, provides protection against DDoS attacks, and offers a seamless authentication process. With a unique IP, you do not have to worry about annoying measures like Google’s reCAPTCHA.
- Fewer Options in the Marketplace – As mentioned earlier, as compared to Shared IP VPNs, dedicated IPs tend to be quite limited in the marketplace. Only a few providers go as far as introducing their own unique IP addresses, such as TorGuard, AstrillVPN, and NordVPN. Regardless, you do still receive better security, faster speeds, and port blocking capabilities unavailable with shared IPs.
Wrapping Things Up – The Better Choice
To be honest, both dedicated and shared IP VPN providers, offer their own set of downsides and perks. Ultimately, determining the better choice involves figuring out what you need a VPN for. If you want to stay completely anonymous online and leverage better security for P2P/File sharing, then opting for shared IPs are the right way to go. It is impossible for anyone to trace your identity back to you.
On the other hand, people who are more protective about their personal information. Those who need to access banking data, unblock VoDs that ban shared IPs, and need a seamless authentication process – going for a static IP is the best option. Albeit, you do have to pay for the extra costs of a unique IP address, one that is free from any sort of illegal activities or the “bad neighbor affect”.
Hamza Shahid is an online privacy/security advocate at BestVPN.co. When he is not watching TV and stuffing munchies, he loves sharing his expert knowledge regarding the latest trends in user privacy and copyright infringement. Apart from writing blogs/articles on cyber laws and political affairs, Hamza takes a keen interest in writing detailed VPN reviews. On the sidelines, he is an avid car-enthusiast and music-addict.