The Ultimate Guide To Hosting Your Private Blog Network

intro

One of the biggest stress-points for an SEO is hosting. The billing, footprints, uptime, and all round hassle caused. In this guide we will uncover the services and strategies that experts are using to manage their PBNs.

There are many ways of hosting your blog network, but there are only a small number that are without footprints. We will be covering SEO hosting, shared hosting, reseller hosting, dedicated servers, and reverse proxies.

Before we introduce these though, here is what every PBN owner should know about hosting…

How many websites should I host on each IP?

One.

You can generally do 1-3, but if you want 100% safety – cap it at 1.

This does not apply if the websites are part of separate networks or do not link to the same websites.

What is this A, B, C Class stuff?

There is a big difference between “C Class” and “Class C”. I have not got a clue about class networks, but what we are focusing on is octets.

An IPv4 address contains 4 octects. Example below:

aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd

A Class is the first octet, B Class is the second octet, and so on.

Usually websites would have links from all over the country or even world, meaning links from separate A Class IP’s.

Many SEO providers offer unique C Class hosting, this means that the first and second octet always remain the same, but the third and fourth will vary.

What is an SOA record?

It shows some information about your webserver, sometimes webhosts use your email address here. You need to change it.

You can check the SOA record by performing a DNS lookup.

IP Address Ownership

A lot of SEO companies give you IP addresses that are all owned by the same company. This is the same for reseller hosting.

This is not an issue for a small number of blogs, but for many – a clear footprint.

You can find the IP owner by doing a whois lookup.

IP Address Sharing

Which sites are you sharing an IP with? Are they legit websites that should be ranking or are they part of blog networks?

Using a Reverse IP Lookup you can see all websites on the same IP. Easy way to uncover peoples networks, for you, me, or the big G 😉

How to use the tools above to tear apart networks

I went ahead and added a video to show you guys how to use these footprints and tools to reverse engineer networks, seo hosts, and more importantly… how Google could do the exact same thing.

The Different PBN Hosting Types

There are 5 types of hosting for a blog network, each with their own advantages, footprints, and drawbacks. Let’s take a look into them…

Multiple Shared Hosting Plans

This is where you purchase $1-$4 per month hosting plans from separate providers. The safest method available.

Footprints

Absolutely none.

  • Nameservers are unique for every webhost, therefore every website
  • IP addresses are usually in separate ‘A Class’
  • IP addresses are shared with real legit websites

Setup / Management

Pain in the ass.

  • Hosts regularly disappear without giving you backups
  • You need subscription payments, manual is too much work and easy to lose track of
  • Very hard to manage, get your spreadsheet skills out
  • Cheap hosts often have terrible uptime and speeds
  • Need to manually install WordPress, even worse if they do not have Softaculous

Pricing

Great.

Price should be a maximum of $4 per month for each IP address. Not bad at all for even one website. Even better if you host multiple websites.

Providers

Too Many to List – Prices range from $1 – $4 / month per IP with some digging around, often times the $1/month ones require 6 – 12 months paid upfront.

Verdict

The absolute best option available today. No footprints, but difficult to manage.

SEO Hosting

Purchasing multiple IP addresses from a SEO hosting provider.

Footprints

Several, but varies with providers.

  • Email address shown in an SOA record
  • Sharing an IP exclusively with blog networks
  • Sharing nameservers exclusively with blog networks?
  • Same owner of all IP addresses
  • Same ‘B Class’ IPs

Setup / Management

Easy.

  • You can usually manage all the websites from a single account
  • You are given a list of nameservers and IP’s to use
  • Only one company to contact if you have issues
  • One easy bill / payment to keep track of

Sometimes downsides though…

  • You may need to edit the SOA record for each domain
  • Can be quite technical to use i.e. WHM panel
  • Need to manually install WordPress, even worse if they do not have Softaculous

Pricing

Can get quite expensive. Goes up to about $7/month per IP, depending on the provider.

Providers

  • SEOHost – Starts at $4/month per dedicated IP, minimum of 5.
  • aSEOHosting – Starts at $4.75/month per shared IP, minimum of 5.
  • Indianets – Starts at $2/month per shared IP, minimum of 5. 1 site per IP maximum.
  • SkyNet Hosting – Starts at $1.99/month per shared IP, minimum of 5.

Verdict

Too many footprints for my liking. Completely avoid.

Reseller Hosting

Purchasing a reseller hosting account and requesting additional IP addresses.

Footprints

Several.

  • Default Nameservers are all the same – do not use.
  • IP addresses are owned by the same company.
  • Are the IP addresses separate ‘C Class’? Space out your requests.

