SiteGround Hosting Outage Ends – Site Recoveries Continue

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SiteGround web hosting suffered a major four-day outage from Monday, November 8, 2021. It wasn’t until November 12 that they tweeted that they had fixed the issue. Many customers have lost their rankings in Google and a significant amount of traffic to their website as the holiday shopping season approaches.

Many SiteGround publishers remain unhappy, in large part because of the perceived sluggishness of recovery after losing Google search traffic.

A lack of transparency about the cause of the problem may also have inspired feelings of frustration and helplessness. It wasn’t until Monday, November 15 that SiteGround publicly acknowledged the cause of the widespread hosting outage.

What caused the SiteGround problem?

A tweet from SiteGround revealed that the issue was isolated to an issue between Amazon’s Global Accelerator and Google’s crawler.

Amazon Global Accelerator is a service that helps resolve network congestion on the Internet to help speed up websites.

Here’s how Amazon describes the Global Accelerator:

“AWS Global Accelerator is a networking service that improves your users ‘traffic performance by up to 60% using Amazon Web Services’ global network infrastructure. When the internet is congested, AWS Global Accelerator optimizes the path to your application to keep packet loss, jitter, and latency consistently low.

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SiteGround solves the problem

SiteGround tweeted on Friday November 12 that they identified the problem and resolved it.

“Status Update: We are happy to inform you that we have implemented a fix for the Google bot crawling issue encountered by some sites. The websites are already crawled successfully. Please wait a few hours for the DNS changes to take effect. Thank you for your patience!”

Almost a week after the hosting outage began, SiteGround publicly announced on Monday, November 15, what the cause of the problem was.

SiteGround tweeted:

Status Update: On Friday we successfully isolated Google’s bot crawling issue to a network issue that was specific only to Amazon’s Global Accelerator and the bot subnet Google crawl. We have implemented a fix that works around this issue.

SiteGround followed by a tweet to express their happiness:

“We are happy to say that the majority of our clients’ sites are currently crawled and most of them have already returned their rankings. “

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Who followed another tweet who reported the success of the fix:

“All of the websites hosted on our end were fully operational and there were no issues with DNS resolution with requests submitted by another service.”

SiteGround customers still upset

SiteGround has implemented a fix. But many customers remained unhappy over the weekend as their sites still appeared to be affected.

This may not have been an issue on SiteGround, but rather delays in the DNS system as this information spread across the internet which could take a few days.

Positive reports from SiteGround customers

Some customers have reported that their sites have recovered:

Many negative tweets on SiteGround

Some publishers continued to tweet over the weekend about their ongoing issues, which could be related to DNS information or the need for Google to re-crawl the sites.

Nonetheless, customers continued to tweet about the slow recovery in website traffic.

SiteGround replied to these tweets on Monday, November 15, recalling that the problem should already be solved:

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“We have deployed a patch and the Google bot can crawl the sites we host.

The problem should be resolved on our platform by now, many customers have confirmed.

Please send us a DM with sample URLs and additional information so that we can help you further.

Why do SiteGround customers continue to suffer?

Although SiteGround has announced that the issue has been resolved, some customers continue to experience loss of traffic. This is not unexpected and maybe SiteGround could have helped customers by making sure they understood what to expect next.

Basically, when a site goes missing for an extended period of time, Google will start removing the missing site from its index. This is what SiteGround customers experienced this weekend.

However, Google never really goes away. Google’s crawler, Googlebot, continues to come back to the missing website to check if it has returned.

Once the site returns after an extended absence, full recovery can take anywhere from a few days to ten days, depending on the number of web pages to be re-crawled.

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My own experience a few years ago with hundreds of thousands of web pages that were temporarily gone was that it took about ten days to recover after a two week outage.

But for most publishers with smaller sites, the recovery can be much faster.

Google offers information on site recovery

Google’s John Mueller tweeted and retweeted some useful information about what SiteGround customers should expect in the coming days in terms of Google’s reindexing of their websites.

from google John Mueller tweeted information about this process in October:

“If you’re curious about what’s going on in Google Search with a crash like Facebook recently had, it’s usually a two-part reaction: when we can’t reach a site for network / DNS reasons, we see it as an HTTP 5xx Error server. This means that we are reducing exploration: “

Then:

“The URLs remain indexed as is, the site continues to rank as before. This is, however, a temporary condition. If we become a persistent error (if it lasts longer than 1 to 2 days), we will start removing these URLs from indexing. “

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Mueller tweeted that a failure will not cause Google to change the ranking of the site after its return.

“There’s no direct ranking change when this happens – we don’t consider the site to be of poor quality or the like, but if these URLs aren’t indexed, they can’t rank either. “

Once the fault is corrected, Google will re-crawl the websites. It is important to note that the site cannot resume where it was ranking until Google has finished crawling the website again.

Mueller tweeted:

“When the site comes back, if we have removed any URLs from indexing, they will usually reappear once we can successfully crawl them again. The crawl will also speed up again if we can tell that the server is doing well.

John Mueller repeated this assurance on November 12, 2021 in a series of tweets:

“Once the problem is resolved, Googlebot’s crawling and indexing will restart automatically. The crawl rate increases over time as the errors go away, deleted URLs will be re-crawled over time and re-entered the index. Visibility will stabilize again.

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He reiterated that there are no lasting effects of a failure.

John tweeted:

“There are usually no lasting effects of temporary outages like this. Technical issues come and go, we need to do our best to make sure that users can find their way to your wonderful sites through the search results.

Mueller tweeted this trick for quick reindexing:

“If you have some important pages that you need to reprocess quickly, I would use ‘Inspect URL’ in Search Console to resubmit them. Within a website, use internal links to highlight and create a link to what really interests you is also good.

Most of the responses to Mueller’s tweets were positive but not enough for some to tone down their lingering feelings.

Websites recovering from temporary outages

What happened last week was literally an unprecedented event. SiteGround is widely regarded in the industry as a reliable web host which is why it is so popular.

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Websites are expected to return to where they were before within days as Google continues to crawl and re-index sites that have temporarily given up.



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