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Will Google penalize me for changing hosts?



9:29 am on Aug 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We've had our site up for 3 years, ranking between #1 and #4 for all our keywords, always working on SEO (e-commerce site). Our current host offers some basic features and I would like to move our site to a new host who's offering a great package. But I'm worried that the as the IP will change, will Google assume is 'new' site and sandbox me? 3/6/9 months off G would be a real issue. Anyone had any experience of this?

Patrick Taylor

10:04 am on Aug 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

A couple of months ago I moved an established site that was ranking pretty well. I also altered the page contents and changed all the page filenames from htm to php - eg directory.htm to directory.php.

I moved the htm files over to the new host on a temporary domain and set up 301 redirects for the htm pages to the php ones, then I repointed the domain to the new nameservers. A few weeks later, after Google etc had indexed the new pages and the old ones were gone from its cache, I deleted the htm pages, though I suppose I could have deleted them straight away. The redirects are still there in case anyone has the htm pages in their favourites. Incoming links weren't an issue because they all went to the actual domain.

The new pages are nicely indexed but the homepage hasn't got back to its previous ranking (it does have its previous PR now), but it seems to be creeping back week by week.

I'm not sure if this is the textbook procedure but it seemed to work for me.

[edited by: Patrick_Taylor at 10:11 am (utc) on Aug. 4, 2004]


10:08 am on Aug 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I tried to post about this also, but for some reason the post didn't get past pre-moderation.

I'm in the middle of the same procedure now, so I'll let you know what happens over the next week or two.

I'm doing the same as Patrick - 301'ing, although in my case it's to a new domain name (rebranding).

I'm anticipating any inbound links to the new domain will get sandboxed in the usual way. I'm tempted to leave the old ones alone, and let the 301 take care of them, as those links are now out of the sandbox.



10:19 am on Aug 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>sandboxed in the usual way

I still don't understand this?

I see several 3 week old sites ranking well with over 2,000 pages indexed by G!

As for hosts G! doesn't give a hoot unless you are a serious cross-linker. Even then I don't think you are going to get caught for several months!


10:29 am on Aug 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I see several 3 week old sites ranking well with over 2,000 pages indexed by G

Yes, I have sites only a couple of weeks old ranking well. But in competitive searches, large numbers of inbound links do seem to be quarantined for a bit.

I don't know whether it's a sandbox or something else, but it's noticeable.

They do come good in the end though.



11:04 pm on Aug 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am looking to upgrade my account with the hosting company I am currently with. I want to go from using cpanel to vdeck (seems so much better). I am so afraid to do this, that my page ranking will be lost. It is currently 5. After much work, I am now starting to see some traffic, but I think much more is on its way, I just don't want to have another setback. If I maintain my old account for two months and use redirects, will my pageranking still be reset?
Thanks for the help, what a great forum this is!


1:21 am on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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matt, are you also talking about moving from virtual hosting to a dedicated server with the same hosting company?


1:40 am on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


What I have is an account with one of the big hosting companies. I pay a monthly fee and have a certain amount of space on a server of theirs, certain amount of bandwidth, etc.
The current interface they have provided me with is cpanel. The problem is that this interface does not allow for me to check logs reliably. They have recently been running servers with vdeck, a newer application (i guess that's what it is) that allows for better log analysis, more bandwidth, etc. After speaking with them, they have assured me that nothing bad would happen with google. But then they said, well you may need to resubmit. That doesn't sound very good to me! I have about 30 backlinks and have been actively pursuing more.
The transfer would involve them creating a new account for me, and then me uploading my website to this new server.


1:54 am on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

a bit over 2 years ago, a host went down for the count unexpectantly. we lost a minor bit of ground as we were down for three weeks (long long story, but the reader's digest version is ...that'll never happen again. I was greener than popeye's spinach back then, and I'm a tadsmarter today,thanks mostly to this place and the fine peeps in it). Anyways, we bounced back within another month or so.

Just over a month ago, we elected to begin with another new host. Much smoother transition this time (thanks again everyone.) It's now coming up on five weeks and so far not so much as a lil' bitty tiny speedbump has emerged.

Patrick Taylor

2:14 am on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

they said, well you may need to resubmit

matt, you shouldn't have to resubmit to Google if your page URLs remain the same. Presumably you will retain your current domain and filenames on the new server?


8:21 pm on Aug 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This is a interesting due to the fact that I'm having a bit of a go around with the web developer of a client's site and me(sem).

I've recommended using an approach detailed in Bruce Clay's site. You can find the recommendation I've made in Bruce's site section "Server Technical Tips". It's a link at the bottom of his home page.

This is what Bruce and Greg Boser (Hey Greg!) prescribed at SES.

The developer wrote to Google and they assured him there would be no difficulty in moving to another IP.

I guess my question is: Is this outdated information (on Bruce's site)? Do you need to take precautions when transfering to a new ip? Or do you just make the tranfer?


1:52 am on Aug 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes, this is what I was refering to. I have not moved my site yet, I am worried I am going to get dropped from Google (I am still new to this game, and have been working really hard these last few months, I am now starting to see some progress, and don't want a setback). I have spoken a few times with my host provider, and they just don't understand. They are not willing to leave my old site up for 2 months unless I buy a new account (and keep my old).
Does this article refer to a problem that was solved?


