These days, many small businesses are buying shared hosting packages, which in turn, means their domain shares the same IP as thousands of other websites hosted on the same server. However, does having a dedicated IP help with SEO for a small business? In this article, experts weigh in on dedicated IP for SEO: myth or reality?
A Dedicated IP Most Likely Would Not Improve A Website’s SEO
“A dedicated IP most likely would not improve a website’s SEO.
There are extreme cases where it may help if you’re using a low-quality hosting
company with poor configurations. But if a company is using a name brand
quality hosting company, they likely won’t see a benefit. Google is
sophisticated enough to pinpoint an individual domain’s action. Meaning, if
you’re on a server with some spammy domains, Google can tell you’re not a
spammer. There’s no reason to believe Google rewards the use of a dedicated IP
either. Their head of webmaster trends has reinforced this.
Some SEOs will argue that dedicated IPs provide
faster hosting because resources aren’t being shared. But just because an IP is
shared doesn’t mean you’re sharing resources. You can have a shared IP and your
own individual hosting container with its own resources. This means your
website runs in its own private box and isn’t affected by other websites on the
server. The main benefit of having a dedicated IP address is for email
delivery, specifically if your IP address has been blacklisted or if you’re
planning on sending large volumes of email. A dedicated IP can help you control
the quality of email sending from an IP which allows you to stay off
blacklists, ensuring your emails get into inboxes.”
“Needing a dedicated IP address for SEO purposes seems like a myth to me. Millions of businesses run on shared hosting. This suggests that if there was a clear SEO disadvantage to it, there would already be extensive anecdotal evidence.
The logic here must be that sites on shared hosting risk being penalized by Google if someone else on the shared IP gets caught out doing “black hat” SEO. However, it makes sense to assume that Google must have a mechanism to prevent such penalization unfairly affecting innocent sites.
Obviously, the caveat here is that nobody other than Google knows exactly how the algorithm works, making all SEO theories educated guesses. This one strikes me as rather unlikely.”
“Having a dedicated IP helps for SEO. The reason why this is the case is that there are many factors that search engines consider when ranking websites in their search engine results pages (SERPs).
One of those factors is the credibility of your website with regards to security of your site, the value of the content you provide, and that your site does not produce or disseminate spam, viruses or other malicious code.
If a small business is on a shared hosting account, at any point in time, it will be assigned random IP addresses which get recycled among the other businesses who will also be using those shared resources.
Without a unique IP address for your site, if anyone of those other websites on your shared server gets compromised in any way – gets hacked, for instance, and they start to exhibit the kind of activities described above which the search engines frown upon – there’ll be no way for the search engines to ascertain exactly which web property is affected.
In such instances, the default action they take is to ban and downgrade all sites which have used those identified IP addresses before.
To avoid this scenario, it’s in the best interest of small businesses to buy individual IP addresses if using shared hosting solutions.”
Wordpress hosts our website. We have a dedicated
IP address. Having a dedicated IP does alter your SEO ranking, in my
If your page load time is slow, Google will rank
you lower. If a user is on your website that loads slow, that potential
client will get tired, and move on. Google recognizes this, and this is
part of the SEO rankings.
Having a dedicated IP is an excellent
investment. Your webpage load time will increase.
Speed is important for you and your viewers on
mobile and desktop devices.
SEO itself is key. If you write meaningful
content, you will rank on google whether you have a dedicated IP or not.
However, you will rank higher if you do have a dedicated IP address.
Having a page that loads quickly helps your cause.
Also, Google is ranking you on your use of
keywords, backlinks, meaningful good content, internal linking, your SEO
title, and a good Meta description, speed, etc.”
“The direct answer is NO, a dedicated IP does not help in SEO. Big search engines such as Google does not take IPs into account when ranking websites. As almost all digital marketing and SEO experts say, the main SEO factors can be identified as a well-functioning website, website mobile compatibility, website content quality and website authority, none of which link to the IP of a website. Search engines like Google rank websites that they think will most benefit to their audience, that is what SEO is, making websites more user-friendly and beneficial for the audience to make search engines such as Google rank them higher. Therefore if there is a website with great content and is on a shared hosting plan, would Google rank those websites lower than a website with low-quality content and dedicated IP? NO, they will not, they will rank it higher than the website with a dedicated IP as it’s content quality is lower than the website with the shared hosting plan and will not give any good value to the readers.
