Can a Dedicated IP Address Be Traced Back to You?

Posted on Apr 2, 2024 by Kyle Keegan

A dedicated IP address can help you avoid dealing with IP blacklisting and reduces the number of CAPTCHAs you see online. While you may find these benefits make it worth paying for a dedicated IP, you should also consider your privacy. This is because it’s generally easier to trace a dedicated IP address back to its owner than a shared IP address – but that’s not always the case. It depends on a few factors we’ll get into later in this post. 

We’ll also touch on why a dedicated IP address can be detected, how it differs from a shared IP address, and the benefits of getting an anonymous dedicated IP from a no-logs VPN. Firstly, though, what is an IP address?

If you want to boost your online privacy, you can get PIA VPN and mask your IP address with an anonymous dedicated IP at the click of a button. No one will be able to link your dedicated IP address back to your email or VPN account thanks to our token-based system. PIA will generate a random key you can paste into your app to get a static IP address, so it’s not linked to your account in any way.



What Is an IP Address?

An IP address is a set of numbers that devices and networks use to identify each other when they go online. All devices connected to a local network (like your home Wi-Fi) have a private IP address assigned by the router, which is only visible on the network. When data travels outside this network, your devices instead share one public IP address that is visible to the greater internet. Your ISP assigns this address to your network so it knows where to direct data intended for you. Think of your public IP address as your digital postal address. 

ISPs receive IP addresses from a global registry and assign them by region. They’re usually divided by zip code based on where the ISP has servers. This means your IP address will change depending on where you are and your IP location depends on the closest ISP server your network connects to. When you connect to your home Wi-Fi, your IP address will be different from when you’re at work, for example. Your IP address will also change when you visit a different city or country. 

This digital address helps websites identify your connection and lets you receive information online by routing it through your ISP’s server network. It’s how you’re able to watch videos, read blog posts, send and receive text messages, and more. Without an ISP-provided public IP address, you can’t connect to the web. 

What Is a Dedicated IP Address?

A dedicated IP address is a static IP address you can get from your ISP or your VPN service provider (typically as a paid add-on). If you don’t have a dedicated IP address, your IP address will change whenever you restart your router or your ISP decides to assign you a new one. This is known as a dynamic IP address. When you connect to a VPN, you’ll usually get a shared IP address and it will also be different every time you connect. 

VPNs issue shared IP addresses randomly, which gives you a higher level of anonymity than a dedicated IP address. Each VPN server has its own pool of IP addresses, so when you connect to a server, it assigns one of those addresses to you. This means you’ll likely get a different IP address every time, even when you connect to the same VPN server later or from a different device. 

Shared IP addresses can sometimes trigger CAPTCHAs or even get you blocked from e-services like banking or streaming websites. That’s because website security systems can sometimes mistake a shared IP address as part of a botnet – a malicious network of devices. You’ll either be given a CAPTCHA puzzle to prove you’re not a robot or be blocked entirely. Having a dedicated IP address helps you avoid this.  

How VPN Dedicated IP Addresses Work

VPN providers will generally let you choose one server location and provide a unique IP address that’s yours until your subscription ends. Unlike with shared IP addresses, you can’t usually switch to a different dedicated IP location unless you get a new subscription. The upside is you avoid any potential pitfalls from sharing an IP address with other people – but more on that later.

Choosing between a dedicated or shared IP address is almost less important than choosing your provider, though. ISPs typically charge a lot to make your dynamic IP address a static (dedicated) IP address. VPN services are much cheaper but differ in how they assign dedicated IP addresses, which can affect your privacy. Some will link your dedicated IP address directly to your account. That means they know which IP address is assigned to you and others can find out too. 

PIA VPN is different. It uses a token-based system to generate a random key for you to enter into your app. The app then translates this key into a unique dedicated IP address that’s solely yours. Our system also automatically removes this IP address from our internal list of available static IP addresses. This keeps your dedicated IP address private and gives you a higher level of anonymity.  

We’re so careful to avoid linking this unique IP address back to you that if you lose your key, you also lose your dedicated IP address. Since the key is randomly generated and your IP address is removed from our pool when you first use the key, we can’t recover either for you. You will, however, still be able to access our pool of shared IP addresses any time you want.

