There are lots of things which can affect the search engine optimization of a website and it’s ranking in Google search results. It could be quality of the content, it could be page loading time, it could be how relevant the content is to the user’s query, it could be user experience of the website or it could be the overall reputation and authority of the website in Google’s eyes. We have covered in detail ranking factors in Google search, what causes sites to lose search ranks and what causes sites to gain Google search ranks.

One of the doubts most newbie website owners have is whether the choice of a web hosting provider or web hosting plan has any effect on search rankings. Does Shared hosting affect SEO? Does the choice of a web hosting provider affect the SEO of a website? Does it affect credibility, authority, relevance and any other SEO signal in an impactful way? What are the things one needs to keep in mind with their web hosting provider to ensure that it does not affect the SEO of a website?

The short answer to this doubt is –

No, the choice of a web hosting provider or a web hosting plan does not affect the SEO of a website, if all other things are equal and adheres to Google webmaster quality guidelines.

Google and other search engines understand that not everybody has the bandwidth to go for a dedicated web hosting provider or a dedicated web hosting plan. There are millions of websites on the shared hosting plan and that does not necessarily mean that all these sites are low-quality sites. It is indeed a fact that most low quality spammy websites use shared hosting for hosting most of their sites. But that does not necessarily mean that every website that is using a shared hosting plan is low quality in nature. There are good, legitimate websites too who are on the shared hosting plan and Google does not draw the conclusion that just because your website is on a shared hosting plan, it is low quality in nature.

In the following video, Google employee Matt Cutts clearly explains that the choice of web hosting provider and web hosting plan has no effect on SEO or search rankings

He says

On the list of things that I need to worry about, that would not be near the top. Google understand that shared hosting happens and you can’t really control who else is on the same IP address and how many websites are hosted in the same subnet or IP address. The other thing is that if you were to take action just on the same IP address or classy subnet, the spammers are pretty savvy. They would often migrate to another IP address or a web hosting company. Typically, this is not the most scalable way to tackle things.

I have seen this happen at least once if you have thousands and thousands of spammy websites all on one IP address and then there is this one normal website among a cluster of spammy or pornographic websites – that can look a little bit bad. That is not normal. It definitely invites more scrutiny – what is this one normal website has to do with thousands and thousands of spammy pornographic websites and why are they hosted in the same IP address and web hosting provider? But if you have just a normal mix that happens with any other shared hosting provider, I would not worry about it that much.

That said, there are situations when choosing Shared hosting provider can indirectly affect search rankings and SEO of your website.

When is Shared Hosting Bad For SEO?

Thing is, not every web hosting provider that provides shared hosting packages are bad for SEO. There are some really good web hosting companies which offer good shared hosting plans and you will have no problem whatsoever with your website’s SEO. Some of them are listed below

  • Bluehost – All of our websites are hosted with Bluehost and we are absolutely satisfied with their service. No problems at all with respect to site performance, rankings and SEO.
  • Hostgator – We used Hostgator before and were happy with it but migrated to Bluehost because of a different reason. Hostgator is also a reliable web hosting provider and their shared hosting plan is really affordable and efficient
  • Dreamhost
  • Wp-Engine
  • Siteground

If you are using any of the above companies as your web hosting provider, you don’t need to worry at all. We have personally used all of these companies at some point in time and these are legitimate web hosting companies which take care of their customers and does not let spammy pornographic websites to be hosted on the same IP address as yours, even if you are using a shared hosting package. Even if this is the case, you can make a simple request to move your website to a different IP address and they will most probably do it considering the fact that you do not want to have your website hosted on the same IP address where a bunch of spammy websites is also hosted.

However, there are situations when your shared hosting plan can negatively affect the SEO of your website, These common situations are

When your Website speed is slow, sluggish and provides a negative user experience – Website speed is a very important factor in Google search. If your website does not load fast, the chances of it being ranked higher are absolutely impossible. Now the thing with shared hosting is – most of the sites are hosted on the same server and they all use the same CPU resources such as RAM and disk and cache. Hence, sites hosted on a shared hosting plan tend to be slower than sites hosted over a VPS hosting plan or dedicated hosting plan.

That said, not all shared hosting plans are slow. For example, we have tested Bluehost and Dreamhost shared hosting plans and the loading time of a webpage was under 5 seconds. However, if you are not using any of the popular web hosting companies and going with a rather unknown and new web hosting company to host your website, you should be a little careful. This is because often new companies do not have enough resources to support the bandwidth of multiple clients in parallel, which results in frequent downtimes, slow page speed and an overall bad experience for their customers and the users who actually use the website. If this bad experience continues for some time, Google and other search engines will not be very happy about it. The result will be that these sites will see a significant drop in search ranks because of the negative user experience that happened for whatever reason.

Frequent downtimes, database connection errors, Internal server error, too many unnecessary re-directs, frequent IP address migration are some of the hazards of going with a shared hosting plan and these nuisances are amplified when the company you have chosen is relatively new and not proven for success yet.

So there you have it – Choosing shared hosting will not negatively impact the SEO of your website but it may sometimes affect the SEO of your website if the user experience is bad. So if you must choose a shred hosting plan for your website, make sure you choose the reputed ones.

We highly recommend Bluehost Web hosting because it is simply one of the best reliable web hosting solutions for Shared web hosting and VPS web hosting. We have had no problems with Bluehost till date and their support is also very good, they will instantly resolve any issues without your website having to go through unnecessary downtimes.