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Required tasks to add IPv6 support to your web server

Here is what I have done when I have decided to add IPv6 support.

  • You need to add IPv6 connectivity to the network configuration of your server. I have added two static IPv6 address and one IPv6 gateway.
  • You need to add an IPv6 IP6table to my Linux server. I have duplicated the IPv4 iptable configuration file. It wasn’t simple because I have hardcoded IPv4  addresses and I had also to create an additional rule for ICMPv6.
  • Your nameservers need IPv6 AAAA records and IPv6 AAAA glue records.
  • Every website needs an AAAA record.
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Why it is useless to add IPv6 support to your website.

IPv6 is useless for now on

IPv6 will be useful when there will be users who will connect to IPv6 only networks in native mode. It is not the case today and I don’t know if it will happen any. However, all the networks today are either IPv4 or dual stack (IPv4/Ipv6). There are some networks where people connect to the Internet thanks to an IPv6. However, these networks have a translation module to map IPv6 to IPv6 and vice versa. It is called NAT64. So let’s imagine an Internet Service provider with 500 millions of devices connecting to the Internet thanks to an IPv6, they will be able to connect to IPv4 only websites thanks to NAT. IPv6 could useful someday if the IPv4 gets so expensive so that new servers will only have an IPv6 in native mode. We can postpone this problem by allocating IPv4 addresses from clients to servers.

Very few websites support IPv6 in 2018

I have tested the most popular websites (amazon.com,ebay.com) and I discovered that very few of them supported IPv6.

If Airbnb, Amazon, Ebay, and Walmart don’t support IPv6 why should you support IPv6?

IPv6 has no benefits for your website

IPv6 does not bring additional security, performance. It does not have any SEO benefits. It does not help to reach a new audience.

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IPv6 could be bad for google SEO

In December 2017, I have decided to turn off the IPV4 on my computer and browse the internet in IPv6. I first noticed that most of the websites didn’t work in IPv6. I expected it. Then, I visited my own websites and discovered that embedded videos, advertisements, scripts didn’t work because their external websites were not available in IPv4. For instance, amazon.com, vimeo.com have no IPv6 support.

Then, I discovered it could raise many issues with crawling from bots. We never know the reaction of bots that would crawl my website using IPv6 and be perhaps unable to visit scripts, images, and other resources because they aren’t available through IPv6.

No trust

I have found that very few major websites accepted IPv6. On top of that, those websites don’t have embedded content from other external websites or few. There aren’t enough proof that IPv6 is not harmful to SEO because IPv6 didn’t prove its worth.

Bad

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Why I deactivated IPv6 on my websites in Whm/Cpanel

It started with a WHM/Cpanel problem

On my WHM/Cpanel server, I had two websites. I am going to call them website A and B. There were no redirections between them. However, When I typed res.websitea.com, it redirected to website B. I rebuilt the HTTPD configuration file. I have deactivated features. I have checked all .conf files, and I could not find the root cause of the problem. One day, I decided to deactivate IPv6 and the redirection was gone in an IPv4 only environment. I have deleted my IPv6 settings and recreated my IPv6 settings. Then, I re-activated IPv6 and the redirection didn’t come back. However, I didn’t trust IPv6 anymore.

 

Ipv6 raises some concerns

This problem was a very serious problem because it created a redirection from one account to another. IPv6 does not bring any benefits for webmasters (speed, security, SEO). So, if it generates additional problems it is useless to activate IPv6 for your websites.  After this issue with IPv6, I wondered if IPv6 could not trigger SEO problems and be responsible for a drop in traffic. At the beginning, I thought that all the big websites had an IPv6 support but I have discovered most of them don’t have IPv6 support. Then, we can start wondering if IPv6 is well accepted by Googlebot and bingbot because the number of websites with IPv6 support is very small.

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List of popular websites with no IPv6 support as per December 2017

  • accuweather.com
  • airbnb.com
  • alexa.com
  • amazon.com
  • apple.com
  • bankofamerica.com
  • booking.com
  • bbc.co.uk
  • craiglist.com
  • ebay.com
  • github.com
  • ft.com
  • microsoft.com
  • moz.com
  • nytimes.com
  • quora.com
  • reddit.com
  • stackoverflow.com
  • twitter.com
  • uber.com
  • walmart.com
  • wordpress.com

It was a big surprise to discover that major worldwide websites didn’t support IPv6. This may make you change your mind about IPv6. Ipv6 is more a geeky gadget than anything else today since there is no IPv6 only visitors that would require your website to have an IPv6 support.

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Can you be penalized by Google without seeing it in Google search console

Yes, it is possible and it happened to me several times. Google does not send a message about every single penalty. For instance, once without knowing it one of my website provided a different content to googleBot and to the user, the incoming traffic sharply decreased in google search console. There were no messages in “manual actions”. I didn’t receive any emails from Google. Once I fixed the problem the traffic started to increase again.

Another time, I had many duplicate titles on a website. I could see that Google search console displayed “errors” in the HTML improvements section. However, I didn’t receive a message or I didn’t see a notification in Google search console.

That’s why it makes it difficult to investigate the root cause of a google penalty. Furthermore, webmasters should really carefully look into everything that could cause a drop of traffic coming from Google.

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The many problems we faced with paid phpBB themes from themeforest

First of all, we bought Avalanche a phpBB 3 premium theme.

The theme looked good until we discovered that all the buttons to modify a post, delete a post, report a post or quote a post disappeared and it was not possible to modify, delete or report a post.

