When a VPN connection is established, the user’s IP address automatically switches to a new location, and their device gets assigned a new IP. One thing you may not be aware of, though, is that users can be assigned with two main types of IP addresses after having registered their device on a network. These include shared (or dynamic) IPs and dedicated (static) IPs.
The large majority of VPN customers use shared IP addresses, as this is by far the most common variant of the two. Nearly all personal VPN providers primarily offer subscriptions with access to dynamic IPs. There are some companies on the market, however, that also offer dedicated IP solutions either as premium add-ons or as a service that may be requested on an individual basis. We looked at the key differences between the two, to help give you a clear understanding of how each of them works, as well as explaining their pros and cons.
Shared (Dynamic) IP
As mentioned earlier, shared IP connections are by far the most used. Each VPN server belonging to a provider has its own IP, and even when many customers connect to the internet through the same endpoint, it will still assign an identical, shared IP address to every connected computer or mobile device. This means that, together with encryption, a user’s traffic becomes mixed with the other users’ activity.
- More anonymous option for public wifi hotspots
- Most providers offer a much wider range of shared IPs than dynamic
- Connection to shared IP automatically implements NAT
Shared IPs can get abused by other users on the network, through activity such as spamming and hacking. The first can lead to certain websites banning this IP altogether, meaning you won’t be able to access the site via that particular server. The latter depends more on your VPN provider’s commitment to safeguarding your privacy, but if that isn’t the case, illegal hacking and similar malicious activity by one individual can attract the attention of the authorities, who ultimately can force your provider to discreetly provide access for monitoring traffic on your favourite server, or the entire network for that matter. To avoid this, ensure to use a service that does not keep traffic logs, and demonstrates their devotion to customers by being headquartered in advantageous location.
Some users prefer not to share any network with other users and only wish to use dedicated servers with a static IP. This unique IP will not be applied to anyone else’s device but theirs. Likewise, this option bears an element of exclusivity and is almost always more expnsive than a standard, shared VPN plan. Unlike their dynamic counterparts, static IPs are capable of accessing ports that may initially be blocked by the ISP or local network administrator. Dedicated IP addresses use their own ports, aiding users in countries where block blocking is a common occurence; for instance in places like mainland China.
- Whether your IP gets blacklisted by websites is down to your activity
- Useful for bypassing port blocking
- Eliminates concern over what other users are doing on the server
- Server range varies by provider, but is usually more limited compared to dynamic range
- If the provider turns out to be untrustworthy, your own traffic will have been easily identifiable