Multiple Domains on the Same IP Address: Dangers of Shared Hosting Environments

Update: Addressed by Matt Cutts on 04/09/2013

For years now, I have always recommended that my clients just setup a cheap hosting account at Go Daddy.  I never really thought twice about the consequences of using cheap, shared hosting companys.

 

While evaluating a new client’s website, I noticed there were over 10,000 domains hosted on that same IP address.  That is ten thousand.  So what is the problem with that?  Well, you cannot control who your neighbors are.

 

When you host your website with a source like Go Daddy, it is likely that you will be grouped onto the same IP address with others setting up hosting at the same time as you. What happens if Joe Spammer sets up shop as the same time as you? What happens when your neighbor across the street starts giving away free poker site memberships for every bottle of Viagra sold?

 

The search engines say ‘Hey, this IP has a lot of spammy garbage on it. I’m going to put a little hit on their trust rankings.” Suddenly, search engines stop crawling your website with the same frequency. Your content is no longer indexed with the same speed and ease. If you are a SEO conscious developer, there goes the neighborhood.  How can you expect to optimize a website that is being automatically penalized by unknowingly being on a shared IP address with spam websites?

 

I imagine that the search engines are smarter than this (at least Google is – MSN might be riding the short bus).  I am sure many legitimate websites are hosted in shared environments.  It would be a little over the top to auto-ban 10,000 websites because of neighbors you cannot control.  However, if you are serious about your website, I recommend dishing out the extra $20 for a dedicated IP address.

 

If you find or suspect that your website has been “Google slapped” and it seems like none of your SEO work is taking ahold, you might want to look deeper into the ISP details to find out if the domain is on a shared host.  Search Engine Optimization can be difficult if your website is located on a “Known Spam IP Address” and you might be being penalized without even realizing it!  if you find the domain is in fact on a shared domain, immediatly recommend to the owner of the domain to consider purchasing a unique IP address.
It is always a good idea to be mindful that other sites hosted in your environment can reflect on your site.

52 comments » Write a comment

  1. This is only a problem if you host via GoDaddy. Easy solution is to get a different host.

  2. Your post sounds an awful lot like someone who has a little bit of information, but not quite enough. First of all, there is a big difference between purchasing domain names and getting hosting, I would whole-heartedly suggest that people buy their domain names from GoDaddy, often they are cheaper then the competition (which I am). However, hosting is another thing altogether. Purchasing hosting from GoDaddy isn’t a problem, if you are looking for cheap semi-reliable hosting, it has about the same quality as any other shared hosting company and you will most likely save quite a bit of money over a year (dedicated hosting usually costs between 10 and 20 times the cost of shared hosting per month, and VPS usually costs between 5 an 10 times as much).

    In reference to the IP address that has 10,000 domains on it, that is a load balancing server, and those websites don’t need to be all hosted on the exact same server, in-fact they most likely aren’t and are probably spread out over a large number of servers, such as in a farm. I wouldn’t always suggest that anyone that has a website on a shared server switch to dedicated, that would be ridiculous, for instance your domain (dagoosh.com) is hosted on a server with the IP of 68.178.249.34 which appears to be owned by GoDaddy, and appears to be a shared host yet you have not moved it to dedicated. So my question to you is why you haven’t taken your own advise?

  3. No, 10,000 domains on a single shared server is not unusual among hosts like godaddy, and for shared hosting it’s likely not a ‘farm’ – at best you’re going to get separation from the mail and database servers. Shared hosting is basically getting a very small apartment in a noisy building – you’re still going to be subject to the a ‘bad neighbor’ policy because you’re paying the price of a cup of coffee for rent and shared hosts are going to pack as many customers on those machines as possible. You can get a dedicated IP (not dedicated server as Dan misread) which will mitigiate some of this, however the bad neighbor policy may still be in effect if you share the same sending mail IP, etc.

    If you’re serious, get a VPS if you have real revenue. At least leave godaddy for any of the 10-20 reputable hosts who’ve been around for 5-10 years or more who actually want to be something more than the mcdonalds of webhosting.

  4. I don’t think there is anything wrong with Go Daddy. We do indeed use Go Daddy’s dedicated hosting and our own dedicated IP address, which goes along with the main point. [b]Just be mindful that other sites hosted in your environment can reflect on your site.[/b]

  5. This is a valid problem and i think Google is smart enough to handle that but unfortunately algorithm is just a computer program which may put the other site into spamy site list.