The main takeaway: A dynamic or shared IP address can help you “blend into the crowd” and boost your anonymity. In contrast, a dedicated IP address stays the same every time you connect, no matter where you are. It’s yours alone and won’t be shared with anyone, but this makes it easier to link that IP address to you depending on the provider.

How Can a VPN’s Dedicated IP Address Be Detected?

Network admins, websites, and ISPs can always detect your IP address, even if you’re using a VPN. That’s because, when you use a VPN, your traffic is encrypted. If someone looks at your traffic, they can see you’re using a VPN to make your data unreadable. That said, a VPN’s dedicated IP address is less likely to trigger unnecessary security barriers on websites compared to a shared IP address. We’ll discuss why in a bit.

If you want to keep your VPN usage under wraps, you can use PIA VPN’s Multi-Hop feature. It doubles up on VPN encryption, and obfuscates your traffic, making it difficult for anyone to detect you’re using a VPN to encrypt your traffic.

Whether or not your dedicated IP address can be traced back to you is a separate matter entirely.

Is a Dedicated IP Address Traceable? 

People can always trace your ISP-assigned IP address back to you regardless of whether it’s a dynamic or dedicated IP address. That’s because it’s linked to your account. Your ISP also tracks and stores information about your online activity. Authorities can request that information at any time, depending on local laws, and some ISPs even sell your information to third parties. 

Whether your VPN-provided dedicated IP address can be traced back to you depends mostly on the service you use. Let’s take a quick look at how your VPN-provided dedicated IP address could be traced to you.

Your Dedicated IP May Be Linked to Your Account 

Some VPNs will assign your dedicated IP address directly to your account, which is linked to your email address and payment information. That means your VPN knows which dedicated IP address is assigned to you. If someone’s able to get that information, they can trace it back to you. 

PIA VPN’s token-based system means your dedicated IP address stays private. You can choose a location from our list of dedicated IP servers and generate an anonymous key on our website to paste into your app. The app then translates this key into your dedicated IP address. It’s not linked to your account, so it can’t be traced back to you.

Your VPN May Log Your Traffic 

If your VPN service doesn’t have a strict no-logs policy, it may collect and link all your activity to your account. Your VPN provider can trace that data to you regardless of whether you use a shared or dedicated IP address. Your VPN could then have a data breach, sell your data, or hand it to any authorities, leaking your activity and IP address. 

Simply having a no-logs policy isn’t enough, though. It’s all well and good for a VPN to say they never collect your browsing data, but if they don’t back up the claim then you can’t be sure. PIA’s no-logs policy is backed by our RAM-only servers. By design, these servers can’t store your data, so we have nothing to link to you or your IP address. Deloitte even assessed our servers in an independent audit and confirmed we never store any session data. We’ve also proven our claims in a US court multiple times.

Reasons to Use a Dedicated IP Address 

Fewer CAPTCHAs

If you’ve ever found yourself clicking on squares with crosswalks to go on a website, then you know what a CAPTCHA is. You also know how annoying they can be. 

When using a VPN, web servers can sometimes mistake your shared IP address as suspicious or as part of a botnet. This can trigger a CAPTCHA as a security measure, which is essentially a test to verify you’re human. A dedicated IP address is unlikely to trigger CAPTCHAs, which saves you time. 

Seamless Connectivity  

Your bank may flag your VPN’s shared IP address as suspicious and block you from accessing your account. The same thing can happen when you’re trying to access your gaming or trading accounts. This is because websites may detect a lot of traffic coming from your IP address and want to make sure it’s not part of a DDoS attack or an identity fraud attempt.

If you have a dedicated IP address, no one will be able to use that address but you. Meaning services won’t mark it as suspicious and block you. You’ll be able to access your accounts without a hitch. 

Did you know some services may still block you if you have a foreign IP address? That’s why PIA VPN offers a wide range of dedicated IP locations to choose from, including Australia, Germany, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, the US, and the UK.


