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Image credit: Tillmann Werner, securelist.com
Most affordable email service providers automatically assign a shared IP address to email lists. The problem with shared IP addresses is that your deliverability is affected by the other senders sharing your IP. Under most “normal circumstances,” shared IPs are fine, and they are cheaper than getting your own.
But, if there’s a spammer sharing your IP address then your deliverability will be affected as well. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know who else is on your IP address. Moreover, many email service providers will split your emails to send across different IP addresses of different levels of deliverability. You can check the sender score of one of the IP addresses your emails are being sent with. A really good IP address is a 98+.
Typically, email service providers have multiple IP addresses and route the “best emails” through their “cleanest” IP address and their most spammy customers through their “dirtiest” IP address. For example, let’s say you are sending an email newsletter that has a 70% open rate and 0 spam complaints. The majority of your emails will likely be routed through a really clean IP address with a high sender score. Now, let’s say you start sending emails to your list around the clock, and your subscribers start hitting the spam button and your open rate starts to drop. Your email service provider will likely move the majority of your emails through a much dirtier set of IP addresses, shared with spammers. At this point, if your emails continue going to spam, your emails will likely continue being routed through this IP address, but if your readers stop hitting the spam button and become more engaged, you may move back up to a better IP address. The problem is that once you are on dirtier IP addresses, the other spammers’ emails will affect your deliverability as well. So, it’s a vicious downward cycle once you end up on a bad set of IP addresses. And, your email service provider doesn’t tell you what IP addresses they’re sending your emails from, so it’s hard for you to even know if you are on a bad set of IPs.
For most small-ish senders, it’s probably not worth getting a dedicated IP address. But, if your emails are super super important to your business and/or you send a lot of email, such as list sizes of 100k+, you may want to consider getting a dedicated IP address. This will give you full control over the reputation of the IP address that sends your emails.