Good-bye HostGator! Welcome Knownhost

Few days back, I talked about Panda 3.8 and surprisingly ShoutMeLoud traffic started going down after the last algorithm update. Since, I offer SEO consultancy, it’s a shame for me to see my major site getting affected with Panda algo again. You can read my previous article on How I recovered from Panda, and I was in panic mode with this update. I started doing a complete SEO audit of ShoutMeLoud and realized that it’s penalized because of thin content.

Now, the question comes where is this thin content coming from? Eespecially, when I deindexed almost 10% of posts from SML and have been taking care of high-quality articles and spending hours on editing guest posts, It was very unlikely to happen. So what’s the reason for the penalty this time? Read on:

Thanks Hostgator for creating a mess:

Let me start with, Hostgator is not a bad hosting company but this time they created a major problem for me. Few days back (Before the last update) I spotted a https:// link of SML indexed in Google, and I contacted Hostgator support about this issue. Since https, links are likely to be there when I have an SSL certificate in my account, which is not the same in my case. You can read a discussion on the same on my Facebook wall.

Hostgator rep. Informed me that this issue is happening because of another website on same shared hosting server using SSL, but it won’t be a problem as Google will not index the other links and such things doesn’t often happen . Here is a complete transcript of conversation:

(8:19 pm) [Joshua C.], I just noticed there may still be an old SSL certificate installed on your account instead of the shared certificate we provide.
(8:22 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: And how come all of a sudden SSL certificate added or changed..When I have not put any such request
(8:25 pm) [Joshua C.] Normally this issue is from previous accounts on the same server.
(8:26 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: Alright…Let me know what you have done to fix it..and is there anything I need to do from my end, let me know.
(8:27 pm) [Joshua C.] Sure thing, Harsh. I’ll have more information in a moment.
(8:33 pm) [Joshua C.] Thank you for your patience, Harsh.
(8:38 pm) [Joshua C.] I made sure to relay your statement that you have never requested an SSL certificate.
(8:38 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: yes…you can check support tickets
(8:41 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: how much time it will  take to resolve the issue?
(8:43 pm) [Joshua C.] It looks like the SSL certificate in place is for another domain currently running on the same server. So there’s no issue unless you need to use SSL on your site specifically.
(8:45 pm) [Joshua C.] Unfortunately, we’re not able to remove the SSL certificate since it is active for another domain that is currently running on your server.
(8:45 pm) [Joshua C.] I’m checking to see if there are other options available, but we might not be able to do anything. Since you are not using SSL on your site, there shouldn’t be any issues, however.
(8:46 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: Joshua What you are saying it doesn’t make sense to me.. Because of some other domain using SSL certificate..My site is being affected..
(8:46 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: This is highly unexpected situation for me..
(8:46 pm) [Joshua C.] Its because both sites are located on the same server.
(8:47 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: Yah so you should move the other site to another server where sites with SSL certificates are hosted..
(8:47 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: I don’t ask for this feature, and you added it without my permission..
(8:47 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: And its impact could be clearly seen
(8:47 pm) [Joshua C.] Unfortunately, we can’t just move accounts to other servers, and we do not have special servers for accounts with SSL certificates. They remain on the same server they were created on.
(8:47 pm) [Harsh Agrawal]: So u meant to say you guys can’t do anything about this?
(8:48 pm) [Joshua C.] There is nothing to be done at this time, Harsh. The SSL certificate is not effecting your site in any way.

And after the last update, Google pushed my many contents to supplement results, and this is links, I see in main search results:

WordPress https links indexed

As it is, earlier I was affected due to replytocom issue, and now another such links causing penalty was unacceptable. I get on live chat with Hostgator people, and again this time no luck. They blamed it on Google and said, nothing could be done from their end. Though, chat rep tried a lot to help me with .htaccess code to redirect HTTPs links, but it didn’t work. Obviously, waiting was not a solution here and luckily my HostGator renewal date is next week, so I planned to move my site away from Hostgator and to a VPS server.

My journey to Knownhost Managed VPS

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you must be knowing about ShoutMeLoud server shifting. We started our journey from Dreamhost > Knownhost > Linode > Hostgator and now again Knownhost. Knownhost is a managed VPS, and you can learn more about it on my earlier post on what is managed VPS.

Knownhost VS3 package

I bought Knownhost VS3 package, and it costed me ($45- discount)/month. Which is a lot comparing to what I was paying at Hostgator ($6.95 with discount coupon) for hosting the same site, but since SML traffic increased before this penalty, I believe it’s the right time to increase our hosting infrastructure.