Therefore having a dedicated IP does not help you in SEO, it all comes down to user satisfaction and great quality content. There is a famous Google SEO quote for this as well, that is Google only loves you when everybody else loves you first.”
There’s Not Much Justification For Most Sites To Use A Dedicated Server
“Having a dedicated IP address, which usually implies your site is on a dedicated, virtual, or cloud-based server, gives your site guaranteed system resources to serve pages and content, ensuring a consistent user experience for visitors. Since search engines factor in site speed as a part of SEO ranking, this is clearly a good thing. However unless the site is pretty enormous in terms of pages served and visitor numbers, I don’t think there’s much justification for most sites out there to use a dedicated server. If the site host provider is doing their job properly and not overloading sites per server instance, most websites won’t gain much from having a dedicated server. If we add to that the many other ways in optimizing a sites page serving speed (e.g. image sizes, using a caching system, using a CDN, etc.) the instances where a dedicated server are required are even less.
In the past having a dedicated IP was a condition of being able to get an SSL certificate, to serve pages via https. But that’s no longer the case for the majority of site deployments thanks to the development of a piece of internet tech called Server Name Identification, or SNI.
Having a dedicated fixed IP address for your site can be beneficial for SEO purposes, but only in terms of assuring fast and consistent page loading. A few years ago there was a popular myth circulated in SEO circles that sharing a server with sites that were considered spammy, or contain malware, would negatively affect SEO rankings for your site. This has been refuted by Google. The other reason to go for a dedicated IP address would be if you’re using it to send lots of emails. Mind you, I mean LOTS – like 100,000/year kind of lots. Personally, we never recommend clients send emails through the same server they’re using for their website hosting, but some people want to do that.
The only negative effect for sharing a server with sites doing uncool things is that some network security programs or anti-virus software may flag your site as a ‘false positive’ and make it unreachable from browsers accessing the web via such security firewalls. But that’s not an SEO issue. Google and the other search engines review a site’s ranking by its domain, rather than its IP address. Again, any reputable hosting provider takes precautions against such an eventuality. If you run into this kind of problem, it’s usually because you’re using a bargain-basement hosting provider.”
“It is a myth thinking a dedicated IP
address improves your organic search rankings. Search engines know how the web
works better than anyone and they understand shared hosting. Most web sites are
served from a floating target of IP addresses today and that is perfectly
You should consider how CDNs work and do help
user experience. Even if you are using a share host you should also use a
content delivery network, which is where your site is actually served to the
Internet. A dedicated IP on a web server is then negated as your site is now
served from multiple IPs around the world and most likely a range of IP
So instead of investing in a dedicated IP
address, invest in a content delivery network. It will improve your page speed
and overall user experience. The improved user experience will improve your SEO
and is cheaper than a dedicated server or IP address.”
A Shared IP Address Can Be Fine As Long As It Has Not Been Abused By Anyone Else
“Myth: A shared IP address sends a negative SEO signal
Reality: The IP address can carry specific penalties, but realistically not an issue
Most IP addresses are penalized for
1. email abuse, spam reports 2. content scraping, linked to plagiarism 3. crawling abuse, and DDOS attacks
A shared IP address can be fine as long as it has not been abused by anyone else who uses it. Discount hosting providers have specific bandwidth and storage limits that are automatically monitored. Any abuse would raise flags within the provider, and possibly other accounts on the server.
Most penalties are carried by the domain so that the bad apples can’t just switch IP’s and remove their penalties.
But, as a general rule, I suggest buying the dedicated domain so that you have complete control.
Pro Tip: Before migrating or loading up your new IP Address, check it for penalties. You hosting company will assign a new one if you find an issue.”
“Simply put no – search engines such as Google should not penalize sites for being on shared IP’s and therefore a dedicated IP will not benefit your SEO. Hosting companies who work directly with small business such as 1and1, Godaddy or even website builders such as Wix and Squarespace will all be sharing IP’s.
