There has been much debate as to whether a company’s choice of web hosting provider can affect how Google or other search engines rank a website in their search engine results pages (SERPs). According to some, your hosting provider would have little impact on how your website would rank. However, there are some factors that a shared hosting provider could affect that would lead to an impact being made on how your website could be ranked in SERPs.
What are the main concerns?
One of the biggest concerns that individuals have when debating if shared hosting could affect ranking is largely due to the fact that there is a possibility that your hosting provider could assign you an IP address that is considered as being “toxic”. This is due to spam websites giving reputational damage to the IP address. If Google penalises an illegal website which is on the same shared server, there is a fear that Google will penalise your website in turn. SEO experts believe that it is very rare that Google will penalise you due to the IP address that you have.
Those hosting their website on a shared server may occasionally find that their website can be prone to crashing and often due to no fault of their own. It is possible that if a website on the server has malfunctioning scripts or overloads on resources that the server, and therefore your website, will experience downtime. If during this downtime a search engine bot tries to crawl your website then you could lose ranking due to your website not being found. Increased security risks can be also be a contributor to this. Shared servers tend to be targeted more by hackers, which proves as a security risk to the server itself.
Shared servers can host hundred of websites at one time. This causes issues when it comes to both page loading speeds and crawling time. A search engine’s crawling process has a time limit. This limit is based on either time spent per website or by time spent per IP address. If the crawling bot works on the latter, there is a risk that your website will be skipped over and not indexed at all. If your website isn’t indexed then it will be hard for users to find you in SERPs. Page loading time may also be affected especially if you are sharing a server with websites that have high volumes of traffic. As the server will be working overtime on other websites this will impact the bandwidth and processing power of your website.
So, does shared hosting affect ranking?
Although there has been mixed observations over the years held by SEO experts on this topic, the concerns detailed above would suggest that it is possible for a shared server and a shared hosting provider to impact your ranking in SERPs.
Google and other search engines look for uptime and reliability when it comes to crawling a website. If for any reason either of these are compromised or if a user is unable to use and gain access to a website then search engines will penalise your website by lowering your ranking in SERPs.
Shared hosting has the capability to affect all of these factors so it is possible to argue that inevitably it could impact how search engines rank you. The main consideration to keep in mind if choosing a shared hosting provider is to ensure they are reliable and have a good reputation. Doing so could ensure that your website will never encounter any of the above concerns and ensure that you are in full control of how you are ranked in SERPs.
There are many other hosting alternatives if shared hosting isn’t right for your company. Options such as cloud hosting and dedicated hosting may be more preferable especially as both services are considered as being more private, therefore ensuring that the performance of other websites or IP addresses will not affect your SERPs results.
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