Is A Dedicated IP For SEO A Myth Or Reality? – 13 Experts Weigh In
by Sarah Bauder
Many small business owners are purchasing shared hosting packages, meaning their domain shares the same IP as hundreds, if not thousands of other websites hosted on the same server. The question then arises as to whether or not having a dedicated IP will help with SEO. In this article, digital marketing and SEO experts weigh in on whether a dedicated IP for SEO is a myth or reality.
Having A Dedicated IP May Improve Your SEO, But Not As A Sole Measure
“Having a dedicated IP for your website may help you with SEO, but it’s not the first thing to address when trying to rank higher on search engines.
There are two reasons why a shared IP can lower your ranking.
1) Slower website speed due to high traffic on the server you’re sharing*
There are numerous techniques to speed up your website’s loading time. Make sure you address all the on-page factors to your website speed before opting out for buying a dedicated IP address.
2) Some other website hosted on your server has been marked as malware and
it reflects on your favorability by Google*
You can check the IP domain with any reverse domain IP check tool. It will show if any malware websites are hosted on the same server. Some anti-virus software may mark your website non-safe to visit, so having a dedicated IP may be a good idea in this case.
The bottom line is, having a dedicated IP may improve your SEO, but not as a sole measure. It might not be worthwhile to invest in IP as a first step. It’s better to invest the resources in SEO optimization of your page before turning to buy a dedicated IP.”
Harsha Reddy, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, SmallBizGenius.net
It Is Highly Unlikely To Be The Case Today
“Dedicated IPs used to be widely considered to boost rankings, and this was arguably perhaps true once upon a time. However, given Google’s propensity to keep moving the goal posts and also, their high levels of secrecy surrounding how they determine rankings and score website pages, this is highly unlikely to be the case today, even if it really ever was.
Google rewards quality content above all things; above attempts to manipulate SEO certainly, and they also value and prioritize local search results via maps and business listings too, which has value for real-world SMBs.
Given the high percentage of (smaller) businesses that use shared IPs today, the chances of Google penalizing them as a result of this are vanishingly small.
Perhaps the main reason for a small business to have a dedicated IP is in order to safeguard them to an extent against security breaches such as DDoS attacks and other threats, which is certainly something to bear in mind. If one business or website at a shared IP garners the negative attention of a
hacker or cybercriminal, this is apt to potentially affect every other website at the IP too, and the potential impact of this cannot be overlooked.
Ultimately, a dedicated IP is a good idea and something to consider if the cost is not prohibitive and your business is growing; but for a small business, local business, a startup, or a sole trader, a dedicated IP might be best thought of as a nice thing to have, but not vital.”
Polly Kay, Marketing Manager, English Blinds
It Has Little To No Impact On Your Search Rankings
“Having a dedicated IP address has little to no impact on your search rankings. In fact, some marketers have observed that new websites seem to acquire domain authority faster when hosted on an already established IP. Controllable factors that have a large impact on search rankings include page structure, content quality, and mobile responsiveness. If your shared hosting provider has not upgraded servers in a long time, leading to slow or inconsistent performance, there is a much greater chance your search rankings will go down.
Webmasters should pay attention to the location of the IP address, whether shared or dedicated. Even companies that serve the entire globe have certain countries as primary service areas. If you want to rank well in a particular country, having a website with a local IP can be helpful for your search rankings.
While unrelated to search rankings, it is important for your email server to use a high-quality IP address. Some email hosting services assign multiple clients to the same IP address. When a webmail user flags an email as spam, hosts log that report by a domain name as well as IP address. Therefore, if another domain on your shared IP gets repeatedly reported as spam, emails from your domain could get caught by junk mail filters.
The best practice is to choose a web hosting provider that uses up-to-date technology, and properly containerizes resources for each subscriber. Then, optimize your website content to include high-quality information that is easy to understand, and loads quickly on all devices. Monitor your marketing emails separately, and if you have trouble with junk filters, ask for a dedicated IP address from your email host.”
