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Use a Dedicated IP Address for Better SEO Results

Your Web site can be affected by the bad behavior of other sites, even if you have nothing to do with them. One way to reduce the chances of being tainted by other sites is to use a dedicated IP address.

Even before a crisis arises, it’s a good idea to know the IP address of your Web site and monitor it to make sure it remains clean. It’s like renting an apartment. Just because the neighborhood was quiet and peaceful when you first moved in, that doesn’t mean it won’t change over time and become an undesirable place to live.

IP addresses come in two flavors: virtual and dedicated. If you’re using a virtual IP address, it means that there are multiple Web sites, as many as your server allows, using the same IP address you are. If you’re using a dedicated IP address, you are the only site on that IP.

You should use a dedicated IP for your site. Even so, you still need to monitor it to make sure it stays clean because you can also be affected by bad behavior of other IPs within the same C block. (The second to the last set of digits in an IP address, such as the 179 in the IP address 208.215.179.146, identify the C block. It’s similar to an area code for a telephone number, except that unlike your area code, you can change C blocks. You can move your site to a new IP address and C block if you have trouble with the one you’re in. Call your hosting company and tell them you want to be moved.)

If you do share a virtual IP with other sites, which is often the case with small or brand new Web sites, it's like being in an apartment building. Similar to living in an apartment building, it’s important that the IP isn’t full of bad neighbors, even though that’s pretty much out of your control. If the search engines find out you’re next door to a spam site, for example, your site could be tainted by association. Google has indicated that it is difficult to be tainted by surrounding sites, but why take a chance? You should be in clean IP blocks whenever possible.

The other drawback of using a virtual IP is that occasionally, a search engine or a user navigates to your Web site by your IP address rather than your URL (usually only if your server is configured incorrectly). If you’re on a virtual IP, they may not be able to find your site. Any of the various sites located on that IP could come up; it’d be the luck of the draw. And do not forget that shared IPs may mean that your server performance will slow down based on the traffic load of your neighbors.

The Check Server report identifies the server status code for a Web page.
The Check Server report identifies the server status code for a Web page.

To find out your Web site’s IP address, you can go to the Free Tools page on the SEOToolSet Web site, scroll down to the Check Server section of the page, and type your Web page URL. The report identifies your DNS IP address, as shown in the above figure.

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