If you look at NameHero’s shared hosting packages, you see that none of them offer a dedicated IP address. Some web hosts do provide this even on shared hosting, so it’s understandable if wonder whether or not this has an impact on your search rankings. There’s been a lot of confusion around this point, and I’ll try and answer this comprehensively in this article.
Short Answer: NO. Shared Hosting Doesn’t Impact your Rankings
On shared hosting, you share your IP address with possibly hundreds of other websites. So it’s tempting to think that bad actors can spoil your rankings by association. Indeed, Google’s documentation on the “Manual Actions Report” includes a section on “Spammy Free Hosts”. It indicates that if a large percentage of sites hosted on your shared IP are spammy, then Google can penalize the entire server.
But this is an edge scenario. Reputed hosting companies like NameHero have terms of service that disallow sites that are spammy – gambling or adult sites for example. In normal circumstances, shared hosting is perfectly fine. Choose a web host with a good reputation and you’re good to go.
All Cloudflare Enabled Sites Have a Shared IP
If you route your traffic through Cloudflare, then all your visitors will see the same IP address for your server. Try it. I use Cloudflare myself on my site WP-Tweaks.com. Here’s a screenshot of me pinging my site to get the IP:
You can see that the IP it returns is 188.8.131.52, which belongs to Cloudflare – look it up! And I share this IP address with thousands and thousands of other websites. Of course, my actual origin server has a different address. But no one will ever see it. The Cloudflare IP is the only one visible from the outside.
If there was any truth to the idea that shared hosting and sharing IP addresses with other sites was in any way detrimental to search rankings, no one would ever use Cloudflare. Heck, many sites with dedicated IP addresses use Cloudflare! In effect, then are choosing not to use their dedicated IPs and going with a shared address. Would they do that if they felt it was going to impact their rankings?
The Flawed Study
A short while back, there was a well-publicized experiment on whether “bad neighborhoods” impacted SEO rankings. The experiment found that there did indeed appear to be a correlation between “bad” IPs and lower rankings. This led to a somewhat testy exchange on Twitter between Cyrus Shepard – who worked for Moz as lead SEO – and John Mueller from Google:
Basically, Mueller contended that the experiment in question was super artificial – they tried to rank for a keyword that had 0 search results – an experiment that produced weird results that didn’t apply to any real-world setting. Granted, it was an interesting setup and probably revealed something about Google’s inner workings. But what exactly it revealed, no one knows. Mueller’s point was that it’s impossible to extrapolate what was seen to the real world.
But the results of that study have caused no end of confusion. You have misleading articles claiming that shared hosting is bad for you. But it’s all bull. There is no evidence for such claims.
What CAN Matter – Speed
An indirect impact on site rankings might go something like this:
- Dedicated servers have more resources
- Therefore, they are faster
- Therefore, they rank well (or at least slightly better)
But this has nothing to do with having a dedicated IP per se. As I mentioned above, many dedicated servers filter their traffic through Cloudflare. And good shared hosting plans like the one provided by NameHero and LiteSpeed will keep your site snappy. You don’t have to worry!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!