Rodney Brazil, SEO Specialist, Namecheap
A Dedicated IP Address Does Not Typically Impact Search Placements Or Organic Traffic
“In our experience, moving from shared hosting to a dedicated server, or moving from a shared IP address to a dedicated IP address, does not typically impact search placements or organic traffic. This theory started gaining traction around 2006-2007 when hosting companies would offer what was known as C-Class Web Hosting, which provided a hosting customer with IP addresses across several of the most common IPv4 IP address classes for a hefty fee. These hosting accounts were utilized by companies with multiple, cross-connected websites, such as a parent company’s main website that relied on mini-websites to drive traffic to the main website. At the time, it was believed you needed to have related and cross-linked websites on different IP address classes if you wanted to trick search engines into believing the websites or companies weren’t connected, therefore providing the best inbound link value from the mini-site to the parent website. Unfortunately, search engines quickly began relying on more than the IP address to create relationships across the internet. For instance, a few common mistakes at the time were using the same WHOIS contact information, Google Analytics account IDs and search console verification files, which allowed search engines to discover what was truly connected. There were
also people who thought simply changing from the hosting company’s shared IP address to a dedicated IP address would help and cost less, instead of getting an entirely different C-Class IP Address, but typically the dedicated IP address assigned by the host was so close in the IPv4 range that it didn’t actually change the IP address neighborhood of the hosting account. For the most part, the only way to get a boost in search ranking from changing IP addresses is if it results in moving to a faster hosting environment or placing distance between a toxic IP address range where illegal activities were occurring.”
David Wurst, Founder, WebCitz, LLC
Dedicated IP For SEO Is Neither A Myth Or Reality
“The need for a dedicated IP was something that was historically shopped around as necessary for SEO due to limitations in host/network management. The world and level of sophistication around search engines have changed dramatically, making shared vs. dedicated IP selection mostly inconsequential for the average use case.
IP addresses are used to extrapolate data relevant to the business such as location, domain history, etc. The value derived from a dedicated IP is control over some of that data, number of properties hosted, DNS
management, and hosting speeds, but that is only if you manage your own hosting.
The misnomer with a dedicated IP is that vs. a shared IP is that a shared IP means shared hosting or reduced resources, however, advancements in hosting technologies can provide dedicated hosting on a shared IP.
It really only matters if you have special needs like dedicated e-mail management or advanced security for your website, even SSLs can be applied in a shared IP environment. In most cases if you have a smaller business, that has a lightweight web site or blog, you don’t need a dedicated IP address to still provide a fast service that is on a clean IP address. Thus making it not a requirement in order to succeed at SEO.”
Jori Ford, Senior Director Content and SEO, G2
No Positive Or Negative SEO Effect
“To begin, there is no SEO effect, positive or negative, associated to using a shared IP address or a dedicated IP address. When Google unveiled its new search algorithm, showcasing what hurts your SERP rankings and what doesn’t, using shared IP addresses was not one of the qualifiers.
Furthermore, Google has also told folks on many occasions that they do not favor those who utilize dedicated IP addresses. If you take a look at Google’s webmaster guidelines you’ll see that having a dedicated IP address is not listed under the “Best Practices” section.
The main concern associated with shared IP addresses for small business SEO is what is known as the “Bad Neighborhood” concept. The thought process is, when you have a shared IP address you could be sharing with 10, 20, 100, or 1,000 other websites.
Let’s say you share with 100 other sites. If those 100 other sites are all spammy, thin in content, or using nefarious black hat methods, what’s to say Google won’t simply group you with them and blacklist everyone?
The truth is Google doesn’t like to aggressively delist websites. For every 100 sites that are delisted, there is 100 new spaces for new websites, who could also be the same black hat sites. More often then not, crowd delisting takes too much time and effort for a temporary benefit.