There are a couple of cavities, firstly if a site uses a dedicated server with a dedicated IP, then potentially the server will have more bandwidth – This is turn could help the speed of the website. Google does use load speed as a ranking factor for SEO as it directly affects the user’s experience.
Secondly, a potential negative would be if multiple sites on a single IP that are interlinked for SEO purposes, Google would then potentially see this a PBN (private blog network), which is against its guidelines and therefore would penalize the sites linked on the shared IP.”
The Type Of Local Business And Day-To-Day Visits To Your Website
“It all really depends on the type of local
business, and the day to day visits to your website. For instance, a business
like a car dealership that receives thousands of visits to their website daily,
and has an inventory where users can browse or submit leads, then having a
dedicated server is a must. On the flip side, if you are a small insurance
company, then you can get by with a shared hosting plan.
The most important thing to consider is server
response, which can result in slower or quicker site speed. With mobile site
speed being an indirect ranking factor, having a quick site with user
experience (the direct ranking factor) in mind is far more important on whether
you need a dedicated IP. But having a dedicated IP can help eliminate the
likelihood of slower server response times during higher traffic times.
Ultimately, if you’re a business like a
restaurant, car dealership or hotel, then yes you should look into a dedicated
IP for hosting. Whereas if you are a vertical with smaller day to day traffic
volume, then you can get away with a shared or cloud hosting. You just need to
keep in mind that site load times can influence your user experience, which in
return can influence organic rankings.”
“Having a dedicated IP is NOT necessary
to rank, but you do need to have a fast site and an SSL certificate.
Page speed has been a Google ranking factor on desktop since
2010. It was added to the now separate mobile algorithm last summer. (Page
speed matters beyond SEO too. A study by Google shows that conversions drop by
12% of every second of load time). Clearly, site speed is something you need to
be monitoring and optimizing. There are lots of things that slow down a
website, but server response time is a big one. The optimal server response
time is under 200ms. Shared servers are certainly able to meet this goal,
though it comes with additional considerations like traffic spikes of another
website sharing your server.
Google confirmed in 2014 that SSL certificates
were a ranking factor. Just last year, the company continued its emphasis on
SSL by adding a red Not Secure warning in Chrome browsers for sites that
opt-out. (Beyond SEO, an SSL protects your domain from phishing scams and
encrypts sensitive information collected on your website). Many people think a
dedicated IP is a requirement for SSL certificates, but that’s not true. Using
SNI to install an SSL certificate will work for all modern browsers.
While a dedicated IP gives you more control over
site speed and a standard SSL certificate installation, it’s possible to rank
without it. Either way, you need to be conscious of these explicit ranking
“Having a dedicated IP address has an important SEO benefit for small business owners, but it’s nothing to do with ranking ability. The biggest risk to small business owners in having a shared hosting account and IP address, is security. Websites on shared hosting accounts are more susceptible to attacks, because a vulnerability on someone else’s website on the same account, can open the door to your website for a hacker. One hacking event can destroy an SEO campaign. If Google crawls your site and sees a hacker’s ransom page, your site will usually be de-indexed from the search engine completely. It can be very difficult to get back into the index from there, and just as difficult explaining to potential customers why they saw a black flag with a pirate ship image and some nasty language when all they wanted was to ask about your accounting services. Some people will tell you that having a dedicated IP will help your site speed, or will signal to Google that your site is more important, but even if those things are true, they still wouldn’t carry as much weight in your SEO campaign as improved website security.”
“For most small businesses, having a dedicated IP address won’t have much of an impact on SEO. A dedicated server package can increase loading speeds, which is certainly an SEO ranking factor (along with a plethora of other User Experience metrics) but there are often other far more impactful tasks to be done on-site before moving hosts should be considered. Image compression (and alt text), an exceptional mobile experience, general template/scripts tidying, headings optimization and before all of this, keyword research should be looked at first. Most small businesses haven’t sat down and really analyzed who their ideal customer is or what keywords they might be using to try and find them. Updating the website to match this user intent is going to be far more impactful than “just” focusing on the technical. The hundreds of other websites on the same server may have done minimal SEO work, and may all be giving terrible user experiences.
