Mueller From Google on Shared Hosting and Its Impact on Ranking
In September 2020, the Reboot report on the long-term shared hosting experiment was published. It was devoted to the harm of cheap shared web hosting for website rankings.
Shared web hosting is a type of hosting that occurs when a large number of websites of various topics are hosted on one server. Each site has its own dedicated disk space, which can be 10 GB or more. In addition, the user is given access to the database of the site, traffic statistics, mail accounts, FTP, and other services.
The popularity of such hosting is due to its low price. However, the presence of neighboring sites on the host can lead to problems. Sites compete for server resources. If the traffic on one site rises sharply, the loading speed of another site drops—and website speed affects search engine rankings.
Web Hosting is Killing Your Site’s Ranking
Over the course of the Reboot study, the placement of a spam resource on a web host was simulated. It turned out that if a bad neighbor shared disk space with other sites, it automatically lowered the rankings of these sites.
A bad neighbor is a host or an IP address that contains low-quality websites (those under sanctions, spam resources, gambling, etc).
To test the hypothesis about the negative impact of problematic shared hosting, a keyword for promotion was chosen, i.e., Hegenestio. Then, 20 domains were created, none of which had ever existed before and had no links. 10 domains were hosted on dedicated virtual servers (VPS), and 10 domains were placed on hosting with bad neighbors. Then, they created well-optimized sites with minimum graphics for the project.
A search console was connected to each site. Uptime monitoring was carried out, and the site speed was evaluated. As a result, the experts managed to prove that websites that were located on the virtual IP address were weaker compared to the websites on the dedicated one.
The above screenshots clearly show the difference in ranking between shared and dedicated hosting. The experiment showed that 80% of the sites on the first SERP page were websites hosted on VPSs.
The research results were presented to Cyrus Shepard, founder of ZyppySEO and author of MOZ. He posted the details of the experiment on his Twitter page.
John Mueller, Google webmaster and trend analyst, reacted to the post. The Mueller report results were surprising. He denied the analysts’ data and pointed out that artificial sites do not affect the search results of neighbors since Google’s search algorithm does not take IP addresses into account.
The link to Mueller’s report was not convincing despite the fact that in the Manual Actions report, Google mentions the impact of spam hosting on a site. Google explicitly confirms that it can apply sanctions to spam services. This will naturally affect even good server-hosted sites.
Mueller also does not think that it is necessary to move all sites to a dedicated server.
At the same time, Cyrus Shepard notes that John Mueller is absolutely right about one thing. We cannot consider all virtual hosting as bad.
Most SEO experts support Mueller’s opinion about the absence of the influence of bad neighbors. They say that many parameters, including visitors, were not taken into account during the experiment. Insignificant keywords were also used. For example, Roger Montti, the founder of Martinibuster.com, draws attention to errors in the research, talking about the use of non-existent keywords.
Search Engine Journal
The expert believes that companies should place websites where they find it convenient.
Search Engine Journal
Neil Patel believes that shared hosting is a good solution only at the start-up stage, as it will not be able to cope with high traffic flow.
To prove or completely disprove the results of the Reboot experiment, let’s conduct our own experiment. Let’s find a site with a bad reputation—one that is located on a virtual server. Next, let’s check how good neighbor sites are indexed and what their ratings are. Let us use sites selling Viagra as an example. Google really doesn’t like them.
Then, let’s determine the IP address of the site and its host using the Hosting Checker.
The website is registered in New York, hosted by Incapsula Inc, IP 18.104.22.168. Now, we can check which sites are also registered under this IP using Reverse IP Lookup from Hacker Target.
We can find out the ratings of neighboring sites using Semrush. Let’s take the first site on the list—bizjournals.com.
According to Semrush, the website’s rating is quite high, coming in at 81. Its traffic is also good. John Mueller is absolutely right. Hosting sites with a bad reputation on a virtual server with good sites does not harm overall ratings. Despite this, it is still worth paying attention to choosing a good host site. The uninterrupted operation of the site depends on its reliability and power.
Next, let’s take a look at the criteria for choosing a good shared hosting site and determining the top option.
