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iThemes Doesn’t Recommend GoDaddy Hosting, Here’s Why

People who know us or watch our iThemes.tv broadcasts know that we are very anti-GoDaddy hosting. Typically, we keep our commentary about their terrible hosting limited to forum topics, broadcasts, or in-person discussions, but I’ve had enough. I want to call out GoDaddy hosting for their terrible service and support, and I’d very much like to see one of two different outcomes result from this post:

  1. All our customers stop using GoDaddy so we don’t have to waste our time fine-tuning our code to work around their horrible setup.
  2. GoDaddy finally gets serious about hosting by improving their servers and server infrastructure, providing users with a real control panel, ceasing to massively oversell their servers (this is why most GoDaddy-hosted sites are so slow), and providing real support that doesn’t answer every problem with “you need to upgrade to a dedicated server”.

Before I start digging into the topic, I’d like to point out that I do use GoDaddy for two products: domains and SSL certificates. Do I think that they are the best in either of those two areas? No, but they are good enough for me, and I would recommend them for those products. It needs to be said though that I am getting very sick of buying a domain or SSL cert from them and having to wade through page after page of upsell offers. I’m sure that upselling is a goldmine for them, but for me, I’m really tired of it. I’m a loyal domain and SSL customer for them, and I don’t want to have to relearn their upsell tricks every time I buy a product from them.

As you can see, it’s very easy to get on a GoDaddy rant. However, this post is much more than a rant. I’m well beyond rant with them in terms of their hosting. The fact is that their hosting is poor, and that costs us and our customers time that could be better spent working on projects that make money or doing something more enjoyable than pulling our hair out. Another fact is that their hosting is huge. I’m sure it’s a massive cash cow for them, which means that there are a huge number of people around the globe paying each and every month for bad hosting that will bite them one day. As a person who spends each day trying to make things work as well as possible for as many people as possible, the fact that they can tolerate selling such a horrible product to so many people makes me ill.

I must warn that this post is quite exhaustive. I wanted to backup my claims and describe why their hosting is poor rather than just saying “GoDaddy hosting sucks,” which it does BTW.

Quality Hosting is Important

First, I’d like to point out that hosting is the single most important factor to consider and monitor when you have a website. If anything goes wrong with your hosting, your web presence is gone. If your hosting support is slow to respond or always blames someone else for your site’s problems, your personal or professional reputation is suffering for it.

For many people, the only thing that matters is price. While price is an important factor to consider, there are more important ones. The following are the most important aspects to quality hosting. If your host is missing any of the following, you need to look at investing your money more wisely to give your site the hosting it deserves.

Stability

Each time your site goes down, people can’t get to your site. That means lost sales, lost readers, and/or lost reputation.

Beyond the fact that people can’t get to your site when it is down, there is a loss of time associated with stability issues. If you ever sent emails, created support tickets, started up a live chat, or made a phone call to find out why your site is down and when it will be back up, you’ve lost time due to a site hosting issue.

Imagine that your time is worth just $5/hour and that your amazingly-cheap hosting costs $3/month. If you spend at least one hour a month trying to deal with your hosting company on stability issues, you could spend $8/month on better hosting, better invest that hour+ of wasted time, and not have lost anything.

Performance

Just as I’m sure you’ve decided to leave a site if it is slow, other people have done the same. This means that if your personal or business website is slow, you are losing visitors just because your site is slow.

Support

Problems are going to happen. When you have a problem with your hosting, you’re going to need someone to help you out. For most people, the most knowledgeable resource they have in regards to their site is their host. So, if your site’s hosting company doesn’t give you good support, then you are going to have a hard time figuring out problems when they happen.

Why GoDaddy Hosting is not Quality Hosting

The only GoDaddy hosting accounts I’ve worked with were for testing purposes or were client sites. That being the case, I don’t have any personal experience with GoDaddy’s hosting stability (uptime). So, I can’t speak to how stable their hosting is. However, as I wrote about above, stability is only one factor of quality hosting. It is the performance and support areas where GoDaddy’s hosting quality really starts to take a nosedive.

Horrible Control Panel

If you’ve worked with a hosting company before, you’ve probably used or heard of either cPanel or Plesk. Both are control panel software packages created to make managing your domains, sites, databases, etc simple to do directly from the web browser. Rather than using one of these established tools, GoDaddy made their own. While it isn’t unusual for a hosting company to make their own control panel, it is unusual for a large hosting company to spend so much time on making a custom solution that is worse than an off-the-shelf solution.

Want to create a new database, add a subdomain, change your 404 page, add a FTP user, change an existing FTP user’s password, or do things that are typically simple and quick to do on other hosting? No problem, but you’re going to have to wait. How long do you have to wait? It won’t tell you. Some functions tell you up to 30 minutes, but others (databases, subdomains, etc) just say “Pending” until they are done (which can take hours).

Here are some screenshots of what I experienced while trying to do different things in the Control Center. While I just took these, I knew what to expect as their system always does this. This isn’t a random issue, this is par for the course… How it is supposed to work.

  • Create a database
  • Add a subdomain
  • Change the 404 error page
  • Create an FTP user
  • Change form mailer email address
  • Install WordPress
  • Enabling SSH is going to be legen… Wait for it…

    Keep waiting…

    Check again two hours later because you forgot you were waiting and find out that it’s been so long that you need to log in again…

    … dary! Legendary.

Not only are all these waits annoying, none of them tell you when the wait is finally over and you can go about your productive day. It would make a lot of sense to send an email when the database was finally done “Pending” so that I don’t have to sit there for a few hours clicking the refresh button. Of course, it would be even better if the Control Center worked like just about any other control panel and didn’t make users wait for such basic things.

Along the way, you find out that long waits aren’t the only annoyance. Let’s try setting up that new database.

First we find out that there is an arbitrary limitation that the password must start with a letter.

Then we are told that we must use between 7 and 14 characters. Unlike the previous limitation warning, we had to try to save the new database settings before this limitation was pointed out.

Amazingly, the database usernames appear to be global to GoDaddy hosting and not just to the server. So, good luck picking a database name you’ll remember.

