Myth busting: virtual hosts vs. dedicated IP addresses

I hear that there was recently a discussion on a NANOG (North American Network Operators Group) email list about virtual hosting vs. dedicated IP addresses. They were commenting on the misconception that having multiple sites hosted on the same IP address will in some way affect the PageRanks of those sites. There is no PageRank difference whatsoever between these two cases (virtual hosting vs. a dedicated IP). Someone on the email discussion already dug out this Slashdot interview from mid-2003 with Craig Silverstein, Google’s Director of Technology. I refer to question 5, in which someone asked

Why in this day and age does google continue to penalize sites that are virtual hosted? With ip addresses becoming harder to get/justify every day why does google discount the relevance of links that don’t come from a unique ip address. Please don’t just deny it, I think the Internet community deserves an explanation.

Craig’s reply was as follows:

I can’t just deny it? What are my other choices? :) 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!

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.

114 Responses to Myth busting: virtual hosts vs. dedicated IP addresses (Leave a comment)

  1. Great job, Craig (and Matt).

    Now bust the myth of PageRank and how it is the be-all, end-all, and only factor in Google’s algorithm, thereby forcing us all to go out and trade links with 5,000,000 closely related sites that have nothing to do with our own.

    Come on, you know you wanna. ;)

  2. That’s what I love about SEO, it covers so many areas, eg marketing, programming, stats analysis, begging and even webserver software.

    But Multi-worded Adam, surely you know that the PR you see in the toolbar is not the PR Google uses internally? :p

  3. Thanks Matt,

    People will still ask though…you know that right :P

    The next question should be how do I know my ISP is configured right!

  4. Dave (Original)

    Matt, must you always muddy the conspiracy waters with facts :)

  5. I think Ron Carnell put it nicely:

    The endemic advice to “hide” the origins of your sites is, in my opinion, utter nonsense in that (1) it’s not necessary, and (2) it won’t work any way.

    Here’s an analogy I’ve used before.

    If you’re going to the bank to cash a check, there’s nothing wrong with driving your own car. If you’re going to the bank to rob it, on the other hand, driving your own car is going to make it ridiculously easy for the police to find you. However, even if you steal a car before robbing the bank, the odds of you actually getting away with the crime aren’t exactly favorable. There are just too many ways to get caught and eliminating the most obvious, be it your car or IP addresses, is of minimal help.

    The answer? Don’t rob the bank and the convenience of using your own car will never become an issue.

    ( http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=39683 )

  6. JLH

    “Myth Busting”

    I think you need to create a new category on your blog, this would be a great series to cultivate.

    1. Sitemaps don’t hurt your site.
    2. Virtual IPs the same as static.
    3. The link operator does not show all known links.
    4. PR is constantly updating.
    …you get the idea.

    As long as Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman don’t mind you using the name that is.

  7. Many people think, that there are a different between link from virtual hosts and dedicated IP. It’s good to know true, thanks.

  8. mad4

    So if my really great white hat site company site is accidentaly hosted on the same IP address as 500 black hat spam sites, what happens then?

  9. shumisha

    Hi Matt,

    could you give some details, or link to, info as to what is the proper way to setup virtual hosts (or rather the what-you-should-never-do-with-virtaul-hosts) ?
    Thanks

  10. A good question mad4Said. I have a friend who is having that exact problem. We know Google is treating the IP address as ‘black’ listed because every time he tries to send me an email (to my gmail account) from the server it gets returned stating that this IP address is black listed. He contacted the ISP and they said it the IP address was only listed on one site and they have asked repeatedly to have it removed without success. My friends site’s ranking which was never high, 2, has now only got a white bar.

  11. Hi Matt,

    Does this mean that the interlinking of the sites is also not discounted as a factor in the sites rankings? Ie: to host on seperate IP’s / hosts would give the links between the sites more power?

    Thanks,

    Jesse

  12. Just to clarify your comments:

    500 sites under the same IP interlinked in some way will provide the same benefit as 500 sites on uniques similarly interlinked all other things held constant?

    I think this is the question I most often see on various wm boards.

  13. Richard, that is the exact question I would also like answered. Matt, any comments on Richard’s statement would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks.

  14. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for clearing this up. Could you possibly clear up another related myth that I hear from time to time: Would a site hosted in someone’s basement at the end of a DSL line (with a static IP and correct webserver config) be ranked less favourably than the exact same site hosted in a professional datacentre?

    Basically, does Google discriminate against sites hosted at the end of a DSL line?

  15. Alexander

    Hey Matt, thanks for clearing this out! :)
    Could you please confirm the other statement (8) on traffic and ranking?

  16. A Cutlett

    >>>If your ISP does virtual hosting correctly

  17. A Cutlett

    WordPress doesn’t seem to like the “less than sign”. Let me try again.

    [quote]
    If your ISP does virtual hosting correctly
    [/quote]

    Matt, how would one spot if your isp is configuring it correctly? If I’m reading Craigs comment correctly a misconfigured server could cause google problems?

  18. “500 sites under the same IP interlinked in some way will provide the same benefit as 500 sites on uniques similarly interlinked all other things held constant?”

    I would think that 500 domains sitting on the same IP and also interkinked among each other would certainly send a signal to Google just like 500 domains linked between each other sitting on different IP’s would. Meaning, I took Matts post as a person having a site, or even multiple sites sitting on the same IP not being a big deal, but 500 domains linked to each other from the same IP or even a different IP would be a problem in my opinion. I don’t think it would be a penalty, but i think those links would be devalued or ignored in the algorithm. Or am I off base on that thought?

