What's a "normal" ratio of web sites to IP addresses...

David Hubbard dhubbard at dino.hostasaurus.com
Thu Mar 31 23:36:17 UTC 2022

I don't know that there is a normal as it likely depends heavily on the revenue per customer and the service's tolerance for giving out IP addresses.  It also depends heavily on the back end infrastructhre and what kind of service is being provided.  There's probably massive scale behind Cloudflare IP addresses.  There are middleware-style ecommerce and blog platforms where there is the same, i.e. lots of sites behind any given IP because every customer receives the same service from the same software; likely thousands or more per IP in that case.  As you get more custom, probably far less per IP as that's when sites tend to start being mapped to dedicated virtual machines / servers, shared hosting, etc. where it goes anywhere from a few hundred to one site on a dedicated server.

Sorry to go off on a tangent but this got me wanting to rant. __

Still, to this day, SEO "experts" continue to guide clients towards service platforms (hosting, ecommerce, blogs, etc.) where they know it remains possible to get an exclusive IP address because they are "sure" that will produce meaningful search positioning gains.  I started a thread on this topic on nanog about this back in what I think was 2003 because every business entity had an SEO expert insisting their various websites receive IP addresses on subnets that differed enough to be "distant" from one another because Google would otherwise penalize them.  I expressed frustration at that because it ensured sites that had no technical need for an exclusive IP address would get one anyway, wasting a rapidly depleting resource, and costing the provider in the process while they could still get address space.

A Google Director, Craig Silverstein, said this wasn't the case, but just casually in a slashdot interview.

Matt Cutts later refuted it directly in 2006:  https://www.mattcutts.com/blog/myth-busting-virtual-hosts-vs-dedicated-ip-addresses/

And he made the point once more in a 2013 Youtube video.

Three semi-official statements on the subject, the most recent nine years ago.  So, it hasn't done much to dissuade the SEO experts of continuing to steer their clients towards places they think an exclusive IP will be issued.  Fortunately the huge rise of CDN's seems to be getting things back on track, because those can produce more meaningful SEO benefit from the faster transit to eyeballs, putting exclusive IP recommendations on the back burner.


On 3/31/22, 6:19 PM, "NANOG on behalf of Bill Woodcock" <nanog-bounces+dhubbard=dino.hostasaurus.com at nanog.org on behalf of woody at pch.net> wrote:

    …in a run-of-the-mill web hoster?

    This is really a question specifically for folks with web-site-hosting businesses.

    If you had, say, ten million web site customers, each with their own unique domain name, how many IPv4 addresses would you think was a reasonable number to host those on?  HTTP name-based virtual-hosting means that you could, hypothetically, pile all ten million into a single IP address.  At the other end of the spectrum, you could chew up ten million IPv4 addresses, giving a unique one to each customer.  Presumably the actual practice lies somewhere in-between.  But what ratio do people in that business think is reasonable?  10:1?  100:1?  1,000:1?

    I’m happy to take private replies and summarize/anonymize back to the list, if people prefer.



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