8

I invested a few hours yesterday investigating why my site is ranked highly in Google but not indexed at all in Bing. Trial and error using the "Fetch as Bingbot" tool led me to the conclusion that Bing does not support SNI (Server Name Indication).

Some articles and blogs support my conclusion that Bing doesn't support SNI while other responses on this forum suggest that it does. Any official word on this from Microsoft? If so, I can't seem to find it. I'm at a bit of a loss.

Based on the somewhat shocking (and hopefully incorrect) premise that BingBot does not in fact support SNI, it seems I have three possible alternatives:

  • (1) Revamp my currently HTTPS-only site so that the public content is available via HTTP. Bing would then be able to index it.

  • (2) Eliminate the SNI requirement. My CDN, Amazon Cloudfront, allows this. This approach demands that each server on Amazon's CDN edge network, potentially dozens (hundreds?) of them, have its own unique IP address which would be solely dedicated to serving up HTTPS requests with my certificate. It's grossly inefficient and furthermore, this approach requires special permission from Amazon and is quite costly since spare IPv4 addresses are at a premium right now.

  • (3) Ignore Bing.

Option #1 is a major pain and #2 is very expensive. The idea of going through all of this hassle to support a less capable, second-rate search engine like Bing is anathema to me but at the same time, if there's some easy solution that I'm missing, I'd be more than happy to apply it.

Any ideas?

9

I have been emailing with Bing support for several weeks now and as of today, they started to offer limited support for SNI.

I made clear to them that the issue was 100% sure in their lack of SNI support by moving one of my websites to a dedicated IPv4 and turning off SNI for that address. After that, the sitemap got succesfully verified by Bing. All other HTTPS websites/sitemaps that are on the same server, but on the shared IPv4 address, were not indexed. Seems like they finally started implementing SNI!

We highly appreciate your patience as we review this matter together with our Product Group. My name is Jenny and I will be providing you with the status of this Service Request.

We would like to inform you that as of today, Bing only supports a limited number of SNI websites through a whitelist. We understand that more and more websites are switching to SNI so we plan to expand our support for all SNI hosts in the next 6 months.

As a short term mitigation, we can whitelist about 10 - 20 SNI hosts for you, if needed.

So if you would like to have your SNI website added to the whitelist, I'd recommend sending Bing Support an email so that your SNI websites will be succesfully indexed.

  • The link in the above post is dead. We emailed Bing support....apparently Jenny is some sort of oracle with higher wisdom than the rest of the minions. The techs couldn't understand what we were asking and kept pasting in "explain it again for each domain one by one". C'mon microsoft, really? Its simple! SNI doesn't work with your crawls! Hopefully this paste in helps them "get it" paradoxically; as the internal knowledge of the product seems to come from quotes put on the web outside the company. – dhaupin Nov 16 '15 at 16:37
  • Can somebody post new link please? Cannot find anything related in their UI, their support is really sux. – Dmytro Sadovnychyi Nov 24 '15 at 5:31
  • @DmytroSadovnychyi yeah MS support sites are junk. You can piggyback on the top Google result for "bing sni sitemap" though and hopefully someone more adept sees it at MS if you tag @Microsoft in the issue: github.com/tkrotoff/osteo15.com/issues/16 Keep in mind this is not an issue for MS, but its top ranking and you can tag MS. – dhaupin Mar 15 '16 at 15:17
  • @DmytroSadovnychyi I just updated the link to the new support URL: bing.com/webmaster/support – Dennis Ameling Mar 17 '16 at 5:21
  • Thanks, but it's easier to just ignore Bing at all. We decided that it's not worth it. – Dmytro Sadovnychyi Mar 17 '16 at 7:12
2

I'm using a single certificate for multiple domain names using the "certificate subject alt name" feature. Bing does understand this type of certificate. I just tested it using "fetch as bingbot".

This would be another possible solution for you. You need to generate a single certificate with all your domain names in it. Because it is a single certificate it is all hosted with a single IP address.

The disadvantages are:

  1. All your domains are linked by the certificate.
  2. If you want to add a domain name you need to generate a new certificate and install it.

I'm using https://startssl.com/ as my certificate authority for this.

  • Thanks for response, Stephen. Multi-domain "UCC" certificates are a great idea. Recall, however, that myDomain.com actually points to an Amazon CDN server, not my origin server. That CDN server's IP address is used to host potentially thousands of sites (and therefore certificates) for all of Amazon's CDN customers. When an inbound SSL connection takes place targeting the CDN server, which certificate does the CDN server return to the client? SNI is what allows it to resolve the appropriate certificate and return it to the client as part of the SSL/HTTPS handshake. Thus the SNI dependency – Festus Martingale Feb 16 '15 at 18:30
  • You are correct, it won't work with a CDN, but it will work with a single central server. Hosting centrally is another option. – Stephen Ostermiller Feb 16 '15 at 19:19

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