  19. Hi Matt,

    I agree with “mad4″ since many time our virtual host holds a lot of other web sites and those web sites may be spam related.

    Even if they are spam our URL is not affected for being on the same IP ?

    Regards

    Manuel

  20. I’d also like to know the answer to Richard’s question! That question is very often asked.

  21. Hi Matt, so as Richard asked, does it mean that links from different IP addresses are treated the same way [given the same value] as links from the same IP.

  22. pip

    Nice start, Matt. But I agree, that what we REALLY want to be answered is Richard’s question.

  23. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the info. I’m asking the same questions as many above (a bit more specifically):

    What happens if you are on the same IP address as a “spammer site or a bunch of them?”
    (I have seen innocent sites get blocked for email spam by being on the same IP address/block as a spammer – this is not by Google, but it seems like a similar situation)

    What about links being devalued between sites on the same class C IP address (PageRank or any other link strength metric you may employ)?

    Thanks!
    martin

  24. Paul

    Matt,

    I think you have hit a raw nerve with your readers.
    The best way to improve rankings is to provide quality content for web users and at the same time give the Search engines bots what they need. Yet the forums are full of rubbish about what Google et al really need.

    Any clarification would be great.

    Paul
    ps I’m sure none of the nasty spammers would read your blog for tips on how to get more junk into the SERPS. Would they :-)

  25. JB

    Hi Matt,

    Whilst on this subject, my site is on a shared server at the moment, but I need to purchase an SSL and my host has told me I need to be moved to a dedicated IP.

    Just wondered whether there was anything to be cautious of during this process. I’ve read up on your past blog about moving hosts, but I mainly wondered whether a change in IP address could cause any issue with Google?

    Thanks
    JB

  26. I used to think the only people who worried about this stuff were the people who were doing something shady.

    The thing to avoid here isn’t where you host your sites, it’s how you make them interact with each other.

    Think about it… If I run 10 sites, it’s not natural for me to host them all on different hosting companies or ips? It’s economical to have just 1 server. Google has to use common sense here.

    What’s not natural is if I host 50 sites and they all link to each other. There’s just no way I should have that many related sites. It’s not possible for them all to offer unique value that the other’s don’t AND be related.

    Google has to realize that a small time site owner really has no control over the other sites hosted on their server. To assume that if a server hosts 20 spammer sites, all the rest are spammers would be a false assumption. I believe Google engineers are smarter than that.

    From experience, I run about 50 sites as it is. I have them spread out on 3 servers. 2 of which have the same class C IPs. No problems here. 2 are dedicated and each handle 1/2 of my sites. (needed to balance the load) One is shared and only hosts 1 site because some idiot kept ddosing it.

    With that setup I’ve never had any problems. In fact, most of my sites are shown lots of love. Of course, they only link to each other where they’re related.. there’s no elaborate linking or anything shady going on.

  27. First, thanks for the info. I have been asking the same question for weeks now and at last i’ve found the answer.

    Along w/ Mad4,MAC Seo, Martin’s question. How does Google treat sites hosted on the same IP/Block? Example on big hosts like Dreamhost, Hostgator, etc… wherein you have no control what sites you shared with.

    Considering also not just spam sites, but also valid ones. Who may or might host the same content (e.g. articles) unintentionally of course, or blog who has the same niches. What’s the effect or damage having dups on the same server/ip?

  28. ok, Ryan just posted something more detailed than what i post, minutes ahead of me. Hope to hear something from you Matt, Thanks :)

  29. Matt: By what I understand, there ARE drawbacks to virtual hosting, don’t know if they’re myths or facts nowadays.

    If you have a lot of links coming to you, especially really close to the IP you’re from (such as within the same C-block), it’ll be perceived as “artificial links trying to boost your own site”?

    If you’re on the same C-block or on the same IP as a site that’s penalized, you’ll also carry a small penalty with it.

    Are they still correct? Or are they myths nowadays?

    Thanks,

    Paul Zhao
    http://www.paulzhao.com

  30. Somehow the video tutorial back here sounded a little bit more ambiguous… like, small webmasters shouldn’t care about having it on the same server/ IP, but as soon as you have like 1000s of sites, then you might start to worry…
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3583760678227172395

  31. Matt (or anybody) can you point me to what it means to have a virtual host configured properly?

    We have 4K sites on a single IP today for Sampa (www.sampa.com) and I think Google is not doing a good job with those sites, so, it is possible that I misconfigured our server.

    -Marcelo

  32. So if my really great white hat site company site is accidentaly hosted on the same IP address as 500 black hat spam sites, what happens then?

    You move your site to a host that has a no-spam policy. If 500 sites are pulling blackhat SEO stunts, chances are pretty good that at least one of them is pulling another shady trick (the one that comes immediately to mind is email spamming.)

    There are enough hosts out there that don’t tolerate that kind of crap on any level. Here’s one if you can’t find any (and a damn good one at that…they host my DS, and I’m a picky bugger.)

    Ryan’s right. Common sense has to apply on this one. There are a limited number of IP addresses in public use (255 to the exponent 4, minus IPs in the 10. and 192. ranges, as well as other private IP ranges and iPs that belong to ISPs for customer use). So why would a link from a domain on a virtual host be worth any less than a domain on its own dedicated IP?

