This marvellous Infographic that I made should sum it up for you. HostGator is CRAP, using it to host my sites has hurt my Google rankings quite badly.
Let me explain, in order for Google to love your website it has to be able visit your sites pages and index them. It does this with its googlebot crawler. I had a few problems with the rankings of one of my main sites, some of the inner pages were not indexed or had fallen out of the index. after a few more weeks this became really bad in that of the whole site with over 200 pages, only the front page was indexed. Google Web Master Tools was also reporting that Googlebot could not access the robots.txt file.
The website is currently only a brochure type site and uses WordPress as a CMS for flexibility and ease of publishing. It use to rank in the top 2 spots for the keywords I targeted and many of the inner pages ranked for similar and related terms. After the de indexing of many of the inner pages the sites homepage still ranks on the first page of the Google search for some of the terms, but the inner page rankings had been lost.
After some serious testing with different hosting accounts I also use; Host Papa, Bluehost, Servage, United Hosting, Xtra Hosting, Heart Internet and some others. I have quickly come to the conclusion that HostGator is blocking googlebot on innerpages of wordpress sites. This is bad, really bad for the search rankings of any of my websites with Hostgator and has lead me to the conclusion that Hostgator is CRAP and damages your SEO.
I really don’t know how or why but they are blocking googlebot but I created a simple test site on HostGator and the same on Host Papa. Tested them both using the brilliant web-sniffer which can mimic googlebot accessing your website and show you the responses. With the brand new sites created, both sites allow googlebot to crawl the home page, both sites also allow googlebot to crawl the sample inner page too.
Sample page on HostPapa also works fine.
So then what’s the problem? Sample page is working as it should right?
Most people who setup WordPress will not use the default permalink settings as the URL is left ugly. the URL for the sample page on the test sites were www.website.com/?p=2 which is an ugly URL. So to get the URLs looking like www.website.com/hello-world you will need to select this option in the permalink settings of wordpress.
I then retested both sites again with the new URLs
Host Papa first this time, with no problems
Next up HostGator. Look at the response header
Status: HTTP/1.1 503 Service Temporarily Unavailable
That is the same result that I get for ALL inner pages on ALL WordPress sites on my HostGator account and that is why HostGator are crap for SEO as they turn googlebot away and that means I will also be turning away my websites and my business from them.
I did raise this issue with their support and they just told me to check the robots.txt file. I have obviously done all the appropriate checks. Its something technical to do with their servers or firewall or something else. Either way its not good, its crap. Goodbye HostGator!!
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