As far as being “In the bad neighborhood”, the only issue you may run into is Google taking a more detailed look at your website. If all of the websites that share an IP address with you look shady, Google will want to confirm that your website doesn’t also belong to that group.”
Conor Denton, SEO Specialist, internetmarketingteam.com
We Have Not Really Seen Any Hard Evidence For A Dedicated IP
“Over the last several years we have had a lot of A and B testing with our numerous different companies inside of our niche and have determined when using a shared IP with similar websites in our niche that the websites do seem to index slower on search engines. However, one of the shocking results we found was that updates had a much greater impact on the websites quicker on the IP’s that were shared compared to being independent on a server.
The independent on a server website ranked content quicker, but with every Google update that would roll out would seem to take several days later to really see any indicators. I do believe having your own IP is beneficial as you are in complete control of the website and do not have to rely on other services to keep your business afloat. However, through our companies research, we have not really seen any hard evidence that results are a must to follow a dedicated IP for search engine optimization purposes.”
Michael Russell, Director of Digital Marketing, Ratchet Straps USA
A Dedicated IP Would Not Be My First Suggestion To Help With SEO For A Small Business
“A dedicated IP does not help SEO in and of itself, but what it often provides is a faster website, and that helps both for SEO and the overall user experience.
Because of the nature of shared hosting, site load times are often slower and more sporadic, but many sites still have a reasonably fast load time, under 2-3 seconds, with shared hosting.
Often a dedicated IP, or hosting, would be recommended if your site is large, as you won’t have to be competing for space with anyone else. A variety of hosting companies offer dedicated IPs, so make sure you find one that has good customer satisfaction ratings. You’ll be paying more to have dedicated space, but that should also come with a suite of better services to help you run and manage your hosting.
For someone with a small business or smaller blog, a dedicated IP would not be my first suggestion to help your SEO. I’d suggest starting with creating great content that’s written for your reader, not for SEO. Work on making it readable, original and insightful. Make sure you optimize your images and add extras to make your site speed fast. Doing all this will help you rank well in search engines.”
Bethany Smith, Food Blog Usability Coach/Owner, foodblogusability.com
I Have Not Experienced Any Added Benefit To The Site That Has Had A Dedicated IP
“I have had dedicated IP for a website and I have had sites on shared server and I have not experienced any added benefit to the site that has had a dedicated IP. In fact, many years back it was confirmed by Google employees and a clarification was made through a post on Matt Cutts’ blog* that it does not matter if you are on shared IP as far as SEO and ranking is concerned.
Many SEO experts have claimed that having a dedicated IP can help in SEO but that is only a myth because none of the search engine companies have ever confirmed that using a dedicated IP will give your website a boost in the rankings. These claims may have been made because a website might have moved from a shared IP on a slow server to a fast server with dedicated IP which resulted in the website opening faster on all devices and hence resulting in better user experience and hence improving the site’s ranking on the search engines.”
Ashish H Thakkar, Website Developer/Marketing Manager, JimmyThakkar.com
Using A CDN Is Also Arguably More Valuable To SEO Than Getting A Dedicated IP Address Alone
“The reason that many people are wary of shared hosting packages is mainly that they’re concerned that other websites on the same IP address are using shady SEO techniques and that their website will be penalized if those websites are. However, Google is aware that other websites may be using the same IP address, and is unlikely to do a blanket ban without looking at the website more closely. Plus, if you’re using a CDN (content delivery network), in which your website loads from whichever server is closest to the person looking at it, this risk is minimized because CDN platforms typically verify the websites using them to make sure they’re not using any underhand tactics. Using a CDN is also arguably more valuable to SEO than getting a dedicated IP address alone since it will speed up your site loading time more considerably than a dedicated IP address will (which is a big factor for SEO ranking). Basically, it’s highly unlikely that a dedicated IP address will be needed for your website.”