    What I don’t understand in all of this is the question being asked on the various webmaster boards. What logical reason is there to cross-link 500 sites together in the first place? Or to put it more accurately, if search engines didn’t exist and we were all focusing on the end user, what benefit does 500 cross-linked sites provide?

  33. Exactly Adam,

    Theres no possible way I can have 500 sites that all provide a unique value that the other ones don’t, and have them all be related enough to justify linking them all.

    The only exception here would be if I had one site of my company name that linked to all 500, and all 500 linked back to it. (this is done quite often to prevent a bunch of contact forms, privacy policies, etc) But that only explains 1 of them. If anybody else has a reason the other 499 should all link to each other I’d love to hear it.

  34. Multi-Worded Adam Said,
    What logical reason is there to cross-link 500 sites together in the first place?

    Without justifying the practice of spammers, if the links were visable to visitors with useful anchor text (and not just for SEO), one could expect some new traffic I’d imagine.

    But this topic post (Matt’s) leaves the cross-linking between same IP and Class C space open – love to hear from Matt on that specific issue. The penalty sure remains the “ground truth” most places I visit. Is the penalty fact or fiction?

  35. Wayne

    What about depth of crawl by the spiders?

    More specifically if there is alot of content all off of the same IP address would googlebot tend to not consume as much bandwidth to that IP address? I would assume that googlebot would know that the same IP address means it is the same server and not hammer it by making 500 requests to 500 different sites on the same server at the rate of 1 min per site. And, if google does not have all the pages of the site index wouldn’t that have an effect?

    I am interested to know but I am not (and do not ever plan too) be in that situation. Clearly there are performance issues invovled — which brings up another possible myth! Do websites with lower performance get lower ratings?

  36. pip

    of course 500 exceeds any realistic (white hat) network. but what if i host a site for each of my 5 children. cross-linking http://www.jane-doe.com http://www.john-doe.com http://www.james-doe.com etc… will be no spam and those sites ARE related.

    what if i own several bars in one city? should i be forced to host their sites on different IPs?

    BTW: Would it be offline spam to own several business in ONE city and ONE industry? :D

  37. Hello Matt,

    Reading through this post, I would find myself asking the same questions as others whether or not it is possible to host a number of websites (lets say 10 websites) on 1 dedicated server with 10 different IP’s allocated to the 10 different domains. Also, the IP’s would be somewhat similar by essentially having nearly identical IP’s.

    Would you get penalized for trying to establish a network of trusted sites by linking from one to the other?

    If using different IP’s such as in this scenario, should they be out of sequence, meaning different c-block to minimize the notion of relevancy?

    ….this should be it for now.

    thank you,
    damir

  38. “if search engines didn’t exist and we were all focusing on the end user, what benefit does 500 cross-linked sites provide?”

    Fair enough, but SEs do exist.

    Let’s just say I have 50 sites then, and apply the same question: All other things held constant, if I have 50 sites on one IP that are inter-linked and 50 sites on unique IPs inter-linked is there any difference in terms of how these sites are appraised by Google?

  39. RogerBalmer

    Actually, here in getting cold switzerland, if you have a serious business, that is dependent on the web, you tell your server housing company, that you need some more IP’s. If they have used their own stock over 60% and your business is dependent of the web, you usually get a fresh C-Block.

    Of course I agree, how could somebody run 500+ businesses in a small 12 floor building? So why should he be able to run 500 businesses on a webserver. Independent if he uses IP’s or virtual hosts. If he is not a ISP hosting his clients sites, I don’t see any reason to call these 500+ websites serious businesses with business-plan etc.

    Of course if you have 50 sites hosted on 50 different C-blocks, I’d beleave Google would treat them different then if they all would be hosted on the same IP or IP-C-Block and interelinking.

  40. Richard’s questions is the one I would like answered.

    If I have 50 sites linked together in a virtual ip is that treated exactly like 50 sites on seperate ip’s & differing class-c’s.

    There are lots of cases where where resonable advertising schemes common to the 50 sites could cause this. It is not that uncommon actually.

  41. RogerBalmer

    Ted and Richard, what good reason would you have to run 50 independent serious businesses on the same server, same ip and link from each business to the other and expact relevancy between the sites?

    How can they be relevant to each other without dub content? How can they be relevant to each other by any other reason besides that they all are run by the same person?

    I beleave if you can answer this question and a robot see’s the same reason, then you might defnetly do aswell as when you run them on seperate c-classes.

  42. Scott

    What is up with all of the 50+ site hating?

    I can thing of many non-spam reasons to host 50+ sites and link them to one another. A few:

    -publishers who publish books, movies, CDs, etc. that might have both internal sub sites and actual URL specific sites for their artists, specific promotions, specific new releases, etc.

    -realtors who might have a business site, personal site, individual review sites for specific neighborhoods, photography related site, perhaps small biz organizations/groups or non-profits that they belong to or have created in the community, etc.

    -small web hosts / creative collectives that might have a main site and many small sub hosted sites that link back to the main host.

    just a few examples…

  43. Matt

    As a dedicated server host, I’m regularly asked to provide things like “20 IPs on as many different class c’s as possible”. This post focused specifically on name-based hosting vs. IP based hosting. I’d love to see a clear statement on the “different class c” issue too.

