A dedicated IP address is a fixed or static internet protocol (IP) address that’s guaranteed not to change for as long as you lease it.
An lP address is a number that uniquely identifies every device that connects directly to the internet (where devices connect to the internet via a router/modem, for example, the IP address is that of the router).
Most ISPs dynamically assign IP addresses, issuing new ones as required. In practice, IP addresses issued by ISPs don’t change very often, but they can change at any time.
Although not a major problem for most domestic customers, this can be very inconvenient for businesses who operate resources that must be accessible from the internet — such as corporate VPN intranets and database servers. Users of these resources need to know the IP addresses on which these resources can be accessed.
Some ISPs offer dedicated (also known as static) IP addresses to business customers. These provide companies with one or more fixed IP addresses that are guaranteed to be the same for as long as they maintain the lease.
- How datacenters and VPNs handle IP addresses
- Benefits of a dedicated IP address
- Proton VPN for Business
How datacenters and VPNs handle IP addresses
Datacenters house banks of servers and then rent use of these servers to mainly business customers. To make these servers accessible to their customers from the internet, datacenters lease dedicated IP addresses from their ISPs.
To offer their services in many countries, commercial VPN services rent server space from third-party datacenters. (In Proton VPN’s case, we only always use bare-metal servers that we have complete control over, and use full-disk encryption so that only our own engineers can access their contents).
Most VPN services, (including Proton VPN) use shared IP addresses, which means that often hundreds of customers at a time connect to the same IP address. If the VPN service uses bare-metal servers (as they should be), this will be the IP address of the server itself.
Shared IP addresses are great for privacy, as it makes it harder to identify an individual who is connected to that IP address. Unfortunately, it’s not so good for businesses who want the privacy and security advantages a VPN can provide for their organization, but who also need their company resources to be available from the internet.
To address this problem, some VPN services offer dedicated IP addresses. Like the dedicated IP addresses offered by ISPs and datacenters, these don’t change for as long as you lease them and allow you to access company resources from the internet.
Benefits of a dedicated IP address
There are numerous of benefits for businesses to lease one or more dedicated IP addresses:
Secure remote access to your business servers
With a dedicated IP address, you can ensure that only authorized staff can access your company servers and resources. Anyone trying to access your servers must be connected to a special VPN server dedicated solely to your business and available only to your organization members.
This is particularly useful if your company employs remote workers, as it allows them to securely access company resources while working from home.
Segmented access to your online resources
Traditional dedicated IP addresses allow you to access resources that your company hosts on its own servers or on server space rented from a datacenter.
An advantage of using dedicated IP addresses from a VPN service such Proton VPN is that you can use dedicated IP addresses to restrict access to third-party online resources such as cloud storage services, online communication and collaboration platforms, CRMs, HR management tools, and more.
Further, the flexible nature of VPN-based dedicated IP addresses allows you to provide granular segmented access to your company’s online resources. That is, you can restrict access to resources based on dedicated IP addresses that only certain staff members can access.
For example, you might run a company that leases three VPN-based dedicated IP addresses. All staff members can use server #1 to access commonly used company resources such as your CRM and collaboration platforms. Only some staff members can use server #2, which provides need-to-know access to specific company resources, and only senior staff members can access server #3, allowing them to see staff management tools and other sensitive resources.
Pain-free access to online services
If you use a VPN service to protect the privacy of your staff members, the use of shared IP addresses can make using online services such as banks, AWS, and Github difficult because they will continually serve up CAPTCHAs or use other means to verify your identity.
This is because shared IP addresses can be abused by other customers. Dedicated IPs solve this problem, since your IP address isn’t shared with anyone else.
Emails are less likely to be sent to the spam folder
Another problem with using shared IP addresses is that there’s always the possibility other users will abuse the VPN service to send spam emails.
When email services like Gmail detect the abuse, they often simply blocklist the IP address the spam emails were sent from so that they get sent directly to their users’ spam folders.
Alternatively, the email service may employ additional checks to ensure emails from the shared IP are legitimate before allowing them to find their way into users’ inboxes. This can dramatically slow down the delivery of emails.
With a dedicated IP address, you can be sure none of this will happen. Only emails belonging to your company will be sent using your dedicated IP address, so there’s little danger of it being flagged as suspicious or spam. This means it will be delivered promptly and directly to your partners’ and customers’ inboxes.
Helps to defeat censorship
If your company or organization is based in an authoritarian country, restrictions on your access to the free and open internet can damage your business. In such situations, it’s common for businesses to use VPN services to evade the restrictions, but this often simply leads governments to block IP addresses belonging to VPN services.
A dedicated IP address that is unique to your business is unlikely to be blocked in this way, allowing your staff to have the unrestricted access to the internet that their jobs demand, and for the outside world to do business with your company.
Final thoughts — Proton VPN for Business
Proton VPN is trusted by journalists, activists, and ordinary people around the world to protect their privacy and defeat censorship. With our new Proton VPN for Business initiative, you can also protect your business using our service.
With Proton VPN for Business, you can lease VPN-based dedicated IP addresses that provide much greater flexibility than traditional corporate VPN intranet solutions. In addition to allowing remote workers to security access your company’s resources, these allow you to secure access to the online platforms your company relies on, and to segment access to resources on a need-to-know basis.