My [Long Overdue] Breakup with GoDaddy.com

I should have listened to the warnings.

In 2005, I began hosting my Web sites, including several WordPress-based sites, on GoDaddy.com. I was just coming off an extremely frustrating experience hosting my sites on my own office-based server, running WebSTAR and then Mac OS X Server. The problem wasn’t the software as much as my unreliable Internet connection and power situation. It was time to get the server out of my office. GoDaddy was the service I chose.

I picked GoDaddy partially because a friend recommended it and partially because it was cheap. My Web hosting needs were unusual. I was hosting multiple sites, but none of them got much traffic. In fact, on a peak day, I’d be lucky to get a total of 5000 hits. GoDaddy had an affordable hosting plan for me. So I went with it.

As time went on, I expanded my use of its services. At one point, I had about 50 domain names registered with them. I hosted about 10 sites, most of which were mine, but a handful of which were for friends needing a free Web site. I had about 10 e-mail addresses, too, and most recently upgraded to IMAP, which finally became available.

Meanwhile, every time I mentioned GoDaddy.com to someone, I heard a barrage of criticism. Women didn’t like the company because the owner is sexist. (No doubt about that; the company obviously spends more on its “banned” Super Bowl ads featuring a hot female NASCAR driver than it does on technical support.) Other people complained about the constant upselling — trying to sell additional products and services that no one really needs. Still others complained about customer service. And others warned me about server outages, non-existent backups, and other basic ISP services that were supposed to be included in my hosting fees but weren’t consistently provided to all customers.

I didn’t have any of these problems, so I just filed those comments in the back of my mind and went about my business. Besides, by 2008 or 2009, I had so much time and effort invested in my Godaddy-based sites and services that it would be a royal pain in the ass to move them.

And then GoDaddy started moving my sites to different servers. It did this periodically throughout my relationship with them, but in 2009, it they did it three or four times. I started to notice performance issues with my blogs. My main blog — the one you’re reading now — took up to one minute to load each page. My Google Rank dropped to the floor and page hits went way down. Performance was affecting my ability to attract and keep readers.

I called GoDaddy technical support in an effort to resolve what was so obviously a problem. I was told that they didn’t support WordPress and they hadn’t done anything to cause the problem. As far as they were concerned, it was up to me to resolve on my own.

That pissed me off.

My recent experience with the blocking of GoDaddy IP address e-mail (including mine) by some wacko with a personal agenda was the final straw. It wasn’t so much that GoDaddy was the target of this questionable “spam-prevention” filtering service. It was the complete lack of support I got from GoDaddy on this issue. They “escalated” it and it never came back down to earth. Repeated calls got me nowhere. Evidently, it was my problem to solve yet again.

The solution: dump GoDaddy.com and get an ISP that cares.

So, for the past two weeks, I’ve been slowly but surely moving my blogs and sites off GoDaddy and onto another ISP. (I chose BlueHost, if anyone is interested. And no, I’m not interested in any other suggestions; it’s a done deal.) I’ve got the main sites moved: this one, Maria’s Guides, wickenburg-az.com, and Flying M Productions. I’ll do Flying M Air today. Then there’s a handful of sites for friends that need moving. I have until October, when my GoDaddy hosting account expires, but I hope to have everything moved long before then.

Yes, it is a royal pain to move them. But it’s worth the effort. I should have done this long ago.

The improvement in performance is mind-boggling. I didn’t think my blog’s pages could load this quickly. (And I’m on a pretty crappy connection as I travel this summer.) I’m also tickled about the ability to modify PHP settings so they work better with ecto, my offline blog composition tool. It nice to have unlimited IMAP e-mail without paying extra for it, too. In fact, I’m saving money at BlueHost. And every time I give them a call, I get prompt, friendly customer service with my question answered or problem resolved before I hang up.

I’m thinking about doing an article for Maria’s Guides about moving a WordPress blog from GoDaddy to BlueHost. If you have any interest in that, keep an eye on the Maria’s Guides site; it should appear within the next week or so.

The best part of this? I’ll never have to listen to that crappy hold music while waiting for GoDaddy’s technical support staff again.

5 thoughts on “My [Long Overdue] Breakup with GoDaddy.com

  1. Very interesting! I’m doing the same exact thing. I was using GoDaddy for hosting simply because that’s where I registered my domains. It was convenient. About two years ago I switched to BlueHost and haven’t looked back.

    I still register domains on GoDaddy but immediately redirect to BlueHost. Glad you’re finally happy with a hosting service.

  2. @Jim K
    So far, so good. Once I get things set up, I don’t need much customer service or technical support. I guess that’s why I stuck with GoDaddy for so long. It’s when the ISP starts screwing with your server and account, downgrading your service and then denying it — well, that’s when I get angry. As long as Bluehost gives me the same level of service I have today in years to come, I’ll be a happy camper.

    Moving all these sites is a real pain in the butt.

  3. I use GoDaddy for registering any .com / .net domain names and the associated DNS; but wouldn’t use them for anything else. Their user interface for managing the DNS is nothing short of painful, and the constant upselling of totally pointless features is incredibly infuriating as you have to hunt the “no thanks” button.

    In contrast the company I use for domains ending in .uk – 123-reg – have a really simple, quick to load and obvious interface. Better still they don’t pre-populate the DNS for new domains with all their own settings. If only they matched the price of GoDaddy.

    Out of interest Maria, did you use the export functionality in WordPress and then import it into the new blog, or did you move the database over whole?

  4. @Craig Parsons
    I’ve found through past experiences that exporting via WordPress and then importing that file into a brand new WordPress database results in a much cleaner database import than just bringing over the entire database with whatever plugin crap it’s accumulated along the way. Of course, if you need that plugin crap, you probably should take the whole database.

    I really do need to write this up. I’ll be moving Flying M Air next. Was too burned out to do it yesterday.

What do you think?