In a SEO battle between a site on a shared server with well researched, well-optimized content and a great UX, vs one that is lightning fast and dedicated host without any thought for the user – the shared server one will win every time. Why? Google cares about users more than it does about technical. Technical considerations are there to improve UX. Moving to a dedicated host is only beneficial if it’s making a website load quickly (thus giving a better experience than a slow one), but that’s a single metric out of hundreds if not thousands Google uses to rank a website. Moving to a dedicated IP will be marginal compared to other on-site factors that can be changed unless you are running a specialist site that has strict and very technical requirements, but I struggle to imagine a small business that would have this. In short, small businesses should be asking themselves why they are really making the move. Is the move to a dedicated IP to give their users the best experience possible? Or is it to try and “win” SEO? If the former, go for it. If the latter – rethink your SEO strategy and look at other site issues first!”
No Direct Correlation Between A Dedicated IP And A Boost In Your SEO
“There is no direct correlation between having a dedicated IP from the hosting provider and a boost in your SEO signals. However, one benefit of having a private server for your site is that a dedicated server can considerably increase the load speed of a website. This is important from an SEO perspective because load speed is a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.
Those most likely to see an improvement are people managing large websites. For sites with advanced external requests to render part of the content, and which receive a lot of visits (hence a lot of http requests), a dedicated server can manage high volumes of requests more easily and load pages more quickly than a shared one. For this reason, having a dedicated IP could help SEO for larger websites on account of improved load speed. That said, smaller and less demanding websites may not detect a big difference in load speed between a shared or private IP, so are less likely to see an improvement in their SEO.
In the past, having a dedicated IP was also necessary to obtain a SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate (HTTPS) to make your website secure. But this is no longer the case, as many hosting providers now offer free SSL certificates through Let’s Encrypt, which is a free and open CA (Certificate Authority), that can be applied to any domain, regardless of the hosting model.”
Giorgio Alan Franco, Senior Technical SEO Specialist, Vistaprint
While The IP Address Itself Can’t Boost SEO Very Fast, It Will Positively Impact Rankings
“Smart IP address management has a significant impact on SEO. Speaking of dedicated IP vs. shared ones, I can say that while the IP address itself can’t boost your SEO very fast, it will positively impact your rankings. The main reason for it is increased loading time in the case of a dedicated server. And the load time is an important ranking factor. If your website sits on a shared hosting server with multiple other sites located there, this will reduce in reduced performance of the server. Especially if your neighbors are popular websites with significant traffic and heavy content. Google Page Speed (https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/) is an excellent tool for checking the website’s speed. You can use it to compare your load times before moving to a dedicated IP, and after. You will see the improvements for sure, and so will Google.
However, not only dedicated IPs are useful for SEO. There are also a so-called residential IPs, which can give great value. These proxies use IP addresses assigned to regular users (homeowners) by their ISP, and they are marked in regional internet registries (RIR). All requests sent from that particular IP will be indistinguishable from the ones submitted by regular users from the search engine’s point of view. This is useful for testing: you will be able to check your rankings in different regions, analyze geo-distributed rankings for different keywords of your competitors, etc. All these will also contribute to your overall SEO performance.”
“In years gone by, marketers would worry that sharing an IP with other domains would negatively affect their ability to rank on Google. It was thought that if hosting was shared with domains that were carrying out unscrupulous SEO practices, it increased the likelihood of your domain receiving a penalty or losing rankings across targeted keywords.
Many would compare a shared hosting package as a bad neighbourhood. If there is a lot of crime in your neighbourhood, the likelihood of you getting caught up in it increases. It may in-fact be the case that if there is a lot of spammy sites sharing your IP, that you have an increased chance of being manually reviewed, however providing you are not carrying out any of these spammy practices, you’ll come out the other side just fine.
