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Moving servers - Will that hurt my rankings in Google?

 5:15 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm currently on a shared hosting plan at a major hosting company.

I was told that I should move to a dedicated server if I want my site to speed up a bit.

I found a guy who is willing to help me with the server move (he has 20 years experience). I have absolutely no experience with servers.

Is there a possibility my rankings in Google might slide due to me moving to a new ip (from shared to dedicated hosting)?




 6:10 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is there a possibility my rankings in Google might slide due to me moving to a new ip (from shared to dedicated hosting)?

Assuming you are moving to a server within the same country in my experience it should have no effect whatsoever so long as you ensure that you have all your sites copied over onto the new server before pointing the domain name(s) at the new server.


 7:30 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes, moving to a dedicated server in the US within the same company.

They had a super bowl advertisement or two. Take a wild guess who it is.


 8:50 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Take a wild guess who it is.

No idea, they don't show the US ads in the UK, maybe GD?


 9:06 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

If done properly, it should be seamless. I've moved my server from datacenter to datacenter with no loss in rankings.


 9:06 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

I recently moved to a dedicated server. No pain at all.. Just make sure the transition is fluent; make sure everything works and only then switch the DNS.


 9:43 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

as per johhnie.

Assuming you've got all the technical stuff done and moved to the new server, you can test it by assigning the IP address of your sites to the new IP, via your hosts file (you can search to find out where the file is). In other words, you force your computer (and just your computer) to see the sites on the new server, allowing you to test everything's working smooth. Once it is, then you change your dns setting and the rest of the world rolls over to the new server.

Robert Charlton

 10:23 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Essentially, to get smooth DNS propagation, what you do is have a functional site on both hosts, and then change your DNS settings (basically, change the A-Records) to address the new IP.

One hitch you're likely to run into in your current situation, though, is that the host with your shared hosting plan is probably also hosting your DNS, so you can't simply change their A records... You're going to have to move your Domain Name Server as well.

This will require changes to your base DNS server at your registrar, to specify a different DNS.

Depending on the registrar, I've found that this change tends to propagate fairly smoothly these days, but not as invisibly as just changing A-records. You may well have some down time.

I myself don't like to host my DNS with my web host. If the hosting company should have problems and you can't get through, you'll have problems setting up your site elsewhere.

Some registrars have very robust DNS setups with multiple servers, and in such cases I often use the registrar for DNS hosting.

Otherwise, I like to go to a DNS hosting company, sometimes setting up DNS failover as well, so if my main site at the web host goes down, the DNS company can switch my IP addresses to a backup site I've set up on another web host.


 10:28 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

my experience with the host you "implied" ... i would not recommend hosting with them. just my two cents.


 10:39 pm on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

I also would not suggest hosting with them, you're getting ripped off in value. Great for domain registration, horrible for hosting.


 4:17 am on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes Bewenched, I completely agree with you. As far as I'm concerned though, they are the lesser of 100 evils. Tech support is only a phone call away (in America, I might add) and since I'm a n00b to servers....the CSR reps get to put up with my dumb questions and answer every single one.


[edited by: tedster at 4:42 am (utc) on Feb 10, 2010]


 4:56 am on Feb 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

If you'd like some input from Google about changing IP addresses, coincidently, Matt Cutts just published a video today on this exact topic - [youtube.com...]

[edited by: tedster at 3:53 pm (utc) on Feb 11, 2010]


 11:31 am on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

tedster, that URL isn't working for me.

< sorry about that, it's fixed now >

[edited by: tedster at 3:59 pm (utc) on Feb 11, 2010]


 11:52 am on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

The super bowl host offers dedicated servers without much management. You either have to learn it yourself or hire someone from the outside or within that hosting company to do periodic management for you.

I have done the same move at the same host some years ago and haven't seen any rankings slide. Response time of the site improved (obviously) which increased user experience and eventually brought in more visitors. The SEO impact of moving servers is relatively low, especially if you stay within the same country or in your case even area. Local searches shouldn't be affected by it because your area doesn't change.

