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I apologize in advance for the opinionated nature of this question, but I want to get some advice based on people's real world experience with this sort of thing.

By profession, I'm a software engineer. I'm not a web developer, but I know enough to make simple to moderate web sites. I'm familiar with Windows Server and IIS. I'm thinking of getting my own server and IP to host a bunch of random things, but I'm wondering if hosting everything at the same IP address would be a bad idea, at the very least for professional reasons. For example:

Lets say I wanted a programming blog. I write about ideas and projects, and maybe a link to my github. It's something I can share with people and perhaps show potential future employers. The url is www.MyAwesomeBlog.com.

But also I wanted a blog where I talked about something more unsightly. Not illegal, but let's say a blog about guns/politics/religion/brewing beer/growing weed/etc... the sort of thing that I wouldn't want all my programmer friends or a potential employers to see. This blog is at www.GunsPoliticsReligionBoozeWeed.com (hey, that url is available!)

While the two are completely separate urls, they're both hosted on my server and reached from the same IP address. A moderately competent person could find out that both of these sites are coming from the same place, or perhaps use a site like reverse IP domain check to see what else is coming from there. Is this something that I should really be concerned about? If so, what are some ways that I could mitigate this problem?

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  • I read both answers and they are correct. I just wondered if you had a specific concern? For example; employment, family, SEO, keeping thoughts anonymous, etc. As a rule, any site on shared host/server is fine as long as it is not abusive or really really offensive or supports illegal activities. Also, I highly recommend private registrations as a rule to keep spam, marketers, and data miners away. – closetnoc Jul 5 '14 at 15:43
  • @closetnoc I think I'm most concerned about employment. I'd like to put/host a number of code projects on there, but also host personal things and not worry about what I put up being noticed my people that go to visit the 'professional' parts. The URLs I want to use have all been privately registered already, so at least I've got that. – cost Jul 5 '14 at 21:26
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As Anagio points out, the easiest way for an on-line stalker to figure out if the websites are related is through the domain name registrations. Most domain registrars have identity protection options and you should check these out before registering the domains. Ideally you would register the two domains with separate domain registrars.

Two websites sharing the same IP address shouldn't necessarily sound any alarm bells as shared hosting is common.

The main reason that you might consider keeping the websites on separate accounts is for security. If one website is hacked, a website on the same account will also become infected. This might not bother you if you have an easy way to clean up infected websites and you want to save on the cost of the extra account.

Edit: I am assuming you are using shared hosting rather than your own server.

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  • I don't think I'd be going for shared hosting, even if it would be a little easier. A big motivator is that I'm a Microsoft stack developer, and windows server hosting is always much more expensive than say a linux based one. But also I want my own server because I'd like some experience/practice managing a server by myself. I did register the domains privately, though. – cost Jul 5 '14 at 21:39
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A possible solution might be to host all the sites on your server, but use a service like CloudFlare to deliver the "questionable" sites. With this approach, the world would see a CloudFlare IP address for the web site, even though the content ultimately comes from your server.

Of course, you would still need to use third-party DNS and mail servers to keep the sites from being linked that way.

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Before deciding where and how to host the domains I would think about how you are registering them. Private domain registration for both for one but i'd still try and get one domain registered somewhat transparently and still use private registration. Maybe a gift card for one domain with completely different whois info setup from the moment the domain is registered. Some services track historic whois records. Generic whois info is used quite often ie; 555-555-1212.

Is the IP it self registered to you or a company linked to you? ARIN provides information on IP ownership. Do you really need to run this on your own server if the IP is in your name? Is a shared hosting account not suitable for one of the two domains which costs less than $5 a month?

None of the topics you listed are bad and would be fine on any shared hosting account. Those are topics all over the news.

So my opinion is, register each domain separately with different whois info as well as private registration / domain by proxy.

Host one or the other on a shared hosting account with shared IP. You could even host both from one hosting account which offers unlimited hosting/domains. And it would still be relatively anonymous since the IP is shared and is owned by the hosting company.

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  • I'd prefer against shared hosting. Part of why I want to do this is to get some more practice managing an entire server myself, and everything that goes along with that. I do have the domains registered in a private manner, though. – cost Jul 5 '14 at 21:36
  • @Cost in that case start with a 1 year free micro instance (server) from Amazon. – Anagio Jul 6 '14 at 3:13
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I would think that normally, employers would not really put 2 and 2 together, however, it would be possible if you reference one site at work or while looking for work to reverse the IP address and come up with any other domain names.

Employers are looking for any website that might be associated with an applicant and they are not applying the old innocent before guilty philosophy. There are pre-employment background check companies that if they are aware of your one website will likely find the other. Some companies ask for this information as part of the application process. It is important to know that it is not uncommon that someone loses a job because someone else with the same name had a website. Private registrations would make a scenario like this more likely.

I strongly recommend private registrations for anyone whether they want to be private or not. Really. I like them for a good number of reasons including privacy and not having your registration information scraped and posted everywhere and cutting back on spam.

But that is not the end of the story. For example, it will be possible to resolve domain-a.com to an IP address and then reverse the IP address to domain-b.com. Even without PTR, reverse IP address to domain name entries in the DNS, there are plenty of websites out there that will do the same thing for free. Without PTR, it would be more difficult for someone to reverse an IP address to all of the domain names, but many employers pre-employment background companies use domaintools.com accounts and other sites which would make associations from domain to domain easily even with historical data. As well, these pre-employment companies use archive.org to look back as much as possible.

It is not just FaceBook that they want. They will search your name using a tool that hits many or several search engines and profile websites that are known to maintain information scraped from other sites. This research goes very deep. It will surprise you.

I strongly suggest that unless you are retired or independently wealthy, you not post anything online that you would say publicly to anyone. If you maintain your sites with this philosophy I guess it would not matter if a background check ties the two domains together. They really do not check the websites, but may use a tool to grade the site. Just make sure that you do not create PTR records in your DNS. It will not make it impossible or even difficult to associate domain names, just not automatic.

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