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If you haven’t heard of them I know you’ve seen their commercials.  Using provocative campaigns GoDaddy attracts attention to their low cost web hosting and domain registration service.  GoDaddy is one of the largest online web hosting companies as well as one of the oldest, founded in 1997.  I’ll admit I fell victim to their guise only to be slowly let down when their service couldn’t hold up as strong as their marketing department.

I recently redesigned this website.  Something I am blogging about in other posts.  When I decided to incorporate dynamic web functionality and utilize database driven content, my website hit a brick wall.  My pages were taking up to 2 minutes to load and most of the time would just return an error message stating my request could not be completed at that time.  After trial and error and just knowing how my website works I came to the conclusion that my issues were on GoDaddy’s end.  I read on a few forum posts that people where having similar issues with GoDaddy and it was due to the fact that GoDaddy outsources their MySQL server.  Also the sluggish response was contributed to by GoDaddy hosting thousands of websites on a single shared server.  Therefor the GoDaddy servers are overloaded with request and cannot send the amount of information that is being demanded.  This is actually a common issue with almost all Internet companies.  You often hear about ISP’s over selling their bandwidth and here GoDaddy overselling it’s capacity.

I contacted GoDaddy support and explained to them the exact issues with my site.  To be specific I was having issues with my pages loading, the zenphoto and wordpress dashboards loading, and all around unreliable service.  I also mentioned that before I contacted them I visited their support site and tried their suggestions to resolve these issues.  The suggestions were to no avail and here I was relying on them to shed some insight on my issues.

The first respons from GoDaddy had to be a computer generated message.  If it wasn’t then they really need to require employees to read before they respond.  I say this because what I got from them was an exact copy of the suggestions from the support page that I had already tried.  This was upsetting so I wrote back and stated for the second time that I already tried those steps and it didn’t fix anything.

At this point my site was running so slow that I literally could not login to do anything.  Sporadically I was able to get in and start typing a post, but when I would save my work, the server timed out and I would lose everything.  I was irate with the poor service and basically told GoDaddy that I wanted it fixed.  This time I also mentioned that I was having issues working with my database even from their website.  For those of you not familiar with GoDaddy they have a web interface where you can manage your databases and run sql commands as well as backup and restore the database.  I wanted to make a backup of my database before I got too deep into trial and error troubleshooting.  Yet because of the sluggish server response I was never able to make a backup.

The second response from GoDaddy mentioned that they were not having any issues loading my site.  They suggested the issue might be somewhere between there server and my computer.  So I ran a trace route to record all the jumps between the 2 of us.  Everything ran smooth until it got to their server where it stopped and timed out for 10 minutes.  I ran this twice and sent them the results along with a couple screenshots of what was happening while trying to access my site.

With the proof that I had I was hoping they could figure out what was happening, or own up to the fact that their servers are overloaded.  However their response was that they couldn’t find anything wrong and suggested I move my hosting account to their new server that was more powerful.  This was free of charge of course.  I agreed taking their advice in hopes that this would fix the issue.  My site was transfered and of course everything needed to be re-uploaded and the Content Management Systems (CMS) reinstalled.  However this new server was running just as slow.  I was also unable to work with my database through their PHPmyAdmin page.  So after wasting a day of transferring everything I was back where I started.

At this point I had deduced that the issue was not the hosting account but the MySQL server.  I wrote GoDaddy a message explaining my findings and how I was unable to do anything with the database but everything else worked fine.  Their response to this was that everything is working fine on their end and that the issues is with my website.  The thing was, at this point my website had nothing on it because I couldn’t even get into the database to setup my CMS’s.  They sent me an e-mail which was identical to the very first e-mail giving me the same suggestions from their support site.  This completed the support loop and I literally humored them and ran through the whole process two more times.  I sent them screenshots, ran trace routes, explained that it was not my site but the MySQL server.  Each time their responses were as if they never read my e-mails and nothing ever got resolved.  I gave them three attempts to troubleshoot my issue from beginning to end and with that I was completely over GoDaddy.

