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Lost traffic after server move? really?!

     
12:28 am on Oct 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I am about to jump on a plane and seriously hurt somebody at Google HQ.

Yesterday, moved to a new, more powerful set of servers. The site now runs faster than ever with two dual quad core servers with 28GB ram each.

The result, a loss of 1/5 of traffic. Traffic has been stable for a long time. It differs by maybe +/- 1,000 MAX. Today, there is a loss of 5,000. All from Google.

I am literally at whits end with Google. They just don't make sense anymore. I moved my website, to more powerful servers, to ensure a better experience for my users and I am for some reason, penalised for it?

The old servers are still up, just to catch the odd person still not properly propagated.

What the hell is going on with G? I really do feel ready to explode. :(
3:18 am on Oct 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Um, why are you blaming Google for what can be simple DNS issues?

If you have a lot of repeat visitors browser caching can be a problem, or bad ISPs with crappy DNS server setups, I've seen some wickedly bad stuff out there.

I've done everything by the book and sometimes it takes a couple of days to get back to normal, nothing to panic about until after 2 weeks it's still not normal ;)
3:49 pm on Oct 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Bill, whether a DNS issue or not. Both servers are live. So regardless of where Google is sending the traffic, its still coming to me and accumulating in Analytics?

That's why I'm panicking, because there should be no loss, I decided to pay double hosting, costing me an extra $1,000 and still it failed to not cause issue. Gah.
4:15 pm on Oct 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps the quality of your new IP address (or it's neighbors) is suspect? Just a thought.
5:07 pm on Oct 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It's a dedicated server and IP.
5:23 pm on Oct 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Have moved countless sites and never had that problem. I don't think it's Google.
5:38 pm on Oct 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Ditto netmeg. But this is happened exactly on the night of the move, it began to drop. Will monitor the traffic in the coming days.
6:00 pm on Oct 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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As bill noted, if it's happening that quick, its smells like dns problems.

Call everyone you can think of and have them hit your site. That's an easy distributed DNS test.
6:21 pm on Oct 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Have you performed a background check on this newly assigned (and possible reassigned) IP address?
6:57 pm on Oct 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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So regardless of where Google is sending the traffic, its still coming to me and accumulating in Analytics?


You keep making the assumption the traffic is making it to your server from Google.

I'm making the assumption it's not due to a DNS hiccup somewhere out in the internet.

Where does most of your traffic normally come from, US, CA, UK?

Look in your analytics to see what's missing and it may provide some clues.
7:14 pm on Oct 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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This was just yesterday? Not uncommon for TTL's to have 24 hour expirations. Do you remember what your TTL was?
9:51 pm on Oct 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I am with the majority here is isn't Google something is or was set up wrong. I have moved many sites without a single problem. I always leave the site running on the old server for about a week before taking it down. I am with the others it is a DNS problem maybe the firewall is set up wrong, something other than Google is the issue.
10:27 pm on Oct 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Assuming you do not have analytics on your error pages, another possibility could be that the new server is throwing errors for some of your pages. An indiction of this is that your traffic loss would grow as your DNS TTL started expiring.

Like others have said, I recently moved servers (30 days ago) from somewhere in VA to Chicago with no drop in traffic.
1:13 am on Oct 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I will see how it goes. I have moved so many sites in my time without glitch. But this definitely happened as the site moved. ATM no errors that I can see. will update if I find anything or if the drop increases.
6:04 am on Oct 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I too have moved servers with no drop in traffic but I've also seen the TTL in DNS servers cause problems, if it doesn't clear up in a couple of days I'd be worried.
8:38 am on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Did your traffic normalize in the meanwhile?
9:59 am on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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On a practical level. Did traffic from Direct and referring sites also drop by the same percentage, if so then Google is not the issue.

Check the server error logs, and the MYSQL error logs for clues as to a technical issue. A simple mis configuration can cause an issue. Run a full set of DNS tests and make sure the server is resolving properly.

Are both servers identical in their setup? Do they provide the same headers, etags etc.... Is the firewall configured correctly?

Run as many traceroutes as you can from different locations and machines and see if the new provider is having network issues.
11:12 am on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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And one day Google won't send you any visitor anymore because they do what THEY want, are you going to cry also ?