Hostagtor is one of the popular name in Webhosting industry and undoubtedly they are always in news for something new. Recently they were in news for moving their data-center. Hostgator was acquired by EIG group last year, and they recently moved a part of their server from SoftLayer data center to an Ace Data Centers. Anyways, this article is not about what Hostgator is doing at the back end, but wanted to discus one of the major concern with Hostgator shared hosting quality and issues customers are facing with their SSL certificate policy on shared hosting.
Hostgator offers SSL certificate to their business plan users with a dedicated I.P, and if you are wondering what is the use of SSL certificate, check out this wiki article. In non-technical language when you see a site with https: that means this site is using SSL certificate. All popular sites like Facebook, Google and any E-commerce sites take advantage of SSL certificate to make the information transfer more secure. When it comes to a WordPress blog like this, we don’t really need a SSL certificate.
When ever I launch a new blog, I quickly add site:domain.com in Google alerts to get notification for newly indexed pages in Google search. This helps me to find out about new indexed pages from my domain, and also to keep a check on if any important information or if any low-quality pages are indexed in Google or not. Today, I got a notification saying one of my WordPress blog which is hosted on Hostgator have forum and are indexed in Google. This was the structure of domain link which I received in notification:
Surprisingly I have never installed any forum or have never purchased SSL certificate. My initial thought was my domain is hacked, but after browsing the site with www version of domain, everything was fine. But, when I was browsing the domain without www and with https, this page was opening:
As I mentioned this issue was not new to me, and I faced the same issue for one of my domain last year. Even recently, one of the Indian blogger “Anchal bhatia” had the similar issue on Hostagtor.
Hi, Someone told me that my website is using invalid security certificate. Can anyone tell me what is it all about? I have never purchased any security certificate. What has to be done?
The biggest challenge with this problem is, half of the time innocent web masters will not even notice the problem, and they will blame Google panda or other algorithm for traffic drop. FYI, when Google indexes your domain with https and the pages are irrelevant and of low-quality, your domain is penalised, and you will not even know why it’s happening.
My Conversation with Hostgator support about Invalid certificate issue:
I contacted Hostgator support team via live chat to resolve this issue and to get a clarification on the same. First of all, I hated hostgator for making me wait 25 minutes to get on chat with someone and it took me next 20 minutes to verify my account, and made David understand the issue.
Here is the initial transcript of the communication:
Undoubtedly, Hostgator is losing my view as a reputation of a reliable hosting server, because this issue can be catastrophic for any professional blogger like me who relies on his blog for break and butter. Well, last time when I faced this issue with Hostgator, I moved my most of the sites to Bluehost and main site to known host VPS. Being from a technical background, it was easy for me to resolve the issue, but if you are nontechnical, and hosting your website on Hostgator, I recommend you to Go to Google, and type https://domain.com and see if your site is also a victim of this Hostgator issue.
For now, I’m waiting for a response from Hostgator team to fix this issue and move me to new I.P. Address. I will keep you posted about the resolution, and if nothing works, I will move away my sites from Hostgator.