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It’s Time to Ditch GoDaddy: Here’s What We Recommend

by Jason Unger, Founder

Photo by Steve Johnson via Pexels

In the web design and development world, GoDaddy has always had a checkered reputation.

Over the years, they’ve done a ton of marketing – some of it more controversial than others – to generate great brand awareness for registering domain names, but when you talk to industry professionals, you’d often hear about their unnecessary upsells, poor technology, and bad customer service.

A lot of that changed when they started seriously competing on value and customer experience rather than on mass marketing – but the reputation never really went away. I’ve even written about how GoDaddy was good for our business, as we’d eventually graduate clients to a better platform.

In 2013, when GoDaddy acquired MediaTemple (a company we used and always recommended for hosting to our clients), many MediaTemple customers were hopeful that the values and benefits would rub off on GoDaddy – and not the other way around.

For a number of years, that was the case; but with GoDaddy now completely retiring the MediaTemple brand, it’s clear that there’s no added value in using GoDaddy for hosting or even domain registration.

Botched Migrations and Stranded Technology

This post isn’t an oral history of the MediaTemple acquisition, but here’s just a snippet of what we’ve seen with GoDaddy in the past year or so:

  • A client’s email system (previously available with their hosting package) totally stopped working. It became impossible to send emails or even receive messages via the email forwarding they had set up
  • An inability by GoDaddy’s customer service to handle anything related to servers previously run by MediaTemple; they didn’t know what to do
  • The DNS nameservers used by MediaTemple simply stopped working one night, meaning that anyone trying to access a website wouldn’t be able to

This isn’t the type of experience any business should be providing, let alone one that is supposed to support your organization’s online marketing efforts.

“But what about GoDaddy’s own services?” you ask.

Even those have their own issues that make it difficult to recommend.

Recently, we migrated a client using GoDaddy’s website builder tool to WordPress – and later found out that GoDaddy had created 5 or 6 different versions of every URL on their site, making it incredibly bad for SEO and leading to a huge Google Search Console cleanup.

Remember: you get what you pay for. It’s called cheap web hosting for a reason.

Recommended Host: WP Engine

Today, we’re recommending our clients use WP Engine for hosting.

It’s a platform designed for WordPress-powered websites, complete with built-in backups, free SSL certificates, included staging and development environments, and customer service that actually knows what they’re talking about. Their technology is good, and their uptime is almost 100%.

The biggest downside to WP Engine is their overzealous sales + marketing staff; they love to reach out and tell you about how you need to upgrade to a higher-end account. It’s definitely a bit off-putting, but generally ignoring them makes them go away.

WP Engine’s pricing is a little different than other web hosts; they charge per number of sites installed on your account, plus storage and bandwidth. So if you use a lot of storage or have a ton of sites or applications, it may not be the right host for you. But for most of our mission-driven clients, it does the job well.

Recommended Domain Registrar: Cloudflare

When it comes to registering domains, we recommend Cloudflare.

Their domain registrar is relatively new, but it’s definitely the cheapest and most featured-packed service available. Cloudflare doesn’t mark up their domain names at all, so you’re paying the direct cost of registering your domains.

Unfortunately, premium top-level domains (like .ink domains) aren’t available for registering yet, but if you have an existing .com, .org, or any one of the 200+ TLDs they support, you can easily transfer your domain there.

In addition to their registrar, Cloudflare’s DNS settings are well known for their security and caching, so even if you aren’t using them to register your domain, you can still use them for their DNS.

“But Jason, why can’t I use GoDaddy for registering my domain?” you ask.

Sure. Out of all of GoDaddy’s services, their domain registration is their least difficult to work with. But once you start using one service, they tend to rope you into using another – and before you know it, you’re paying for things you don’t need and performance that isn’t actually helping you. It’s best to use a hosting company for your website hosting and a domain registrar for your domain registrations.

Have any questions about your website hosting or domain registration setup? Just want to share your GoDaddy horror story? Contact us and let’s chat.

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About Jason Unger

Jason Unger is the Founder of Digital Ink. He built his first website on Geocities, and hasn't looked back since. Digital Ink tells stories for forward-thinking businesses, mission-driven organizations, and marketing and technology agencies in need of a creative and digital partner.

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