Shared Hosting Does Not Affect SEO
Shared hosting does not affect SEO. What sparks this question is the conflated view that because a lot of low quality, spammer websites use the cheaper shared hosting option, that all websites that use shared hosting are low quality. Shared hosting doesn’t necessarily imply a low-quality website or a bad search experience, but it can.
‘Bad neighbourhoods’, defined as the server or IP ranges that have been blacklisted, may result in poor SEO results as Google may blacklist those ranges en masse and a few great quality websites that just happen to be within that range may get caught.
Google is trying to ensure that their uses, those performing a search, get the best experience they can. A Google search should result in pages that are informative and free from errors (I’m looking at you, YMYL updates), quick to load, fit the device they are using (i.e are ‘mobile-friendly’) and secure for use (SSL requirements).
Your web hosting platform may provide some of these like a fast browsing experience, and an SSL certificate with a shared hosting platform. In those cases, Google doesn’t care that your website files sit next to a number of others on the same server. If their customer, the searcher, has a good browsing experience and will continue to use Google because of this, then hosting platform doesn’t matter.
So, it’s more important to choose a high-quality hosting provider for your SEO efforts, rather than worry if it’s shared.”
Kyle Douglas, SEO Manager, Revium
A Dedicated IP Is Not Directly Factored Into The Google Ranking Algorithm
“I do not work for Google, but I can say with 100% certainty that having a dedicated IP is not directly factored into the Google ranking algorithm. If it was, Google would absolutely be candid about that as they have been when they take a stance against something like paid links or virtual office locations.
There’s also a misconception that a shared IP means shared hosting, which isn’t actually the case. Shared hosting means sharing hardware and networking resources (which can include an IP address, but may not). Some people will claim that a shared IP slows down site speed (which can hurt your rankings because site speed is a factor). However, the IP has nothing to do with that. Shared hosting can be slower, but it really depends on the hosting company.
The only real benefits to having a dedicated IP are being able to access your site via the IP address and being able to access FTP through another avenue if your DNS was still propagating or had recently changed. Those benefits really aren’t worth paying for. If speed is your concern, I’d start with your site. Is your code minified? Are your images compressed? Etc. I’d highly recommended using Cloudflare, as it’s free. If you have a WordPress site, I’d use tools like WP Smush and WP Rocket for compression and minification. If you’re still seeing slow load times, I’d then consider switching or upgrading hosting, but I can promise that it has nothing to do with the fact that you have a shared IP.”
David Kranker, Web Developer/Digital Marketer, David Kranker Creative
The SEO Benefits Are So Minimal That They Can Hardly Be Felt
“Though Google considers both your page load speed and your site security when determining your quality score and where your site will land on the search engine results page, the SEO benefits are so minimal that they can hardly be felt—especially if your site is lacking optimization in more critical areas that are known to have a greater impact on SEO.
A dedicated IP will not make up for the fact that your site is experiencing keyword cannibalization or that you have no quality backlinks or that your headlines are incorrectly tagged. A dedicated IP won’t make up for missing schema markup or poorly-organized and un-siloed content either!
If you’re not interested in specialized benefits like running a gaming or an FTP-based server, or having ultra-heightened security, or if you are on a shared hosting server, a shared IP plan will do just fine. Instead, focus on optimizing your content, maintaining a single focus on each page of your site (other than the homepage), and ensuring your pages are properly indexed by search engines—this means un-indexing low-quality pages as well.
It is highly advised that you implement security certificates and take precaution against hackers and spammers. There are several great plugins on the market that can be installed on your site that offer sufficient protection.”
Leah Ynostrosa, Owner & Chief Brand Elevator, Tacos & Caviar Brand Elevation
Based upon the expert commentary and explanations provided here, the prevailing consensus is that having a dedicated IP will either not, or do little to affect SEO. Yet, there does seem to be certain circumstances when it may help, especially if the small business is using a low-quality hosting company with poor configurations. Yet, ultimately, none of the search engine companies including Google, have ever confirmed that they reward the use of a dedicated IP.
September 18, 2019