The debate rages on. Do we need a dedicated IP address?
Different consultants seem to be offering different views. But at the end of the day, it is for you to make an informed decision.
Your hosting provider will assign you an IP address, and if you are clever enough you will figure out where your website will be hosted with a particular address.
Typically the following considerations govern while hosting your website.
If yours is a commercial website, speed and performance matters. With a dedicated IP you are more likely to jack up traffic or at least maintain speed and performance your customers are accustomed to.
Before we go further, let us be clear as to what the difference between shared and dedicated IP address is.
• A shared IP address is one that is used by multiple websites within one server. In such a scenario the server will have to exert a bit extra handling a visitor’s request to the right website.
• On the other hand, a dedicated IP address is a unique internet address allocated to a single hosting account.
A dedicated IP address is perceived to have the following advantages.
• Ensures faster response times during high traffic.
• You can access your accounts via FTP if the domain name is inaccessible.
• You can have your own private SSL certificate. This is a compelling advantage if you are running a commercial website that needs accepting credit cards online.
• There is a perception that dedicated IP hosting pushes up your search rankings.
But the question is, are the advantages overhyped.
Many SEO experts are of the opinion that it is not necessary to be apprehensive if your site is on a shared IP address.
Here are some of the arguments supporting the theory shared IP address is okay for most users.
There is no PageRank difference
It is understandable for you to be concerned about SEO. After all, your business to be profitable requires certain amount of traffic.
For a typical company whose website is built on a popular CMS like WordPress or Joomla there is no reason to go in for a dedicated IP address, unless any of them needs https to get credit card information.
To push up traffic having a dedicated IP alone does not help. You must produce relevant and compelling content for your target audience. With a reliable managed CMS host your site visibility can be a notch above competition.
Moreover, many experts believe that it is a myth that Google downgrades sites that are on shared hosting.
Here what a Google Director clarified way back in 2003.
“Google handles virtually hosted domains at par with domains on unique IP addresses. We offer a level playing field. All that is required from an ISP is to do virtual hosting correctly”.
Now let us discuss speed.
It is a misconception that a dedicated IP address is faster than a shared hosting environment.
Site speed depends on several factors, and not the least of them is the hardware and networking capabilities of the hosting provider.
But the advocates of dedicated IP forcefully put forward other arguments.
• Multiple websites in one IP address is like carrying all eggs in one basket. If the basket falls all the eggs break.
• A website sharing your IP can be flagged as adult or can suffer a penalty that may extend to all the websites sharing the address.
Some experts however say that such chances are remote.
Will you stop purchasing online when there is news that someone’s confidential info was hacked?
It is all about your risk appetite.
A server utilized for shared hosting can harbor websites that could contain malware.
“I do not want my website to be known as residing in a bad neighborhood”, says an ecommerce website owner”. If your thinking is in the same league a dedicated IP address may prove beneficial.
Here is another key takeaway – Impact of SSL certificate on SEO.
An SSL certificate is an assurance that your private information is protected when it travels across the web. When customers develop trust it can well be a ranking factor for the Google search engine.
If SEO strategy is on top of your mind, the first requirement is to understand your audience.
Ask yourself another question.
Is your site mobile friendly?
Mobile is a powerful disrupter, and for Google mobile will be the priority index far ahead of desktop.
We must also remember that some hosts include one dedicated address on their shared hosting plans.
This goes to say that the story of Dedicated IP versus shared is still not over.
Where do you stand in this scenario?
The answer is simple. It is for you to weigh the drawbacks and advantages and come to an informed decision.