Setup / Management

Can be quite easy, depending on the provider.

  • You can usually manage all the websites from a single account
  • Only one company to contact if you have issues
  • One easy bill / payment to keep track of

A few bad points…

  • Need to use a DNS manager (registrars is fine though)
  • Need to manually install WordPress, even worse if they do not have Softaculous
  • Control Panel may be quite technical – or plain suck @ixwebhosting

Pricing

Can be very well priced. Including the default shared IP, one plan I pay about 37c/month per IP (for 16).

Providers

  • IXWebHosting – $71.96/year with 15 dedicated IPs, exit cart to get $60 off (from $131.96)
  • HostNine – $24.95/month plus $2/month per dedicated IP

Verdict

Possibly worth trying for some diversity if you have a big network.

I tried IXWebHosting and would not recommend them because their hosting panel is awful (cPanel not offered).

Dedicated Servers

Purchasing a dedicated server and ordering additional dedicated IPs.

Footprints

Several.

  • IP’s all owned by same company
  • Same ‘B Class’ IP adresses, or worse if not spaced out

Setup / Management

Very technical.

  • WHM and cPanel may cost extra
  • Managed server option costs more, required if not a server geek

The good thing though…

  • Very easy to get extra IP addresses

Pricing

A lot of money initially compared to others, but can be cheaper for bigger networks.

Providers

  • OVH – $309/month plus $3/IP (one time fee), up to 256 IPs on a server

Reverse Proxies

A service that provides IP addresses which mask the one your webserver is using.

Footprints

Only if used for full network.

  • Unique nameservers for every domain (depending on provider)
  • Unique IP address for every domain
  • IP addresses shared with legit websites

If you use it for too much of your network though…

  • All website IP addresses owned by same company

Setup / Management

Takes a couple mins to setup each domain. You need existing hosting of some type, shared is fine.

  • Quick and easy setup process
  • Once it is setup, you never need to touch it again

And the bad…

  • New account needed for each domain (with CloudFlare)
  • DNS needs to be set manually for each domain

Pricing

Depending on the provider, one big one is completely free. You still require hosting for the websites however, a shared hosting plan is fine.

Providers

  • CloudFlare – Completely free service with CDN feature to speed site loading

Verdict

Highly recommended. I only use it for a small part of my network though, I wouldn’t want more than a quarter of my sites using it. Read the guide on how to use CloudFlare.

Which hosting option is best?

As a single option – shared hosting, no doubt about it.

The FAQ introduced a few ways of footprint sweeping: SOA records, different a,b,c classes, IP ownership, and IP sharing. None of these are problems with multiple shared hosting providers.

The real trick though is to have diversity. Some options are cheaper e.g. CloudFlare, so it is worth using every now and then.

Anyhoo, I hope you enjoyed this guide and I look forward to sharing this with you in the near future!

– Daryl

Daryl

About Daryl Rosser

Daryl runs a six figure SEO business primarily focusing on local clients. He's extremely analytical, and his favourite ranking strategy is using PBN's.

27 Responses to “The Ultimate Guide To Hosting Your Private Blog Network”

  • Zak  December 21, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Hi Daryl,

    Any word on when ZealWP will be ready? I’m very interested.

    Until then, I’m going to continue with the multiple Shared Hosting plans and Cloudflare. That’s what you’re doing, right? With 25% of your total PBNs put on the latter?

    If you happen to know of an extensive list anywhere of cheap hosting providers, that would also be very cool 🙂 Thanks man,

    Zak

    • Daryl Rosser  December 22, 2014 at 10:27 pm

      Hi Zak, in the PBN guide (http://lionzeal.com/pbn-guide/) I give away a list of 50 cheap hosting providers. I also have a small mix of sites on a dedicated server with dedicated IP’s, and reseller plans, but most on individual shared hosting plans.

      Will send an update on ZealWP soon.

  • George  February 16, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    Hi Daryl,

    Would you reccommend using hosting providers from webhostingtalk forum?

    • Daryl Rosser  March 2, 2015 at 10:58 am

      Some of them are OK, but so many are awful, full of other PBN sites, and shut down after a while so you need to move. Try to pick the providers that are a bit bigger, so it’s less of a footprint – and just less hassle.

  • Isagani Esteron  May 18, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Hi, great stuff here. I am planning to make my first PBN site but not quite sure about something.

    Am I supposed to use fake user information when signing up for the hosting? I mean would it need to be different from the user information of the hosting account of my money site?

    For Example: I registered with a hosting account with Mr Joe King from Neverland for my money site. Can I registerd with the same name and address for a hosting account for my PBN site?