Moving on, let’s say I have a site at GoDaddy, and some code broke. I contact a person who can help me (IT guy, software provider, etc), and they ask for an error log to find out what the problem was. You go to your GoDaddy Control Center to get your error log and find that you had to first enable the error log.

Not only that, you also find that every seven days the error log turns itself off. Good luck tracking something that only happens randomly as you’ll quickly forget that the error logging turns itself off. It would make much more sense to only keep the last seven days of error logs or to rotate the logs once a week while keeping four old logs thus allowing for a full month of error log access. But no, that would be too simple and helpful, this is much better.

Want to quickly spin up a test site? Have a site problem and need to give someone FTP access quickly? On GoDaddy hosting, good luck with that. See you next week.

Slow Infrastructure + Slow Servers = Slow Sites

Most shared hosting setups are quite simple. A relatively-powerful server is put together, server software is installed on it (Apache, MySQL, cPanel, etc), and customers are added. Done.

Some hosting setups are quite complex. For example, there are hosting offerings on “the cloud” which means that hundreds or thousands of servers are connected together and all of them together act as an enormous, super-powerful server.

There’s another setup between the two extremes that can offer improved performance if done well. This setup uses one server as the web server that processes code (PHP, Perl, etc) and serves static files (HTML, CSS, images, etc) while another separate server or multiple servers are used to provide the database. The idea behind this type of setup is that the classical setup can have wasted potential by having too high of a web load with a very load database load or vice-versa. Splitting the databases to other servers allows for each server to be tailored for maximum performance for either web or database while keeping the performance high overall.

This last setup is the type that GoDaddy uses. Whenever you create a new database, you must go look at the details once it’s done “Pending” so that you can see the hostname of the database. This indicates that they add new databases to a server that is capable of handling the additional load (at least, I would hope that they balance the load like this). This should mean great database performance for GoDaddy; however, there is that one little caveat. Notice how above I said “if done well”? That’s where the problem comes in. It seems that GoDaddy has not done well with this.

The problem with GoDaddy’s database servers is that they often times are very slow. Either the network that connects the web servers to the database servers has latency (slowdown) issues or the database servers themselves are just too overloaded. It could always be a combination of the two, but I think that the overloaded database servers is the primary problem.

Not every database host seems to have this problem, so it is possible that you could get lucky. The testing server that I’m working with right now seems to get lucky since the database response times are good; however I’ve seen many clients that weren’t so lucky. One customer I worked with had a GoDaddy server setup that took an average of 18 seconds to process all the queries needed to load the front page of a fresh WordPress install. To put this in perspective, when I benchmarked the database performance on my personal HostGator shared hosting account, it took a mere .13 seconds on average to process the same queries.

I contacted GoDaddy support on behalf of the client to see if we could resolve the situation. The told me that they didn’t see a problem on their end. I provided evidence of the problem, and they still shrugged it off. I asked if it would be possible to get the database set up on a different database server as the one being used had issues, and I was told that it wasn’t possible. So, I helped the client migrate away from GoDaddy, and GoDaddy had to refund the $200+ that he had paid in advance for their hosting.

While I haven’t seen any database issues as severe before or since and this was around 2 years ago, the issue and response was very alarming to me. Since that time, I have worked with many clients hosted at GoDaddy that have severe performance issues. Each time I try to resolve the problem by contacting support, I get the same response of “not our problem”. There is actually one other thing that GoDaddy support typically says, but I’ll save that gem for the next section.

To close out the slow server topic, I’d like to say that not all GoDaddy servers are slow. The one I was recently put on when I spun up a testing account was amazingly fast. I checked the hardware specs on the server and found that it was a new dual-quad core system with 8GB of memory. It’s definitely a beefy server, but so were many of the slow ones I’ve worked with. I think that my testing server is fast because few people are on it. Checking the IP Neighbors of the server, produces 2 results. By comparison, most GoDaddy servers I have to help clients with have hundreds if not thousands of other domains on their server. So, it’s clear why my testing server is so fast right now; it’s an extremely powerful server that is mostly empty right now.

Worst Hosting Support I’ve Worked With

This is of course very subjective, but if I, as a person who has the knowledge to manage my own servers with a coding background, have a hard time with support at GoDaddy, I fear most people haven’t a chance. I can identify when support is wrong or ignoring an issue, the average hosting customer can’t.

The main reason that GoDaddy’s support is terrible is because they aren’t really support at all. Essentially, they are an extension of sales. Nearly every single response I’ve ever gotten from GoDaddy support has involved an attempt to upsell me or the client to virtual dedicated or dedicated hosting. In every one of these situations, upgrading hosting above shared hosting would be totally unnecessary if their shared hosting performed as it should.

Remember the client I spoke about above with the massive 18 second average database issue? The first time I contacted GoDaddy about the issue, I was told in order to run such a demanding application that the account would need to be upgraded to virtual dedicated or dedicated hosting. When I explained that it was an install of WordPress with no content, no plugins, and the default theme, support was unfazed and confirmed that the account would need to be upgraded. I gave benchmarking results between the server they provided and one at HostGator, and they still didn’t care. They were adamant that shared hosting simply would not be sufficient.

For a while, I thought that this was a fluke. A bad support person who simply didn’t care to follow through. I’ve since discovered that this is the standard way GoDaddy does business.

Your site is slower than it used to be? Upgrade to virtual dedicated hosting. It’s still slow? Upgrade to dedicated. It’s still slow? That’s your fault. I actually know someone who ran into this exact situation. When the problem first came up and I heard about it, I said that they should leave GoDaddy. Apparently they were already told this by others but for one reason or another stuck with them. They upgraded all the way to dedicated hosting, and their site was still slow. Good job GoDaddy. You got the upsell to $100+ per month and still failed to meet the needs that most shared hosting can meet for $5-10 a month.

Recently, we launched PluginBuddy and started offering BackupBuddy. Ever since the BackupBuddy launch, GoDaddy has gotten the lion’s share of the support issues:

BackupBuddy launched 22 days ago, and already support for it has 25 threads that involve GoDaddy. We’ve been working the past three or so weeks specifically trying to figure out how to get BackupBuddy to work on GoDaddy properly, but it’s been challenging. Odd issues such as random 500 or 404 errors and terminated zip process kept haunting me. So, I threw in the towel and contacted GoDaddy support, hoping that they would work with me to figure out what was going on with their hosting that made this so difficult.

