Using Cloakhosting.com For SEO Hosting Was One Of The Worst Decisions We Ever Made
We thought we found the perfect solution to handle the hosting for our very large number of domains. Rather than using 100+ separate hosts, we could use their one system and they would take care of the ip diversity. They claim to have "more ip diversity than any other host. Guaranteed. The Next Generation of SEO Hosting Has Arrived. SEO Hosting the way you always wished it was, and then some."
Our experience was quite different these claims. We found their SEO hosting to be nightmare unparalleled to anything we've experienced. And we have a lot of experience. We own over 200 hosting accounts and over 3,000 domains. So we understand the hassle of getting this right and the problems with using multiple hosting sources. Cloakhosting seemed to be the ideal way to avoid the hassles and aggregate our domains into a single system.
Boy were we wrong!
First they use other real hosts in their system by farming out the actual front end using the hosts' parked domain feature to host our sites. This is not actual hosting and leads to some serious indexing issues in Google. More on this later.
Then we found their claims of ip diversity to be fraudulent. After we had over 300 domains in their plan, we downloaded the ip assignments and found a huge number of duplicates. Although they addressed this when pointed out, over time and as they had to address many sites down daily, the duplicate ips started showing up again in spite of requests that they pay attention to this.
The number of domains that were actually down every day was a huge issue as well, and although support did make an effort to recover them promptly, just the hassle of having to check all our sites every day became a burden.
We then implemented a process to check the indexed status of down sites and found a surprising number to have been de-indexed by Google. There were days when the majority of our sites were de-indexed or indexed weirdly. When we pointed this out we were told it was content or our code. Yet when we moved these sites to normal hosts, they immediately got re-indexed.
Another issue with using parked domains is that they don't necessarily get indexed properly and you have no control over which urls get indexed. Many of our sites had non-existent urls indexed instead of pages that we redirected to - parked domains do not reference your htaccess instructions, so redirects are ignored. This means you can't aggregate link equity to specific urls and some of that domain's link equity is lost as a result.
It was clearly a mistake to keep our domains in cloakhosting's service, so we gradually moved our sites to our other hosts. This is where we discovered the most egregious problem with this host. You have to keep a credit card on file which they hit every month supposedly for the number of domains they are hosting. We made the mistake of trusting them to ethically keep track of those numbers, and not checking the billing every month. We had gradually removed our domains every week for 6 months since we had to buy additional hosts, and deal with the migration issues. So when we finally had removed all our domains, we noticed that the billing amounts continued to remain the same as when we had a large number of domains hosted. For over 6 months we were being overcharged! And when we pointed this out, we were confronted with their refund policy which only covers the most recent month. Basically we were cheated out of a significant amount due to their incompetent record keeping.
So the lesson here is just don't use this service - you will regret it. And the outcomes for both the links you post the sites you are optimizing will not just underperform, but will actually fail over time. In our experience, Cloakhosting.com provides a toxic service that should be avoided. Do the work of using real hosts, even though it's a hassle.
#LindyLang for MSC