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Monday, June 4, 2012

Why I switched to GoDaddy hosting

Domain Name Wire is now hosted by
A couple weeks ago I changed web hosts to Several people have asked why I decided to change hosts in the first place and why I chose  GoDaddy .
Why I changed hosts
When I started Domain Name Wire I hosted it with the same host I’d been using for my other sites for 5 years. I’m not going to mention the host by name because they’ve really been pretty good to me for the better part of a decade. It’s a small company and I still host a number of sites with them.
For the most part my host grew with the site. When traffic levels increased I moved to a dedicated server. And it worked, most of the time.
But that changed over the past year. More and more often, whenever I’d get a spike in traffic my site would slow to a crawl or stop altogether. It’s painful to miss out on traffic like that.
Worse, the company didn’t offer any phone support. Its chat support was limited as well and only offered for part of the day. That’s to be expected with an inexpensive host, but remember that I was on a dedicated server.
I put off moving Domain Name Wire over the years because I knew it would be a pain. But after my most recent site outage I knew it was time to make a move.
My criteria
1. 24/7 phone support
2. Redundancy/cloud solution in case one server had a problem
3. Systems that will help load DNW quickly
3. Cost was not a concern – I’m willing to pay what it takes for peace of mind.
I was originally leaning toward WPEngine. It’s based here in Austin and has financial backing from the creators of WordPress. All they do is host WordPress sites. The monthly fee for my site would be $99, which isn’t bad. They also have a number of built in mechanisms for speeding up WordPress sites. One thing that’s missing is 24/7 phone support.
GoDaddy wasn’t on my original list. But the more I thought about it the more it made sense. They’re big and have a good infrastructure. They call their shared plans 4GH, which basically means your site is replicated across multiple servers in case one goes down. (The idea of hosting a site like this on a dedicated server doesn’t make sense any more.) They have 24/7 support. I also have a dedicated account manager for my domains. So if something goes wrong, I know I can reach someone who will help.
Honestly, the only reason I found to not go with GoDaddy was price. It’s too low. I generally wouldn’t feel comfortable trusting my site to a $10/month hosting plan.
Making the switch
I’m going to be honest: switching hosts is a big pain. There are some solutions out there that apparently make porting WordPress easier. But we’re talking about over 5,000 posts, 3,500 files (images, pdfs, etc), and lots of database tables. It’s not something to do except out of necessity.
I use WordPress’s own solution for backups, VaultPress, which made it a little be easier. Unfortunately VaultPress does not yet help you port from one host to another (they say they’re working on it), but I was able to transfer the site using a VaultPress backup.
Then there’s the nameserver switch and the time it takes that to resolve across the internet. That resulted in about 24 hours of “dead” time in which the site loaded fine but I didn’t want to

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