Website Blacklisting: How Hosting Providers Can Help with That

One of those many problems businesses face online! A nightmare that gives webmasters a run for their money! A vexing interruption for web hosting providers while they try to be focused on providing technical support to their clients.

Your website can get blacklisted for a lot of reasons. Google does it too. Too often. An estimated average of 10000+ websites get blacklisted daily by the search engine, mostly because of malware infections, exposing sensitive information etc.

So what happens once a website gets blacklisted?

The website owner will panic. The web hosting provider will have their hands full cleaning up the mess and getting the site back to running condition. This can be a bigger problem for businesses that don’t have advanced security specialists or monitoring tools for their website. In many cases, they won’t even realize that their websites have been blacklisted until it’s too late.

Analyzing the problem

Let’s consider the case of those businesses that can’t afford to implement security measures good enough to alert them when their sites get blacklisted. Most of the time, the owners come to know of the mishap after getting alerts from their browser or search engine when they try to access their sites. And chaos ensues.

Once a website gets blacklisted, time is of the essence. For businesses, every minute lost with a blacklisted website could mean not only lost revenue but also damage to their reputation. SMBs and startups suffer more as they won’t normally have wallets heavy enough to get through the ordeal.

A blacklisted website might lose its organic traffic from marketing which in turn negatively impacts the sales. As for the web host, the situation stands to undermine their credibility.

Fixing the problem

If it’s because of a malware infection, it could take more than a few hours, maybe even days, to remove it completely and cleanse the website. And that depends on the severity of the infection, and whether the website has an effective backup mechanism.

Removing infections and restoring backup is just step 1. The second step involves convincing Google to ‘unblock’ the website.

A simple 2 step fix right? Easier said than done.

The unblocking process may take hours.

Where web hosting providers come in

They have their work cut out for them. A blacklisted website of one of their customers can impact the providers’ business as well. Generally, many website owners tend to think it’s the hosting platform’s fault that they can’t access their website, when the website is blacklisted. Regardless of the reason for getting blacklisted, it wouldn’t be easy for hosting providers to get the website off the blacklist.

Reliable web hosting providers may have a plan to follow in case of such emergencies, to remediate the problem and minimize the damage. There are a lot of effective tools providers can use to get the de-blacklisting process done as fast as possible, thereby garnering the trust of clients. Good hosts won’t be using a lot of resources while fixing the problem.

Blacklisting problem can be a mess but it won’t be giving anyone a hard time if the site owners use powerful backup tools. They can restore the website to the way it was, with adequate support from the web host.

To remediate the problem quickly and efficiently, and have the websites back in action, the hosting providers should be aware of the following:

  • Using good antivirus programs to quarantine malicious files from on administrators’ systems.
  • Change passwords for everything that presently uses a password including logins, FTP, CMS accounts, databases etc.
  • Make sure clients have installed latest versions of the applications and software they use including the OS.
  • Delete all modified files added to the server after the issue was first identified. After deleting all the files, perform the complete system restore. Cloud-based backup/recovery features make it easier for hosting providers.
  • Request Google to review the website again and remove the website from the blacklist. Google Webmaster Tools is required for this.

There are many threats to a website. Getting blacklisted is just one of them. This should make it clear why it’s important for every web host and site owner to have tools at the ready to get their websites and their data back online, should a mishap occur.