What I look for in PBN hosts

Updated: March 2017

There are five main things I look for in PBN hosts and I’m also reviewing all the hosts on this site based on these five things.

IP Diversity

As many A- and B-Block IPs as possible. Registered to actual different hosting providers, not just proxied from one server or from companies not actually hosting websites on the IPs. If you ask the SEO host who they host with and who owns the IPs and they’re iffy with their answers, just turn and walk away.

PBN HostingNameserver Addresses

Ideally, I want nameservers provided by other hosting companies, not the PBN host. This makes it look natural and is untraceable. If there are nameservers provided by a different company, I’d like to see it from large DNS providers.

Footprints

Probably obvious but I really don’t want to see footprints on my host – be the platform itself, DNS, IPs, error pages, server headers or anything else really. The blogs I host must be clean.

Ease of Use

First of all – I really don’t like cPanel (or WHMCS). It looks like something out of the 90’s and while I’m used to it, the user interface leaves a lot to be desired. So I welcome providers that have their own dashboards which are usually a lot better designed (and which, honestly, is not that hard). That said, it has to conform to at least the basic user friendliness concepts. In 2017 I still review way too many hosts with downright stupid user interfaces. It has to look at least like someone took 10 minutes to think about user experience.

I’m also looking for any kind of automation features, like automatic updates, backups and anything else that can make my, and my VA’s, life easier. We’re in the year 2017 when cars drive themselves so I really shouldn’t waste time manually updating my blogs or setting up backups.

Price

We should all be aware that hosting for serious sites costs serious money. That said, I usually don’t host my popular money sites on PBN hosts and therefore only expect solid reliability and speed for my barely-visited PBN blogs. Anything around $2-2.5 per IP (usually per domain) is great, anything above $3.5 is a bit expensive. However, I avoid hosts for $1 since I had a lot of bad experience with them.

Summary

I also add my own subjective “overall” score with which I rate the general experience I have with the host, be it support, responsiveness or their general cooperation. If you have any other stuff you look for in your PBN hosts, let me know in the comments or email me!

>>> Check out my Current Favorite PBN Host <<<

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Where to find expired domains

When building your PBNs, you will usually choose from three different types:

  • expiring domains on auctions,
  • recently expired domains,
  • expired domains.

You can of course also buy live websites but those can get expensive really fast.

Expiring Domains On Auctions

These were all the rage in 2013/14 but once PBNs went mainstream, the prices became absurd and domains started going for a few hundred dollars for really basic metrics. Since then, most SEOs look into expired domains.

Recently Expired Domains

Most expired domain tools like ExpiredDomains.net and Domcop browse expiring and recently expired domains. Recently expired domains are those that were not sold on auctions. You’ll have a hard time finding golden nuggets here since they’ve went through thousands of eyeballs. You might find a solid domain with some basic metrics but don’t hold  your breath.

Expired Domains

This is where everyone is getting their domains now. Find an authority site, scrape all outbound links and see if there are any links pointing to expired domains. There are millions and millions of domains like that and they’re all up for grabs. With a bit of luck you’ll even find a domain with metrics in your niche.

Where to go to find these domains? There are three best resources for this: The.Domain.Name, Domains.PBNHQ.com and Hammerhead Domains. You can signup for free with all of those and browse their databases.

Most Common Footprints That Will Get Your PBN Blogs Deindexed

People complain about deindexations and when you look at their sites, they do everything that’s been known to cause deindexations for years now.

That’s why I’m writing a quick refresh of the most common footprints you should avoid on your PBN blogs.

Outbound link patterns. Never link all your PBN blogs to all your money sites. Also, always include links to other small niche blogs.

Unique plugins and themes. Don’t use the same plugins on all your blogs or use unique custom plugins that are discoverable.

404 redirect to homepage. From August 2015 Panda 4.2 penalized websites with a large majority of redirects.

Analytics and ad codes. Really easily discoverable by a unique code. Never use it.

Sand FootprintsAnd here are some more tips on keeping your PBN blog alive and well.

Add internal links. Always cross-link your posts.

Add social bookmarks, shares and likes. Your blogs should have at least a few social shares.

Too few and too short and plain blog posts. Blog posts should be anywhere from 400 to 800 words, they should also include images and videos. And 3 are not enough. Add and schedule at least 20 blog posts over a year.

Link to other small websites. Not just authority sites but regular small niche websites.

These are the most obvious footprints and issues you’ll want to avoid with your PBN blogs.