    However, in the end, I think even a clear statement from Google won’t help. If I used this against a customer asking for IPs on many class C’s they’d just respond that there are more search engines out there than just Google and they “need” to be ranked highly on any that they can.

    The rule I’ve generally used to deal with this request is “does the topology easily support it?” If their server is on a LAN with 20 /24′s already on it then sure, they can have 20 IPs from 20 /24′s. If they have their own small subnet, ok maybe I’ll route them 1 or 2 additional subnets – but certainly not 20.

  44. 50 is just a round number. I could see a company like a music label owning 100′s of sites that are interlinked.

    The point is, I do not think Matt is being completely up front here. Sure he can say virtual is the same as different ip when it comes to hosting.

    However, he never address the issue that are obviously a problem. Sharing IP with bad neighboors for instance. Links from same class-c not equivalent to from outside the class-c range.

  45. Dave (Original),

    He’s just tipping his toe in!!
    :)

  46. The difference between bad SEO and good SEO is always clear when you use a Matt Cutts post to draw the line.

  47. Can anyone tell me, how to identify that ISP is doing virtual hosting correctly.

    Cheers
    TheSEOGuru

  48. Tony

    JB I added SSL to my site two weeks ago which changed the ip but its still in the same class only the last 3 digits changed. This week we lost all our rankings in the from Australia Button on google.com.au (I am not complaining we needed the slow down to catch up on the work) I am assuming google will sort it all out in a few weeks or such but it was interesting to see (it could also be a coincidence) It didn’t affect any of the ranking in the from wthe world button or from google.com

  49. A quick way to ensure that your ISP does virtual hosting correctly and has the sites configured right is to ping your site. What resolves on the ping ? Do spiders find and crawl your site or someone else’s site ?

  50. I think some of you are reading extra stuff into this. All I hear Matt saying is that they don’t penalize for a normal “many different sites, one IP” virtual hosting setup that is very common. Mad4 – you can be sure there’s trouble in that setup. I know MS, and assume Google have IP blacklists. You can research some of this online and should if you suspect you are sharing an IP with a bad neighborhood.

  51. JLH

    I agree, there are always extreme exceptions to the rules, but the original point is still true.

  52. seroundtable.com/archives/002358.html

    This was also verified on this blog – BUT THERE IS ONE IMPORTANT CONSEQUENCE – that everyone should be aware of ….this post details that difference

  53. bob

    Thank you for clearning up the issue of IPs.

    What about subdmains?

    Is “foosub.mydomain.com” considered totally differently from “www.mydomain.com” by logic that determines page rank?

    Thank you.

  54. Alex Le Heux

    I see lots of people talk about “class-c” here.

    People, go read RFC1519, published in 1993.

    It describes Classless Inter-Domain Routing.

    Class-C (and A and B) networks have not existed for over ten years, anyone who still thinks in those terms needs to wake up and smell the coffee :)

    So stop worrying about that.

    Alex

  55. Well thanks for clearing this issue…this would hav helped many..even I would like to ask that subdomain query raised by bob above my comment.

  56. Class C’s how quaint – the core internet don’t use classfull addressing and hasn’t for quite a while now – Classless_Inter-Domain_Routing is where its at.

    Its taught in the Cisco certification tracks now almost purely as a basis for introducing CIDR and for desinging a private address scheam for a network design.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classless_Inter-Domain_Routing

  57. Michael Glenn

    Wait– you said a link TO the sites are treated the same… what about if i link out FROM my site? Wouldn’t this downgrade the importance of my site links, and therefore inheriently degrade my site, because it lacks superior voting ability (socially, if not through Google’s algorithm)?

  58. David

    Yup, yup, links to fine(provided they get there), links from fine(maybe) , PR fine(maybe), however PR and links to and from aren’t exactly the same as SERP for a search, nor are they even close to what the Search Engine may have as content from your site in a shared IP environment.

    You really need to seperate out what is actually being worried about from what you think they are worrying about.

    It really has nothing to do with links just placement and what that all entails (far more than just PR based upon links the last I knew).

    Also what goes on at the internet level and what goes on inside software at a place like Google frequently have no cause and effect relationship. In other words all the RFCs and Cisco certified folks on the planet don’t have any real weight on the matter if the software does things differently.

  59. Paul

    I would like to know the answer to Richard’s question as well. Essentially, the question is whether relevant links from sites on the same virtual IP or the same class-c are weighted less than relevant links from a different IP or different class-c.

    For those of you who have said there is no way you could have 500 legitimately interlinked sites with the same IP, I beg to differ. If you operate a niche-focused web design or hosting company, you are going to attract related businesses. For example, if I specialize in designing and hosting restaurants/entertainment in my city, wouldn’t all the sites on my server be relevant to each other?

    What if as a part of my services, I encouraged each of my clients to add a directory of other restaurant/entertainment options nearby and helped to facilitate the interlinking between clients?

    I could think of dozens if it not hundreds of other examples, where this could be the case. So, the question about whether relevant links from the same IP or class-c are giving the same weight is a very important and relevant question for companies engaged in legitimate marketing techniques.

  60. Chuck

    I’m being charged for a Dedicated Server to host a new web site we are completing and when I did a Whois on my IP address 216.244.99.240 I got a network address with a range of IP addresses.

    How can I tell if we are getting ripped off?

