An IP address (Internet Protocol address) consists of a unique string of numbers separated by periods. It provides an identity to a networked device, such as a computer. IP addresses allow devices to communicate with each other over the Internet.
At ActiveCampaign, most customers use a shared IP pool to send emails. A shared IP pool consists of multiple senders transmitting 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 are extremely warm.
If you have a list of at least 100,000 contacts you regularly email, 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.
Advantages of a shared IP address
1) Our shared IPs are warm
Our shared IPs have already undergone 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. You don't have to worry about maintaining a consistent sending volume to keep the IP warm. For example, if you typically send two messages per month, a shared IP would be best for your needs. A dedicated IP would not be recommended in this situation because you needed to provide sufficient traffic to keep it warm.
2) Easy to jump right in
Our IPs already transmit a sufficient volume of emails. 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
1) Shared IP reputation with other senders
While IP reputation is less impactful than it once was (mailbox providers are much more focused on individual domain reputation now), you still may see delivery fluctuations as you share 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's sophisticated backend system prevents this from happening as much as possible. Still, there is always a small volatility risk 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 into your sending, these reports will include other senders on your IP, giving you muddy information on your performance.
Advantages of a dedicated IP address
1) Complete control over your sending reputation
Having complete control over your sending reputation is a good thing for a high-volume sender who wants to remove all the possible variables. If you send engaging mail to active lists of opted-in contacts, you will develop a solid sender reputation, and no one else is sharing your IP, which can influence this.
2) Messages send faster
With a dedicated IP, you are not sharing queue space/throughput with other senders. 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 volume growth, approximately 1 IP for every 500k messages sent daily. A typical high-volume sender at ActiveCampaign may use 3-4 IPs in a round-robin style.
Disadvantages of a dedicated IP address
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 would 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 with a pre-warmed IP at the start, but it's equally important 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 reputation reset by mail providers and 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.
Learn more about 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 emails to regularly. You can have a dedicated IP on any plan level. Setting up authentication on a dedicated IP is optional but recommended.
A Dedicated IP address is not for everyone. We require 100,000 active, engaged contacts because you need to "keep the IPs warm" with enough volume, sending frequency, and positive signals from your contacts.
Senders on a dedicated IP with smaller lists typically have worse deliverability. Most ActiveCampaign users will have better deliverability on shared IPs; by most, we mean 99% of them.
However, a dedicated IP might be the next step in maximizing your delivery speed and inboxing rates if you are a high-volume sender.
If you'd like to use 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 a pre-warmed IP capable of sending about 100k messages daily. You will likely need to do some additional warm-up beyond this point if you plan to send more than 100k per day. Our pre-warmed IPs will get you up and running as fast as possible because we've already done much of the hard work 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. The reputation may crumble if you do not properly warm up the cold IP.
The warm-up plan for a cold IP will depend on the size and the composition 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 essential not to break these limits. If you send too many emails too quickly on your dedicated IP, it can have long-term adverse 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.
Learn some more tips on how to warm up your sending.