Dedicated vs. shared hosting for SEO

Someone recently asked if it was better for SEO to have dedicated or shared hosting for their website.

First, a little background: Your web address is translated into an IP address, a set of numbers that identifies the web server that hosts your website. Your web address has only one IP address. For instance, the IP address for is On the other, a single web server can host multiple websites in what is called “shared hosting.” This means that a particular IP address need NOT be uniquely identified with one website. Shared hosting is very common for small to medium-sized websites since these sites share the costs of hardware, software, and Internet connectivity. Hosting companies thus can offer much lower rates to websites that opt for shared hosting.

From an SEO standpoint, there is no difference for a single site to have a dedicated web server or shared hosting. If you have multiple websites that point to each other, it may be better to host them on different web servers (even if those servers are shared with others’ sites). The reason for this is that search engines are looking out for website owners that try to boost their rankings by getting multiple links to their websites by creating large numbers of interlinked sites. The easiest way to create such networks is to have your own web server with a single IP address that is shared by all of your sites, thus the search engines would watch for a lot of sites on a single IP address linking to each other and suspect those sites of trying to game the system. If sites are on separate web hosts — more importantly separate IP addresses — then there is much less likelihood that the links represent an attempt at search engine manipulation. Not only should the sites be on separate IP addresses, they should be as “far” as possible, meaning that the numbers in the IP addresses should be as different as possible. In other words, is much further from (and therefore better) than is

Note that we don’t endorse setting up many interlinked sites solely for that purpose. We feel that each site should have a separate purpose that stands on its own, and there are many legitimate reasons for organizations to have multiple sites. Also note that only having 2 or 3 websites on the same IP address is exceptionally unlikely to concern the search engines, and the costs and overhead associated with separating them is almost certainly not worth the meager — if any — SEO benefit that separating them would provide.

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