All websites have an IP address (Internet Protocol) assigned to them. An IP address is made up of a series of numbers that reflects the real address of a particular website. But because the series of numbers is difficult to remember, domain name was formed. Thus, the domain name is to identify your website and the IP address is the “how-to” locate your website (or rather your website’s server) over the internet.
In the web hosting industry, there are two kinds of IP addresses, namely shared IP address and dedicated IP address (also known as static IP). Most of the web hosting plans that hosting providers offer, are based on shared hosting. This means that there will be hundreds of other websites who are sharing the same server and thus, having the same IP address as yours. No worries though, the server will automatically redirect the traffic to the respective sites.
When do you need Dedicated IP Address?
However, there are times when you would want to have your own dedicated IP address, a unique IP address available exclusively for only a single hosting account. In this case, Bluehost would be able to provide such service. Some of these special situations are as follows.
- When your website is running e-commerce applications and thus requires SSL certificates, which by the way, can only be installed on dedicate IP addresses.
- When you want to run certain software that requires some ports to be opened to work. Like other hosting providers, Bluehost would close some ports under their shared hosting plans for security reasons and also to monitor and prevent abuses. However, if you have a dedicated IP address, you could request for Bluehost to open certain ports to enable your software to function.
- For search engine optimization purposes. This however, is not fully proven yet.
How much is a Dedicated IP Address?
Because of the nature of a dedicated IP address, Bluehost, like most other hosting providers would need to charge you for the service. You see, Bluehost has to purchase the IP addresses and because only your account benefitted from a dedicated IP address, Bluehost would not be able to achieve economies of scale for that particular IP address. Thus, the fees.
So how much does Bluehost charges for it? As low as $2.50 per month!
Well, the cost of leasing a dedicated IP address from Bluehost is $2.50 per month. You are charged in advance, a year’s fees of $30, which is prorated based on your hosting plan’s balance period. This is excluding Bluehost’s web hosting of $3.95 per month. Add that up and it works out to be $101.40 for a year’s hosting service on a dedicated IP address.
Bluehost vs HostGator
That’s value for money if you compare to other hosting providers in the market. Compare Bluehost with HostGator for example. They offer a free dedicated IP address only for their Business Plan which costs $124.32 per annum ($10.36 per month). If you signed up for HostGator’s Hatchling Plan or Baby Plan, you will need to pay $2 a month.
Is HostGator better than Bluehost? For a complete comparison between these two popular web hosts, check out Bluehost vs HostGator.
On the other hand, GoDaddy is charging $132.96 per annum (based on Economy Plan $5.09 per month and dedicated IP add-on at $5.99 per month). This pricing is rather expensive, and GoDaddy is not known to provide good web hosting services.
It is important to note that once you have changed your IP address, your site may experience between 6-24 hours of what seems like a non-functioning period. Do be assured that this is normal and is required in order to update your new DNS.
It is important to find out whether your choice of web host does offer dedicated IP address in view of future expansion. You definitely do not want to be in a situation where you are forced to move your site to another web hosting company later just because your current web host does not offer this service (or is very pricey).
Anyway, before you make any decisions, I strongly suggest you try out Bluehost. You can check out their hosting features through their demo page. It’s free and with the exception of a few features that would only be available once you have signed up with them, the demo pretty much reflects the actual control panel.