Dedicated vs. Shared IP Addresses and SEO

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Is having a dedicated IP address critical for achieving great Google rankings and if an IP address is shared among many sites, is the PageRank for each site diluted?

This is, believe it or not, still a very common question in the SEO world, despite the search engines addressing these concerns. Over at DigitalPoint a reader asks:

Does anyone have any current knowledge and or real life experience with the importance or lack of, having a dedicated IP address for your hosting account as far as Google Page Rank and other search engines are concerned? If you have 1 IP address and you add on domains, does that dilute page rank or trust? If it is shared and someone else’s website that shares the IP address gets Google slapped, does that impact my website or blog?

One reader refers to the 2006 post on the Matt Cutts blog which references a statement by Google’s Craig Silverstein in 2003 :

Actually, Google handles virtually hosted domains and their links just the same as domains on unique IP addresses. If your ISP does virtual hosting correctly, you’ll never see a difference between the two cases. We do see a small percentage of ISPs every month that misconfigure their virtual hosting, which might account for this persistent misperception–thanks for giving me the chance to dispel a myth!


Cutts adds “I’m happy to affirm that this statement which was true in 2003 is still true now. Links to virtually hosted domains are treated the same as links to domains on dedicated IP addresses.

Of course if you have 1,000 sites running on the same IP address which all link to each other and to bad linking neighborhoods, the PageRank between those links which are being passed along should be diluted and if some of those sites are practicing questionable methods of, well, spamming Google … having them all grouped together should set off some kind of red flags.

On the other hand, such linking would not be natural, so if the sites were all hosted on separate IP’s, one would think that Google would still be able to identify the group of sites trading links back and forth (ie Link Farm), even if their hosting records or domain registar records shows no physical co relation between those sites, wouldn’t you think?

What are your views on hosting sites on dedicated vs. shared IP addresses?

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • http://www.hallme.com/blog Fred

    Loren,

    Thanks for revisiting this issue that continues to keep popping up. While the search engine reps keep repeating that a shared IP doesn’t hurt your site, I don’t think it does a lot to *help* it either.

    My company works a lot with small and medium sized businesses, and every now and again we see people tempted to save money by using cheap hosting. And while personally I think this is fine for most blogs, personal sites, etc., for the average business it’s just asking for trouble.

    The biggest problem tangible problems tends to be email, not PageRank. i.e. IPs shared with sketchy sites that result in spam-related bounces. I can’t help but think that if email servers are savvy enough to pick up that an IP is dicey, search engine spiders will too (the degree to which is likely debatable).

    There are also support horror-stories and other issues that occur in the cheap hosting world, which is something that web enthusisasts are hardened and can deal with, but again, for the average non-tech-savvy a business, it’s just a nightmare.

    Even if there is a 0 direct relationship between search rankings and domain set-up, there’s a lot more to consider for the overall website ownership experience that one needs to consider… something which I guarantee the search engines won’t take a stance on.

    Thanks,
    Fred
    http://www.hallme.com
    http://www.hallme.com/blog

  • http://www.websight.org WebSite Design Orange County

    We have quite a number of our clients on a shared server and have never noticed any problems with either PR or positioning due to a shared IP. We used to have each client with their own IP’s and recently switched to a shared server with absolutely no problems.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/wordpress/ Michael Martinez

    I work with many domains on shared IP addresses. There is absolutely no problem with sharing IP addresses for search engine results.

  • http://www.jaankanellis.com Jaan Kanellis

    Agreed no issues with shared IP. As for your example of the spam websites it is the fact of how they are linking to each other that Google will find spammy not weather or not a 1000 domains are on shared IP or not. So yes they would find them spammy on different IPs as well.

  • http://www.seoservicesgroup.com/ Raghavan

    Unless there is a cross linking of a kind between the websites sharing the same IP there shouldn’t be any problem I hope. I also learned that if websites sharing our IPs does some spammy works and banned from G it would also affect us.

  • http://www.allthingssem.com/ Marios Alexandrou

    I haven’t seen a difference either way, but there was a Bruce Clay article not too long ago that suggested improved rankings could be had with a dedicated IP. A tough one to prove, of course.

  • http://www.jordankasteler.com/utah-seo-pro-blog/ Utah SEO Pro

    I call bullshit on Google.

  • http://blog.clickfire.com Clickfire

    Think of it this way. What aspect of dedicated or shared would return better results for Google users? None that I see.

  • http://blog.dolphinpromotions.co.uk James – Dolphin SEO

    I cant say I have ever seen much difference between a dedicated server and a shared one. It wouldnt make much sense for Google to give priority to a dedicated server. Dedicated servers cost a lot more than shared so I am guessing that the majority of the sites on the net use a shared host.
    I am sure Google would/does reduce the effect of interlinking sites on the same IP/Class C but I would hope websites wouldn’t be penalized for it.
    Then again negative SEO seems to have been mentioned a bit recently so it wouldn’t be that much of a shock if Google penalized people for factors out of their control.

  • http://www.seoservicesgroup.com/ Raghavan

    It is about shared IP and Dedicated IP and I too don’t see any difference between shared and dedicated server. It is the IP that is important. In shared server I think we have an option to purchase dedicated IP and some hosting companies do provide it if I’m not wrong. Again how do we find our bad neighbor if we are in the same Class C.

  • http://www.kinetasystems.com NikLP

    Multiple sites on one IP (shared host) I wouldn’t see as an issue, but there is no specific mention here of sites that are part of a “blog network” or somesuch.

    There is clearly a sound business case for keeping a collection of related blogs on one server, but is this the sort of scenario that would indeed be penalised? This is the exact question that is bothering me.

