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What is a dedicated IP address and why is it useful?

Overall Score: 4.5/5
Overall Score: 4.5/5

NordVPN is our pick as the best overall VPN, and it costs just £2.49 per month and comes with a cast-iron 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re in need of solid security and streaming access, then NordVPN is the best option, bar none. Connection speeds are some of the fastest on the market, and it boasts thousands of servers located in pretty much any country you’d need.

Surfshark: Best value
Overall Score: 4.5/5
Surfshark: Best value
Overall Score: 4.5/5

Our best cheap VPN, Surfshark can be had for as little as £1.79 per month with our exclusive deal and it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Security is top-notch with AES 256-bit encryption, an audited no-log policy, and an automatic kill switch. Performance is impressive too considering the low asking price.

Proton VPN: Best VPN for privacy
Overall Score: 4.5/5
Proton VPN: Best VPN for privacy
Overall Score: 4.5/5

Proton VPN has all the features you could want from a premium provider: an audited no-logs policy, advanced security features, exceptional connection speeds, and strong streaming capabilities. You’ll be able to save up to 55% with current deals. As with any reputable service, Proton VPN comes with a simple 30-day money-back guarantee for peace of mind.

Exclusive deal: Save 55% for 24 months

Exclusive deal: Save 55% for 24 months

Interested in a dedicated IP address for your VPN? Here’s what you need to know about the feature, as we delve into the associated pros and cons.

A dedicated IP address can be a great option for many Virtual Private Network (VPN) users, helping you to access secure networks, make use of online banking, and even avoid pesky identity checks and CAPTCHAs while connected to a provider.

It’s not a feature everyone needs, and whether you opt for a dedicated IP will depend on why you’re using a VPN, and whether the extra cost is worthwhile. Most of the best VPNs offer the feature, though the exact implementation can vary between them, meaning it’s well worth comparing what you get with each provider.

In this extensive guide, we’ll explain exactly what a dedicated IP address is, how it works, and the situations in which it actually makes sense to use one.

What is a dedicated IP address?

To describe a dedicated IP address, we need to talk about how a VPN usually works.

When you connect to the internet, even without a VPN, you use something called an IP (Internet Protocol) address that is tied to a specific device – a smartphone, laptop, PC, TV, or otherwise – and tells your ISP (Internet Service Provider) where you’re connecting to the internet from.

One major benefit of a VPN is that it connects to the internet on your behalf, effectively shielding your real IP address and using a decoy IP instead. That means websites don’t actually know your identity, and allows VPNs to route internet traffic through another server in an entirely different location.

Most of the time, that IP address is shared amongst multiple VPN users, and also changes every single time you connect to the internet – this is known as a ‘dynamic IP, and ensures that your online activity is scrambled over time, without websites or bad actors being able to trace that activity back to you.

A dedicated IP address ignores some of the usual security procedures of a VPN in order to give you a ‘fixed’ IP address that doesn’t change between online sessions. This makes it easier to trace activity to that IP, but also makes it easier for online services to see you as a trusted user. This IP is also ‘dedicated’ entirely to you – meaning you’re the only person who uses it, like an exclusive parking space.

Ever-changing IP addresses that are implicated in other users’ activity can look suspicious to secure networks, making it hard to access them reliably, at least not without constant identity checks and CAPTCHAs asking you to select images containing motorbikes. (We’ve all done enough of those for a lifetime.)

A dedicated IP address trades some privacy for convenience, and whether that’s worth it will depend on you and your VPN needs.

The benefits of a dedicated IP address

Why would someone get a dedicated IP address? In many cases, it will be a work consideration. If you have to remotely access a secure company network, then having an ever-changing IP address could make things difficult.

A dedicated IP address retains many of the same security features of a shared IP – that is, the same level of encryption supplied by your VPN, and a decoy IP address that keeps your device’s actual IP hidden. But as a static IP that stays the same for all of your online activity, it’s possible for a company network – or an online service that processes sensitive information, like a banking app – to recognise your IP address as a trusted user, allowing you access even when you’re using a VPN to ensure some anonymity.

This helps with a regular irritation for VPN users, the CAPTCHA, which pops up a lot for people with dynamic IP addresses that are constantly changing – as certain services and websites need to validate your IP over and over again. With a dedicated IP address, you should be seeing far less of these ‘are you a human?’ tests.

