They say no question is a dumb question, especially if other people have the same question. I get to answer many questions on the topics of SEO, blogs and PR and I’ll try to post more of them here. Here’s a recent one: “Will changin my web hosting affect my rankings?”
Like many things dealing with SEO, the answer is “that depends”. If all you’re doing is moving the web site 100% as-is, then there shouldn’t be a big change in your rankings at all. However from my experience, when clients ask this question there are often a number of extra changes being made besides changing hosts.
Because many company owners don’t realize all of the technical aspects of hosting and of web sites, they often simplify the act of updating a web site to a new plaform, or overhauling a site which might also involve moving the site to a new host as just “moving my site”.
If the site is being moved to a new host AND is changing the technology that makes the site work, such as changing from Cold Fusion to php or changing from asp to .net or .aspx, then there can be a negative effect on rankings if the proper precautions are not taken.
If that is not the case, then moving a site from one hosting company to another should involve:
1. Set up the new hosting account and function web site under a ip address or temporary address to make sure everything is working
2. Point the domain name DNS to the new hosting location
3. Leave the old hosting location up for a week or so
4. After a few days, the change should propagate throughout the internet and search engine spiders should detect the change as well
For Google’s suggestions on moving a site without affecting rankings, check out the Google Webmaster Help Center.