The other day I was minding my own business, watching Comedy Central via their app, when I caught sight of it. It was a hip, catchy, quick-cut ad for “easy to use” websites hosted on GoDaddy. While the ad may have been pretty, cut together nicely, showcase some OK looking sites on it, and have a cool audio track, GoDaddy’s hosting is anything but nice. We are often tasked with inheriting sites from clients that were either self-created or set up by someone else, and a lot of the times they are hosted on GoDaddy. Why is GoDaddy such a bad company, and why is their hosting not our first or even last pick?
GoDaddy Touts Cheap Services – But In Reality Are Not
GoDaddy ropes people in by showing them how cheap it can be to have a website. They are a top domain registrar and can offer to register a .com address for as low as $.99. The reality of this bait-and-switch maneuver is that if you get a domain for $.99 or some cheap amount, you may only be able to have it for $.99 for that first year. Any subsequent years after will charge at the regular rate, which is usually $11.99 or such. Other registrars offer cheap first-domain prices (some even offer one free domain with a hosting plan, such as our preferred host) which can help reduce next year’s sticker shock by only increasing by a couple of dollars instead of twelve-fold.
GoDaddy also makes touts a bunch of services as being “necessary items” for you to pay for in order to have a website or a functional professional presence. They will sell “SEO” packages including “search engine visibility” that can cost $70 a year or possibly even more, but doesn’t actually do anything notable. It’s hard to even find details about what you are supposed to get if you enroll in a program like this, but it has never proven any noticeable increase in traffic — or decrease once it has been removed. GoDaddy will not alter your page for you, or even offer suggestions to increase your search engine optimization, so thinking there is a simple “buy it” button plan that will do SEO for you is not accurate, nor effective.
Couple this with other things they charge for – email services, for one, despite the fact that 99% of other hosting plans offer free email (freemail) for free with their hosting plans. And of course, SSL certificates, which we will get into later down the line.
The short version is GoDaddy will try to upsell you at every bend — usually for services that don’t actually do anything.
GoDaddy’s Servers Are Slow
It’s no surprise that if a company is trying to sell web hosting space, they will want to make the most of their server space. Standard hosting is known as a “shared server” environment, where you share a server with a bunch of other people. This can be an issue sometimes if someone is hogging all of the server’s resources, uploading too many or too big of files, or otherwise causing activities that bring the server to a grinding halt. All hosting companies with shared servers run the risk of this problem, though the longer you are on a server, the less likely you will be to experience problems. Still, hosts like GoDaddy make a point to cram as many people as possible onto a shared server environment, causing sites to load slowly, partially, or not at all.
GoDaddy’s “Selective DNS Blocking” Makes GoDaddy in Control of Your Website Traffic
Back in 2011, GoDaddy rolled out “selective DNS blocking” which means that GoDaddy can and will block any traffic that they deem they want to. That traffic could be traffic from anywhere… While GoDaddy likes to frame it as a way to block spam traffic and bots and to reduce server load, it’s actually a way that GoDaddy can keep a stranglehold on your website — and who sees it. GoDaddy can block traffic from search engines, analytics tools, and more, simply on a whim.
GoDaddy’s DNS Is Quite Sticky
I have constant issues with GoDaddy’s DNS simply refusing to serve new records, or somehow serving old records, way past the 24 hour mark for propagation. I’ve had domains that were set to forward, then had the name servers completely changed, but despite that still forwarded. Sure, perhaps domain forwarding should and does take precedence over name server DNS records, however GoDaddy does nothing to be clear about what gets served over others. For example, most hosts when you make a domain a “forwarding only” domain, they will remove your ability to make any DNS changes, making it clear that you must clear out the forwarding only option before making any DNS changes. GoDaddy does not even attempt to suggest to you that there could be interference with what you are trying to do. Which leads me to my next point…
GoDaddy’s Back End/User Interface Is Clunky and Confusing
Need to know where to change your DNS records? Good luck getting there. After you land on your “dashboard” which lists some of your domains (but not all of them!) you have to jump through hoops and click through multiple pages to get to the page you intend to land on. All of GoDaddy’s pages in the back end are like this. Nothing is clear as to where or what anything is, and your best bet before you go digging or waiting for hours on chat support is to just Google it and hope someone can point you in the right direction first.
Also hope you have a good ad blocker in place, because swimming through the sea of advertisements all over GoDaddy’s service pages is just painful.
GoDaddy Doesn’t Care About Web Security
Unlike other hosts who do actually care if malware is spread around on their servers, GoDaddy does not seem to mind much. Every single site I have ever cleaned of malware or a hack has been on GoDaddy. Unlike other hosts, GoDaddy thinks it’s a-okay for a user (or a bot, in most cases) can just pound away at your login screen over and over again guessing your password. Most hosts will temporarily block users who use POST too frequently, usually 15 minutes or so, and I have definitely been blocked by our preferred web host for posting too fast or making too many incorrect login guesses. Such is not the case with GoDaddy.
In fact, recently I had a site with malware on it on GoDaddy that didn’t even have public facing files. The files hosted on GoDaddy were modified while on GoDaddy’s server, despite not ever being publicly accessible, which leads me to believe… Is it coming from inside the house? Or does GoDaddy not really care if malware spreads elsewhere, possibly even server wide?
GoDaddy also does not provide SSL certification for free. Instead you have to pay some asinine amount like $75 a year or such for one site just to provide a vague level of encryption and the padlock for your visitors. Almost every other host on the internet provides self-signed and Let’s Encrypt certificates for free, because they understand that HTTPS is the way of the future and providing even basic level security helps them out in the end too.
GoDaddy’s Email Is Garbage
Looking to take advantage of GoDaddy’s email services? Hope you aren’t planning to use any contact forms on GoDaddy, because GoDaddy notoriously blocks all kinds of emails from coming through — sometimes even very important emails — while letting heaps of spam simply slip right through. Couple this with a 500 email a day limit, and you may start wondering why you would ever even consider using GoDaddy for email to begin with.
GoDaddy Likes to Hold Domains for Ransom
If you ever have a domain with GoDaddy, forget to pay, or simply let it expire, say bye-bye to that domain… It’s now owned by GoDaddy, who might let you have it back if you want to pay some exorbitant amount of money for it. The domain doesn’t simply just expire, like with many other hosts, and go back into the pool of unused domain names. Instead GoDaddy scoops it up, offers it to you with an “expiration fee” (of $80). They can and will hold the domain, put it up for auction, and hope someone else will grab it.
GoDaddy’s Dodgy History With Other Things
Technical reasons aside, GoDaddy also has a history of poor decisions which may make you think twice about giving them your hard earned money:
- GoDaddy has a history of using sexist and female demeaning advertising
- GoDaddy former CEO Bob Parsons has no problem killing elephants and posting videos of it on the internet
- GoDaddy supports SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), which has a lot of consequences for a free and open internet
Need any more reasons? Tell us about your experience (good or bad) with GoDaddy below!