As I discussed recently, I prefer to host my niche websites on Bluehost (read my review here). However, is it really a good idea to have all of your niche websites on the same server? Are there risks associated with having your sites all in one place? What options are there for hosting lots of sites? These are some of the questions that I will provide some to today. Overall, this is a little bit more advanced subject and in fact may not apply to many of you that only have a site or two. However, if you plan on building lots of sites, these are some things you should be thinking about.
Before I go into some of the specific details, I wanted to explain why I even considered these questions in the first place. As I built more and more sites, I used to host them all on just one Bluehost account. However, once I hit 100 sites I essentially ran out of space (limited SQL databases); so I got a new hosting account. The real kicker however was when I had some issues with some of my sites (i.e. a few got deindexed). You can hear me talk about this experience and others in my 1st Podcast here.
Essentially, I had an issue with one site that spread to many others on the same hosting. It was my own fault (an outdated an vulnerable WordPress plugin), and I should have caught it, but I didn't and it effected many of my other sites. So, one reason you might want to have multiple hosting accounts is to diversify your assets in case anything happens to one of them. This could even mean if for some reason Google decides to penalize one of your sites, they may just decide to penalize other sites that are related. I would never intentionally do anything to get on Google's bad side, but as I have experienced, and many others with the recent Panda update – sometimes things happen to your site even though you thought you were playing by the rules.
So, reason number one for using multiple hosting is to diversify away from potential penalties effecting all your sites instead of just one or two.
How Many Sites Per Hosting Account?
I'm sure I will get asked this question, so let me discuss it here. First of all, most of you probably will never have to worry about this. If you only have 10 sites or so – just host them all on the same hosting. Unless they are each earning a significant amount, then you might want to consider diversifying. However, once you start getting 30, 40, or 50 sites – it might be time to start thinking about a second hosting account. The call is yours.
However, I now typically only put about 30 or so sites on one hosting account. In fact, I have 5 different Bluehost accounts, 1 HostGator account, and 1 account with SEOHosting.com (with 5 Multiple Class C IPs). I may be overcautious, and you can certainly get away with hosting more sites on a single hosting account. But if you are going to be building a large number of niche websites; these are some of the things you have to think about.
Why Multiple Class C IP Hosting?
This subject probably deserves an entire post, which I may do in the future. But essentially Multiple Class C IP Hosting is hosting that allows you to have 1 account, but to host sites on 5, 10, or more different Class C IP addresses. You can get a good definition of C Class IPs and why they are important right here, if you don't already know. Its potentially beneficial for a number of reasons: first I already mentioned the diversification of your assets. Second, some believe that having too many sites on 1 IP address can actually make your sites perform poorly in the search engines. I don't know that this is really true or not – only Google really knows. But having a dedicated IP with only a few sites on it certainly looks much cleaner.
Another reason that people use Multiple Class C IP hosting is to interlink sites. That's right, they link to themselves! Don't act like you haven't thought of this before. The problem with having your sites on one hosting account, is that its easier to detect if you are interlinking your sites; however, on Multiple Class C IP hosting; the links are all coming from various IP address which makes it look much more natural. Whether this is something you want to do or not is up to you. Let me just say that I have not interlinked my Multiple Class C sites. Early on in my “career” with niche sites, I did link a few of my sites – but saw more advantage to just building other types of links.
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So, my advice would be to just avoid linking your sites altogether UNLESS there is a good reason to. If they are related sites, then go for it. For example, I frequently link to my own site LongTailPro.com from my blog here – but this makes natural sense for me to do and I'm not doing it to manipulate the search engines – I'm doing it because I have a product that readers of this blog are interested in.
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Overall, I have really just brushed over the subject, but hopefully I have given you something to think about. If you only have 10 or 20 niche websites, you probably don't need to worry about getting a second hosting account or Multiple Class C IP Hosting. However, if you have 30 or more, you should probably start thinking about this if you have not already. Really, you can certainly still have 100 niche websites on 1 hosting account, but you run the risk of slower performance from your host AND the risk of 1 negative issue on 1 of your sites affecting all of your sites. So, the primary reason for using different hosting accounts is to diversify any potential risks.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. I am sure that many of you have differing opinions on the subject – which is great! We can all learn from each other here. I have shared my opinion on the subject, now tell me what you think…