Updated in March 2019. Looking for a neat solution for hosting a PBN that makes managing your blog network easy and efficient? You are in the right place. Let me…
Building Private Blog Network: PBN Hosting Review
One of the very important aspects of PBN is hosting. In this post, I will discuss a few options and reveal what new approaches to PBN hosting I am using.
Choosing PBN Hosting
Ideally, a private blog network hosting solution should have the following characteristics:
- each blog in a PBN (that feeds one money website) must have a unique IP address; if not, this is a footprint easily discovered by Google;
- it should have good “neighbors” to avoid Google penalty; it can happen because your blogs belong to a spammy IP address cluster – more on it later;
- the hosting should be low cost; otherwise, it does not make any financial sense to have a PBN;
- the hosting should be easy to manage to reduce the amount of time invested into it; you can hire a VA but in the end, this again goes down to the amount of money you want to spend on your PBN.
All these conditions can be distilled down to two important things: a PBN hosting should make a financial sense (to be not too expensive) and should not cause de-indexing.
PBN Hosting Solutions
So, what to choose for hosting? Let’s look at available solutions.
Multiple Class C IP Hosting
Also known as SEO hosting.
I learned that I better stay away from multiple class C IP hosting.
If you do not know what it is or why it is bad, you can read a great post by WebHostingBuzz.
I mention it here only because I did consider to go with it in the first few days after I started researching hosting options. Apparently, I read too many old posts! After reading a bit more, I learned that this is an outdated approach that very quickly leads to de-indexing.
Speaking of old posts. The world of SEO changes so quickly that it usually makes a little sense to read posts older than 1-2 years.
When I search for such info, I got a habit of limiting the search to 1-year-old results.
One of the most popular solutions is to use so-called one-dollar hosting. They got their name thanks to the price they charge: It’s only a few dollars ($1-$3) a month per website.
This solution has some attractive advantages:
- the price of $1-$3 dollars a month is very cheap;
- if you get a coupon for a new account (easy to find on the internet), it will be even cheaper;
- you get (or at least, should get) a new IP if you simply pick a different company for each PBN.
But it also has some significant disadvantages:
- the cheap price comes with its own price: usually, these hosting companies have issues with uptime and poor customer service;
- hard to manage due to the sheer amount of the accounts (one per a PBN blog);
- Google has a way to mass crack PBNs hosted on cheap hosting.
I have a few accounts with $1 hosting companies.
The ones I am with seem to be doing surprisingly well in terms of the customer service. They responded to my requests and even did what I asked 🙂
The ones I am not with have silly troubles that only show how little they care about acquiring customers (I am not even talking about customer support here!):
- one hosting company rejected my order because I mistyped my phone number. I went back to correct it… only to find out that the field was read-only, and I would have to open a ticket to fix it. I decided not to bother and move on;
- another company shut down my account (put into a manual review) because they did not like my email; however, my email was totally legitimate and worked without problems;
- some other hosting did not allow me to pass the account security (it is called MaxFlint or something like that)…. despite the fact I was using my real contact info. Over-protection?
Apart from poor customer support, cheap hosting is full of bad neighbors – and this is what truly matters.
Who usually buys hosting there? Right, blackhat marketers who are building PBNs. These websites use shared hosting and thus share the same IP address with yours. Once one of them gets flagged as a PBN, it is super easy for Google to find the other ones by using a reverse IP lookup. After the blogs are found, they are put for a manual review. The manual review usually ends with de-indexing.
When I say “normal” hosting, I mean the hosting that you would usually get for your blog or a money website.
It’s such reputable companies as BlueHost, Hostgator, GoDaddy, etc. I am talking about shared hosting they offer.
The advantages of normal hosting:
- good legitimate neighbors that will probably never get de-indexed;
- good customer service and relatively low downtime.
And of course it has disadvantages:
- still, one IP address per blog so you need to have one hosting account per blog;
- since such hosting is not cheap, a PBN built on it will be expensive; the price is somewhere between $6 and $10 per blog per month.
So if you have a PBN with 5 blogs with BlueHost, you will be paying $8 x 5 = $40 a month.
Now compare it to a one-dollar hosting: $2 x 5 = $10 (I took an average price, which is in between min and max)
Is it worth it? It depends on your revenue from a money website but usually, it is too expensive.