So far, this has proved useless. I’ve posted the content of these support tickets on one of my sites so that you can see exactly how GoDaddy support works when a real problem is encountered. Note that on both, my initial support request is below their response. So, read the “Customer Inquiry” part first. Note: This is technical stuff.

First support request

Second support request

The first response is fairly typical and is like a handshake when starting a technical support discussion. The second response gets disappointing. Basically, the second response showed that the support tech either had no idea what I was talking about (in which case the ticket should have been handled by someone else) or didn’t bother to read it at all. The tech said my WordPress plugin was broken because it produced errors (he ran it directly rather than running it through WordPress). He then commented on how their shared servers don’t provide access to Git (even though I never asked about it). Using the Git commentary, he then suggested an upsell to a virtual dedicated or dedicated server. Ah… There’s the classic GoDaddy support that I know and loathe… Ignore the real problem, don’t provide any actual help, and then attempt an upsell.

Another nice bit to notice in that second response from GoDaddy support is how he recommends that I contact the author of the plugin to get support from them. Very funny as I am one of the authors of the plugin and contacted them as the author to make the plugin work with their hosting.

Closing Thoughts

I would love to think that GoDaddy will see this and improve their hosting. Unfortunately, from everything I’ve seen and experienced related to GoDaddy hosting, I believe that they simply don’t care. Their hosting amounts to a cash cow that they grow with their maze of upsell practices when people buy other products. Since people caught by such sales tactics are typically less experienced with web hosting in general, they are also less likely to realize how poor their hosting is.

If you have experiences with GoDaddy (good or bad) that you’d like to share, please post a comment below.

BTW… GoDaddy hosting sucks.

Comments

  1. WOW! I have GoDaddy hosting and I do notice that my site is a bit slow. Check it out and let me know if it is. http://designinformer.com

    Next, while they haven’t really given me trouble, I do agree that most of the people that I ask for help on Tech Support don’t really know anything.

    Also, I definitely would be more happy with C-Panel as well, so I think it’s time for a change.

    • The site loads well for me. I see an average of .25 – .4 seconds to load the main content with the images, css, etc loading very quickly afterwords. While Performance may be different at different times of the day however.

  2. Absolutely agree that Godaddy has HORRIBLE TO THE CAPITAL H hosting. As a Technical Director for a worldwide non-profit broadcasting company, at one point we used Godaddy for dedicated hosting. $1200 a year. All total, we were down at least 30 days out of that whole year on and off. Why? Good question. No one could ever tell us. I never ever never had a tech support person who new anything about their own product. They didn’t even know what Cpanel was. Our only course of action was to reboot the whole server every time it was unresponsive.

    I too have had favorable results with Hostgator and Bluehost myself since 2003 without an issue… even at 2 am in the morning I can get a question aswered. Even around WordPress!

  3. Hey Chris,
    On the money with everything said. While I’m by no means a hosting expert, one could assume the problems that your going to have by looking at the “help wanted” pages, or careerbuilder.com or jobing.com…(shoot – google GoDaddy jobs) I live in Phoenix, where they are headquartered @, and they have a few large call center operations where they are continually hiring because of their growth…. One can only imagine who they hire, and what their qualifications are. I do hear they are a great company to work for, and the thousands of employees are satisified, but that still doesn’t touch on qualifications. It’s easy to train textbook “upsell”, but probably don’t have thousands of employees that could provide hosting tech support. You were probably talking to an old construction foreman trying to make ends meet ;)

    It’s a quality vs. Quantity thing….You’re right, most small businesses wouldn’t even know what to look for in a quality host if on their own… Hopefully GoDaddy will get on the ball and concentrate on the quality a little more…maybe an escalation process to know how individuals.

  4. I agree, don’t try to do anything out of the ordinary with GoDaddy servers. Don’t expect them to support the latest greatest server side software. And the “revamp” of their control panel they did a year ago or so stinks big time. Someone should have been fired over that deal.

    Using a host with cPanel is so much simpler.

  5. I’d like to add two more nightmare (yet extremely popular) web hosts to the list:

    1) Register.com

    2) Yahoo Small Business hosting.

    Especially register.com – literally every time I deal with them (because a new client signed up with them before hearing my hosting recommendations), I’m faced with hours of nightmare phone calls with support, unexptected downtimes and human errors by their server admins.

    For such a hugely popular company, register.com has truly awful service and support.

    Yahoo – they’re phone support really isn’t all that bad. But what gets me is that when you use their auto-install of WP (which they pretty much FORCE you to do since they make it tough to create your own db), they auto-install loads of unnecessary plugins. They also force you to install WP in a sub-folder and set your home page outside of it, which in many cases is undesirable.

  6. An illuminating and instructive post. Your ” documentary rant” helps me to understand how hosting companies work, what questions we as consumers should ask and what to expect for quality for in future hosting company purchases.

  7. I’m thinking of buying your professional theme and before doing that, I would like to know if you recommend BlueHost. This is what i am using and I need to know if I will face the same issues as that of godaddy. Thanks

    • BlueHost is a good hosting solution. They are a cPanel host like Hostgator. I have very little personal experience with them, but I have heard many good things. It is definitely a better solution than GoDaddy :)

      -matt

  8. I have had my site hosted with GoDaddy since the early 2000’s (don’t remember when) – we were buying hostnames for a new company and it dawned on me that I could afford one :-) and GoDaddy was by far cheapest back then.

    I’ve experienced bad support from them, but I’ve also experienced really good support.

    Their online materials are now quite useful (just 2 years ago those online materials were a joke – if you couldn’t hack you couldn’t figure out how to do anything).

    I agree that their configuration panels leave a lot to be desired though – they are confusing and not organized along anything like a workflow real people follow.

    And their uptime seems pretty good – I now monitor my site with pingdom and its been unavailable for 2 15 minute periods in the middle of my night in over 3 months – for a personal site that’s fine, for a true e-commerce site I’d probably be unhappy.

    At some point I plan to add Ruby to my web mix, and at that time I may switch (I’ve read rumors on the net that GoDaddy’s support for Ruby is terrible, but I’d need to test that for myself I’ve learned).