    Thanks

  61. Well, first of all, for the CIDR snots (:-) yeah, Class-C *does* still equate to a /24, so it is, and will remain, perfectly valid and useful shorthand, as long as people still tend to default to it for things, which by inspection, they do. CIDR simply requires that the *gear* understand prefixes of arbitrary length. (And let me tell you; the number of *ISP* support people I talk to who don’t know what a /30 is, but have no problem with “.252″ should *scare* you. It does me.)

    On the topic of this thread, though, I think the comments make it pretty clear that there really *is* a perceived reason on the part of ‘legitimate’ website operators why search engines might want to penalize the importance of incoming links in calculating the importance of a linked to site, if those links are coming from a machine in the same /24 as the target site (or if lots of the links are coming from the same source /24).

    It’s because there are rarely collections of legitimate sites which fit that description — most of them are link-spammers.

    So telling us that no, that penalty is really *not* applied a) is probably a lie but b) breaks in favor of the legitimate site ops, as long as the algorithm is well tuned, because it will tend to cause said spammers *not* to optimize around such a block, and therefore, be affected by it as we want them to.

    Assuming said spammers don’t know about Pascal’s Wager. :-)

    This has been made pretty clear, but Matt hasn’t followed up; QED.

  62. A legitimate domain with 500 sites isn’t possible?

    Think again

    There is at least one legitimate domain that currently has close to 500,000 subdomains heavily interlinked with a tagging system.
    It could (and has) been argued that the interlinked tagging system enhances user experience, both for the owners of the subdomains to find related sites, and for outside readers.
    Alternatively the fact that the tags do not contain “nofollow” and that the tag pages that link back to sites also don’t use “nofollow” could suggest that the intention of the pages was also to provide some smart SEO benefit.
    There is no control of who gains benefit from yout tagging activities.

  63. Matt can you give me a definitive answer on Googles treatment of pseudo TLD’s that many businesses buy thinking they are authentic TLD’s.

    Will a website owner using one of these such as XXXXX.uk.com or XXXXX.eu.com be treated differently than if they owned a proper TLD?

  64. Hi Matt,

    1) Webs hosted in shared IP’s are treated the same “with the links between them”? (Richard’s question in the forum is resulting quite popular; how many “me too” does it normally take for you to actually anser the question?)
    2) So, what what the whole Florida update about, if not “cross linking between webs with the same IP”?

    Thanks

  65. oh,
    This Question : Will a website owner using one of these such as XXXXX.uk.com or XXXXX.eu.com be treated differently than if they owned a proper TLD? is very interesting. I Have the same problem here in Europa with my Domains.
    It would be cool if Matt would post an answer to that Question.
    Schnelles Lesen.

  66. Can you please explain what are the dont’s in Virtual Hosting, so that everyone is clear on that

  67. This is a great post. I’ve been trying to explain to some folks for some time that they didn’t need to split up their network all over the place. But, I’m just me.

    Glad there’s a bona fide reference now.

    I’d like to know what a “proper” vhost is though. I assumed it was your typical setup.

  68. Yes we found something like that what Craig’s interview in 2003. But it is not the case with Virtual hosting providers and also with dedicated hosting providers when we talk about uptime, there are some hosting providers still have no uptime gaureentee

    In such cases also the PR may effect for websites. Need a little clarification on this.

  69. biz

    Our site on VPS and running fine there, if it is all about VPS, then we need to think of it to move some where any suggession where i am not a complete technical person but i care hosting.

  70. Hi,
    I’m interested in the scenario, where you have multiple regional websites for different countries. We have .co.uk, .ie, .com address with distinct different content. all hosted on server with same IP.

    However after building links for our regional .co.uk site, the links are being credited to our .com.. would a disitinct IP for each domain resolve this issue?

    thnx
    Dara

  71. msn

    Hello,

    yes, they are differences between cross-linking with the same IP.
    I made crosslinking between my 800 TLD-Domains like http://www.domain.com. All pages have unique content, unique title, unique describtion… Now I am not on the first places for “dmoz” and “search engine”. Before I link all my domains together (cross-linking), I was been on the first places for my country (since 99-2007) in google.ch. IPs are rare and I dont have enough money to buy different IPs for differnet domains. I dont understand google.
    This is not fair, because I never spam google. I only want make ads for my sites. e.g. In real life this is normally, that big shops make ads for this own shops but in google-world this is spam!

    Matt, what do you think about that? If you want, I would tell you detaills.

  72. You have money for 800 domains and you don’t have money for different IPs (which you can’t buy anyway, generally speaking, because ARIN needs a reason such as DNS/SSL/FTP for each IP address assignment IIRC)? And they’re all cross-linked together “naturally”?

  73. That is half true, Yes Google doesn’t penalize websites hosted on the same IP but it does devalue the links coming from the same IP….

    Craig’s reply was “Links to virtually hosted domains are treated the same as links to domains on dedicated IP addresses.”

    He didn’t say Links from virtually hosted domains are treated the same as links from domains on dedicated IP addresses.

    The second part is what we care about….

  74. Paz

    Actually I have two sites that are hurting because they share the same IP because Google’s confused them somehow.
    The domains are capita.co.uk and capita-ld.co.uk. If you look at cache:http://www.capita-ld.co.uk/ you’ll see the capita.co.uk domain shown instead. Capita LD also has Capita’s backlinks and PR. Traffic’s been hit very hard on the LD site and we’re going to have to spend £1,000s splitting the domains.