    Read many stuff about reducing footprints but never really found anything about this?

    Thanks,

    • Daryl Rosser  May 18, 2015 at 9:50 am

      Thanks Isagini.

      For hosting, the information you register with is practically irrelevant, the only people that can see it is the hosting provider. With ONE exception – some hosts will show your email address as an “SOA record”. The easy way to overcome this is using a different email address. But it’s not many hosts that do this, usually only SEO hosts, VPS’, dedicated servers, and reseller plans. Sounds like a lot when I say it like that lol, but with shared hosting plans you should be fine.

      • Carlos  July 12, 2016 at 10:03 pm

        How do i know if my hosting is showing this? And how can i change? Good post. 🙂

        • Daryl Rosser  July 13, 2016 at 2:59 pm

          Just use shared hosting, then you won’t need to worry about it.

  • Dennis C  July 8, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Awesome post Daryl. Quick question, just to piggy back off of your last comment, I understand using different IPs, accounts, and hosting providers but I’m assuming you have to put your real billing address when purchasing hosting or domains right?

    • Daryl Rosser  July 10, 2015 at 8:26 am

      Thanks Dennis!

      For billing, yes. I need to anyway because I’ve got a real company, so I need it to have my company details in the invoices/receipts for tax purposes. Google can’t see the billing info used for hosting or domains though, presuming the registrar allows a separate billing address to the addresses shown in whois.

  • Didik Wahyudi  April 6, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Now I understand the difference between hosting c class & class c. Yes, its really helpful for me, as I know, there is still a misconception between the two.

  • ADY  April 7, 2016 at 1:09 am

    Just wondering if you’ve had experience or would advise using ‘free hosting’ accounts with sites such as 000WebHost & Byte.Host that offer completely free hosting accounts.

    • Daryl Rosser  April 12, 2016 at 9:34 am

      I’d advise the opposite lol. Free is definitely a no-no. Go for higher paid ones like $5/m popular hosts, less of a footprint using them as you’re “hiding in plain sight”.

  • Amin  April 24, 2016 at 6:39 am

    Daryl, really love your posts. I believe I have read every single post here.

    And absolutely love all of them..

    I have to ask one question though – SO if I have only one money site and a list of 10-15 pbn sites around the same niche.

    How do i plan out my hosting?

    I can’t go for 15 hosting accounts because that may addup a lot of cost.

    How would I host all of them safely?

    • Daryl Rosser  May 12, 2016 at 5:53 pm

      Glad you love the content 🙂

      Ultimately the best recommendation is to have each on a unique “popular” shared host.

      You have a couple options…

      Share hosting with others, to split the cost. Pretty sure there are services for this already.

      Or build more money sites. Can’t imagine you only plan on having 1 money site forever anyway.

  • Carlos  July 12, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    So, its better to create 1 site per hosting? And the e-mail i register on the hosting, does it have some problem? Can it be the same?

    • Daryl Rosser  July 13, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      Yep. Google can’t see the email you use to register for hosting, so it doesn’t matter.

  • Martin  August 26, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    Cool post. What it all boils down to is to strive to look as natural as you can with your network.

  • L  September 16, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Just to clarify- I could have 5 PBNs with the same host as long as each of those sites points to a different money site? I find it confusing because PBN can refer to both a network and an individual site. So with the shared hosting approach, if you only have one money site now it will feel expensive but as you increase the number of money sites you can use the same hosting for a site that points to money site #2. And another different shared hosting plan for a site that points to money site #2 again. Does all of that sound correct? And thank you for all of your awesome content- you’re site is extremely helpful.

  • Jack Naroth  September 20, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Hey Daryl,

    Does it matter which country servers a PBN is hosted in? If a site was hosted in Europe, will it matter if you host it on a US server?

    Thanks!

    • Daryl Rosser  September 22, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      Nah, not a problem.

  • RAJ  September 29, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Hi, Daryl nice post about PBN, I have one question to ask. For say 10 pbn sites, Is i use 10 different web shared hosting solutions or take a PBN package from a PBN web hosting provider which is best and less risk!

    Thanks!

    • Daryl Rosser  September 29, 2016 at 6:40 pm

      10 different shared hosting solutions is a the safest choice. That’s what I do.

  • David  October 3, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Hi, Daryl. Great guide.

    If I’m using Easy Blog Networks, do I need to worry about SOA records? Even if I register my domains on the same 3-4 registrars?

    Thanks.

    • Daryl Rosser  October 5, 2016 at 6:44 am

      Don’t think so, they’re smart guys. But you can always check with them.

  • Shahzaib Ul Hassan  November 19, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    Thank you for such a detail guide.