    Choosing a good host is pretty important. You article is bang on target and i think i will digg deeper into this and comment here again :)

  6. No Google does not penalize people for using a shared IP.
    Infact this was removed from the algorhtym years ago.

    Saying that I would certainly recommend using a better host than GoDaddy, HostGator and similar overselling stack ‘em high hosts…

  7. IMHO, this only counts on indiscriminate money grabbing hosts who don’t personally oversee their servers. The article takes almost an alarmist view of the situation. Any self-respecting privately held server with client accounts on it specifically in a relationship with the hosting company will be a little more respectful, mindful and attentive.

  8. I’m thinking in swithing to a dedicated ip adress for 6month to see the diffrence.The extra hosting cost getting a dedicated ip is less than 2Euro per month.

  9. I never thought about this. My big site is on a dedicated server but my blog is on Godaddy!! Another thing.. if you have dedicated server.. make sure it is set to back up your site. I learned the hard way!!

  10. It is not a matter of shared servers as it is the shared IP address. Again my main point is simply that it is something to be aware of. Most of the time it is a non-issue, but it is a good idea to see what else is going on in the neighborhood.

  11. Their are a hundred more ways to get screwed by scroogle and that willingfully use all of them in the evil empire. Shared IPs are the least of your worries. SEO is a myth. The guys that thought they were SEO Gurus got a job.

  12. URL management filters may prevent access to your site due to URL translation unless the sys admins take care.

  13. We also noticed similar issues with Godaddy shared hosting and switched over to another company. Now with a dedicated IP ( always a good idea) our ranking and traffic has increased. A dedicated IP is not the silver bullet to good ranking, but it’s one less thing to worry about. And at only a few bucks per month well worth the cost.

  14. There has not been much talk about this, what if I have the unlimited hosting through godaddy, and several sites. It is set up for one domain to be my primary, while all the others are aliased to the primary. I’ve heard this hurts rankings for all the websites and is bad to even link between them. Is there any truth to this?

  15. I don’t think that Hosting multiple sites on the shared ip address causes much effect. Alhough it has very less affect to SEO purpose.

    Many thanks for the post.

  16. Ok so I checked all the domains on my ip address through http://sameip.org and I have a deluxe account with godaddy and host 30 + domains on that single hosting plan but the check shows only a few of my domains on that ip address….. go figure… what ip address are the rest of my domains on???

    PS: anyone ever use http://www.ixwebhosting.com/ for hosting? the unlimited pro plan shows it includes 15 dedicated ip addresses

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  21. I can’t understand why people continue to put up with cheap and nasty hosting when the cost of cloud computing is so ridiculously low now.

    If you want to see who you share hosting (or IP addresses) with then try this free tool http://riskeraser.com/

  22. I have found your blog druing the search for "Multiple Domains on the Same IP Address: Dangers of Shared Hosting Environments | Dagoosh!", here i have found the information i need, so thanks for your help and keep on the good work, Sabine Kosmetik

  23. this an interesting approach. It is common to take care of SEO from the individuality of ones blog or web while leaving the incredible opportunity social media offers aside. This post clears up the way to better understand the way both activities interact and the steps to be taken to get the best results in your way to success

  24. I am not certain I completely concur with you on this article. Then again I am normally amenable to innovative concepts. Will have to feel about it. Nice site anyway.

  25. I agree that it’s better to host your site on a dedicated IP address… I recently switched my site http://www.thedeparted.net to it’s own dedicated address and improved my SERP ranking. Bottomline if you’re serious about your website (and profit from it) spend the extra $2.99 a month and get your own IP.

  26. Hello Guys,

    What happen if I have my own unique IP on a shared hosting then I decided to host 5 to 10 sites that are mine on it? Is ths going to cause trouble again with seo and Google. Thanks

    James

  27. I understand what this guy is saying and he is very much on point. I am currently unable to visit any of my sites because my ISP has blocked the IP because 1 (of the 461 total domains on that IP) is a phishing site. My ISP told me that until my host takes care of the phishing site they won’t unblock the IP. So my 7 sites are being punished because of one fool. This is what he is talking about.

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