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I'd like to create a Drupal 8.x.x website without a domain.

  • The website is on a quite non-competitive field (only 4-5 competitors if at all)
  • The website generally follows any standard of (Google's) SEO guidelines; it's just doesn't have a domain.

Should there be any major SEO problem (Google/Bing) creating a domainless website?

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    If it's going to be on the Internet, how will users find it without a domain name? Will they be directed through a portal that points to an IP address? Technically it's possible, but if you ever change hosting providers, your IP address will undoubtedly change and Google would probably consider it a brand new site all over again. – Trebor Mar 23 at 16:57
  • My intention is that users will find it only through search engines but indeed, if the hosting changes it might be needed to index it all over again; it's unlikely I'll leave my 5$ Linode machine but theoretically say I moved to a new host, what then? How to automatically let Google now elegantly. – JohnDoea Mar 23 at 17:01
  • I'm not sure what you would do. I've never considered using just an IP address in Google Search Console or analytics. I used to think I would never change vendors, but things change and the more you have invested in time and effort, the more you risk. Can I ask why you're hesitant to create a domain? – Trebor Mar 23 at 17:04
  • Because I desire a more minimalist approach; less bureaucracy if I can... – JohnDoea Mar 23 at 17:07
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    The other issue that may impact your SEO will be lack of whois information. With a domain name you would appear to be more legitimate versus someone who is just playing with test website on the Internet. I'm guessing that would push you down in the SERPs. – Trebor Mar 23 at 17:10
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Is it bad for SEO to create a website without a domain (just on an IP address)?

Search Engines always suggests you to create websites that are easy to use and serve the content/services that the users are looking for. So, yes, this indirectly affects your SEO because of the following reasons:

  • Not having a domain name that users can remember (Your IP address lacks credibility and majority of the people cannot remember the IP address for sure.)
  • Every time, you change your host, a new IP address will be assigned to your website. (This means, your website will be treated as completely new unless you use "Change of Address" tool on Google Search Console and similar for other SE if they provide such options.)
  • Lack of Credibility. (Not having a whois registrar or record will make your users think whether your site is legitimate or not. This will affect your business and bounce rates or no conversions will drop your rankings sooner)

Apart from the above for SEO, this decision also poses a huge potential risk to your business. Here's why:

  • Hosting only using IP makes you rely on your provider. If the provider shuts down the company or stops their services for whatsoever reasons, you'll be at loss.

Regarding your stand on using a charging card or saving money on buying a domain name:

  • Buying a domain name is the most beneficial approach as this can be owned by you as long as you renew the domain accordingly. So saving money on buying a domain name is only beneficial when you setup a website which you will discard in the near future.
  • About providing your details to charge your card. If you're hesitant to put your details, how will your users pay for the business? Also, you do not lose anything on putting up your information.
  • If you're worried about your personal information being shown on WHOIS, you can register the domain privately. (You do not have to pay extra money to hide your personal information on WHOIS if you register your domain with a EU registrar)
  • Thank you; also, the issue of TLS is very important that you mentioned (maybe the most important and the most hard to handle with). Also, BTW, Israeli domains can't be bought privately... This is good for world wide domains. – JohnDoea Mar 30 at 22:16
  • Just use a company address or pay for the privacy. I'm not sure on Israeli domains though – idk Mar 30 at 22:17

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