When you host your own professional site or blog, you have several hosting options. Many freelance writers use shared hosting accounts, especially when starting out. While it can be a cost-effective option until you need more resources, there's another concern -- shared IP addresses.

The IP address is basically a number that identifies the server you host your site or blog on. When you use a shared host, there could be hundreds of sites from hundreds of owners on a single server. But many hosts give you the option to pay a bit extra for a dedicated IP address. That's an IP address that's for your account only.

Why would you want a dedicated IP address?

I've been going through some drama with a shared account recently. When I comment on some blogs, my comments are regularly defaulted to the spam folder. That's more than a little hassle when you take the time to write thoughtful comments while networking.

Why does this happen? It happens because there's a "bad neighbor" on the shared host's IP address. Basically, if another customer is spamming people, the whole IP address can be put on blacklists. That means your own comments and emails might be flagged as spam. And when you run a business that's not acceptable.

I'm moving all of my sites that are on shared hosts off of them as soon as I can. But if you're not ready to do that, see if your host offers dedicated IPs at a bare minimum. It's at least worth looking into. It may explain why you don't always get through when you expect to.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. Through her company, 3 Beat Media, she operates All Indie Writers, NakedPR.com, BizAmmo.com, and numerous other blogs.

Jenn has over 15 years experience writing for others, over 11 years experience in blogging, and 9 years experience in indie e-book publishing. She is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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