I will share a complete review of Knownhost in another article, but here are some quick pointers and tips for those who have faced similar https links indexing issue. In most of the case, canonical tag will take care of this issue, but if it’s from server end, you might not be able to do much. So it’s better to switch your host.

Knownhost offers excellent customer support and I got most of my query solved in minutes of time. The best thing is; they offer free cPanel migration and my site was migrated to Knownhost in 2 hours, and all I was required to do is open a support ticket. Last time, when I shifted from Dreamhost to Knownhost, it was not a great experience as they offer free migration from standard cPanel only. (Dreamhost offers custom cPanel).

Once my site was moved to Knownhost, I made/making few changes to speed up things like :

Server migration is always a horror story but this time, it was one of the smoothest migration I ever had. Though, I lost few comments because of DNS replication delay, but that’s a small price for running a smooth site.

Lesson learned:

As I mentioned above, Hostgator is not a bad hosting company and I have been using them from long and still using it for few of my sites, even after it’s sold to EIG. Though, there are times, when your hosting configuration can completely take down your site and search engine ranking, so you should always be ready with some alternatives.  Also, make sure you take a complete daily backup of your site (Wp-content and database file).

It will take few weeks or may be next update to recover back, and I will keep sharing my blogging experience in future posts, don’t forget to subscribe to my Email newsletter for quick updates.

Subscribe on Youtube

Article By
Harsh Agrawal is a blog scientist and a passionate blogger. He is blogging since 2008 & writes about Blogging, SEO, Make money online & tech. His blog, ShoutMeLoud receives 1 million Pageviews/month and have over 700K subscribers.


COMMENTs ( 41 )

  1. says

    Hi Harsha,

    I mostly loved all your contents. Im a new bee. reading all your post and helping me a lot. I have one month package with hostgator. Could you suggest me shall I go with hostgator after 1month or shal I change to some other. Kindly Advise on this.

  2. Chucho says

    I’m planning to move to knowhost as well. Let’s just hope everything’s gonna be good and smooth.

    • says

      You going to have a good time with Knownhost. Initial few days might be little bit of work, as you need to setup a lot of things; rest everything would be easy.

  3. Rozina says

    Wanted to know which PHP handler is enabled on your site – suphp or DSO.
    DSO is considered to be faster but creates difficulties for WordPress sites.

  4. Anshul Singh says

    Hostgator is one of best company, but i am getting a problem , when i asked hostgator they said because of your sliding problem

  5. pinolobu says

    Hi Harsh: I have a few questions:

    [1] how much unique visitors/day were you getting with HostGator’s shared hosting before you decided to move to Knownhost’s VPS3?
    [2] What is Knownhost’s VPS3’s maximum allowed CPU Load?

    Thanks for any info.

    • sagar says

      i thinks they nearly give 250 to 300 gb bandwidth on shared server now its depend on your daily pageviews how much visitors/day it can handle

  6. piyush says

    im also using hostgator hosting but tell me about is that any problem with my seo when im using a shared hosting?
    what about the speed of servers?
    pls help me

  7. veeshaal says

    same happened with me and i even didn’t noticed it. my hosting is netfirms. My site is accessible in ssl version.

  8. Bharat Chowdare says

    Thanks for this write up and it would also be good if you can write an unbiased review on knownhost hosting service.

  9. Sachin Kundu says

    I was thinking that i am the only who thinks HG i not for me. Here is my story, 4 days before my all sites are not working then i tried to HG live chat they said all sites are working but i come know that sites are not working on my computer only. i tried sites in my phone they are working then i said whats going on HG said clean your cahce etc.. many things i tried all nothing helps. I talked around 4 hours in chat all are waste after that i found that Hostgator host IP is blocked in ISP which is BSNL.
    They said me to go to the ISP and ask for removal, :D i said i will not possible, (BSNL did’t care it)
    Now i said please change my Server ip so i cant work, they said Big NO to me, no help..
    now I applied to cancel my HG account.

  10. says

    Great move Harsh. Even HBB migrated from HostGator to KnownHost VPS long back. I wish KnownHost has live chat support and good user interface, but apart from them I love everything there.

    Their VPS upgrades and addons are quite essential, we don’t need to upgrade the extreme package, we can just buy addons instead. (

  11. ash_nallawalla says

    I insert a rel=”canonical” header for all pages containing the http URL for the page (simple plugin for WordPress). The https URLs don’t concern me per se, but the greater risk is that some pages will be indexed with their IP address URLs.

