Web Hosting and IP Addresses Best Practices

April 2nd, 2012 @ 9:53 am

The best practices of IP addresses for websites are lost on many beginners because a certain amount of experience with computers and networking is assumed to wrap your head around it and it’s easy to get lost in the lingo and industry terms. Properly assigning IP addresses to your websites really isn’t rocket science and it’s absolutely critical if you plan on building multiple sites. The main rule to remember is that you should spread your websites over as many different IPs as possible, so if your host offers more dedicated IP addresses as an add-on be sure to snap them up as you make new sites.

One of the most oft-recommended tips of web development is to eliminate the trail of clues that connects your network of different websites together. Failure to do so makes it obvious that these sites are all owned by the same webmaster or are at least hosted on the same server- which is information that can be used by your competitors or search engines to your detriment in a variety of ways. This principle is true throughout every facet of web development, it’s imperative to leave as little footprints as possible between your sites that might link them together whether it’s the theme and design of your sites or your WHOIS entries or even your analytics provider (hint: putting all your sites on the same Google Analytics account will likely tie them together in the eyes of Google), you need to be proactive at diversifying your sites as much as possible if you have a large amount of them.

Luckily it isn’t very difficult or expensive to ensure that each of your sites has a correctly configured IP, but you need to be willing to go through this process every time you make a new site- if you slack off then your whole network of sites might be ‘outed’ (a term web developers and SEOs use that means private information has been revealed).  Fear not, anyone with a big portfolio of sites can rest assured that their IP’s are done right if they follow just a few basic guidelines.

Types of Hosting and IPs

Your IP address is an identifier for the server that your site is hosted on, so the type of web hosting you have will determine how you need to manage IPs. The main goal of this is to spread your websites over as many IP addresses as you possibly can, some types of hosting are better at this than others and there are many things you can do to further diversify IPs other than their initial configurations (CDNs are one thing to look at), but for now let’s just get everything set up properly.

Remember that for each of the below plans you can purchase more IP addresses as an add-on for a monthly fee, so you can always scale up as needed when you make more sites. Keep within your budget but also remember that you need to be spreading your websites out as much as possible.

On a shared hosting plan, you are sharing a server and IP address with a number of other users, hence ‘shared’ hosting. While this isn’t very friendly when it comes to diversification, it does offer a limited amount of identity protection because there are bound to be many sites on the IP that don’t belong to you at all, which can throw a spider/bot or competitor off of your trail depending on what they’re looking for. Shared hosting is fine if you don’t have many sites, but once you start building a large network of them you’ll need to upgrade so you can spread your site over more IPs.

Reseller hosting plans are great for diversifying and assigning IP addresses because you can treat each site like it’s under the control of a client account instead of your main account if you want to. All you need to do is create a separate account for every site you create as they are made- this gives each site its own H-sphere panel as well. Try to create the accounts at least 24 hours apart from each other, or at least not all at once.

VPS hosting plans are very flexible and expandable, adding more IPs and scaling up your plan’s power and resources is a snap and you don’t need any advanced technical skills to do it, keep track of what each of your sites is using and scale along to fit it.

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