Why I left GoDaddy hosting with over two years left on my hosting plan

This is the story of how GoDaddy lost a customer of eleven years in four days.

It started in late 2015, early 2016, when my sites hosted on GoDaddy began to run slow; slow as in 8 seconds to load a page. At first I thought something must be amiss with my install or plugins, so I spent a significant time reinstalling one by one of my plugins, redoing the theme, making sure everything was updated, etc. Nothing seemed to work. In fact even with WP Cache on the page still took a while.

But it wasn’t just one site – it was all of them!

Michaelghurston.com – a portfolio site and personal blog.

Morbidgames.com – my RPG book site and affiliate RPG blog.

Lasvegascrenews.com – an old Commercial Real Estate blog I use to run when living in Vegas.

After my initial troubleshooting I reached out to GoDaddy for help and was told it was the hosting plan I had, on their old Orion servers and I needed to migrate to one of their new plans either C-Panel or their dedicated server plan. Of course this migration would incur a fee and additional hosting costs.

Well I wasn’t going to do that and since I’m not running a store from any of these blogs I said, “screw it” and just dealt with the sluggishness.

Along comes a client with GoDaddy issues.

Mid-2016 I started working with a client who had their current site running on GoDaddy as well and it was super slow. When I looked I noticed they were on the Classic Linux hosting plan and I suggested to them to try upgrading to the C-Panel or WordPress Hosting plan GoDaddy suggested for them.

Unfortunately this is where things went to shit for the client. The initial migration from their Classic Linux Hosting to the C-Panel resulted in the site running even slower than the Classic Hosting plan and GoDaddy’s response was that it must be something wrong with the site.

We tried a base install of WordPress with twentysixteen theme and no plugins and when we showed it to GoDaddy support that it was still taking a few seconds to load we were then told to migrate to the WordPress Hosting.

Once on the WordPress Hosting, the base install loaded fine, but we then found out our purchased theme and many of the customized plugins we use could not work with the environment due to either memory limits, access or other configurations that are specific to GoDaddy’s WordPress Hosting platform.

This lead us to move the clients website to Dreamhost. A host I can’t speak highly enough of.

So back to the future and my websites.

It’s now summer 2017 and my sites go down. At first I think something must be wrong with my WordPress so I check the usual troubleshooting tips, but the error I’m getting is a Forbidden one. I call GoDaddy who informs me that the Orion host I’m on is having issues and they are going to make me migrate to the new classic server, but they agree to do this for no charge as I still have Hosting paid for until the end of 2018 and I had been a customer since 2006.

They say this could take up to 24 hours, but the next day I was seeing a new trouble connecting to database error. I check my wp-config.php settings compared to the settings in the GoDaddy hosting area and everything seems to be on point so I call GoDaddy support again.

This time I’m told that the migration hadn’t completed and it’d take another 24 hours to complete. I wait again and the next day now see a 503 gateway error. I’d never seen this error and had no idea how to troubleshoot it so I call in again. This time I’m told that the migration has completed, and everything is fine on their end, but that there must be something wrong with my sites and I should hire a developer to fix them.

At this point, I figured I may as well move hosts anyway, so I begin the following:

  • Create Dreamhost account
  • Install 3 copies of WordPress
  • Upload my Plugins, Theme and Upload directories from what I had at GoDaddy
  • Manually export my 3 DBs from GoDaddy, Import them into Dreamhost

At this point I’m expecting to have to do some configuration work, but surprise…everything just fucking works as it had before my sites went down.

GoDaddy used to be a great affordable place to get your domain name and hosting all in one, but these days I can’t recommend them. While they are a fine registrar given that all registrars are pretty much the same these days it doesn’t make sense to use them for anything and I’m considering migrating all my web related items such as domains and email to Dreamhost as well, which I’ll more than likely start doing come July when I have more time to spend on all this.

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