  75. Hi Matt / Everyone

    We have over 1000 domains on our box, all part of the Justgoodcars.com group, each site has its own unique niche vehicle information (e.g http://www.just911cars.com) but google still panelizes my sites for linking to one another. The only sites that link together are the ones from the same vehicle manufacturer. We have a legitimate reason for doing what we are doing. Whats our best solution as lots of information comes from one database under the Justgoodcars.com domain and breaking the sites up will cause a big headache technically?

    Do I need to put them all on seperate C Class IP’s and do I need to change the whois record for each domain just to satisfy google?

    If I do make these changes will google see these changes and rectify the issue or is there some kind of log which google will always refer too and no matter what changes I make to these domains google will always remember they were from the same owner?

  76. Thanks Matt :D

    I was also of the same opinion like most webmasters that one has to have different C class IPs. Just got referred to this post by a member on DP.
    Thanks to him –my so –old misconception is gone now and just buying two hosting accounts from my friend — :D

  77. Matt,

    I understand that there is no benefit to a dedicated IP in terms of ranking from Google’s assertion. However, what I continue to hear from my colleagues is that if we share an IP address with a company that does some spammy sem or is linking to a “bad neighborhood” and gets caught by Google, that Google could then penalize the entire IP as well as potentially the entire c-block. Is this true? Doesn’t Google define bad neighborhoods by linking, not clusters of IP?

    If so, Google would have to map the links to address allocation by all the
    registrars parented by ARIN. If smaller IP space was delegated by a
    carrier to a customer but not registered with ARIN, the result would be
    the entire address space being ‘bad neighbors’.

    Can you shed some light onto specifically how Google determines ‘bad
    neighbors’ at the network layer. Is it by Allocation? Approximation? or
    Arbitrary?

    Is there any risk at all in having a shared IP address where the other websites on the shared IP address are not under our control? Is there anything that these sites could do that would negatively affect us on google?

    Thanks in advance.

  78. Now can you also discuss linking related sites that have the same owner on the same server. I have a network of mortgage sites (some old some new) and I have been getting mixed answers as to whether I can interlink them or at least one way link them? Maybe this was answered in the 77 comments….i did not read through it. :x

  79. OK I read through it now and did not find an exact answer, but I did see this comment and had to post again…

    “What’s not natural is if I host 50 sites and they all link to each other. There’s just no way I should have that many related sites. It’s not possible for them all to offer unique value that the other’s don’t AND be related.”

    What if you had 50 different vacation sites and each was about a different city. Wouldn’t the information and attractions at each city be significantly different yet valuable?

  80. tom king

    I hate to spoil it, but there is no answer to most of the questions posted here. There never will be.

    Google’s ranking system is a moving target. It always will be, because they are trying to thwart the spammers and cheaters so as to maintain high quality results.

    Even if Google published 100% of their internal ranking scheme, they would have to change it immediately, because a million spammers would destroy what Google sells: high quality SERPs.

    Here is another piece of bad news. Some white hats will always be snared with the black hats. Algorithms and humans make mistakes. Even if perfect algorithms existed, there would immediately be a thousand black hats exploiting those algorithms, which would render them imperfect.

    Google MUST create high quality SERPs. When their quality goes down significantly, a better company will steal their crown, just like Google did to Alta Vista. So to stay in business, Google must cloak their methods to white hats and black hats alike. Therefore, you will never get the answers you seek. The days where we were all just innocent geeks are long gone, boys.

  81. Bill

    It seems like anyone who owns hundreds of sites on the same server, and who uses different class C IPs to mask the “location” of their cross links is engaged in a kind of search engine spam technique.

    I would hope that Google would consider hosts like SEOhosting.com to be encouraging SE spam techniques an blacklist all IPs that resolve to their servers.

    There are no shorcuts in white hat organic SEO. Multple Class C IP Cross linking of sites owned by the same person still smells spammy to me.

  82. Even if a virtual IP is OK for SEO, a serious business site should never mind spending just $2-3 a month for a dedicated IP. That can surely tell a lot (to me, to you or to Google) about quality of a website, isn’t it?

  83. If google is penalyzing virtual IP, then under-developed countries have no way to get good ranking in Google since they do not own much dedicated IP address from the latest report at http://www.ip2location.com/ip2location-internet-ip-address-2008-report.aspx

  84. Having multiple domains on same IP address and having each domain different IP address has big difference, as cheese and chok, If you have network of sites on same IP address, it will show that all sites belong to you! but if you have different IP addresses it will show like domains are separate from each other and it really makes sense! You may think what is the big deal in it?
    Actually difference does count between virtual hosts vs. dedicated IP addresses, I may not have specific reason that proves it but here is an example that i would like to show you.

    Suppose i have 10 websites with PR3 and i purchase new site with PR0 I add New site on all of my domains. Google will see it as its my network site and won’t give right amount of PR if i have Same IP address for all domains, but if i have separate IP addresses for each domain google will treat it as each one separated and i will get nice amount of PR :D.

    It was my point of view what you have to say about it?

    Thanks
    Toufique Ahmed
    Learning SEO day by day

  85. Having multiple domains on same IP address and having each domain different IP address has big difference, as cheese and chok, If you have network of sites on same IP address, it will show that all sites belong to you! but if you have different IP addresses it will show like domains are separate from each other and it really makes sense! You may think what is the big deal in it?
    Actually difference does count between virtual hosts vs. dedicated IP addresses, I may not have specific reason that proves it but here is an example that i would like to show you.