    For WP and PHP and MySQL for a personal site, GoDaddy works for me.

    Nice post; I didn’t think you were ranting at all, and the level of detail was super – Have fun! – Bob

  9. Dude you are dead on about GoDaddy. Their support is abysmal. I will tell you folks that HostGator has their Windows Hosting in Beta and I’m on it and loving it. The best support is at HostGator. Hands down those tech are well informed about HostGator services, the Control Panel (PLESK), and what have you. The only reason I’m on GD at all is because my customer got them b/c HostGator wasn’t ready with windows yet. I really wish we had held out now as GD SUpport is the worst.

  10. I KNOW!!! I am so with you!
    I just posted something on my facebook wall the other day to the same effect. Can’t stand GoDaddy. It is very irritating for me having to design websites for people who do their hosting w/ Godaddy. (I too have never been hosted with them.) Yes, the control panel is horrible. Things that are so so easy to do on any other control panel on any other virtual server are a B*T#& using the Godaddy control panel.

    There needs to be a Boycott GoDaddy site made, to encourage as MANY people as possible to not use them. People are just un-informed, and they’ve done a good marketing campaign, so there are many people who know about them but not about many of the other, better web hosting options.

    :)

    sitka

  11. By the way, DiTesco, I’ve worked on a website using the Bluehost control panel, and it seems to be fine and pretty easy. no problems for me.

    I have been using hostmonster exclusively recently, and am also attracted to dreamhost.

    SO GLAD to know there are so many other people out there who are validating my intense disgust of Godaddy!

    meow to you all…. :)

  12. I’ve been using a dedicated godaddy server for a couple years now. Seems to work well for our needs but we don’t use any of the control panels and don’t require much support. We did try shared for a few months before I realized it was to slow at times. Ultimately we’ll probably move to the amazon cloud as it is cheaper and more scalable. However, you’d got to have the expertise to pull it off….

  13. While I know there are many issues with GoDaddy I can’t help but think that maybe time would be better spent on YOUR product and less time on complaining about something that at the end of the day you have no control over.

    And speaking of support I bought BackupBuddy and had a problem. I’m still waiting for a response a week later. Backup and Restoring of a site is a pretty big deal and your support is basically AWOL. At least with GD I can actually get someone live to speak with, can you say the same thing? Nope.

    GD is a reality, deal with it. If it’s that big of an issue then inform customers UP FRONT you don’t work well with them. Then they can make the decision ahead of time, not later after you’ve got our money.

    I like your themes and get reasonable support (not always timely, but it gets there) but reading the BackupBuddy forum it’s clear it might have been released prematurely.

    • Rich, you make a powerful assumption here and one I need to thoroughly address and correct … the assumption is that we don’t spend enough time on our products and support.

      Let me say … our team works well beyond their “40-hour” work week … often into the nights and on weekends.

      To assume otherwise is frankly offending to hear because of our deep commitment to our community that obviously you don’t see and have assumed otherwise.

      To address your comments though … this article was birthed out of the lengthy and senseless support times we’ve encountered trying to walk our community through issues outside of our control.

      This post was created and trust me, we’ll have many more like it, as we run into issues to EDUCATE our community and to provide a link resource for when problems happen SO when can focus more on our products.

      Additionally, when we’re able to finalize ServerBuddy it’ll help this particular hosting issue a lot more … and give power to our community to talk to their hosts, with good information, and help them get a better hosting product.

      That’s something we’re going to offer for free …. so that we don’t have to do comprehensive posts like this explaining why someone should choose a particular hosting environment.

      I can’t help also sense that you think we just want to take people’s money and let them deal with issues. That can’t be further from the case. We’re trying our hardest to work through the issues as best we can WITHIN our means. Many of our customers want to use BackupBuddy to get off GoDaddy hosting. We’d love to help them do that.

      Re: premature testing …. we sent beta copies to some of the most respected WP devs around and more than 700 people. The numerous updates we’ve pushed to BackupBuddy have made it easier, more compatible with edge case hosting environment and offer NEW features.

      We did thorough internal testing on BackupBuddy like we do with all our plugins. But if you think we know every possible hosting environment out there … or you think they are all the same … I’d have to respectfully beg to differ and ask you to walk in our shoes for one week.

      The guys I listen to on this matter are Chris and Dustin, our lead backend devs … because they have run and managed dedicated servers themselves for years (and still do). I would have to say they are the experts.

      Rich, I don’t want to flame each other here and this isn’t my purpose in responding. You chose to share this publicly so I’m responding publicly because the record or at least our side of it needs to be set straight. I’ve tried to keep these responses on the issues and not personal. But it’s obvious you are frustrated. I’m sorry for that and that you choose to express that frustration by making these assumptions.

      All I can say is that our team works extremely hard FOR you and the rest of our community. We don’t take that lightly. We are passionate about what we do and thankful you and many others support us with your hard-earned money.

      Do we make mistakes and let things slip through the crack? YES. But that doesn’t mean we want them to and we don’t learn and grow and refine and improve.

      So I’d invite you to personally email me (cory @ ithemes dot com) if you want to continue this conversation privately and I’ll work my hardest to find a swift solution to your issues.

      Otherwise, I’ll let the numerous voices, tweets and posts from the overwhelmingly positive customer comments we’ve heard speak for themselves and admit we definitely can’t make everyone happy.

    • While writing, I knew that people would wonder why I was wasting time posting rather than working on code or support issues, and I was fully prepared to handle such comments.

      Recently, I started to realize that some good content is lost in our support forums. This type of information would be much more useful if it were available somewhere with a wider audience (such as this blog). In addition, if questions about specific issues can be quickly answered by linking to content that has already been written, this saves time in the support forum.

      Beyond this posting of and expanding on common forum topics, this post serves as an attempt to both educate our customers and make an effort with whatever kind of power we have to try to push for GoDaddy to improve their hosting and support offering.

      In the end, is this a waste of time? I don’t believe so. Cory didn’t believe so when I asked if he was alright with me posting it. A number of our customers didn’t have a problem when I announced that I was working on the post on Twitter.