Easy Blog Networks
This is a new thing on the market: A dedicated hosting that is created specifically for PBNs.
The provider kept in mind all possible issues and difficulties PBN webmasters experience including a protection against a possible Google de-indexing.
Easy Blog Networks resells third-party hosting services, to which they add a new intermediate layer containing PBN managing tools.
This is what’s said on their website:
Your blogs are hosted on different A-, B- & C-Block IPs, in different data centers and by different hosting companies. This way your private blog network profile looks completely natural. We currently use a selection of 16 hosting providers with a total of 81 data centers. We’re adding new hosting providers and servers on a monthly basis.
You can read my extensive review of Easy Blog Networks in this post. Here, I will briefly mention their pros and cons,
The pros of EBN:
- designed specifically for PBNs to solve de-indexing issues;
- blogs have a natural hosting profile;
- thanks to that, each blog has a unique IP address;
- all PBN blog management is done from one place;
- many useful tools and automated updates that save a TREMENDOUS amount of time while managing a PBN;
- great customer support;
- great blog to follow, in which the guys talk about the latest findings of the battle of Google vs PBN.
The cons of EBN:
- this is a hosting that has pretty much only PBN blogs hosted; if Google somehow cracks it down, it will probably de-index all the blogs hosted there;
- not suitable for mini-PBNs since the minimal number of blogs to host is 10 and it is priced accordingly;
- does not allow to have an access to cPanels of the blogs;
- the blogs are sandboxed in a sort of sense due to limitations of the hosting backend;
- since this is a new thing on the market, its tools still may have some glitches, though not critical.
Currently, their cheapest plan Mini is $36 / 10 blogs. The more blogs you host, the cheaper it will be per blog.
If you want to try it out, you can register using my link. For now, the EBN opens new accounts on the invite-only basis.
Bulk Buy Hosting
This is a new player on the PBN management system market.
They host PBN blogs over many reliable, “normal” hostings likeSmall Orange, HostGator, etc – without the premium price tag that usually comes with the services.
This is what Bulk Buy Hosting (BBH) says on their website:
True IP diversity from a range of premium hosting companies like HostGator, NameCheap, A Small Orange and Arvixe.
This is a great solution in terms of preventing de-indexing because PBN blogs get mixed up with non-PBN ones. This will give Google a hard time detecting the blogs through “bad” neighbors.
Here, I will just briefly mention its cons and pros. If you want to know more details, read my extensive BBH review post.
The pros of BBH:
- low chances of de-indexing due to a true diversity of IP addresses;
- more affordable than EBN: On the cheapest plan, you pay as low as $2.64 a blog a month;
- full cPanel access for each and every blog that makes it a flexible solution;
- CMSs available to install on the blogs are not limited to WordPress; it can be Drupal, static website, Joomla, etc;
- suitable for a mini-PBN since the minimal number of blogs is 5;
The cons of BBH:
- no automation tools to help with PBN management;
- the dashboard is simply an aggregation list that gives only a basic info about the blogs.
Currently, their cheapest plan is 5 accounts for $13.90 / month. On the minimal plan, you will pay $2.78 a blog with a possibility to save 5% if signed up for a year plan (thus the price of $2.64 a blog). This puts this PBN hosting solution on a competitive pricing level with the $1 hosting.
You can give it a try using my link.
I made a couple of graphs summarizing what I have said above.
Here is how the hosting can be compared based on their price and ease of management.
Here is how the hosting solutions can be compared based on a possibility of being de-indexed by Google. This is, of course, only my opinion.
My Choice For PBN Hosting
You may have guessed already that I like Easy Blog Networks 🙂 It is true, I am using them and so far I find them very convenient and not that expensive.
However, I do not want to put all the eggs in one basket.
I decided to take a diversified approach by using multiple hosting types: $1-hostings, Easy Blog Networks, reputable providers.
I have about nine blogs in Easy Blog Networks, three on $1 hosting and so far zero with reputable providers. For the reputable hosting, I will definitely go with Buy Bulk Hosting because it’s damn plain cheaper than having separate accounts opened. And more convenient!
A Tiny Bit More
BTW, when you buy a hosting for PBN, always use your real address/info. Hosting companies have a protection that prevents from using fake addresses.
Some of the links in this income report are affiliate links. I will receive a small fee if you choose to buy after clicking on any of these links. Thank you if you do!