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.

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