      Whether you believe this post is or is not a waste of time, it might interest you to know that Dustin was fully active on supporting and improving BackupBuddy while I wrote this post as it is his project and his code. In part, this post helped take some heat off of him as people recognized why there are so many issues with getting GoDaddy to work with us on the problems we are trying to solve with their hosting.

      I should also mention that not two hours after I posted this, GoDaddy support sent a follow-up to the last ticket reply they gave me with a more technical explanation. In addition, they sent me a message on Twitter saying that they wanted to talk with me on the phone. This is interesting as I hadn’t sent them a reply to their ridiculous ticket response before these prompts from GoDaddy came to me. So, I can only guess that they were reacting to this post. I may be wrong, but the timing certainly is interesting.

  14. I started transferring my sites to GoDaddy late last year after my friend who’s been doing my hosting for 5 or 6 years told me he’s getting out of the business.
    The control panel and stats leave a good deal to be desired (primarily the stats) but they’re doable.
    I tried getting input from folks on hosting and no one said anything negative about GoDaddy other than frowning on their advertising.
    I’ve used 1and1 as well as cbeyond with some clients and they’ve each got their annoying quirks — just like GoDaddy. GoDaddy has had the best customer support from what I’ve seen – but not the best tech support.
    From what I’ve seen, my sites have only been down once since I switched, but it was for several hours and tech support simply suggested I add the WP-SuperCache plugin — with no other information.
    I may hold off on switching some of the other sites and move to HostGator on your suggestion.
    Thanks!

  15. Very informative and enlightening article. While I only use GoDaddy to buy domains, I learned some time ago to NEVER host with the same company you buy domain names from. The information presented here, however, gives further evidence of things to consider when choosing a hosting company.

    Unfortunately, I had a nightmare of an experience with one of the companies you do recommend, but in fairness to that other company, realize that I should have done some things differently and saved myself the grief.

  16. Two weeks ago, I initiated a transfer over to Hostgator. After two weeks of jibberish from tech support and my Flexx not working,and my files still not transferred, I am probably going to return to GoDaddy. I love the cpanel but I cannot abide the horrid overnight tech support at Hostgator. I’ve had good service with GoDaddy, but their interface is confusing for sure.

  17. Not to mention that sites hosted by Go Daddy keep getting hacked! It’s happened to me three times in less than a month. Malware. Talk about costing a lot of money, lost traffic, lost reputation. They do suck.

  18. I’ve been dreading having to move my site over to another host (I currently have Godaddy). I either have to invest my 3-5hrs to do it or hire an expert. . .an additional expense that I simply don’t need at this time. But, I’ve worked hard to finally get traffic to my site and now the trend in SERPs is that a fast site is likely to get more google search love, which is important to me. In any case, it has to be done.

    I’m done with Godaddy, which sucks because I was simply so used to them and I guess that is the problem: complacency.

    If more users simply left Godaddy altogether and moved their sites to other hosting companies, Godaddy would have no choice but to improve their servers (Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part that Godaddy would actually care about wordpress users).

  19. I have spent the last 2 days on the phone with godaddy trying to get my first wordpress site up and running. This is most of my calls below: totalling 184 minutes godaddy support phone time.
    7am: 16min, 2pm: 33min, 7pm: 31 min, 10pm: 57min, 2pm:12min, 5pm: 35min

    Given that they advertise on their site that they are big fans of WP and are “the winning combo for your blog” and that godaddy even attends WordCamps – a customer would make an educated guess that godaddy would have SOME clue on how WP works and how to help a novice customer simply upload their WP site. But after 6 customer support calls to godaddy, my site is still not working.

    I will say that out of the 6 different support guys I talked to, all but 1 was super friendly and tried to help. Only one of those 6 was an actual WP user and said godaddy had even trained him in some aspects of WP, and he thought all other techs had some WP training but I educated him on his incorrect assumption. When I got to the end of my support nightmare and I was trying to use godaddy’s 3rd party database manager (starfield) to upload my database I received an error message. the call to godaddy went something like this:
    me: it’s giving me an error msg
    gd: that’s not our software and we don’t provide support for it.
    me: is there another software I can use to upload my database to you?
    gd: no
    me: so, if your 3rd party software doesn’t work, and you don’t offer supprt or any other options to your customers, then how do I get my website up?
    gd: good luck with that (paraphrasing, but pretty close)

    Please remember I am a novice at all this and it’s my first WP site I’m trying to upload. And yes, I actually did upload my database file via filezilla, but godaddy told me they can only “associate” a database sql file to the actual new database I created with them by using the Starfield software.

    long story short, having to move my WP hosting over to hostgator today and see it that works. I will say that I do like godaddy’s user friendly navigation on their site (fine for a novice… after I learned what everything was. lol) And as far as them upselling after every domain purchase (and I have purchased over a hundred with them) i can see how the few pages of upsell ads can be aggravating but you can’t really fault them for trying to make money. I think a good option would be to have a “fast checkout” link on the first process page where it asks for the term of the hosting for us on-going customers who know that’s all we want or need and not all the other upsell email and hosting services. Just an idea.

  20. I’ve had an excellent experience with GoDaddy’s customer service regarding my WordPress hosting account. True, there was a problem, but not only was the problem solved – they were comprehensively responsive to the issue. My issue turned out to be a hardware problem. GoDaddy customer service clearly explained what was going on and why and fixed the problem.

  21. What hosting provider does ithemes use? What hosting provider would you recommend? I’m on GoDaddy and my three wordpress sites are NOT loading, or are taking well over a minute+ to load. When I called GoDaddy “support” (support…yeah right) the tech person said it was a plug-in—there were no plug-ins installed! I really need reliable hosting for my sites. Can anyone recommend one..or two..or three….help????

    Charly

  22. I know that this is an older article post, however, our wordpress install on GoDaddy servers is unacceptable. It went down completely on Sept 15 last year, the one and ONLY day we had the Amazon Major Release scheduled with thousands of partners. GoDaddy couldn’t see a problem on their end. Finally we noticed it was GoDaddy wide, and even a system telephone message was installed to address their awareness of it.

    Then we went to their new GRID system. Faster, yes. However, the reason they gave was that WordPress is Database intensive. Yet our site? It’s not a blog, and it’s stationary – only one page even allows comments, and it’s a website not a blog.