A shared IP address can also be implicated in other users’ activity, seeing you blocked by certain websites or services as a security measure. A dedicated IP address ensures you’re never caught up in another user’s shady activities.

Downsides of using a dedicated IP address

The main caveat to using a VPN with a dedicated IP address is privacy. While your data is still encrypted, it’s easier for third parties to trace your activity back to that single, static IP address, allowing website cookies to track you across the web, or advertising tools to build up a profile based on your internet usage. Your level of protection is still much, much higher than someone without a VPN, but it’s worth considering.

You’ll also be paying a surcharge each month for a dedicated IP address, alongside the cost for a basic VPN plan. In some cases, you might even be paying more for the dedicated IP than the VPN, and you should make sure you’re comfortable with the overall fee.

Where can I get a dedicated IP?

Part of the appeal of VPNs is their vast global reach, often spanning thousands of distinct server locations across the world. But only a fraction of those servers will usually support dedicated IP addresses, which means you have to be a bit more selective with where your dedicated IP address is located. Some key territories, such as the United States, are likely to be supported by most major providers to some capacity, but that isn’t the case everywhere.

For example, NordVPN has a fleet of 6,100 servers worldwide across 61 countries. However, it offers dedicated IP addresses in only 18 of those territories, covering the United States (Buffalo, Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Miami), Canada (Toronto), the United Kingdom (London), Ireland (Dublin), and across much of Europe, including the Netherlands (Amsterdam), France (Paris, Marseille), Germany (Frankfurt), Italy (Milan), Sweden (Stockholm), Switzerland (Zurich), Spain (Madrid), Belgium (Brussels), Austria (Vienna), and Denmark (Copenhagen). You can also get a dedicated IP address in Singapore (Singapore), Japan (Tokyo), Australia (Sydney), and Hong Kong (Hong Kong). As you may have guessed from the comprehensive coverage, it’s our top VPN recommendation overall.

CyberGhost hosts VPN servers in 100 countries, with 12 of those supporting dedicated IP: Australia (Sydney), Belgium (Brussels), Canada (Montreal, Toronto), Germany (Frankfurt), Spain (Madrid), France (Paris), the United Kingdom (London, Manchester), Japan (Tokyo), the Netherlands (Amsterdam), Sweden (Stockholm), Singapore (Singapore), and the United States (Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Washington). It has over 11,000 servers to pick from in total, offering streaming support, and much more.

Surfshark offers dedicated IP addresses in nine different countries, as does PureVPN – you can see more detail in our best VPN for a dedicated IP guide.

How to get a dedicated IP address?

Getting a dedicated IP address is relatively easy, though the exact steps can vary a little depending on the provider you’ve selected. We’ll run through the basics below, but if you already have a VPN subscription, just without dedicated IP, head to step three.

  1. Choose a VPN provider with dedicated IP: Not every VPN provider comes with dedicated IP addresses: while NordVPN, Surfshark and Cyberghost all support this optional feature, ExpressVPN doesn’t, and it’s important not to commit to a long-term contract with a service that doesn’t meet your needs. So, first of all, check that your intended provider does come with dedicated IP. You can head to our full guide to the best VPN for dedicated IP to see what the best options are before moving onto the next step.
  2. Head to checkout: Most dedicated IP providers will let you add the functionality at checkout, confirming that you’re happy to spend that extra amount before any card payment is taken – you may also have to choose the server location at this point, which will be a little tricky to change once it’s set up. Be sure to check the amount that it adds to your monthly fee, and only proceed if you’re comfortable with the additional expense.Some providers, like Private Internet Access, require you to purchase a subscription first, and then implement the dedicated IP later – though if you don’t see a dedicated IP at checkout, it’s worth checking that the functionality is definitely supported before you pay. In any case, most VPNs come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  3. Select a compatible protocol: A dedicated IP is a little more restrictive than a shared one: server locations for the former are quite limited, if the provider even supports dedicated IP, and you’ll need to make sure you’re using the correct VPN protocol to get it all set up.A protocol is a set of instructions that determine how your device connects to the internet, and most VPN providers support a bunch of them. One might be slightly faster, or more secure, while another might ensure a more reliable connection; you should check out our full VPN protocol guide for an in-depth explanation.

