Blog Article:

Site deindexed by Bing & Yahoo after switching to HTTPS? Here's the solution.

by Joel Marshall on July 01, 2015

When Google started giving a little bump to secure sites, we figured "why not?" and made the switch. Not too long after that, we noticed in Bing Webmaster Tools that our indexed page count had crashed down to zero. Coincidence? We think not.

Read on for the fix...

If you've recently switched from HTTP to HTTPS site-wide and suddenly your website is no longer showing up in Bing or Yahoo search results, we'd venture to guess that your website is deployed to a shared hosting environment and/or lacks a dedicated IP. The second half of that guess it the important part.

It used to be that to run a site that was encrypted via https/ssl you had to have a 1 to 1 mapping of your domain name to an IP address. A more recent technique called SNI, which stands for Server Name Indication, allows multiple encrypted sites to be mapped to a single IP address.

Ironically, we were in the midst of writing an article about the gruesome details of how SNI works when we ran into this issue, but the important thing to note is that Bing/Yahoo doesn't fully support SNI at this time. They don't publicize that fact in any way, there's virtually no information out there on the web about it, and Bing's support staff won't tell you about the problem. It took lots of rounds of email with Bing's tech support- repeatedly refuting claims by them that the problem was on our end- for them to do a sudden about-face and simply tell us "it's fixed". When we pressed them for answers as to the root cause of the problem they admitted to the fact that they have problems indexing sites that use SNI. Given this fact, surely a large number of sites out there are affected, but maybe very few notice because they still show up just fine in Google, which doesn't suffer from the same problem.

So does this all sound familiar? If so, here's what we recommend you do:

Contact your hosting provider and verify that they use SNI to allow your site to be encrypted- 99% chance that they do. Once you've confirmed that, contact Bing tech support and tell them, "My domain uses SNI to allow HTTPS/SSL encryption and I know that Bing has issues indexing sites that use SNI. Please whitelist my domain." See where that gets you.

One more important thing to note is that if you did get partially or fully de-indexed by Bing due to this HTTPS+SNI issue, you won't instantly bounce back after it's fixed. Despite that the problem exists on their end, you'll have to wait for your site to be recrawled and reindexed just as if your site had been legitimately de-indexed because of 404's, 500's, or other server errors. Frustrating, but be patient. Within a few days of Bing verifying the fix you should see your indexed page count slowly start rising again.

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Joel Marshall


Joel has been developing applications with Microsoft ASP.NET and related web technologies for 15 years. He is passionate about software architecture, design patterns, and emerging web technologies.