Does your webhost change your web pages?
When you choose a web hosting company, you don't expect that
they are going to change your web pages. You also don't expect
that they change your web pages for their own benefit. Unfortunately,
that's exactly what some web hosts seem to do.
What do these web hosts do to your web pages?
These web hosting companies change your web pages when a
search engine spider requests them. For example, if Googlebot
visits your web pages, the web host will return a different
web page than the web page that is returned when a normal
web surfer visits your web pages (a technique with the name
The changed web pages contain links to the web host web site
so that the link popularity of the web host site is improved.
In addition, the web host creates new page and complete sub
directories full of links on your web site.
Note that these changed URLs and the new pages cannot be
seen by you. The URLs are not static and you cannot see them
with your FTP client. Only search engine spiders can see the
changed web pages because the web host intercepts the requests
and dynamically creates the pages.
Some hosts also seem to add links to some of their clients
on your web pages. They do this to artificially improve the
link popularity of their clients' sites. If you see any Secret
backdoor to Google offers from your web host without further
details, you should be skeptical. If a web host changes the
web sites of other people, it is likely that they will also
change your web site.
What does Google think about this?
Shortly after this issue has been raised in an online discussion
a Google spokesman commented on it:
"What a scuzzy practice. [...] I've seen stuff like
that before, but it's usually pretty rare. Legitimate hosts
have a lot to lose from deceiving their hosting clients like
that [...] Practices like that just go way beyond legitimate
and into scamming."
How can you find out if your web host changes your
Go to Google, search for your domain name and click on the
"Cached" link next to the results. You'll see the
web page that Google has indexed then.
If the web page in the Google page has links to other web
pages that you don't know, chances are that your web host
has changed your pages. In that case, you should contact your
web host or Google
so that the problem can be solved.
Web hosting companies with ethical business standards don't
use these techniques. If you find out that your web host changes
your pages, you should consider a new
If Google finds out that your web site uses cloaking,
you will get into trouble, even if the cloaking has been done
by your web host and not by you.