With bulletin, we had an issue when we wanted to modify the color of different items that were originally apple green. There were a customizer to change the color and it downloaded a small CSS file to our computer. In the code of the theme, it was mentioned that we could upload a custom.css. So we pasted the code in the custom.css where it was mentioned in the code. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Then, we added important to every CSS directives and it was a mess because we could not read the fonts anymore.

I have ended buying the Milk phpBB3 theme from themeforest which works well and give the opportunity to modify the theme without CSS.

Interestingly enough I have spent a total of $111 US dollars buying themes for phpBB which could have been equal to a Xenforo license in 2017.

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Why I don’t use services like lastpass, Enpass, Dashlane for storing my passwords

First of all, I felt very enthousiast when I discovered those services. I extensively used lastpass on every browsers on my mac and PC. Then, once I had a red banner from lastpass as it didn’t successfully connected to its server.

Safety:

Then, at some point, I understood there could be a big danger, because I understood that a hacker could steal all my passwords in one-go if he had access to my Lastpass account. So, I started to trust it less. Do you imagine just for one moment, what would happen if a lastpass server was hacked? It would be a proper disaster because we don’t talk about alleged sweet hacking from twitter accounts but access to all your websites where you have an account. It is huge.

A page load problem:

Then, I discovered that the extension slowed down the page load in chrome. So, at that point, I told myself. Ok, now it is over.

If lastpass slows down the page load just by 1 second, it is not interesting to install a plugin that will slow down your page load. Don’t get me wrong, the lastpass issue generated a downtime that exceeded 1 second. It went up to total freezing. So, I thought that it was not acceptable to use such a plugin because I am a webmaster and when I test my websites, I don’t want to believe that they load slowly when it is in fact the lastpass extension of chrome that slows them down.

Subdirectories not supported:

I discovered that LastPass didn’t support multiple websites in directories. In fact, LastPass suggests the password from the parent website when someone tries to login to a subdomain.

Conclusion:

I have uninstalled the extensions.

Since the risk related to hacking is too big, I have decided I would not take another service like this one.

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How wordpress plugins can get your website penalized by google

WordPress plugins have the ability to change everything on your pages. A plugin can inject CSS, Javascript and PHP code into your website pages. A plugin can modify the HTTP headers of your website. It can add, modify and remove HTTP headers fields. It can also modify your HTaccess file, your Wp-config file, your robots.txt.

In other words, WordPress plugins are almighty. Consequently, any WordPress plugins can get your website penalized. They can hide content from Googlebot without you being aware of it. For instance, GoogleBot may not be able to see images and text because of a plugin.

They can add hidden links on your web pages. The links can be in a form, at the bottom of your web pages.

They can block access to some of your webpages thanks to googlebot or by adding a robot meta tag to your webpages, a directive to your robots.txt or even a X-Robots-Tag to http headers. Check this page from google about it.

This could lead to a traffic drop from google and it would be difficult to understand the cause because the root cause can be hidden in CSS, Javascript or HTTP headers.

Meanwhile, never forget that Googlebot now reads HTTP headers, CSS, Javascript and HTML.

Also, they may slow down the page load of some pages without you being aware of it.

 

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How to start with a free forum software and move to a paid forum software

When you start with your free forum software, you already have to keep in mind that you could move to Vbulletin, Xenforo someday.

Be prepared with redirections:

All your old pages will require pointing to new pages URLs in the new forum software. This will require redirection directives. It is easy because there are plenty of tutorials to add the right directives in HTACCESS to automatically redirect the URL of your old forums and threads to the new ones.Here is an example of a tutorial from phpBB 3 to Woltlab forum.

However, you can face a major problem. That’s when a webmaster has decided to install an SEO friendly plugin on phpBB, myBB or SMF. In this case, I haven’t found any resources about redirections. On the other hand, if you decide not to install an SEO friendly plugin, I think that your forum threads will not rank as well as if they had SEO friendly URLs.

In this case, you will have to have many directives in the htaccess file that map the old URLs to the new ones like:

redirect 301 /thread-old-forum-system-title http://example.com/newforum/new-thread-title

It is going to be really difficult. It is feasible but the mapping may not always work. It is possible to find a SEO software and mass extract the urls, then import it into excel and then add redirect 301 to it. Then, it is possible to paste the new URls however, it is going to be a very hard job. I have found that many webmasters just sacrificed the link juice they received. They just moved to a paid forum software, the URLs were different and the old URLs were dead. This leads to a big loss of pagerank & Google juice.

That’s why the best solution would be to avoid installing a SEO friendly plugin.

Be prepared for exporting your old forum:

In the paid forum softwares, you can find import modules that allow you to import forums. This module usually import all the members, the categories, the forums, the threads into the new forum software.

There are also websites like cms2cms that provide an automated forum transfer for you.

This issues explain why it is better to start with a paid forum software rather than a free forum software. Don’t forget that all the paid forum softwares come with all the features by default. For instance, the SEO friendly URLs is a default feature of Vbulletin, Woltlab, Xenforo.

My advice:

  1. Install phpBB, SMF or myBB. Don’t install SEO friendly plugins. and check if you will able to import it into a paid forum software like XenForo, Vbulletin or Woltlab. Once you know, be ready
  2. Create a second directory and upload the paid forum software to it.
  3. Import the content of your old forum to the new forum using the importer provided by the paid forum software.
  4. Create a redirection from the old page URLs of the old forums to the new page URLs of the new forums.
  5. Delete the content from the old forums but keep the htaccess config file in place.