Common Hosting Related Problems 9/6/2012 Lots of webmasters complain about some sort of hosting issues even if they are using the best available web server. It affects the performance of their websites. More importantly it can lead to websites getting lower in search engine ranking. Diagnosing these problems is not easy. You can’t do much if you don’t know if there is any problem. Following are some of the most important problems associated with web hosting with guidelines to fix them: 1. Blocking of search engine crawlers: Your website is perfectly search engine optimized. All contents are informative, unique and authoritative. Suddenly, search engine stopped crawling of your website. Many webmasters complain about this problem. The obvious solution is to submit content, use ‘Fetch as Googlebot’ feature of Google Webmaster Tools, and submit XML sitemaps. But, since it is a hosting issue, your website will not be crawled. The main problem is misconfiguration of DoS protection system and firewall. Sometimes it also occurs due to a problem in the Content Management System (CMS) a website is using. Protection system along with perfect firewall installation is necessary. It helps in blocking high level of suspicious server requests which is a sign of hacking attempt. More often than not, Googlebot also accesses a website quite with increased frequency. It depends on many factors, but it makes protection system employed at the web server to block Googlebot and not allow it to crawl your website. You can easily diagnose this problem. Use ‘Fetch as Googlebot’ in your Google Webmaster Tools. Submit content for indexing and you will get the response. You can also use ‘Crawl Error’ section of Webmaster Tools to get the answer. Contact your web hosting service provider and ask for immediate help. In the meantime, you are also required to configure URL parameters for easy crawling and indexing. 2. Issues of Availability: Search Engine crawlers have visited your website. But what if it is unavailable like 404 errors or other reasons? A few attempts and crawlers will decrease the frequency of accessing your website. There might be many problems behind the ‘unavailable signal’ of a website like overloaded servers that leads to refused connections and timeouts, DNS issues, misconfiguration in the Content Distribution Networks (CDN), etc. You can find these issues in Google Webmaster Tools or Bing Webmaster Tools under Crawl Error section. Whatever might be the type of your web hosting service like shared, VPS, or dedicated, this problem can happen. 3. Invalid SSL Certificate: The SSL certificate can only be valid when it matches with the name of your website. You might have encountered many SSL errors thrown out by web browsers. Some common problems related to it are expired SSL certificates as well as misconfigured servers. It can happen more with shared hosting environment where a small error can lead to all shared websites using the same certificate. Google will inform you, through webmaster tools, about the existence of any such error. You need to act immediately and contact the technical support of the hosting company for appropriate solutions. Make sure SSL certificate being used for your website is valid. 4. Wildcard DNS: You can easily configure your website to clearly respond to all types of subdomain requests. For example, a website, say, yourname.com can be configured to respond to requests to abc.yourname.com, xyz.yourname.com, etc. In most of circumstances it is perfectly desirable to have this type of response system. However it can lead to serious problems of web access if a subdomain is not available. To eliminate any possibility of this error related to wildcard DNS setups, you need to configure the website to just avoid them. You can also configure the web server to just avoid responding to non-existent hostname. It can be done easily by refusing the connection. You can also do it by configuring the HTTP 404 header. 5. Misconfigured Virtual Hosting: Sometimes multiple hosts or domains that are hosted on the same server returns contents from only one website. It is quite tedious problems. The server is hosting multiple website, but it is returning content from only one. Whatever the request might be, the content will be returned from only one website. You are required to keep checking that the web server is responding correctly or not to the HTTP header of the Host. To avoid this problem, you need to consider hosting your website on dedicated server. These are some of the most common problems faced by webmasters around the world. Understanding these problems can lead to better management of your website and moreover you can avoid any loss of search engine ranking.
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