    No excuse. Shame is, I just had all my clients sites migrated to GoDaddy last year, and just hate to have to move him.

    Another client with only 1 site, same WordPress install configured as a website, plus a blog – is perfect on HostGator.

    I recommend HostGator for that reason, and I agree with the writer of this article! HostGator really worked, great help with the migration from GoDaddy of the WordPress site (that was NOT easy to figure out, but they made it completely perfect without my having to do much!).

    I also highly recommend http://bit.ly/2HostGator – but especially for WordPress. GoDaddy and WordPress just DO NOT work well together.

  23. I currently use GoDaddy for web hosting and have about 20 of my personal sites hosted by GoDaddy built with Builder.

    How easy would it be to convert all sites in Builder to another Host provider?

    • Having done exactly the same thing using BackupBuddy to migrate all the sites, it’s no problem at all.
      We recommend Hostgator.

      When you sign up at Hostgator, use coupon code “BackupBuddy” to save 25% off your order!

  24. From experience everything you say is spot on. Whenever I end up with a client who is on Godaddy, I cringe, as I know that something will usually go wrong. My worst story is when I had problems creating a database for a WordPress install, and after contacting them, it took them 5 days to do it : (

    Bluehost and Hostgator are my picks.

  25. I just discovered ithemes and in exploring the site, found this post and just had to put my 2 cents in.
    I’m a self taught web consultant (RN for 27 years) and I am sooooooo thankful that I had good advice on hosting when I first started. I did make the mistake of buying many domain names from GoDaddy and I won’t do that again, because even the process of pointing the domain name to the correct name servers is clunky, with more steps than there need to be, covered by instructions that are not as clear as they should be. Tech support? I think not. Pushiest sales team on the internet? They surely must be among the top contenders.
    I like buying domain names from Name Cheap; very easy to point to Hostgator, no fuss, no muss.
    I have used Blue Host but my preference is still Hostgator for the simple reason that I have chatted with them and called them in the wee hours and have always gotten stellar support. I did have a major issue with a site that had been hacked and had some nasty stuff on it. They spent over 4 hours on the phone AND on chat at the same time, helping me fix the damage. I’m not even sure that is within their realm of responsibility as my hosting company but they were wonderful.
    As a consultant to small to medium offline businesses, part of the deal when working with me is using Hostgator for client hosting. I have had several clients who have come to me with sites hosted on GoDaddy who did not want to move but it is something I insist on; if they are unwilling to let me transfer their sites, I refer them to another consulting firm. I have only had that happen once; the client came back to me a couple of months later, willing to transfer to Hostgator after her site had been down for 6 hours on her busiest traffic day causing a loss of a pretty fair chunk of revenue because of it. She was livid because she got no support at all from GoDaddy
    The best thing I can say about them: they have a great marketing strategy. Put some “eye candy” celebrity out there as your bait and they sell the hell out of themselves. All talk, no walk.
    Just my “humble” opinion.

  26. I have recently (in the last week) taken on a client with a WordPress site hosted on GoDaddy shared.

    Site performance varies from not too bad to terrible – depending on time of day – at the time I am writing it is awful. The site is still very small, less than 30 posts, and 20 pages, with only a few plugins installed. It’s not cached yet either.

    However, I have several other sites hosted on Afrihost.com entry level shared Apache – Linux hosting, with more content and heavier page loads (lots of images), as well as considerably more plugins in use, that are much faster than this site even with caching off. Even my Drupal site on the same service (which is marginal anyway for Drupal with 100MB memory allocation) loads reasonably fast (yes, it is cached, but even loading un-cached when signed in as admin is not usually too slow.

    Granted, the hosting fees are slightly higher – around $6.25 for 5 MySQL databases and 3GB drive space, 3GB data/m. This is also a single server solution, not distributed like GoDaddy.

    I found this forum searching for comments on GoDaddy and WordPress. Seems there are lot of similar comments all over the net…

    Support on Afri is excellent, usually and nearly always within a few hours, or at least some feedback. I haven’t used the GoDaddy support so cannot fairly comment.

    Before finding this forum, I read another post elsewhere “my latest site takes 18 seconds to load a clean new WordPress install front page which is bad, a previous site (also a clean new WP installation took 13 seconds to load the front page” which the site builder considered acceptable! – Sorry, I’ve installed a good number of WordPress sites on Afrihost, none took 10 seconds to load a front page from a clean new install – more like 1 to 2 seconds – by eye judgement around the same time as a 60kb static HTML page.

    As to the GoDaddy interface – Login, FTP and control panel it’s awful, and slow – My Afrihost solution login goes straight to CPanel without getting a lot of useless rubbish along the way. As a site manager I really don’t want to have to navigate through useless pages with promotions, featured products and advertisements to get to the site files and folders – time costs money!

    As a final word – GoDaddy is no longer included on WordPress.com list of recommended sites: These ones are – Bluehost, DreamHost, MediaTemple and Laughing Squid

  27. I am trying to migrate a wordpress site for a client from one domain to another. The domain I’m trying to move to is hosted with GoDaddy. I have had nothing but trouble. I use Backup Buddy, and love the product. I have moved a few sites with it and have started using it for my backup solution for all my wordpress sites. Now after several hours of lost time I am strongly recommending my client to switch web hosts because I can’t stand trying to work around the constant problems GoDaddy is creating for me. Thank you for your products and for your post on this subject confirming for me that the problems I am facing are from GoDaddy not from my own user error. Keep up the good work.

  28. I have been using GoDaddy for about 8 years. I really didn’t have any issues when I was using HTML sites, but lordy now that I am using WordPress sites and creating them for clients I am having nothing but issues.

    If you do have to use GoDaddy and need to transfer a site over, always put it in a subfolder. After spending about 8 hours trying to use Backup Buddy to install it on the root I finally figured out that it needs to be in a subfolder. (I just love Backup Buddy for transferring sites BTW!!)

    I called support over the years and they were always friendly and helpful but the past few when I have called about WordPress issues I always get ‘looks fine on our end’.

