What is the impact of using shared hosting on your website rankings? Well, that is the question we tried to address in a separate post on our site a while ago. We argued in that blog article that page speed, site security, and server configurations are more important than your website server to ranking your website. We still stand by the argument proposed in the said article. However, a new SEO study now reveals that your website rankings will be lower if your site is hosted on a shared server.
In principle, we still believe that other factors mentioned above and in our previous blog post are important factors. But, a recent study by an SEO agency conducted research to prove that a dedicated server can help you rank your websites much higher than a shared hosting server does. The claim was soon categorically refuted by Google Webmaster` John Mueller. he said that the research done by the SEO agency was manipulative.
We do not plan to mention to name the SEO company which conducted the research as we do not want them to take advantage of this. Instead, we are more concerned about how Google and other major search engines rank our websites.
Another factor we need to consider while hosting our websites on a server is the cost. in fact, not everyone can host their website on a dedicated server. It is simply not practical and unrealistic.
What Does The Report Say About The Impact Of Shared Hosting On Website Rankings?
The SEO company wanted to test whether shared hosting negatively affects website rankings. They wanted to see whether low-cost shared hosting attracts low-quality websites that can have an adverse impact on the rankings of other sites on the same server.
The research authors say:</p
“The results of this experiment suggests that cheap shared hosting options can, in fact, have a detrimental effect on the organic performance and rankings of the websites hosted there if your website ends up being hosted alongside lower-quality and potentially spammy ones (providing all websites being observed are otherwise on a level playing field).”
On the other hand, they also seem to suggest that the next impact of shared hosting may not be very clear as is evident from their statement below.
“It is important to note that these results don’t show what effect the type of hosting you use when setting up a website would have in an actual SERP for a keyword with real competitors.”
It looks like they are negating their own previous statement as in the later statement they say that they are not sure about the real impact on the website rankings.
They also highlight the benefits of a dedicated server in the following statement. “Hosting your website on a dedicated server and IP address has many benefits and now, according to the experiment data, ranking higher in the SERPs could very well be one of them.”
What Does Google Say About The Impact Of Shared Hosting On Rankings?
Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller tweeted that the research was flawed and did not reflect how Google actually ranked websites. Johns says that research based on artificial websites (a reference to the made-up keyword used in the research) is flawed.
“Artificial websites like this are pretty much never indicative of any particular effect in normal Google Search. …it’s not useful data.
What Should You Do As A Small Website Owner?
What should you do as a small website owner who can not afford to or does not want to host a website on a dedicated server? My long 20+ years of experience dealing with web hosting servers of all sizes and types are that a shared hosting server does not have any negative impact on the ranking of your website. The only time you should leave a shared hosting server and go for VPS, dedicated servers when your website becomes very successful.
In that case, moving to a bigger (VPS or dedicated server) will help you manage your site more effectively. That is it. Shared servers are unable to handle ultra high traffic websites. Another important factor is how reputable is your shared hosting provider. We have discussed this issue in great length in another blog post. We are currently hosting most of our websites on shared servers.