How to Choose the Right Hosting
Web hosting ranking is formed on the basis of several technical characteristics of providers. Connection Speed depends on the following criteria:
- The quality of the hoster’s equipment and its scope. – The number of processor cores is estimated. Servers with a processor of at least 4 cores will adequately cope with modern tasks for a website with high traffic. Some hosters use 1-core processors, while at least 3 cores are required for normal task processing. Since 3-core processors are not released, the best option is 4 or more cores.
- The amount of RAM. It should be at least 4 GB. – The size and type of hard disk drive (HDD). Bandwidth is an important criterion for a hard drive. There are 2 types of HDDs: SATA and SAS. Choose a hosting that uses a SAS server drive. Its bandwidth is up to 12 Gbps as compared to 6 Gbps from SATA.
- If it is required to use modern technologies when creating a website, the server must have modern software and the ability to update it:
- Server location.
- Number of sites on one disk; and
- Decent server bandwidth.
The bandwidth of a good server should be up to 12 Gbps, and the server response time should be no more than 0.2 seconds.
Uptime is the time of continuous server availability. It should be 100%. Even 99% means that the site is not available 3 days a year. Consequently, during this time, you are losing customers. You can check your indicator rating using UptimeRobot, but it can be used only for a working site. Most hosting service providers guarantee at least 99.9% uptime.
- Server stability – The higher this indicator, the more likely the site will load at the same speed at any time.
- Customer feedback and hosting ranking. – This is the most informative criterion. If you see a lot of negative reviews and low customer ratings, it is better to refuse from such a hoster.
Additionally, pay attention to the operating system the service runs on. Some of them require a special paid license for the service provider.
There are 2 types of virtual web hosting:
- UNIX/Linux-hosting: runs on a UNIX or Linux operating system.
Most ISPs use this type of operating system as many of them are free. But, the disadvantage is the lack of control by software developers over hosting service providers.
- Windows-hosting: functions on a server that runs on Windows Server 2016, 2008 R2, or 2012.
Hosting providers require a paid SPLA to use a Windows Server. In this case, the software that is supplied to customers must be licensed. When checking the web hosting ranking, pay attention to the company’s licenses.
To get information about the disk space size, operating system, and other technical nuances that we discussed above, you can use the web hosting comparison service from hostadvice.
The tool provides hosting ratings, customer reviews, information about the operating system and software support, technical parameters (CPU, RAM, etc.), and server location.
Now let’s figure out which shared hostings are the best. Many people believe that Google hosting is the best choice. During the discussion about the impact of web hosting on the site indexing, John Mueller noted that sites hosted by Google do not have any advantage over other websites.
Since there is no Google impact on the indexing of sites, it makes no sense to choose only Google Cloud. An important note is that shared hosting is only suitable for companies at the development stage or ones that have low traffic. If your business is growing, you should opt for a dedicated virtual server.
In addition, the Reboot experiment clearly showed that the site’s positions on such a server are higher. Although, the main advantage is reliable data protection. If a worm gets on the virtual server, all of your files will be infected. A VPS is more reliable in this case.
So, the top 8 virtual and VPS hosting sites with a rating of at least 9/10 are:
- Google Cloud
Here is a host that has pretty good protection. It possesses excellent server response rates and good page loading speed. There is a trial version to check if the service is suitable for you.
The Silver Shared Hosting package will cost $142.68 and the price for the Gold package is $380.49. It is much more expensive than cheap shared hosting.
The main disadvantage of the platform is the complexity of its use for a beginner. In its quick access area, there are no step-by-step guides on how to sign up or how to upload site files. Virtual web hosts offer such opportunities.
Bluehost has a rating of 9.8 out of 10 according to Host Advice. It provides both dedicated server and shared hosting options. Shared hosting prices start at $2.95 for 50GB of storage and a domain with an SSL certificate. The domain is provided for free in all of its packages.
A dedicated server will cost much more (starting at $19.99 per month).
The operating system it uses is Linux. Its server is located in the USA, and its disk has 2 cores at least 2 GB of RAM. For the smooth operation of a site with high traffic, you need at least a 4-core processor.