    Currently I signed up for a reseller account on HostGator (I sell hosting with some of my website packages) so hopping to have better luck there and so far installations are much smoother. Although 2 weeks after I signed up the server went down for 3 hours, I was assured that this is a rare thing… I certainly hope so!

    I did like GoDaddy’s controls (probably because I have used them for so long) but the cPanel on HostGator seems good too.

    • Oh so true. We never had a problem until we started designing in WordPress – we also use HostGator for now – WP runs like a gazelle on it. I see you agree with me, I prefer GoDaddy’s control panel over cPanel, I find it more detailed, professional and quite logical.

      However, I have been able to muddle through what we need to accomplish in cPanel, but some of it actually requires Host Gator to assist, which I do not like – I should be able to do everything myself in the Panel.

      I think you will like Host Gator for WordPress sites and/or blogs – we’ve moved all our WP sites and blogs there for a little over a year now, and have been 100% satisfied.

      Best wishes!

  29. Great information, very detailed. I am probably the one one in the whole world that prefers GoDaddy’s control Panel – I find it logical, very detailed and quite much more professional. I find C-Panel to be some kind of a stupid joke, but evidently it is considered easier, I totally disagree.

    That being said, I agree with everything else. We moved all of our important clients and all of their sites (especially those designed in WordPress) out of GoDaddy, the over-sell of their servers was so obvious our WP sites didn’t even load sometimes, let alone being so slow we thought they were broken code. Killed 2 of our best-seller releases on Amazon (though we still made it, no thanks to GoDaddy, site was down the entire day on/off).

    Love all the info, and I do hope that you achieve your objectives, I hope for #2 – GoDaddy stops overselling and upgrades their infrastructure, not just lip-service they say have done so – but really do it. They must think we are all fools -

  30. I wish I had read this before hosting with GoDaddy.com. Oh how I wish I had read this before using their hosting…

    Here it is 2012 and everything you noted about their support being incompetent and their servers being unbelievably slow is still true. I ran into performance problems that were so severe (page load times of 21 to 300+ seconds) that my site was unusable. And this was on their 4GH Ultimate Windows ASP.NET 4.0 platform that supposedly was going to be “lightning fast”.

    I fought with them for three weeks to get them to realize there were performance problems and to get the problems corrected but without any success. At one point the support person tried to argue with me about the number of times I had called that day for support (she said it was 7 I told her it was just 3) inferring that I needed to finally understand that this was MY problem and to stop wasting their time.

    Based on a friend’s recommendation I copied my ASP.NET code – without ANY changes – to a free Microsoft Windows Azure site and the performance was amazing on Azure. Keep in mind that there were NO CHANGES to this ASP.NET code and so it continued to use the SQL Server database that was hosted on GoDaddy.com’s servers.

    I changed the DNS A record to point to the new Azure site and as soon as possible will begin the process of moving EVERYTHING I have on GoDaddy.com to a company that is competent at hosting sites and of providing technical support.

    At this point my emotions are pretty high about this but in the past month I have grown to absolutely despise GoDaddy.com with the firey passion of a thousand suns!! They wasted so much of my time, caused my company’s reputation to get a couple black eyes because of my site’s incredibly bad performance, and then tried to blame me for it.

    • Sorry to hear that you’ve run into problems with them Kirk. I wish you were an exception rather than the rule.

      When I wrote this post more than two years ago, I feared that GoDaddy didn’t care that their hosting was poor. That they made money on their hosting despite it being poor and that pouring more money into it would not be a worthwhile undertaking. However, I hoped that this wasn’t the case.

      Unfortunately, after more than two years, little has changed. Over the years, I have received some updates from people inside GoDaddy that show statistical improvements in some of the problems that I point out in this post, yet the root issues remain unchanged. I’ve pointed out to them that while it is an improvement to take average database setup times from 2 hours to 1 hour (made up numbers as I can’t remember the real ones), that the problem is that it takes any wait time at all to set up a database, not that it takes more than X number of minutes. It’s like they have set benchmark goals that, even if they are met, are still far below the expectations of modern, quality hosting.

      I wish you the best of luck in getting migrated.

  31. I bought GoDaddy hosting for WordPress and it’s a fraud! My site is extremely slow, sometimes even doesn’t load at all! I think GoDaddy is probably THE WORST HOSTING COMPANY EVER. Now I have to pay extra money and switch to some other hosting provider. In my opinion GoDaddy should be brought to court with criminal charges. Because when you pay for hosting and you get painfully slow service, it’s a theft.

  32. GoDaddy works great for me and many of my clients. I do web design and web development full time and have been for over 10 years. Many times when I’m having an issue with something on one of our multiple NON GODADDY servers, I get frustrated and just put it on GoDaddy. Then everything just works and we can all move on to bigger better things. Once in a while I call GoDaddy for support and they are always there to help. They are also always friendly. I appreciate that. I call a lot of companies to work out problems and GoDaddy is one that I never fear calling.

    My 2 cents on WordPress real quick. WordPress works sooooooooooo good on GoDaddy I have installed it probably a hundred times, installed other peoples themes, created my own themes, installed and deleted plugins. Never a single issue. All my wordpress blogs and websites get GREAT SEO results. Google soaks them up like a sponge. Blog posts show up in search results within the hour.

  33. I’ve been trying to fix out some theme issues with a friend’s Godaddy hosted WordPress site this morning (not one of your themes.) His theme is very basic and everything fixed itself once I moved it to my localhost/Wampserver. GoDaddy hosting rlly sucks.

  34. Your comment about them trying to upsell you pretty much sums up what I’ve been going through the last three days with GoDaddy. My site has been up and down since Monday and both times I called they said it was a “known issue,” but didn’t know when it would be fixed. The first time they suggested I upgrade to a virtual server and today they said that they could give me 25% off if I wanted to extend my regular hosting plan. I said “I’m calling because my site keeps going down. Why would I want to extend my hosting plan with you guys?” And his only response was “you’re going to have issues with any host.” I think it’s finally time I make the switch….

  35. This is a real problem. I have BackupBuddy installed and it works wonderfully on all my smaller sites, however my larger site is not able to be backedup because of the size. I have no idea how to get it off of Gocrappy. From my research, even a dedicated hosting solution of theirs wouldn’t work because the backups don’t cover all files.
    Any suggestions on how I get this site to a new provider where I can use Backupbuddy?

