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WPX WordPress Hosting Outage via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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WPX Managed WordPress Hosting suffered an outage that may have taken down thousands of websites. The outage has lasted for hours. Many customers are complaining about a lack of communication from WPX.

WPX Hosting Site Was Unreachable

Even the WPX website hosting site itself was unreachable.

Screenshot of WPX Hosting Unavailability

WPX Hosting UnavailableA page hosted on their knowledge base subdomain (kb.wpx.net) was issuing this error message:

WPX Hosting Unavailable

Screenshot of WPX Knowledge Base Error Message

WPX Outage Error Message

WPX Outage Error Message

WPX Chicago Data Center Problems

WPX responded issued a templated response to customers complaining on Twitter. The response begins with a comma, which was probably there so that the Twitter member’s name could be inserted into the blank space preceding the comma.

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WPX Twitter Responses:

The canned response contributed to a sense of unease and anger in a discussion in the Affiliate SEO Mastermind Facebook Group.

Various members commented on the perceived lack of communication, calling it “useless.” While another member of that Facebook group posted that the single update on Twitter was “pitiful.”

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Another member said that they liked WPX but that they could have had more goodwill if they had been more forthcoming with information and called the lack of communication unacceptable.

Is this Why WPX Down?

The whois information for WPX.net shows that their domain is on the Steadfast ASN (Autonomous System Numbers).

ASN denotes the networks of IP addresses and they can be used to identify what the underlying data center infrastructure, which can sometimes give a clue as to what is going on.

Steadfast maintains data centers in Chicago, which coincides with the tweets by WPX that the problem is in a Chicago data center.

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So it’s possible that Steadfast may be the underlying infrastructure to WPX hosting, although with the lack of information from WPX at this time, it’s difficult to say with 100% certainty.

The Steadfast help page reveals this support announcement:

“Customers are experiencing network intermittency due to access switch malfunction.

Our alerting system detected one of our switches running inconsistently, and after an initial investigation, the networking team evaluated a couple of possible situations that might trigger this event.

In the first hour, we restored services to 60% of the affected segment of clients. We are currently replacing the device that is causing this interruption, and we should be online within the hour.”

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Sometimes Problems Happen

In this case the problem is out of the hands of WPX. It’s a problem with the underlying infrastructure which they are dependent on.

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One customer on Twitter urged patience:

It appears that the issue is being addressed so patience is a not bad advice. Issues such as this are not normally predictable and even if the service is in the “cloud” there is still hardware involved that can fail.

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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