2:37 am on Aug 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

We just moved to a new web host and our rankings never changed. And we didnt do anything like setup redirects or any other.


4:58 am on Aug 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I would just like to clarify this issue because there seems to be some confusion:

Google indexes urls - not ip addresses (or not in the context that is being proposed anyway) - and if you switch your hosting (package company ...) in a manner that does not alter your sites EXTERNAL structure, if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck...well then for all google cares it is a duck. IIS -> apache or whatever else, the important thing if only switching hosts and not changing the site, dont change the site.

There should be no detremental effect from the above type switching. Some years back google would need a month to reindex (if memory serves they used to cache dns for extended timeframes, roughly a month, which I dont believe to be the case today). If you wanted to play it extremely safe you could host under both accounts for a month or until your traffic on the old box dried up, but quite frankly its overkill.

If you change the internal structure or domain of your site, with or without switching hosts, then and only then should you worry about 301's and such. Though there are likly those who know better you should roughly:

create a functional new entity (development), entity could be a seperate server, a subdirectory, a domain, whatever.

create 301s which direct the old pages to the new. This should ideally be done for all content to speed up the switch. Logfiles should be analized to ensure proper redirects (a bad one might cause for instance, dmoz to drop your site rather then redirect to a new domain)

Submit the new home and perhaps sitemap.

Cross fingers and wait some weeks (we did similar starting 03/04 and visable pr was transfered by 06/04, BUT, googles spidering of the old site stopped well before this. I could not gauge traffic dependant upon serps becasue we were largly unindexable prior to this process)


6:13 am on Aug 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Last I know, Google crawls by both domain name and IP number; but there's been no effects that I've seen, not since they resolved their DNS update issues that were prevalent a while back. Google is *very* good about resolving problems on their end once they find out about them.

I just moved several sites from virtual name-based hosting to the same elsewhere without a hitch (except on my end, misplaced a couple of files in the process while staying up all night). No affect on listings at all - or crawling.


11:24 pm on Aug 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have several websites and about a year ago decided to set up a hosting reseller account as a means of cutting server costs. Prior to this 5 of my sites came up fairly high with regard to certain keywords and phrases. Within 2 months of making the move 4 of these sites had basically been dropped by google. My sites are similar and have equal parts original and duplicate content. I am now considering spreading these sites out again over multiple IP's. What I don't know is whether this is all a result of duplicate content or same IP's. Documentation I've found online suggests it could be either, or even both.


6:16 pm on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have inherited a website which is #1 for its principal keyphrase. The client however has had a bad experience with the current host which is an affiliate of the domain holder and has asked me to move the site to a new company.The domain is a dot com.
The last time I moved a dot com here in the UK it took circa 6 weeks for the new host to get possession. I swore I would never do it again.
Is there a way I can leave the dot com where it is and just change the host. I'm not clued up on this moving business. Can you help please?


6:37 pm on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Further to my earlier post I should explain the delay was caused by Network Solutions records showing different server addresses to those which were current atthe hosting company. It took 6 weeks to sort.
I'm particularly worrried about a hiccup on moving the domain as the #1 postion has taken my client several years hard work to achieve


6:37 pm on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I see a couple of different issues here, unless I'm wrong ;)

miammiam - >I would like to move our site to a new host <
You should have no problem. I've done this several times, but I like to overlap the hosting just long enough for the name o resolve to the new IP.

Patrick Taylor - >I also altered the page contents and changed all the page filenames <
I think I would have done things one at a time, but then I'm cautious ;)

mbush27 - >I am looking to upgrade my account with the hosting company I am currently with<
Hmmmm, overlapping might be a bit difficult here. I would keep the old account for a month, even though the name should be in place within a day or two.

Midhurst - In theory (and should be in practice)the name and the hosting are seperate.

Good luck everyone........


6:46 pm on Aug 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have never noticed problems moving domains from one server to the next. One thing I will not do is 301 redirects if I'm moving platforms, like from html to php. I would rather leave the html extension on php pages and tell the webserver to compile html pages as php rather than trust Google to notice the redirects. Plus Google may correctly interpret redirects however many other SE's may not.


2:35 am on Aug 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member powdork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I have had no problems with the move from expensivehosting.com to cheaphosting.com after two weeks. I'm not sure why but even with the same email address, I am getting no spam anymore as opposed to hundreds of spam emails/day before.:) Why is this?


7:13 am on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hello Powdork:

I _might_ have an answer about the spam.

It turns out that my present (soon to be gone))
host was also a major SPAM pipeline. That was
so bad, that my separate dial-up ISP was trashing
emails sent to webmaster(etc)@mydomain.net!
No notice, incoming email just vanished.

I had to have Spamhost.com save my emails and
tediously call up some page of theirs to retrieve
them (99% spam of course) rather than redirecting
that to my dial-up.

I'm changing hosts as I write this, since the one
year subscription is up in a month.
I plan to leave up both sites for the month, but
will change my registration to point to the new
host. I'm making no special changes to my URLs or
pages, just moving the whole shebang.

If anyone has special cautions, I need to know them.

Best. -Larry


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