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Server upgrade requires mass change in IPs - how to avoid trouble?



1:47 am on Dec 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Hi all, I'm looking into upgrading a VPS and the hosting company claims they cannot do it on the same physical node hence the IP's are going to change. I know nothing about how their network is configured so they might just being lazy or it may really be necessary and the newer server may even be located in a different datacenter. But the bottom line for me is that 10 sites with dedicated IPs and another dozen or so on one shared IP are going to have to have their IP addresses changed.

Does anyone see a potential for any ranking trouble because of multiple sites in my WMT account changing their IPs at once? Any particular issue to watch out for? Have you done IP change en masse before?

I would appreciate any input on the matter.


5:38 pm on Dec 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've switched hosts / IPs many times over the years and I've never seen a noticeable ranking drop associated with moving from one host (or even IP) to another.

It's not something you probably want to do too frequently, but I don't see any cause for alarm.


5:49 pm on Dec 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Thanks, Sand. I've obviously done it on individual sites many times as well. My main concern was in this case with moving sites that comprise a a big chunk of sites in my WMT account all at once. I don't know, perhaps it's just an early onset of paranoia.


2:42 am on Dec 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member

Google remembers everything but not everything has the potential to shift serps very much, in fact it's likely that nearly nothing a webmaster does can shift results very much besides good titles, good content and backlinks.

My best guess is that if only the IP changes you won't see any shift in traffic at all.


10:00 am on Dec 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am going through this process right now and it was a nightmare! We just received fiber into our building and the servers didn't like the IP migration wizard (64 ip's) within cPanel...long story short I gutted the server after backups and upgraded to CentOS 6.3 from 5.8 figuring if there was ever a good time to do it, it was now. Don't exactly understand how cpanel's ip migration wizard just annihilated our zones, ip setups, resolvers, and whatever else I didn't know about.

I am sure hoping the 2-3 days of down time won't destroy our rankings. To make matters worse I have two domain registrars that haven't been open, nor had support until tomorrow so our main domain (and a few others) is sitting in limbo until tomorrow morning until we can update the NS and A records.

Long story short....NIGHTMARE but the fiber sure is SPEEDY!


12:07 pm on Dec 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

To make matters worse I have two domain registrars that haven't been open, nor had support until tomorrow so our main domain (and a few others) is sitting in limbo until tomorrow morning until we can update the NS and A records.

that should happen at your DNS host, not your domain registrar.
you should be able to edit your DNS records using a web interface.


1:33 pm on Dec 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Let me thrown in on this topic because rather than speculate, I can tell you from direct recent experience how Google may handle your situation, which may be different from how they handled mine.

1. About three weeks ago, my host sent out a letter saying in 48 hours they are going to move our server. I was out of town at the time so I never read that notice. When I returned home, my site was broken. Scripts had to be reconfigured, yada-yada-yada. I was out of service for about 3 days as they had changed my IP's and the last to recover is always SSL (required for my order form). Once I recovered, traffic had taken a huge hit. Google had also de-indexed over 30 number one listings I had held for years, not de-ranked, de-indexed as in GONE.

In desperation (as usual) I thought that implementing a CDN might help eliminate the possibility that my site was now slow due to the server move (my host had promised higher performance servers in the move, but in checking MUNIN I see they removed 500Mb of memory from my server, I figured they probably also put my server on a dial up connection).

So, I used (cloudfl...) as my CDN. Another nameserver change and three more days of dns propagation outage. As I was reading up on CDN's I discovered that GOOGLE is also entering into the CDN business (like facebook and all the other businesses they want to be). When dns finally settled out, if found I lost even more in the serps. It's been a week and since whatever recent update has come through, it apparently hit at the perfect time, knocking me nearly out of the serps completely. It's as if I've now been penalized for using another CDN service than G's (even though theirs is still in beta)

My webmaster tools page showed most of my pages in error as unreachable. I cleared those errors and am hoping I return. I'm actually not very optimistic that I will.

So, good luck on your move...you typically won't be affected, but if you get preferential torture like I do, then your results may be otherwise.


2:10 pm on Dec 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Both Google and Bing seem to be very hash very quickly on down time, slow time(sluggish server response) nowadays, my particular experience isn't really relevant to most, but down time and dns uncertainty are to be avoided

nowadays, i'd make sure the site remains live and responsive on both existing and destination servers till the move is complete


5:16 pm on Dec 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Thanks for your input, guys! Yes, I do understand the dangers of downtime and have some horror stories of my own to tell (specifically @backdraft7: took 6 months to recover from a 72 hrs downtime-induced penalty/deindexing/whatever you want to call it) .

I'm sure there will be some downtime, especially considering that the hosting company prefers to use Russian and Indian techs for any work like that and I'm probably not going to be available for some time after they're done because of the time difference. Anyway, I'll keep my eye on it during and right after the move, as soon as I get access to the new server.

Regarding DNS propagation: did anyone try to lower TTL to something like 30 seconds (or less) a day/two in advance to speed up the switch? Although Google seems to be picking up DNS changes in a matter of seconds anyhow - I often see them pounding on a brand new IP (using proper URLs) in a matter of seconds after an IP change even when TTL is at default 1800 (30 minutes). I'm not even sure how that's possible - it looks like they don't actually completely trust DNS records anyhow and re-load them every time. Also possible that every individual instance of the bot has to get a fresh DNS record each time it first gets to a site, despite the previous instance of the bot having requested the DNS less than TTL time ago.

But as far as the actual fact of changing IPs (downtime dangers noted) - it seems that the consensus is: it's a pretty benign task.


6:03 pm on Dec 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

It would be nice it Malaysia and Sydney Australia would speed up their records. They are ALWAYS the last to update. You can appear to be UP without them, but if you run SSL, it won't work right until all records match. I would advise to reduce downtime, if you can, temporarily change your SSL URL's (https) to the non SSL form (http). Change them right back as soon as propagation is complete.

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