    Suppose i have 10 websites with PR3 and i purchase new site with PR0 I add New site on all of my domains. Google will see it as its my network site and won’t give right amount of PR if i have Same IP address for all domains, but if i have separate IP addresses for each domain google will treat it as each one separated and i will get nice amount of PR :D.

    It seems like anyone who owns hundreds of sites on the same server, and who uses different class C IPs to mask the “location” of their cross links is engaged in a kind of search engine spam technique.

    I would hope that Google would consider hosts like SEOhosting.com to be encouraging SE spam techniques an blacklist all IPs that resolve to their servers.

    There are no shorcuts in white hat organic SEO. Multple Class C IP Cross linking of sites owned by the same person still smells spammy to me.

    It was my point of view what you have to say about it?

    Thanks
    Toufique Ahmed
    Learning SEO day by day

  86. Matt:

    It’s been awhile regarding this question and I would like to know if anything has changed over the past few years…if your site is with a hosting company that has shared ip addresses, and one of those companies has a spammy webmaster and gets flagged, can that hurt the other sites on that shared ip address?

    Many hosting companies such as mosso.com have shared ip addresses and it is making me want to shy away from them. Please email me the answer if you can. Thanks.

    (Former owner of a great SEO company)

    Michael

  87. Is there any way of checking to see if your page ranking has been affected by having links to your site from the same class c network?
    I am a small time web developer, I took out a reseller hosting account and resell accounts to my clients.
    On the footer of all my clients site i put something like ‘website design by alpesinfo.com’ with a link back to http://www.alpesinfo.com so I am building up a set of links to my site all from the same class c network. I have noticed in google webmaster tools that none of these links are counted, wheras in yahoo and live webmaster tools they are. is this because they are on the same class c network?
    If so how am I supposed to operate. I need the links on my clients sites as advertising for my services. I could host each client site on a different server but the headache of doing that would be too much.
    Looking forward to hearing your comments
    Phil

  88. Is this still true with all the new changes happening in Google with the new algorithms they are putting into place to cut out spam?

  89. I just changed my site on a dedicated IP from a share IP, would the rank get better now?
    thanks in advance.
    G

  90. Hi Matt, Im building some new sites.. and doing a lot of branding. Id also really like to know if these rules still apply, so I dont make any mistakes.. thx

  91. Interesting, nevertheless, I moved my website to a VPS (dedicated static IP), and for some reason, the # of unique visitors went up!

  92. Bloody hell! I have been looking for this everywhere and searching “class c ip address” etc. Possible a longer heading with more keywords will help many more idiots like me find this article. I have been hosting sites on a shared hosting platform (virtual host) for years and we’ve optimised them for super competitive keywords, but my extra-smart clients always ask the same question. Now I have this url. Good work Matt, what would I do without you!! :)

  93. Richard

    From the lack of definitive statement above on the multiple sites, same C-block issue, and the comments to the effect that there can be no reason other than spamming for multiple sites on the same IP or c-block to have any links to each other, I conclude that if my shared hosted clients do link to each other, those links WILL be discounted.

    So if client A (restaurant) gets a link from directory B (restaurant directory) then if I am already providing the hosting for directory B, client A would in fact be better off going to a different hosting/site management company, otherwise client A loses out (A doesn’t get the link love deserved) AND client B loses out (gets noted as having spammy links)?

    Furthermore, if (with each client’s permission) there is a link on my clients’ sites recommending or mentioning my hosting/management services, then I don’t get the link love deserved from my (mainly) satisfied customers and they all get noted as providing spammy links?

  94. Richard

    [continuation] … in fact this raises the interesting prospect that the only links that bring any value to my hosting company will be those from people who don’t use my services and are therefore least equipt to recommend me!!!

  95. When googling “dedicated ip seo”, Matt’s blog come up in the top 10 and points to this blog post (myth busting virtual hosts vs dedicated ip addresses), even though Matt’s information is from 2006 and questionable that it is accurate any longer. There are later comments, but it would be way super cool if Matt could update us on this issue, since now that its almost 2010 there is all sorts of rumors circulating about Google pulling the rug out from page links that come from the same server IP address. Hosting companies are now offering “dedicated IP addresses” for sale and also offering “dedicated servers” and “dedicated virtual servers” for sale. There is an awesome new site that allows one to see just how many sites are on their “shared hosting plan”, (see http://www.sitedossier.com). I suppose I would just be elated to some trustworthy comment from Matt regarding this outdated blog post that still shows up.

  96. Yes, a re-affirmation would be re-assuring :), given that a dedicated IP is only a $2 upgrade on Hostgator, it’s not a big deal either way, but if you search for who’s on your IP block, you’ll often see unsavory ‘neighbors’.

  97. web design beginner

    Hello,

    Thanks for helping to clarify issues regarding website spam. I saw a Youtube video of yours where you said something to the effect: “If you have a few websites on the same IP that’s no big deal. But if you have 1000′s, then that could send a red flag signal to Google”.

    The problem is this: suppose you are “minding your own business” with only 1 website. But someone *else* on your IP is junking up the place with 1000′s of websites. Wouldn’t you get penalized through Google as “guilt by association”? Meaning, how would Google know that your one website is the “good website that is minding its own business” and separate it out from the bad apple(s) on your same IP address?

