Cloakhosting.com Is Bad For Your SEO Health - A First Hand Account Of An SEO Hosting Disaster
Cloakhosting.com supposedly offers SEOs a way to conveniently host domains all in one place in order to provide the level of diversity of ip/dns that permits links from the domains to be effective and not get flagged by Google as non-compliant with their guidelines. They do this by striking deals with many hosts, some large, some tiny and using their parked domain service to host the domains cheaply. The have created an environment using a single Cpanel account to host all your domains in one place rather than having to buy a large number of hosting plans and manage them on your own. Eric Lancheres even recommended them when using his Perfect Links service.
I work on a team that once used Eric's service to discover some valuable domains for links and took his advice to use Cloakhosting.com to host those domains. Among the issues we encountered immediately was related to the fact that they force all the domains to display through a caching system. So when you update your content, you then need to update the cache or the changes won't be live. This seems like a minor inconvenience given the greater convenience of hosting all your domains in one place. But one of the consequences we discovered was the flaws in their caching system which repeatedly took our sites down. At one point we had over 600 domains in their system and we would sometimes see 30-50 domains down daily.
Although they claim to automate the assignment of ips and dns to not create duplicates, when we downloaded the full list of ips we found instances where 20 - 30 ips were identical. When we complained about this they first wanted us to pay to move to another seo hosting service they owned. After complaining that they caused this issue they split our large number of domains across a number of accounts base on clients. At first this worked, but as we submitted reports of sites down they would reassign ips and even across the new accounts we saw multiple duplicate ips.
But the worst problem was when we started looking at how our sites were indexed. Many were not indexed and many were de-indexed after having been indexed previously. We started tracking this daily and found that the index issue was huge and unstable. Also many of our sites were weirdly indexed where back pages were indexed when the homepage should have been. We then realized that their system was not respecting our htaccess redirection rules.
This was when we started heading for the exits. Every domain we pulled from their system due to having been de-indexed recovered almost immediately when moved to a normal host. Ditto for the weirdly indexed sites.
Our last experience was the most horrific from a financial ripoff point of view. We had been trusting that they were hitting our credit card only for domains that were in their system. But they weren't even tracking the actual number, instead creating the accounts using fixed values that they billed us for even as we took down the domain counts to zero. Then they claimed that we asked them to set the accounts up that way. We were overcharged by several thousand dollars and since Cloakhosting doesn't even provide itemized invoicing, we can't demonstrate the overages so we don't have recourse via the credit cards. Simple ripoff here.
STAY AWAY FROM CLOAKHOSTING!
OneInAmelia for LSS