  12. Rudraksh Pathak says

    Hostgator Sucks ! A few weeks ago, gator shits turned off my server for whole day. When I asked reason they said, we did it becuase you are using slide plugin……. ********

  13. Andrew Richard says

    I was very much confused which hosting company is the best one,as I was planning to move my blog from free hosting to a paid service,as far as I am concerned I would like to go for bluehost. My blog is in its early stage.please share your opinion.

  14. Sreejesh says

    This is strange that Hostgator is screwing up the site with all these issues. Maybe I guess its going to get worse once EIG takes over completely.

    btw bro you are just one post away to reach 1000! It was a great experience reading SML all these years.
    Congrats! Good luck ahead.

  15. says

    Interesting, I have been with Hostgator for almost 4 years now and have good experiences with them. The VPS hosting with Knownhost is quite cheap actually although I have not heard of them before.

    • says

      @Shalu Apart form this problem..I never had any issues with them….Unfortunately I had to face this problem and paying the price in term of Traffic and revenue..
      I would have appreciated if they could have actively taken some steps and fixed this issue….But they simply put the blame on Google and that made me decide to make a switch..!!
      I have already used Knownhost once for almost an year and they have been with support and other thing. Though, one need to know little about Apache and server optimization as we have to ask them to install modules..I added few of them like Google page speed module and I can see significant difference in load time now.. :)

  16. Sasa says

    Hey Harsh, in that small redesign of header, you should really put date and time of post in single.php :) So we all can see when you write posts. In post that hostgator is sold, i wanted to see when you write that, and cant find it out :)

    Also, small thing, you have styled LI elements in similar stories part, so also, remove them in that small design thinks you’re planing.

    Wish you luck and all best with new hosting providers !

    • says

      Hi Sasa
      I will make sure date will be added..It’s because of Panda update..I removed the date..
      In next redesign iteration date will be back and many other minor changes you can expect.
      Thanks for your suggestion. :)

  17. Rohan Shankar says

    This shouldn’t have really happened. I recently read some negative about the host-gator affiliate program and now this!

  18. david says

    Hi Harsh,

    May I ask why you are not on a dedicated server. I can see plainly that you get tons of traffic. Why would you not spend the cash to get on a dedicated server?

    I am very interesting in your reply on this.

    • says

      Hi David
      I have taken care of DB optimization and other stuff which keeps my site happy on shared hosting. Infact before Hostgator, I was on linode unmanaged VPS and when I moved to Hostgator, they were able to handle the load…I would have stick to hostgator for a while if this issue would not have come…
      For now, Knownhost VS3 VPS is good enough to handle my resources :)

  19. Gautham Nekkanti says

    Nice move, I’m sorry this happened to you. Such a huge company Hostgator shouldn’t make such mistakes.

  20. Suhail says

    Hey Harsh,

    congratulations, migrating a domain is worrisome, thinking about the DNS, downtime, data, backup all that stuff, i have gone through that. Had never heard about knownhost, but thanks for bringing it to notice, i usually recommend phpfog,, or wpengine.

    • says

      Indeed but Knownhost offers cPanel migration and it’s free..So within hour of raising the ticket..They migrated my site and everything is working fine…Just working on optimizing server more for faster loading.. :)
      I head of and Wpengine and they seems to be good for WordPress blog but I find them costlier than what we can easily get with other servers….

  21. Priyank Vijay says

    Hi Harsh,
    I am a regular visitor of and fan of your articles.
    I have just started and hosted my website with Host Monster a couple of weeks back. From last few days my website is facing server downtime database 500 error code… and it goes off in the morning between 8 am to 10am IST. Yesterday after reading your article about host gator hosting i decided to transfer my website from host monster to host gator and claim 30 days return back guaranty from host monster. But just received this article in my mail and confused now which hosting service should I choose.
    Host Monster is irritating me with their service
    Host Gator is no different, what I came to know about from your article above
    Know host is a lot costlier for me.

    Is there any other good hosting service available?
    If yes please let me know.

    • says

      As I mentioned Hostgator is not a bad host and this issue can happen on any hosting environment. It was my bad luck that they couldn’t resolve my issue…
      Though, Hostgator is in the process of getting sold, so if you looking for best cheap alternative option, I would suggest to opt for Bluehost.

      • Priyank Vijay says

        Booked space in bluehost for 2 years @ 3.95 per month

        Thanks a lot for your help Harsh

  22. PrIyAnGsHu says

    I was thinking to get all my sites migrated to Hostgator, but after reading this article, I no longer have positive views about HG. I think it’s time to move onto a VPS server as my traffic is increasing extensively.

    • says

      If traffic is increasing…and you sure that shared hosting can’t handle your traffic in coming months..Its better to switch before you face site down issues…!!