One thing that a dedicated IP may have is enhanced website performance and security. You’ll probably find that your page load speed will improve when you switch to a dedicated IP. Page load speed is a factor in Google’s ranking algorithm, so you may see a small boost in rankings as a result.
All-in-all, a dedicated IP is not a necessity for SEO, it may however be a good idea if your website is generating large amounts of traffic or dealing with large transactions.”
“Does shared hosting hurt SEO performance? Matt Cutts, the former head of webspam at Google said this about shared hosting & SEO: “On the list of things that I need to worry about, that would not be near the top. Google understand that shared hosting happens, and you can’t really control who else is on the same IP address and how many websites are hosted in the same subnet or IP address”
Although shared hosting does not directly impact SEO, there are some indirect factors that could potentially harm your SEO efforts that you should be aware of.
Here are some areas of performance that you may have to sacrifice when choosing a shared hosting platform;
Site speed/ server response time: Due to Google’s mobile-first update, site speed is a direct ranking factor – particularly on mobile and so should be a priority for SEOs. With shared hosting you may sacrifice some performance when it comes to speed, particularly if the data centre location is very far away from wherever the majority of your audience is located.
Site Downtime: No server can provide 100% uptime, however, a shared host likely won’t be more reliable than with a dedicated host. Shared hosting can also suffer in its ability to handle sudden traffic surges – although this could be unlikely to happen on a day to day basis – it leaves your website more susceptible to a denial of service attack (DDoS).”
A Shared IP Address, In And Of Itself, Should Not Negatively Affect Your Rankings
“There are a couple of possible scenarios that stand out when using a shared host or sharing an IP address could pose a problem in regards to search engine optimization. I will preface this by stating that a shared IP address, in and of itself, should not negatively affect your rankings. With that said, there are a couple of potential problems that shared hosting could have.
The most probably would be in the security of the other websites on the shared host. An attacker may be able to infect your website due to the insecurities of another site on the same server. Having a malware-infected website will negatively impact your rankings if unchecked.
Second, most websites that are on a shared hosting environment are slower when compared to the VPS or dedicated server counterparts. If the shared plan is coupled with a site that is not optimized for mobile speed, your search engine rankings could be hindered. Google has stated that they use mobile speed as a ranking factor. They further explain that only the slowest experiences will be affected.
It is relatively safe for your small business or startup to utilize shared hosting as a stepping stone in the website’s growth. Just be sure to have security measures in place, offsite backups available, and that you test the mobile speed of your website periodically.”
“In most cases, there are no direct correlations between dedicated IP (and dedicated server) to SEO results. In the past, we can only use SSL certificate (which is a Google ranking signal) on dedicated IP, but that is no longer the case nowadays, as we can use SSL certificate on shared hosting (make sure that the shared hosting service does offer SSL certificate).
However, a dedicated server will affect website speed. While loading speed is not a direct ranking signal, it will affect bounce rate, dwell time, and other user engagement metrics—which are now ranking signals thanks to Google Rankbrain—. While we can certainly improve the speed of a website using shared hosting, generally the potential/ceiling with a dedicated server (and IP) is much higher. For example, server response time is one of the most common causes for slow loading speed, and is most commonly caused by a bad hosting service.
Another indirect, but important ranking factor to consider is security. A dedicated IP is obviously more secure than shared hosting (if maintained properly), and if your site’s security is compromised, you can get penalized by Google.
So, to summarize, yes, there are ranking signals that will be affected by having a dedicated IP. However, they are indirect ranking signals, and generally, a dedicated IP will only bring significant boosts to your SEO results when other factors have been really optimized (technical SEO factors, content quality and optimizations, backlinks profile, etc.). Most likely you are only going to need a dedicated server when you are already a very big enterprise with very tight SEO competition at the top.”
It would appear that the prevailing consensus amongst SEO and digital marketing experts here, is that ultimately, a dedicated IP will not help with SEO. There are other elements that small business owners must factor in, when wanting to improve SEO.
Sarah Bauder is a senior content specialist at IronMonk Solutions. Sarah has a degree in journalism and has a decade of experience writing content at numerous renowned publications. She enjoys writing about digital marketing, business, entrepreneurship and more.