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That’s exactly what we aim to answer with this in-depth article – what types of IP addresses VPN providers generally offer, what sets each one apart, and which ones would be best for you depending on your online interests.
IP stands for Internet Protocol, and it’s a set of rules that dictate how Internet-connected devices communicate with each other over a network. An IP address is a unique identifier assigned to a specific web-connected device to make it recognizable online.
Basically, when you use a VPN to connect to a VPN server, your real IP address is replaced with the VPN server’s own IP address. As a result, any website you connect to or anyone who tries to look up your IP address will only see the server’s address.
What Is a Static IP Address?
A Static IP address is an IP address that is constant whenever you connect to the Internet. Basically, when you use a device to access the web, said device will be assigned a Static IP address by the VPN provider. Every time you will use that device to connect to the web afterwards, it will have the same IP address assigned to it.
What Is a Dynamic IP Address?
A Dynamic IP is an address that constantly changes whenever you go online. So, the device you use to access the web through the VPN will be assigned a different, temporary IP address every single time it connects to the Internet.
What Is a Shared IP Address?
A Shared IP address is an IP address that – like its name implies – is shared among VPN users. So, the IP that gets assigned to your device when you access the web connected to a VPN will be assigned to other VPN users at the same time as well.
What Is a Dedicated IP Address?
A Dedicated IP is reserved for a single VPN user. That means that whenever you access the web using the VPN service, only your device will be assigned this particular IP address, and nobody else.
It can be easy to confuse Dedicated IP addresses with Static IP addresses, but here’s the main difference – a Dedicated IP is reserved for a single VPN user, while a Static IP is reserved for a single VPN server (all the users connected to that server share it).
What Is a Residential IP Address?
Residential IP addresses are a type of Dedicated IP addresses that offer even more exclusivity – instead of coming from worldwide data centers, these IP addresses belong to individual online users who “sell” or “rent” them to others users. For example, someone from New York might sell/rent a router IP address to someone from Japan.
What Is an IPv4 Address?
IPv4 is the most commonly used version of the Internet Protocol for now. An IPv4 address is used to identify Internet-connected devices on the web, and they are assigned to your device(s) when you connect to an IPv4 VPN server. IPv4 addresses use a decimal and 32-bit format – here’s an example: x.x.x.x (where “x” can be any number between 0 and 255).
What Is an IPv6 Address?
IPv6 is considered the successor to IPv4. An IPv6 address is a unique identifier assigned to a web-connected device, and it uses a hexadecimal and 128-bit format.
IPv6 addresses can be displayed in 2 ways:
IPv6 addresses are automatically assigned to your device(s) every time you connect to a VPN server that supports IPv6.
By that, we mean that you shouldn’t expect a VPN provider to only offer you access to a Dedicated IP address or a Dynamic IP address. For example, if a VPN provider offers you a Static IP address, it can be a Shared address too (since you will be sharing it with all the users on the server). Another example would be a VPN provider offering an IPv6 Residential Shared IP address.
Some VPN providers might even offer a specific type of IP address as an extra paid feature alongside the VPN service – like a paid Dedicated IP address feature, for instance.
Static IP addresses are better suited when you need websites to recognize your IP address – either because you need to pick up a service/video game where you left off, or because you abandoned a shopping cart and want your items to still be saved. They are also useful when you need to remote-access a device fast.
Dynamic IP addresses, on the other hand, are a better choice if privacy comes first for you, and if you – for any reason – want to be registered as a new user by a website.
Shared IP addresses are more recommended if you’re interested in better protecting your privacy by making sure the IP address can’t be tied to what you do on the Internet, and also if you want some cost-efficient deals too.
Dedicated IP addresses work better if you don’t care about extra costs, and want an exclusive IP address that’s only yours (can be important if you use the VPN for work) and can’t get blacklisted or blocked because of the actions of other users. A Residential IP address (a type of Dedicated IP address) should only be considered if you absolutely need to be 110% sure the IP address won’t get blacklisted, and money isn’t an issue for you.
At the moment, you are better off with IPv4 addresses. It’s better for your privacy since you don’t need to worry about IPv6 leaks, there are pretty much no compatibility issues to deal with, and the VPN service is generally more cost-efficient.
There’s no real answer here – it all depends on your preferences. Except when it comes to IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. In that case, currently, your best option is an IPv4 address simply because IPv6 deployment is not large and supported enough.
Other than that, if you’re very big on privacy, Dynamic and Shared IP addresses work best, while Dedicated and Static IPs are better suited if you have an online reputation you need maintained, and if you need quick, convenient access to remote devices.
Just keep in mind that you’re not likely to find a VPN provider that offers all these types of IP addresses together. So, the kind of IP you want should be a detail you factor into your decision when you choose a VPN.
Still, we can offer you a recommendation – don’t just look for a single type of IP address. Choose a mix instead. A Static Shared IP address, for instance, is a decent choice since you get to enjoy the best of both worlds (privacy and the convenience of subscription-based websites remembering your IP address and not flagging you as a new user, for example).
We’ve got your back – CactusVPN is the kind of service that knows how to protect AND respect your privacy. For one, we use high-quality AES encryption to protect your personal data and online traffic from monitoring attempts and hackers. On top of that, you can also safeguard your connections with the highly-secure OpenVPN protocol whenever you go online.
Furthermore, we enforce a strict no-log policy at our company, pretty much meaning none of your data will be logged by us.
We found this to be the perfect mix – you’ll never have to worry about anyone being able to associate your online traffic with you specifically since it’s mixed together with the traffic of other CactusVPN users.
Plus, this way, you won’t have to worry about your regular websites not recognizing you because of a different IP address every time you go online – all without your privacy having to take a hit!
Oh, and don’t worry about any potential bandwidth limitations because we use Shared IP addresses – all our high-speed servers feature unlimited bandwidth. Furthermore, the Shared IP addresses help us offer better pricing too.
Our VPN service also comes bundled up with a Smart DNS service for those of you want to enjoy even more content variety. Basically, with our Smart DNS, you’ll get to unblock over 300 geo-restricted websites from countries like The US, The UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Sweden, France.
Feel free to give our VPN service a quick test-drive to see if it can meet all your needs before making a commitment. You don’t need to give out any credit card details.
What’s more, once you sign up for CactusVPN, you’ll still be covered by our 30-day money-back guarantee.
VPN providers generally offer users one or two of the following IP addresses:
They all have their pros and cons, but the main gist of it is this – Dynamic and Shared IP addresses are more privacy-oriented and cheaper to maintain (thus, the VPN services cost less for the users), while Static and Dedicated IP addresses are more exclusive, expensive, and offer less privacy protection, but are less likely to get blacklisted based on other users’ actions (reliable VPN providers can manage and prevent that problem, though) and get flagged by subscription-websites for “suspicious” activity.
Overall, a “mixed” IP address (like a Static Shared IP address) is the best way to go since you get to enjoy what both different types of addresses have to offer.
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