GoDaddy is a company that we have all probably heard of by now. Whether it be from their numerous TV commercials and internet advertisements – or via word of mouth. Fact is everyone has probably heard of them by now – and I am sure most people thought GoDaddy when they first needed hosting, or a domain name. Weirdly enough I had always steered away from GoDaddy – even though I had no personal experiences with them and no real reason to do so. Their main site never seemed to load fast enough for my liking so I had always dismissed them due to that and never looked back. A recent job however had changed that – for roughly the past 6 months I had been developing a series of sites on 2 different GoDaddy shared hosting accounts. Both accounts are on GoDaddy‘s Deluxe Linux Shared Hosting plan – now running on their GRID setup for the past 2 months (think GoDaddy‘s version of Cloud Shared Hosting). Below is my review. It’s honest. It’s not sugarcoated. It’s not here to tell you to buy from GoDaddy or to avoid them. Below is simply my experiences and my thoughts.
Using GoDaddy‘s control panel I immediately noticed one thing: I really miss cPanel. Those good old days when your control panel was a mere www.mywebsite.com/cpanel away. Now you go to GoDaddy‘s main website. Login at the top. Then select My Products. Then click on Hosting. Then click on Launch to open the hosting control panel. 5 steps as opposed to the usual 2.
Moving on we notice most changes are not done instantly. Remember when you would create a MySQL database in cPanel – create a user – and everything was done ready for you to work with in phpMyAdmin within seconds? Forget that. Most functions such as creating email accounts, ftp accounts and databases get placed into a queue. For example I once waited 45 minutes for a new database to be created – which did not exactly fit well into my time schedule for that day. Lets rewind a little bit to those FTP accounts. Usernames for FTP accounts are checked against the server or cloud you’re in – so no-one on the server can have the same username. This has never really bothered me – but I suppose it plays a role in the queue time when setting up a new FTP account. I can see this getting annoying later on – sometimes its just simpler to have a familiar username across your domains.
- (The Usual) We are on a shared hosting plan and would most likely benefit from having a more dedicated solution where we would be able to utilize more system resources.
- We were on their “regular” setup – however they now offered GRID hosting – which “pools” the resources of several servers allowing your site’s content to reside on multiple servers – thus decreasing resource use and increasing reliability.
There was no extra charge for going to GRID from “regular” so we went ahead with it. There was no downtime we noticed – but most of the use these accounts get is developmental or for internal applications. All our domain names worked perfectly fine following the change however adding new domains from other registrars was now another hassle. You see with the GRID setup the nameservers constantly changed – any old domains continue to work but to set up a new one you have to call in to tech support – again – and ask for the current name server to use.
The next day we went back to the ZenCart install we had yet to work with. Loading. Loading. Loading. I can’t truthfully say it wasn’t a tiny bit faster – but it was still not even average. We did a ZenCart install on our other account at this point and noticed it to be much faster. Maybe the pool our other account is in isn’t as full as this one? Maybe I had become spoiled by smaller hosting companies over the years and have grown to expect too much? Another call in to tech support let us know that our only other available solution was to upgrade to a VPS or our own dedicated server. Neither were viable solutions at the moment so we simply moved our database driven applications onto the other account in the meantime.
A few weeks after we were working on an online ordering system for a local restaurant when we encountered the queue once more. It seems mail sent from the server also goes through a queue – however this queue had a whole new wait time. We had experienced moments where our contact forms and ordering forms would take up to 10 hours to make it through. Here came another call to tech support – who politely told me if I do not use their formmail script – they cannot help me. So I quickly grabbed their script – and set up a contact form using it. Submitted it. 40 minutes later I got the email. I wanted to be sure though – this time around I was covering all my bases. I jumped onto my personal hosting account – with a different company we will not be naming. It is a simple shared hosting account – also linux. I uploaded my original contact form – the one that did not use GoDaddy‘s formmail. Pressed submit – and immediately saw the new email. I tried it again on GoDaddy. Nothing. I assume it is important to note that the contact form being used for these tests was an extremely basic mail() script. Nothing fancy, just a name and a message and submit.
*calling tech support again*
We didn’t really reach a solution here either. GoDaddy said there was a problem with the queue currently and they are working on it – however their servers are setup to only send out a certain amount of emails every 15 minutes – which sometimes causes a queue to build up. I explained that for our online ordering system the client needs to be able to get their notification emails instantly so as to confirm and check on orders. Let’s say someone is running a newsletter system for their website and has to send out their newsletter to 400 of their users at the same time as a customer is placing an order on you’re website. Good luck getting that email in a reasonable timeframe. Once again the only solution offered was to switch to a more dedicated solution. I guess it took them roughly a month to get this “queue problem” fixed – or at least that’s how long it took for our mail() forms to start functioning within the 15-minute queue period. In-fact for the past few days most submissions come instantly.
Now to some point I can understand why some of these things are the way they are. GoDaddy is a huge hosting company and a large part of their customer base has no idea about SQL injections and website security – so GoDaddy has to implement extra safety measures to double check each action and limit certain things. Let’s say someone’s website on your server gets hacked and is used to send out several thousand spam messages. This will not only bog down the server for everyone on it – it will delay any emails (longer than usual anyway) – and it runs the risk of having the server blacklisted as a spam server – causing future problems for all of the clients on that server. As such emails go through queues and each shared account has a daily limit of 500 emails (it could be 1000 – I need to double check).
Continuing with the size of the company and the amount of people on each server – that also explains the need for queues when performing various actions. GoDaddy has to allot for the fact that 15 people might be online at the same time trying to make a new FTP account, email address, or add a new subdomain. To maintain server stability they implement such actions.
In the end it really comes down to your personal preference. If my cousin calls me one day and says he wants to build a small website for his pizza place – assuming he has absolutely no idea what he’s really doing – I’d be sending him over to GoDaddy. Chances are he won’t have my problems because he won’t be using the services to such an extent. He won’t need the email to be immediate – and chances are he won’t ever make a nother FTP account to care how long it takes. He’ll grab a template – put up a simple website – maybe put a little blog – and be happy everytime he see’s his words on the internet. When he gets lost in their control panel he’ll call up tech support – be walked through what he needs – and chances are get off the phone purchasing some addon product you are pitched after almost every call. In the end – he’ll be happy. Now tell me you’re a PHP developer and have decided the internet is long overdue for the next big community scripting project – I’d probably recommend something else.