  • http://www.seoservicesgroup.com/ Raghavan

    I don’t see a chance of penalization here

  • http://promo.web.id Ardi

    1,000 sites running on the same IP address ? Many hosting providers do this.
    Dedicated vs. shared IP addresses in SEO ? Now, I’m testing without linking each other. Is it different between Yahoo and Google ?

  • http://www.seopractices.com SEO Guide

    So it really doesn’t matter as long as your link building practices go by SE rules. You will not be affected by other sites with black hat practices when sharing hosting?

  • http://www.progresstechnologies.com Tony Nestor

    I think the interesting point from Google is this “If your ISP does virtual hosting correctly, you’ll never see a difference between the two cases. ” – What does he mean by this exactly? Is this referring to correctly having reverse lookup setup correctly I guess?

  • http://smartssex.com/ SmarTy

    I guess the only difference with “probably better results on dedicated servers” is in speed – since we usually see better conditions for dedicated/VPS guys, while shared friends are basically limited in number of processes, mem. allocation etc.

  • http://www.johnraul.com John Raul Joven II

    I recommend getting a dedicated IP address for professional sites (personal, business). It is important. Check out my blog post related to this.

  • http://www.lookaffiliates.com/ Charles

    Thanks for all the comments!

  • http://http//www.odessapartments.com Odessa Apartments Hotel

    If it costs only $2 to get a dedicated IP, I would prefer to have one.

  • http://www.1stonthelist.ca Anthony

    Maybe from a search engine perspective it really does not matter, but how about sitting on an IP that has requests for questionable sites?

    Most virtual sites we see sit on IPs with over 500+ domains. What do you do when one of these sites writes a script that affects the requests to your IP?
    Ever have your site go slow because someone decided to install an open source spam generating social bookmark site or something similar? Ever wonder why email is not consistent?
    You visitor traffic can get affected, bots coming to site may get affected, etc.
    On top of this, many (I’ll say this again, many) virtual hosting companies may not have your domain account properly set up either!

    For the issues surrounding reverse DNS for email and even peace of mind knowing you are not sharing an IP with a link farm junkie, spend the extra bux and get a dedicated IP. If you’re serious about your business online, spending a bit more should not matter.

  • http://www.bluraybuddy.com Mike S.

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve buy seohosting for 5c class ip last month. :)

  • http://www.establishedwebsiteforsale.co.uk websites

    other benefit of having a dedicated server is the geographical element which google is introducing this year. If for example your server is hosted in the Texas US and your a UK company based in london, most of your search results could end up coming from Texas US Geographic location

  • http://www.peakwebmarketing.com/ Shane

    Regarding shared IP address vs dedicated IP address, you are safe to host as many sites as you need to on one hosting account, but Google seems to devalue links if you build inter-linking websites. on the same IP address.

  • http://thepowersellersunion.com Dropship

    Great my hosting company was trying to sell me a 45 dedicated ips package. They said people point 100s of ips to one website, and the more ips pointing to your site the more it helps your seo?

    Anyone ever heard of this?

  • http://www.filmarelanunta.ro Filmari-nunti

    I found that my website is hosted on a shared ip adress together with other 400 comercial legal sites.I asked my host provider about the dedicated ip and the extra hosting cost is less than 2euro/month for the dedicated one.
    I’m thinking very serious switching to dedicated.
    Thanks for the advice .

  • http://www.beep-tech.com mair

    i think its a usefull article as we all know the importance of google page rank and seo terms . So i be switching to a dedicated ip very soon

  • http://www.esotericarticles.com jlawac

    This was a very useful article and helped me in setting up my webpage, thankyou.

  • http://www.sergioronei.com.br/ Sergio Ronei Hentz

    This was a very useful article and helped me in setting up my webpage, thankyou.

    Como descobrir o IP de um site

  • annaseowebsitedesignottawa

    I agree, and thanks for reconfirming this information. In my experience, I saw no difference in ranking for your keywords between shared and dedicated hosting. The only way to compare this 100% is to have the same sites hosted twice, once on a shared IP and once on a dedicated IP, and then watch the results. I doubt though the results will be noticeable, if any, because this info has nothing to do with relevance of the information for users. If, as Matt Cutts says, there are 1000s of sites on the same IP and they all link to one another, this is, of course, suspicious, and everyone knows that, of couse.

  • http://www.joomlabliss.com annaseowebsitedesignottawa

    Michael, I don't know what is going on with your traffic, but it is highly unlikely that the dedicated IP is an issue. We actually too moved our site to a dedicated IP and did not see any negative effects on our traffic. We actually saw an increase, but this was because of our social media campaign. So without looking at your site it is hard to say, but I do think you should look deeper. New content? Your competition upgraded their sites? IA changes?

  • Keyword Name Removed

    I don’t know about Google’s truthfulness here… Let me explain… On of my friends (we do the same kind of SEO) had a client he couldn’t rank no matter what. he did. They exact same steps that worked for every one else just wouldn’t work for this guy. Google simply refused to even index his site.

    Until the client himself asked my friend one day whether his top-level domain being banned might be an issue. Once they moved the site over to another hosting account the site propelled up the search results without as much as a hiccup.
    This is just my two cents worth…

  • http://www.nyhtml.com Steve Pringle

    “Of course if you have 1,000 sites running on the same IP address…”

    I think that is why my six year old site’s home page dropped from PR4 to PR0
    then slowly climbed back to PR2. I had about 10 domain aliases (to prevent
    cyber squatting) that were not 301 redirecting so Google must have seen this
    as a 1 page site linking in.

  • Winston

    What Matt Cutts forgot to mention is that dedicated servers are definitely better for SEO and traffic, because the sites on them are faster and Google ranks them higher. A friend of mine doubled his traffic and income right after moving his site to a dedicated server. Matt Cutts should make that difference clear, that dedicated IP’s may not be worth much, but dedicated servers do.