The only real thing you have to worry about is the propagation of DNS information which sometimes takes days before the rest of the world knows you moved. During this transition time you should keep up both the old and the new site and if possible with the same content. If the search engines cache the new IP address and find (almost) the same information at the new location, they will happily spider that new source. If the transition of IP addresses falls together with a site overhaul, the SEs algorithms might trigger a site owner change which may impact rankings.


 12:20 pm on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I run my own DNS service. My dedicated server provider has a secondary DNS service. Works wonders; I can flip the switch in an instant.


 2:25 pm on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Be sure to change the TTL to a low number, we typically set it at 3600.


 2:51 pm on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

@ Baseballguy - I would recommend you ask the new server tech what the new IP address will be BEFORE the move. You really want to make sure this is not an IP that is previously blacklisted as a spam/malware provider range.


 3:23 pm on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

And how do you check that, frontpage?


 3:27 pm on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Believe it or not, you can usually just enter the IP right into search, you'll find a host of sites that are monitoring that IP range to some degree. There are plenty of services that provide Reverse IP lookups and such.

I would have been flogged if I said to "investigate the IP range". ;) Related...

THE - Trusted Hosting Environments

Malicious Links and Loss of Traffic

man in poland

 3:52 pm on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Baseballguy - take plenty of care and there should not be a problem at all. Last year my host decided to shut down a whole datacenter (where one of my dedicated servers had been for at least 5 years). I stuck with them because they are very good, but the actual moving process was planned meticulously and worked fine - no loss in rankings at all. Just keep checking at each stage, and as everyone has mentioned - keep the 'old' site active for at least a few days until the 'new' one beds in.


 6:15 pm on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Not yet noted is that moving your site to a more responsive server may actually improve your ranking. See [webmasterworld.com...]


 8:13 pm on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I would first move my DNS to a low-cost DNS provider ($30 or so a year) so you would have ultimate control over changing the target ip when you are ready. This type of service will also allow you to set up a sender id txt record that may not be easy to set up elsewhere.

I do not have one in mind. Perhaps someone else will recommend one. Speed of DNS will contribute to speed of site.


 9:19 pm on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Our team moves servers for people almost every week and the honest answer about SERPS:

You never know.

IP Neighborhoods
There are reports that bad IP neighborhoods can negatively impact SERPs. This can work both ways. If you are in a bad area and go to a good one, you can get a boost.

This must be handled very smoothly and correctly. TTLs need to be lowered well in advance of the actually migration date.

Old Server
If possible, you will want to leave the old server online for 2-4 weeks. I have seen Yahoo's bot visit the old IP for up to a month after changing DNS. If you pull the old server down too soon, the bot may think your site is gone.


 9:25 pm on Feb 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I would first move my DNS to a low-cost DNS provider ($30 or so a year)

Why? Am I missing something here?

My main registrar offers everything I require for free, I can point my domains anywhere I like plus a whole host (sic) of other things for a retail cost of about $12 p.a.

Or are you just suggesting moving away from where they are at present?


 1:55 am on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

jeffatrackaid is right about IPs and bad urls previously on the IP.
Use DNS stuff site and check for spammers on spamhaus to check for bad previous activity on your new IP, a good server company will give you a clean new IP if you discover bad activity on it before


 2:11 am on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've heard GoogleBot prefers the Server to be a minimum of 12" from the nearest wall for speedy access, so if it's not there right now I would suggest moving it. I've also heard you can get an 'extra speedy bonus' if it's perfectly centered and level in the middle of a square room...


 5:33 pm on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

We're going through this transition right now for two reasons. On to test the theory that it can help with Seach rankings per the theory in googles algorithm, which we'll test, and secondly the 'super bowl' host, we've used them for years and have found issues with the performance of their servers. Very slow, support won't admit to this, and about a year ago our account and many other accounts on the same server was hacked....which the host denied over and over, though we had proof.
The primary reason though is for seeing if we can improve search rankings for one site and improve the performance of the site load time.

Our approach is to replicate the site over to the new host, test, test, test, and when ready, update the DNS to point to the new host.

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