Dedicated IP addresses with ActiveCampaign

An IP address (Internet Protocol address) consists of a unique string of numbers separated by periods and provides an identity (think a unique physical address or location) to a networked device, such as a computer. IP addresses allow devices to communicate with each other over the Internet.

At ActiveCampaign, most of our customers use a shared IP pool to send their emails. A shared IP pool consists of multiple senders transmitting their messages over the same sending path. The vast majority of ActiveCampaign users benefit from using our default shared IPs. These IPs have excellent, longstanding reputations with all major inbox providers and they are extremely warm. 

If you have a list of at least 100,000 contacts that you regularly send email to, you may benefit from using a dedicated IP address. However, it's important to note that simply using a dedicated IP will not improve your deliverability—sometimes it can help and sometimes it can hurt. 

In this article, we'll discuss:

Advantages and disadvantages of a shared IP address

Advantages of a shared IP address include:

1) Our shared IPs are warm

Our shared IPs have already gone through a warm-up process and are kept warm. Lower volume senders and small businesses use shared IPs to transmit bulk emails to their opted in contacts. IP addresses require a large amount of consistent volume being sent over them to keep them warm. When IPs are not transmitting messages for a certain amount of time, or if there are large volume fluctuations, mailbox providers will become suspicious of traffic being sent over these IPs. Our deliverability team manages volume by balancing and monitoring our shared IP pools. This means you don't have to worry about maintaining a consistent sending volume to keep the IP warm. For example, if you typically just send 2 messages per month, a shared IP would be best for your needs. A dedicated IP would not be recommended in this situation because you would not be able to provide sufficient traffic to keep it warm.


2) Easy to jump right in

Our IPs are already warm and are transmitting a sufficient volume of email. This means that you can sign up for the platform and begin sending your campaigns as soon as you're ready, without having to warm up your IP (some amount of warming is still recommended for domain reputation, but this is significantly less strict than IP warming).

Disadvantages of a shared IP address include:

1) Shared IP reputation with other senders

While IP reputation is not as impactful as it once was (mailbox providers are much more focused on individual domain reputation now), you still may see fluctuations in delivery as you are sharing your IP with other senders. For example, it's always possible another ActiveCampaign user who shares your IP may make an honest mistake and send emails to the wrong list, causing a spike in complaints and even a block. ActiveCampaign has a sophisticated backend system that prevents this from happening as much as possible, but there is always a small risk of having some volatility with the shared IP reputation.


2) Diluted insight on your sending reputation

While tools like Google Postmaster and Microsoft SNDS can give you some great insight on your sending, these reports will include other senders on your IP, giving you muddy information on your performance.

Advantages and disadvantages of a dedicated IP address

Advantages of a dedicated IP address include:

1) Complete control over your sending reputation

For a high volume sender who wants to remove all the possible variables, having complete control over your sending reputation is a good thing. It means that if you're sending engaging mail to active lists of opted in contacts, you will develop a very strong sender reputation and there is no one else sharing your IP who can influence this.

2) Messages send faster 

With a dedicated IP, you are not sharing queue space/throughput with any other senders. This means that if Gmail allows us to deliver 10,000 messages per minute on an IP, you get 100% of that limit—versus sharing it with someone else—and you will typically see quicker delivery times.

3) More scalable 

If you plan on substantial growth with opted-in contacts or sending volume, we can add more IPs to your account to accommodate that growth in volume, approximately 1 IP for every 500k in messages sent per day. A typical high volume sender at ActiveCampaign may use 3-4 IPs in a round-robin style.

Disadvantages of a dedicated IP address include:

1) The reputation is up to you 

If you make a mistake with a dedicated IP,  the hurt will be much more drastic than with a shared IP. This is because there aren't other senders on the same IP buoying up your sender reputation. If your open rates were slipping due to unengaged contacts or an aging list, this slippage will accelerate on a dedicated IP as you are the only sender transmitting messages.

2) You have to keep the dedicated IP warm

This takes some work. We can provide you a pre-warmed IP at the start, but it's equally as important for you to keep it warm—this means keeping the volume as consistent as possible (disregarding holiday spikes, etc). If you don't keep your IP address warm, this will lead to a soft reset of reputation by mail providers and will necessitate another warm-up period. If you stop sending for a few weeks, the IP will go almost completely cold and your deliverability will suffer. If you don't send often, a dedicated IP is not a good fit for you.

We have a help article on using and maintaining a dedicated IP address.

Requirements for a dedicated IP address

To acquire a dedicated IP address, you must have at least 100,000 active, opted-in, engaged contacts that you will send to regularly. You can have a dedicated IP on any plan level. Setting up authentication on a dedicated IP is optional.

A Dedicated IP address is not for everyone. The reason we require 100,000 active, engaged contacts is that senders on a dedicated IP with smaller lists typically have worse deliverability. Most ActiveCampaign users will have better deliverability on shared IPs, and by most, we mean 99% of them.

However, if you are a high volume sender a dedicated IP might be the next step in maximizing your delivery speed and inboxing rates.

If you are interested in using a dedicated IP address, please submit the request to our support team. Each dedicated IP costs $750.

Options to get started with a dedicated IP address

All IP addresses need to be warmed up before they can be used. If you choose to move forward with a dedicated IP, we'll give you a few options to get started and help you earn the trust of major inboxes like Gmail, showing them that this IP is sending trusted, wanted mail.

There are two options to warm up the IP:

Option 1 (recommended): Pre-warmed IPs

We can provide you with a pre-warmed IP that is capable of sending about 100k messages/day. Likely, you will still need to do some additional warm-up beyond this point if you plan to send more than 100k/day. Our pre-warmed IPs will get you off the ground running as fast as possible because we’ve already done a lot of the hard work for you by warming up the IP from scratch.

We have a detailed help article on how to get going with a pre-warmed IP

Option 2: Cold IPs

If you wish, you can ask for a cold IP and warm it up yourself. Be aware that this process is more prone to error. If you do not properly warm up the cold IP, the reputation may crumble.

The warm-up plan for a cold IP will depend on the size of your list, but here is a boilerplate that you can use as a starting point:

  • Day 1: 50 Messages
  • Day 2: 100 Messages
  • Day 3: 500 Messages
  • Day 4: 1,000 Messages
  • Day 5: 5,000 Messages
  • Day 6: 10,000 Messages
  • Day 7: 25,000 Messages
  • Week 2: 50,000 messages per day
  • Week 3: 75,000 messages per day
  • Week 4: 100,000 messages per day
  • Double volume every week after

Keep in mind, your warm-up schedule depends on your message throughput, sending cadence, and the amount of time you can warm up without too much disruption to your business. If you're moving from another platform, it may be prudent to split your list between the two services to warm up your IP with minimal downtime in your Marketing efforts.

It is very important not to break these limits. If you send too many emails too quickly on your dedicated IP, it can have long-term negative effects on the IP reputation that may take months to correct. During this warmup period, it's vital to send to your most engaged contacts, especially during week 1. This ensures that your IP gets off on the right foot.

Click here for more tips on how to warm up your sending.

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