    Thanks for offering any clarification.

  98. @web design beginner, my understanding is that having cross-linking on the same class-C IP address can get you into trouble. I do however agree with you that Google needs to let people know what their stance is on this important matter.

  99. David

    Matt,

    Could you please please please give us some updated info on this, as a web developer i provide free hosting to my clients but obvioulsy if this is detremental to the value of the link love i get back and testimonials on my clients sites or on my site pointing to them, i will stop doing it immediately and ensure all clients get there own hosting. (very annoying have no interest or are clueless about hosting and costs)

    HELP!!

  100. Thanks for clearing the question of whether dedicated IP makes any difference over virtual hosting Matt. In your post it was mentioned that it will not make a difference in page rank unless the virtual server is not setup correctly. Without getting real technical, can you explain what might be wrong in a virtual setup? I am especially curious because I am on a shared server.

  101. Nice explanation and good to know that it does not affect in terms of SEO to be on virtual host. But is there any issues going for dedicated IP in terms of SEO or any other factor that can affect the website and sites linked from the website?

  102. Hi,
    Please can you just clarify for me… You are saying if you hosted 10 sites by the same hosting company on the same IP address all within the same niche, all with links to each other, then Google would not discount these sites at all!?

  103. Ok I Get It Interlinking 500 Sites whether on the same ip or different ips would look shady to google. but would there be any harm in terms of seo to interlink 12-15 websites dealing in similar topics of interest and hosted on the same ip
    thanks

  104. Ok. So if I host 15-20 blogs like another guy just mentioned above, but I will not link them to each other. Will my page rank get distributed between them?

  105. Thambu

    Hi Friends,

    I hosted my website in Shared IP which has 6065 websites. In that 11 website are porn is any way it will affect my website. If so, I can move to dedicated IP right?

    Thanks in Advance

  106. John

    In PageRank, a vote for a page is a vote for a page – right. It is my understanding that the IP address has nothing to do with it. However, the question that Richard asked has remained unanswered by Matt on this blog post for over four years now:

    If I have 100 client websites hosted on one shared IP address, and some of the clients want to link to each other – will these links from the same IP address be discounted by Google’s algorithm?

    I’m guessing the answer is no, they will not be. But there are many rumors and claims out there stating otherwise.

    Please Matt – answer this question for us in 2011.

  107. John

    In PageRank, a vote for a page is a vote for a page – right? It is my understanding that the IP address has nothing to do with it. However, the question that Richard asked has remained unanswered by Matt on this blog post for over four years now:

    If I have 100 client websites hosted on one shared IP address, and some of the clients want to link to each other – will these links from the same IP address be discounted by Google’s algorithm?

    I’m guessing the answer is no, they will not be. But there are many rumors and claims out there stating otherwise.

    Please Matt – answer this question for us in 2011.

  108. Hey Matt, great info. I totally agree that an update on this information would be extremely helpful because your post is over 4 years old and its been nearly 6 years since the Slashdot interview you mentioned

  109. Back in the day when reciprocal links mattered more to Google, I linked my related websites together as well. I have about 150 domains and in the past have linked the sites within each niche market together. I had not even considered the shared IP address for all sites being a problem until I began reading about it recently. While Google may devalue the links, they do not throw them out completely.

    I have come to the conclusion that the possible ‘pros’ of having unique ip’s for every domain and website DOES NOT justify the cost. The fact is. If you can get quality ‘one way’ back links from high ranking websites, that is where your efforts really pay off. Spend money on buying quality links to your website… don’t spend it on a dedicated server with multiple ip’s. (Just make sure you are on a quality hosting site with a good track record of ‘zero-tolerance’ against spam… etc).

  110. ionrane

    I, also, would like updated information.

    What is the point of having your site listed TOP #1 spot on a google search for this topic, when it is many, many years outdated. This page and site ought to be WAAAY down in the google search, as it is outdated and not maintained.
    ..OR the provide a response and updated information.

    Obviously, this webmaster knows a lot about this subject, SEO, and google page ranking to skew the results sooo high that this, essentially Dead page, displays #1.

    A simple sentence or two by the author to bring his “authoriatative page” current is sufficient. Else, drop down!
    It would be nice if the Author could participate, Share, remain current !
    After all, Matt is the one gaining status posing as an expert by publishing this article (at the top of google’s stack.) There is some sort of responsibility associated with this page rank!

    If Matt’s 4.5year old article is true, then I’m curious why..
    My web host Advertises Dedicated IP’s as being: “Awesome for SEO.”
    Is it false advertising, or if they haven’t got their servers settup correctly, or is this article inaccurate and obsolete as of 2011.

  111. Phil

    Matt:

    Any update on this subject?

    What if subscribe to a service, shared hosting, shared CMS etc… and you happen to link to another site on the same IP?

  112. Tony Barzini

    I’m confussed. What if the IP address has not been used in virtual servers, but has been used by other domains recently?
    For example, lets say that a certain IP is used by http://www.ipaddresslabs.com, with virtual IP address a location, but it was used by another domain recently (because the IP belongs to a cloud), will that affect the page rank?

  113. Hello Matt,
    Please can you verify if a website that I put up on a vps with dedicated ip, NO DOMAIN ASSOCIATED WITH IT, can be indexed and optimised. I am purely thinking of a fun project with a small VPS I rent.
    You opinion is appreciated. Many thanks,
    \\Graham

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