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Can moving to a new server and IP ruin rankings?

 1:42 pm on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

We have been debating whether to migrate our web site to a new and faster dedicated server platform, which will allow us to better accommodate our traffic.

But my partners seem to think that moving to a new and different IP address will hurt our ranking in Google.

I think that is false. I think that Google only cares about the domain name, so it will still see us as Example.com no matter what server we are on, and what IP address our server is on.

I donít think that moving to a different server will have any effect at all on our rank, as all the html pages will still have the same link addresses, nothing will change.

I think the only thing Google cares about with IP address is to check up on whether we are creating a mini net with 100 other web sites, like some black hat SEOs do.

Does anyone have any experiences good or bad with this?



 2:23 pm on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't want to scare you or anything but we have moved to a new server recently and have had one ugly ride ever since with no signs of real recovery yet. I refuse to believe it was the server move that caused it, but I simply cannot disregard the fact that our issues started when we switched servers. It seems as if changing servers was at least in part responsible for our issue. YMMV of course.

Receptional Andy

 2:33 pm on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've never seen any problem with moving IPs. Check out the history of the new IP if possible, and leave both hosts running for a while after you make the switch.


 4:35 pm on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't se ehow you can leave both hosts running. A .com domain name must resolve to one IP address only. Am I wrong?

Receptional Andy

 4:47 pm on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't se ehow you can leave both hosts running. A .com domain name must resolve to one IP address only. Am I wrong?

Yes, but DNS takes time to propagate, and some ISPs/search engines cache IP addresses.

You can have a site hosted on many different hosts/IP addresses, although you're right that generally speaking only one will be used at a time (unless you want to run your own DNS, or use a HOSTS file, in which case you can point where you like!).


 4:57 pm on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

If you change IP addresses without making technical errors, you should not run into ranking trouble. I've been involved with hundreds of such changes and I've never seen problems.

Check out the advice given by Matt Cutts here: Moving to a New Web Host [mattcutts.com]. That link is also available in the Hot Topics area [webmasterworld.com], which is always pinned to the top of this forum's index page.


 5:14 pm on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)


Excellent contribution as always! I sleep better at night hearing it right from Matt Cutts' mouth. Now a harder question to answer:

On our web host, we are on a shared platform with other companiesí web sites, one of which I hear is an adult site. Not a good neighbor to have if you're worried about Google's "guilt by association penalty". Is there a way to see what domain names resolve to a particular IP address? I want to see what the other companies are hosted on the same server as we are.

[edited by: tedster at 5:36 pm (utc) on Mar. 25, 2008]


 5:50 pm on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

There are several tools available that will show you which domains share an IP address. We don't promote specific tools and services here, but they're not too hard to find. Some services work through a Whois lookup, and other through a kind of general checkup on your domain's overall health.

Since something like 85% of all domains are hosted on shared IP addresses, clearly there is no inherent problem. If your site doesn't link to your IP neighbor, then you're not in that neighborhood. Also, remembr that the mere presence of adult content does not mean that the site is breaking Google's guidelines.

However, the domains that share an IP address change over time. Also, in the past there have been some security holes in the owner's interface (cPanel, vDeck, etc) that allowed IP neighbors to hack in and create paraste hosting situations -- and some web hosts are not too fast to install the needed security updates.

For these and other reasons, I'd advise any business that depends on their website to generate significant income to have a dedicated IP address, or at least to own the master account that sells space the domains that share the IP.

I think parasite hosting hacks are more of a concern than sharing an IP with a bad neighborhood, but all of that is something a business should become responsible for and not just assume their host has taken care of. Bargain hosting is often not a real bargain.


 5:56 pm on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

Nice post Ted, that makes sense.

I have always followed that specific checklist as well and have never had issues:

Check server credibility before moving, check whitelists and Spamhaus to ensure there are nothing listed.

Leave the site intact at the old server - in other words, overlap hosting - for about one month, and change the dns, then old files can get updated as local caches are flushed and updated.

Test the pages with a header checker upon moving.

Make sure you get a dedicated ip to be safe (although many of my well ranking websites are on shared hosting)

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