SiteGround Hosting Outage Over – Site restores will continue

SiteGround web hosting suffered a significant four-day outage as of Monday, November 8, 2021. It wasn’t until November 12 that they tweeted that they had solved the problem. Many customers lost rankings on Google and a significant portion of website traffic as the Christmas shopping season approaches.

Many SiteGround publishers continue to be upset, largely because of the perceived slow recovery from lost Google search traffic.

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

What caused the SiteGround problem?

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

Amazon Global Accelerator is a service that helps remove network congestion on the Internet in order to accelerate websites.

This is how Amazon describes the Global Accelerator:

“AWS Global Accelerator is a network service that uses the global network infrastructure of Amazon Web Services to improve the performance of your users’ traffic by up to 60%. 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 fixes the problem

SiteGround tweeted on Friday November 12th that they identified and fixed the problem.

Status update: We are happy to announce that we have fixed the problem with Google Bot crawling on some websites. Websites are already being crawled successfully. Please wait a few hours for the DNS changes to take effect. Thanks for your patience!”

Nearly a week after the hosting outage began, SiteGround publicly announced what was causing the problem on Monday, November 15th.

SiteGround tweeted:

Status update: On Friday we managed to isolate the Google bot crawling problem to a network problem that was only specific to Amazon’s Global Accelerator and Google’s crawler bot subnet. We have implemented a fix that avoids this problem. “

SiteGround followed with a tweet to express their happiness:

“We’re happy to say that most of our customers’ websites are now crawling and most of them have already returned their rankings.”

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

“All of the websites hosted on our site were fully functional and there were no DNS resolution issues with requests sent by other services.”

SiteGround customers are still upset

SiteGround implemented a fix. But many customers stayed upset over the weekend as their websites still appeared to be affected.

This may not have been a problem with SiteGround, but rather was caused by delays in the DNS system in distributing this information over the Internet, which can take a few days.

Positive reports from SiteGround clients

Some customers reported that their websites were restored:

Lots of negative tweets about SiteGround

Some publishers continued to tweet over the weekend about their ongoing problems, which could possibly be related to the DNS information or Google being crawled over the sites again.

Even so, customers were still tweeting about the slow pace of website traffic recovery.

SiteGround replied to these tweets on Monday November 15th by again indicating that the problem should already be resolved:

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“We provided a fix and the Google bot can crawl the websites we host.

Many customers have confirmed that the problem should now be resolved across our entire platform.

Please send us some URL examples and additional information via DM so that we can help. “

Why are SiteGround customers still suffering?

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

Basically, when a website is lost for an extended period of time, Google starts by removing the missing website from its index. SiteGround customers experienced this over the weekend.

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

Once the site returns after a long absence, it can take a few days to ten days to fully recover, depending on how many web pages need to be crawled again.

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

However, for most publishers with smaller sites, recovery can be significantly faster.

Google provides insights into site recovery

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

Googles John Mueller tweeted insights on this process in October:

“If you’re curious about what happens in Google Search if it goes down like the recent Facebook down, it’s generally a two-part response: if we can’t reach a site for network / DNS reasons, we’ll see it as one 5xx HTTP Server Error. In this way we reduce crawling: “

Then:

“The URLs remain indexed and the site continues to rank as usual. However, this is a temporary condition. If a persistent error occurs (if it lasts longer than 1-2 days), we will begin to remove these URLs from indexing. “

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Müller tweeted that a failure does not cause Google to change the ranking of the website after returning.

“In this case there is no direct ranking change – we don’t see the site as inferior or similar, but if these URLs aren’t indexed, they can’t rank either.”

Once the outage is resolved, Google will crawl the sites again. This is important to note that the website cannot resume ranking at the previous rank until Google has finished crawling the website again.

Müller tweeted:

“When the site comes back and we’ve removed URLs from indexing, they’ll generally reappear as soon as we can successfully crawl them again. The crawling is also accelerated again when we can determine that the server is OK. “

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

“As soon as it is fixed, the crawling and indexing of the Googlebot will automatically resume. The crawl rate increases over time as the errors go away, the deleted URLs are crawled again over time and get back into the index. The view will stabilize again. “

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He affirmed that failure would have no lasting effects.

John tweeted:

“Such temporary failures usually have no lasting effects. Technical problems come and go, we have to do our best to make sure that search results get users to your wonderful websites. “

Müller tweeted this tip for a quick reindex:

“If you have important pages that you need to reprocess quickly, I would use ‘Check URL’ in Search Console to re-submit them. Inside a website, it’s also good to use internal links to highlight and link that what is really important to you. “

Most of the replies to Müller’s tweets were positive, but not enough to mitigate her persistent feelings.

Websites recover from temporary outages

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

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Sites should be back to their previous rank within a few days as Google continues to crawl and re-index the sites that are temporarily down.



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