After doing some searching and reading reviews I decided to go with BlueHost as my new hosting company.  I don’t want this to sound like a commercial but I will point out a few things that BlueHost has over GoDaddy.

  1. Unlimited E-mails.  That’s right, not unlimited “e-mail forwarding” but actual unlimited POP or IMAP e-mails.  With GoDaddy I had to pay $30 a year to have an IMAP email address with 1GB storage for my website.  The server that e-mail was on was an obscure long address and was very cumbersome to setup on all my devices.  With BlueHost I can log into my account create an e-mail within seconds and then check it anyway I want (POP, IMAP, Webmail).  There is no additional charge and the storage space of my mailbox is unlimited.  Setting the account up on all my devices was easy because the address was my domain name.
  2. Locally hosted MySQL server with capacity limits.  Before I signed up with BlueHost the first thing I asked was, “Who hosts your database server and do you have issues with it timing out?”.  Of course any sales person would want to boast about their service but with BlueHost they explained why they are better than other hosting companies.  First they host their own server so requests from my website are not vulnerable to the connection between an outsourced server.  They also limit how many simultaneous connections each database can have.  This helps prevent the server from getting overloaded.  This of course was set at a reasonable quota.  My site is a personal site so I didn’t require all that much.  If I needed that quota raised I could always work with them to do so.
  3. Price.  Price is always a great motivator when selecting a service or product.  As currently I am a college student it is also something I have to consider.  I know I lost the hundreds I spent with GoDaddy as they do not give refunds.  Which to me is wrong, I paid for a service they claim to offer but yet it is down more than it is up.  With Bluehost I paid $6 a month for a year paid in full.  This is a remarkable low price and includes so many free features that I really felt taken advantage of by GoDaddy.
  4. Service. Before I signed up with BlueHost I had many questions for them.  I wanted to make sure that when I transfered my site I wouldn’t experience the same problems I was having with GoDaddy.  I chatted with their sales team probably about five times.  Each time I received great service and all of my questions were fully answered.  This was all real-time communication I never had to send an e-mail and wait a day for a response… unlike uh hum… GoDaddy! Besides the human service, the actual service I paid for has been superior as well.  My site was up and running with in an hour and magically all my problems were gone.  This proved that I was right the whole time about GoDaddy.  I can not believe how fast my site is now running compared to before.  To be honest it was even faster than when my site was just a plain static site on GoDaddy.  I have never been so impressed with a hosting company as I have been with BlueHost.
  5. Simplicity. Signing up with Bluehost and transferring my site was remarkably simple.  The checkout process was beyond easy and nowhere near as confusing as GoDaddy.  If you have ever used GoDaddy to make a purchase you know what I am talking about.  Every time you click something literally 15 new items pop up trying to add on to your purchase.  With GoDaddy you are constantly over inundated with requests for new products and services that when you leave the sale you’re almost expecting to be overcharged for something.  Bluehost on the other hand had only two option.  The basic plan and the Pro plan.  The pro plan offers a little more power for heavier trafficked sites.  That was it, simple and fast, the two things you want from a hosting company.

Overall in my opinion GoDaddy made a big mistake.  Yes, I am one customer, but I am a customer who was paying them to host my blog.  Meaning I am going to say whatever I want for everyone to read.  The correct way to handled this situation would have been to admit their service faults and then offered me some sort of compensation while they work on fixing the issue.  This of course assumes they are fixing the issue.  If they are not I truly wish them the best of luck in these economically unstable times.

Like I said above I do not want to be a spokes person for BlueHost or push them on you.  I only want to share the experience I have had with them.  I can suggest them because I have used them.  I am sure there are other great companies out there but I have never done business with them.  All I can say is that if you are in the market for web hosting and you want what I have deemed the best I’ve had, go with BlueHost.

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