Cons of the hosting include lack of support for Drupal, ZenCart, NodeJS, Ruby on Rails, and PostgreSQL. Also, not all types of payment services are supported. It is impossible, for example, to pay with Bitcoin.
Fastcomet provides several options for site placement, shared, and dedicated servers. It offers special options for your CMS. Host Advice rates Fastcomet at a 9.5 out of 10. The web host has several server hosting options: the USA, Oceania, Asia, and Europe.
Pricing packages start at $3.95 per month for 15 GB of disk, no more than 25,000 users of traffic, and a 2-core processor.
VPS hosting will cost $59.95 for 50 GB of disk space, a single-core processor, and 2 GB of RAM.
Fastcomet runs on Linux OS. The hoster promises a stable site speed, 24/7 support, and daily free site backups.
- А2 Hosting
This tool provides a variety of options. Server placement can be in either the USA, Europe, or Asia. Its service rating is 9.2 points. Shared hosting price starts at $2.99 for 100GB of disk space, 7GB of storage, and a 1-core processor.
A dedicated server price will start at $25.01 per month for 4GB of RAM, 75GB of storage, and a 4-core processor.
The web host runs on the Linux operating system and supports all types of CMS, databases, and programming languages. This is a good option for advanced sites.
Hostinger guarantees 99.9% Uptime. In its base plan, bandwidth is limited to 100 GB, 10 GB of disk space, 2 MSQL databases, and a 1-core processor. If you have a small site with low traffic, this is a good option.
Like the previous ones, this host runs on Linux, and there is also a Windows option. Dedicated IP can also fit into your budget, starting at just $3.95 per month.
The base plan includes 1 GB of memory, 20 GB of disk space, and 1 TB of bandwidth.
This is one of the most expensive shared hostings. Its initial plan starts at $3.95 per month, and you’ll be subject to payment for the service for 3 years. If you choose the 2-year billing option, the cost rises to $4.95. Its basic tariff includes 1 website, a free domain, unlimited bandwidth, 15GB of disk space, wide geography of servers, and free daily backups.
Its hosting rating is quite high—9.9/10 points.
It uses the Linux operating system. The hosting provider guarantees 99.9% uptime. Among its cons is a lack of a forum. There is also no support for Managed WordPress, Java, Django, Ruby on Rails, MongoDB, and PostgreSQL.
The VPS server price starts at $59.96 per month.
- TMD Hosting
TMD Hosting works on both Linux and Windows. The cost of its service is lower than that of Hostinger.
The web hosting ranking is 9.0/10 points, mostly because of its low price. The base plan for Linux is $2.95/month. For Windows, it is $3.99/month for unlimited disk space and bandwidth.
Basic VPS hosting cost starts at $19.97 per month for 40GB disk, 2GB memory, a dual-core processor, and premium support.
TMD Hosting does not have CMS Fantastico or ZenCart support. All programming languages and databases are supported though.
This tool provides you with the ability to work on Linux or Windows OS. Moreover, the service works with the latest Windows server (2016). In addition to classic hosting options, Hostwinds offers options for reselling its products. Its web hosting ranking is 9.3/10.
Basic Linux Shared Hosting starts at $3.29 per month for unlimited disk space and bandwidth. The server is located in the USA only.
Its VPS plans are among the most affordable. Managed Linux VPS hosting starts at $5.17 per month. Note that the parameters of its site placement are quite modest: 1-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 30 GB of the disk storage.
On Windows, a dedicated IP address will start at $7.99 per month with the same specifications. Its promised uptime is 99.9% with daily night backups. Its cons include no support for Managed WordPress, Fantastico, PrestaShop, ZenCart, Java, Python, NodeJS, Django, Perl, Ruby on Rails, MongoDB, and PostgreSQL.
To sum things up, we can say that shared hosting is a good solution for companies with low traffic and those that are at a low stage of promotion. Once a company begins to grow, it is better to choose a dedicated server with good technical parameters.
Doing so is a guaranteed way to ensure good site performance and will have a positive impact on indexing. Having bad neighbors does not negatively impact your site’s rankings. The hosting ranking and its protection have a stronger influence.