Remote Access 

Network admins may add your IP address to an allowlist to grant remote access to work resources. This means you’ll need a dedicated IP address if you connect to your office database remotely. If you don’t have one, the database will block you when your IP address inevitably changes.

A dedicated IP address stays static, so it won’t change even if you use a different device or reconnect to the VPN later. This means your workplace database will recognize your IP address every time and let you through. 

Blocklisting 

A shared IP address can sometimes be misused, which leads to websites and e-services blocking that IP address. When you connect to your VPN, you may get a blocked IP address and struggle to access a certain website.

This isn’t a major problem, as you can usually just reconnect to get a different IP address. A good VPN service will regularly maintain each server’s pool of IP addresses to switch out ones that services and websites have blacklisted. That aside, a dedicated IP address can help you avoid this altogether. You’re the only one using your dedicated IP address, which means you have control over how it’s used.  

Can I Bypass VPN Detection by Purchasing a Dedicated IP?

No. Network admins, ISPs, and other third parties will still see you’re using a VPN to encrypt your traffic. That said, you can opt for a dedicated IP address to avoid potentially getting a blocklisted IP address from your VPN. Online platforms sometimes detect and block shared VPN IP addresses – for a variety of reasons. As an example, streaming services often keep lists of known VPN IP addresses and ban them. 

Since a dedicated IP address hasn’t been shared between a ton of other VPN users, services won’t have these addresses flagged in their databases. As a result, the chances of your streaming service blocking your dedicated IP address are low.

How to Get a Dedicated IP Address 

It’s never been easier to get a dedicated IP address from PIA VPN. Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Sign up for PIA VPN.
  2. Select the dedicated IP add-on.
  3. Choose your dedicated IP address location.  
  4. Verify your token in the PIA VPN app – and you’re all set!

If you need help with setup or anything else, our friendly 24/7 customer support team is standing by to answer your questions.

FAQ

Can a dedicated IP be traced?

It can, but it depends on how your VPN issues your dedicated IP address and whether it collects any of your usage data. If the IP address is linked to your account, then yes, it probably can be traced back to you. That said, when you sign up for PIA VPN’s dedicated IP address, you’ll generate an anonymous code and copy it into the app to get your IP address. It’s an untraceable token-based system that keeps your personal information entirely separate from your IP address. 

What is a dedicated IP VPN?

A dedicated IP VPN is simply a VPN provider that offers a dedicated IP address as an add-on. Unlike shared IP addresses, which is what you’ll generally get with most VPNs, a dedicated IP address is exclusive to you. It stays the same every time you go online no matter where you are. You typically get only one dedicated IP address per VPN subscription so you can’t change your dedicated IP location once you’ve selected it. Although you’ll still be able to get shared IP addresses from other server locations at any time.

Can a dedicated VPN IP be detected?

A dedicated IP address is detectable, but that’s a good thing. Think of your IP address as a digital postal address. It’s what helps other networks identify yours so you can connect to websites, read blogs, watch videos, and more. Without an IP address, you can’t connect to the internet.

A dedicated IP address won’t hide the fact you’re using a VPN either. ISPs and network admins will see you’re encrypting your traffic. To hide the fact you’re using a VPN, you’ll need to activate PIA’s Multi-Hop feature in your app. This obfuscates your connection to make it look like normal traffic, whether you’re using a shared or dedicated IP address. 

Is a dedicated IP secure?

A dedicated IP address is secure, but not as secure as a shared IP address. If your dedicated IP address is linked to your VPN account it can be traced back to you. That said, PIA VPN uses an anonymous token-based system to issue your dedicated IP address so no one can trace it back to you.

How do I know if I have a dedicated IP?

Typically, your ISP will assign you a dynamic IP address, meaning it changes regularly. You can usually request and pay for a dedicated IP address, but it’s an expensive add-on with most ISPs. 

If you use a VPN service, you’ll likely get a shared IP address (dynamic) when you connect. Many VPNs also offer dedicated IP addresses as a paid add-on, but it’s typically much less expensive than renting one from your ISP. If you’re unsure, you can ask your VPN provider. A PIA VPN subscription also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, giving you plenty of time to see whether our dedicated IP feature works for you.

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