    Btw– Great article.

    • Sorry to hear about your trouble Cliff.

      You have a couple of different options.

      The first option is to do the work manually:

      1. Create a database-only backup with BackupBuddy.
      2. Copy all the site files to the new server. This can be done by downloading them all locally and then copying them up to the server or by doing a server to server copy, if you know how to do that.
      3. Create a database user and database on the new server. This can typically be done easily in cPanel using the database wizard. You can also ask your host for help on this.
      4. Use importbuddy.php to set up the database backup on the site, just as you would do with a full backup to migrate the site.
      5. Update the wp-config.php file to use the new database connection details.
      6. Do non-WordPress migration stuff, such as updating DNS records.

      The second option is the easiest. Some hosting companies will migrate your sites for you when you purchase hosting. I recommend asking your preferred hosting company to see if they can assist with this. Even if they can migrate the site for you, I recommend that you still make a database-only backup of your site as some data in WordPress’s database doesn’t automatically migrate over. Once the site is migrated, use importbuddy.php to restore your database-only backup. This makes sure that all the URL’s and site paths in the database are properly updated.

      • Thanks Chris.
        I was trying to #2 but it times out every time. GoCrappy really sucks in this way. I’ll try your other ideas and see how it works out. Can you recommend Bluehost as an alternative?
        Thanks again for the help.

        • Honestly, I don’t know what host to recommend anymore. It used to be that there were a number of shared hosts that were actually good and didn’t drastically oversell. I’m not sure any of them exist anymore as most shared hosting environments seem to be in a race to the bottom to maximize profitability by shoving as many users on a box as possible.

          Case in point: I used to love Hostgator, but over the past couple of years, they deteriorated to being just average at best. This seemed to all be part of a plan to get a maximum buyout price as the owner sold Hostgator to EIG a while back.

          Bluehost is one of those companies that I’ve never had a strong opinion on one way or another. I’ve seen some issues with them, but not anything out of the ordinary. I’ve never really seen anything from them that made me think that they were stellar. So, I can’t give a recommendation or a warning about them.

          I’m in the process of migrating my stuff off of shared hosting. I’m now playing around with VPS’s that let me have full root control and no management. This is so that I can do things such as use nginx rather than Apache and MariaDB rather than MySQL. Of course, this isn’t for everyone as it is very technical.

          Unfortunately, this means that I have very little in the way of recommendations to make as I’ve more or less given up on classic shared hosting. Sorry that I can’t be of more help.

          • Thanks for the reply.
            To your point, I have stuff on Hostgator, Godaddy and Bluehost. The shared stuff just isn’t working out on any of them.
            I have a site that’s fairly popular that I may need to go VPS with but the cost is pretty high given the amount of traffic the site gets.
            Arrggg… why can’t everything be free ?? except for my services of course.
            Thanks again!

          • Well I’m still working on it. I have been trying to get my site — all 31gigs off of GoCrappy. I’m working on option 2, then using rackspace cloud sites to power the site. Hopefully adsense will pay for the service because it’s not cheap. I’ll update.

          • I’m with you, Chris, on the struggle to find and recommend a decent, affordable shared hosting solution. Back in the day, I recommended midPhase. Then they were Acquired by UK2 and quickly became crap du jour. Like you, I used to have a lot of faith in HostGator. Like every host that’s been acquired by EIG, their level of service plummeted almost immediately following the acquisition.

            That said, SiteGround is the host I’ve been recommending as of late. They’ve also got a solid reseller program that I’d encourage any WP designers/developers that offer hosting as a value-added service to check out.

            I’ve actually had clients tell me their previous designer recommended GoDaddy. I’m not generally one to pass judgement based on a single litmus test, but if ANY designer recommends hosting a WordPress website on GoDaddy’s servers, run screaming away from them as if your hair is on fire. Their ignorance alone may be enough to bankrupt a small business.

  36. I agree fully about the shoddy service from Godaddy. I have a dedicated server which is down more often than it is up.

    But who is best for Dedicated Servers? I want to use plesk 100 domains, be great for wordpress sites (so strong and recent versions of php and mysql), and at a decent price.

    Who would you recommend? (don’t like the look of hostgator, their website doesn’t load properly with pages timing out and missing images which doesn’t instill confidence in their servers).

  37. Godaddy is ok for domains but their hosting is terrible. No juice for backend functions and the sites are slow. So glad I only took out one month to test out. The FIRST day all sites wer down and even the Godaddy site was down! These things can happen but when they were up and running I couldn’t do anything backend with Wp that needed even a little php memory. The article is spot on. Just shows, branding is everything . . .

  38. […] iThemes, a major WordPress theme development company, blasted GoDaddy for overselling hosting space. GoDaddy puts thousands of websites on a single server. All those websites compete for server processing time and bandwidth. This causes the sites to run slow, especially if any of them are popular. The GoDaddy speed issues are exacerbated by the fact that Google now penalizes slow sites on its search results. […]

    • Go into the wp-config.php file and set your wp_debug to true during a slow time. should give you an indication if there are issues with some of the routines and where they’re coming from. You do NOT want to leave this set to true for extended periods – just while testing as it does expose some of the inner workings of your WordPress to the world at general in certain cases.

      Additionally, you can check your error_log in the root via FTP and that will also give you some indications if you are having some issues.

  39. Yes, this article is still relevant. I was searching for a solution to why my CuteFTP keeps refreshing every 3-5 seconds whenever I’m connected to a GoDaddy server and came across this. LOL. GoDaddy has moved to new cPanel’ish setup though not exactly cPanel. It’s been modified a bit it seems. It’s better than their old hosting nightmare (I still have one of those), but it’s still GoDaddy. Had to contact support and actually got someone who was knolwedgeable on their support line. There was a problem with the automated setup routines that didn’t enable/setup the mail servers properly during the new domain addition process on the new cPanel’ish hosting. She indicated that this apparently is a regular issue. She handled it pretty snappy, so thinking she had done this more than a few times.

    Agree with you (and this article) wholeheartedly still. “But they’re not as bad as they used to be.” LOL – sad how this is the only positive thing I can say about their hosting.

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