Why I moved away from Godaddy for web hosting

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I purchased my domains from Godaddy about 8 years ago. Since then I’ve been using them on and off for web hosting some content and essentially parking my domains (with no income). I’ve stuck with them because their prices were competitive. However, logging into Godaddy’s web portal to manage anything was a poor experience. It’s like wading through the 90s popup ads on the Internet with absolutely no popup blockers. They have gotten better about it lately but they still try to upsell all the time. This is very annoying to the normal user.

I have used their web hosting on and off but never stuck with it. Recently I decided to give it another try. So I setup a WordPress blog using the free cPanel WebHosting package that Godaddy provides. It came with 256MB RAM, 1GB of disk space and 10GB of bandwidth. Good enough for a casual blogger or so I thought.

Soon I found out, I was already hitting “resource limits”.

Resource limit error
Resource limit error

According to cPanel, that resource limit was the RAM. My wordpress site literally had two tiny blog posts and nothing else. It had exactly one visitor (me) and not much traffic including web crawlers. It was a very poor user experience. During the few days that I used the hosting plan, I did notice intermittent slowness. The latency was high enough to put me off.

Normally people would turn to tech support at this point. But over the past 8 years interacting with Godaddy’s tech support has been an unpleasant experience to put it mildly. Their normal solution is to sell you stuff that you probably don’t need or accuse the user of being an idiot. Not that I don’t enjoy being treated like an idiot by tech support but I’d rather avoid it like the plague! I don’t envy the job of the poor tech support people. I’m sure most customers are unfamiliar with nuances of web hosting.

So I started exploring ways of upgrading my plan. Their cPanel has a very friendly “Upgrade” button very conveniently located right above the panel displaying resource utilization. Easy right? Well…

Godaddy Upgrade Button in cPanel
Godaddy Upgrade Button in cPanel

The minimum I would need to pay Godaddy was a $29.99 “Prime Business” Plan which included 1GB of RAM and 1 CPU core. With AWS, a t2.small instance would cost me roughly half as much (~$17) with twice the RAM. But that would be an unfair comparison because AWS is alacarte while Godaddy bundles hosting, bandwidth, storage etc. I was not ready to commit $29.99 / month to Godaddy. It was just way too steep for a personal blog with no monetization and no traffic!

Godaddy business plan comparison
Godaddy business plan comparison

 

Now, here’s the confusing part that I ran into. When I navigated to “Manage Your Hosting” link, I could upgrade to plans starting at $2.49 / month. None of those plans actually showed the amount of RAM that they offered. There was no comparison table to compare all available plans.

Profile page dropdown for managing Web Hosting
Profile page dropdown for managing Web Hosting
Upgrade Web Hosting via Profile Page drop down
Upgrade Web Hosting via Profile Page drop down

Now coming back to the cPanel upsell, it was probably coded to ignore the non-business plans and gave me the impression that Godaddy only sold business plans starting at $29.99. I don’t like such business practices.

So rather than deal with Godaddy, I turned to AWS. It took me ten minutes to setup a WordPress instance on EC2. Big disclaimer – I’m familiar with AWS so it wasn’t a big deal for me. Once I migrated all the data (two posts, plugins and settings), I did notice a major jump in responsiveness with AWS. Although, to be fair, the AWS instance did have more RAM than Godaddy’s free web hosting plan. I guess if I could’ve found an easy way with Godaddy to easily upgrade my plan to include more RAM, I would’ve happily paid for it as it probably was simpler than building an AWS instance with WordPress, migrating the data and settings over and pointing my domains to the new instance. Someday Godaddy will improve their user experience!

Example of poor user experience
Example of poor user experience

Dinesh

Senior Software Engineer @ Apple | ex-Yahoo Finance Eng | Distributed Computing @ Georgia Tech | Python, Java | Scalability, ML/AI, C* | 🇮🇳 | Opinions mine only

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