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For example, a few days ago I did a search using a very targeted keyword related to travel. I then took the top 5 url listings and went to this page: [snip] (check step 7) which has free tools one can use to check on the "spider-ability" of sites, and to detect any redirects or other issues that may prevent the sites from being well ranked.
I was suprised to see that 2 of the 5 url listing were hosted on a virtual platform though the site ([snip]) strongly discourages (as others do ..) hosting your website on virtual platform if you want to attain top rankings in the long run.
Some search engine experts have said that the problem is not really hosting your site on a virtual platform, but its how the server is configured. If its the server configuration, what can one ask the host or check to see that everthing is configured correctly?
[edited by: pageoneresults at 2:34 pm (utc) on April 22, 2004]
[edit reason] Removed Specifics - Please Refer to TOS [/edit]
Presently, there seems to be no advantage in SE rankings for virtual hosting vs a dedicated IP. Punitive action against a site by SEs is normally done by URL, since banning an IP can ban hundreds of innocent sites. Bear in mind that an aggressive SE spammer using throwaway domains, doorways, interlinking, et al, typically using one or a few IPs may get them punished. If he's sharing your IP...
Today, a dedicated IP is simply cheap insurance for a successful long term web presence.
The symptoms of a misconfigured server are pretty obvious. You won't be able to access your site reliably and SEs will display the wrong site at your URL, or not be able to spider your site at all.