  4. Connect to your dedicated IP: That’s it! All that’s left is to connect to your dedicated IP address and start browsing.From here, you’ll be able to connect to the server that hosts your dedicated IP, or choose another server where you’ll access the internet through a shared IP address.

If you need more detailed instructions, we recommend going to the VPN provider’s own support website: NordVPN support, Surfshark support, and CyberGhost support all have step-by-step guides, and each provider has a customer service portal if you need extra help.

VPN dedicated IP address FAQs

In short, no. You should be able to use streaming services with or without a dedicated IP address, or even a VPN. But if you’re using a VPN to access geo-restricted content libraries for other regions, a dedicated IP address may help.

Streaming services generally have VPN filters, and try to enforce their licensing agreements that restrict content to certain regions – if you’re flagged as a VPN user, the service may redirect you to a version of the platform that only hosts globally available content, if they let you into the platform at all. A fixed, static IP address is more likely to appear legitimate and bypass those filters without issue.

The most appropriate VPN for a dedicated IP address will vary between each user, depending on a number of factors. For one, prices are different for every provider, especially when it comes to the surcharge you pay for a dedicated IP. Each VPN has its own fleet of server locations, too, with only a handful of them usually supporting dedicated IP addresses – possibly only five to 10 out of several thousand servers in total. So if you’re accessing a company network in Switzerland, you’ll need a VPN service that offers dedicated IP addresses in that region.

If you’re still undecided, check out our full guide to the best VPN for a dedicated IP address.

There are several reasons why you might prefer a dedicated IP over a shared one, but safety isn’t really one of them. A shared IP address is inherently safer because it’s potentially used by hundreds of VPN customers, making it highly difficult to trace any specific online activity back to you. With a dedicated IP, you lose the anonymity of a crowd, though your data is still encrypted, and your personal IP address – the one tied to your phone or laptop – is still shielded by the VPN.

Free VPNs don’t typically provide dedicated IP addresses, given they tend to be an additional expense on top of a basic VPN plan: it’s not the kind of thing that providers give out for free. We urge caution if you do use a free VPN, even if it promises a dedicated IP, as it’s unlikely to offer protection on the same level as a paid VPN. Some free providers have been known to sell user data, while others are a vector for malware.

A big benefit of a VPN is that you can usually use it to protect multiple devices at once. But things get a little murkier when it comes to a dedicated IP VPN.

In general, you’ll only be able to connect one device at a time to a dedicated IP address. It’s not a shared IP, and that means it isn’t set up for multiple users – that’s kind of the point! Some VPN providers, such as NordVPN, do allow you to use the same dedicated IP on two devices simultaneously – you just have to set up the second device with a different VPN protocol in the NordVPN app (Settings > Connection) and you’ll be able to use the same IP address side by side. But not every VPN provider is set up for this functionality.

The data in this review is reported from a neutral stance and should be used for informational purposes only. We review VPN services from the perspective of:

  • The quality of the product based on the security and privacy it affords the user
  • User experience of the application(s)
  • Connection speeds, and overall performance in terms of reliability
  • Level and quality of customer service

Independent Advisor strongly recommends that you follow the local laws in your region whilst using a VPN. We do not condone the use of a VPN to bypass copyright restrictions, or to stream content without a valid subscription in your current region. Make sure to comply with any and all applicable laws and regulations whilst using a VPN with streaming services, and any other relevant platforms.

henry st leger

Henry St Leger

Consumer Tech and Software

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former news and features Editor at TechRadar, where he specialised in consumer technology, software, and home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, soundbars, and smart speakers.

He has been writing about technology and related topics for over six years. His work for the Independent Advisor focuses on cyber security and internet-connected software including VPNs.

Henry has written for a wide number of prominent websites including NBC News, Healthline, The Times, Edge, T3, iMore, and GamesRadar.

James Milin-Ashmore circle

James Milin-Ashmore

VPN Tech Editor

James Milin-Ashmore has covered cybersecurity and VPNs since the mid-2010s, writing for industry publications and services such as VPN Mentor, Liquid VPN, Comparitech, Bleeping Computer, ProPrivacy, AlwaysVPN, and more.

With a focus on ethics and digital privacy, his work has been featured in a range of publications, including the Activist Handbook and Reader’s Digest. In his spare time, he’s likely to be watching sports, or taking his dog for a walk around Hertfordshire.