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GoDaddy’s ‘Managed’ WordPress Hosting Exposed

   |  14 May, 2017

Many of my clients over the years know how much I hate GoDaddy. Unlike other “bad” web hosts, such as the dozens of brands gobbled up by EIG, GoDaddy has always gone the extra mile to lie, cheat, and steal their way toward maintaining a sizeable monopoly on domain registration in the United States (e.g. abusing the WHOIS system for advertising).

And it’s not just me: a quick Google search reveals thousands of bloggers who’ve been scammed by the company, who’ve sued or been sued, or who’ve otherwise developed a healthy hatred of everything GoDaddy.

‘Shared’ Servers Masquerade As Premium Service

But alas, this isn’t meant to be a detailed chronology of GoDaddy’s crimes against the internet.

The purpose of this post is simpler: to expose just how seedy their ‘managed’ WordPress hosting service is (my complete review of the service has been in DRAFT mode for the past 2 years… TBA).

Managed WordPress is GoDaddy’s professional WordPress hosting platform. Its feature list is incredible, as is its performance (so good, in fact, some of our developers literally didn’t believe it — but we assure you, it’s real). Managed WordPress offers a streamlined and optimized WordPress experience; it’s nothing but a hosting account with WordPress installed.

To GoDaddy’s credit, they are quite honest here: “it’s nothing but a hosting account” is indeed, undebatable, when talking about their ‘managed’ WordPress hosting product. Having learned their lesson after years of being called out, years of lawsuits, and years of bad publicity, they’ve decided to stick to the basics and shroud their entire business in complete ambiguity. No information is available on their datacenters, no server resources are promised, and all of their FAQ pages have turned into vague niceties about how “incredible” and “so good” their technology is.

Recently (as happens often), we took on a new client who was fleeing GoDaddy. In most cases, our clients’ WordPress websites are less than a few hundred MBs in size, so we typically perform a migration using a WordPress plugin.

However, in certain cases — like this one — our customer has an extremely large and busy website, meaning we must migrate using either SSH, SFTP, SCP, WGET, TAR-balls, or a combination of the above.

Here’s a breakdown of how it went:

  • It took us over 24 hours to complete the migration
  • The GoDaddy server was so unstable that HTTP, SSH, and WGET connections were cut off constantly
  • We had to wait until 3:00AM for the server to be stable enough to continue at one point
  • Gzipping / mysqldump is not supported on GoDaddy servers (despite their recommendation to enable Gzip on their very own customer control panel)
  • Transfer speeds varied between 50+ Mbps and “–.-KB/s” (completely dead)
  • Etc, etc, etc

For tech-savvy developers, this isn’t exactly news; speaking for myself, when I first tried this new WordPress hosting service from GoDaddy a few years ago, I was immediately shocked by how bug-ridden their configuration was, especially re: their DNS redirection and setup process, which resulted in fatal errors on my live WordPress site (…ironic, considering that their “automated” setup is pretty much the ONLY feature they have that could be considered “managed”).

Hundreds of others have had similar experiences.

Anyway, after snooping around this client’s GoDaddy server for a few moments, I did find something that proved beyond a doubt just how bizarre their hosting was: when trying to ls (“list”) all the users sharing this server, it took over 5.5+ minutes to finish listing in my shell session. Take a look in the video below, if you have the patience:

Now, my disclaimer here is I was using a Chromebook with limited resources, but the point remains the same…

There are literally tens of thousands of accounts sharing the same server, the same operating system. This is far worse than your typical $5 shared hosting that usually stacks several hundred clients on each VPS node, etc. GoDaddy is claiming to offer a premium hosting service — albeit with extremely tricky and vague wording — and charging extra for that premium service, AND offering less disk storage on that service presumably due to higher performance specs, all the while delivering a hosting environment that is far inferior to even the worst “discount” shared hosting out there.

Of course GoDaddy (or whoever) can try to argue that with clever configuration, a massive server sitting in Phoenix, Arizona can be overloaded with 150,000+ websites no problem… but we all know how that movie ends. Ultimately, when your /home directory looks like something out of The Matrix, it’s probably time to find a new hosting company.

Anyway, I guess there goes our acquisition offer… yah, no thanks!

P.S. Our client’s loading speed immediately improved 200-300% after migration. They are happy, to say the least.

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Last modified:  14 May, 2017
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6 comments on "GoDaddy’s ‘Managed’ WordPress Hosting Exposed":

  1. Very interesting. Somewhat tangentially I had a U.S. based, regional business client request to migrate from their shared Linux Deluxe hosting to managed WordPress hosting and end up on a European server for no reason. I’m sure everyone enjoyed the additional latency. I really wouldn’t trust them to wash my dishes.

    • Thanks for sharing, Vance. I’ve seen that happen many times with SiteGround too, we regularly pick up a client from e.g. East Asia who believes they are hosted on a datacenter in Singapore and they are somewhere in the U.S.

      In some cases they are even paying extra to be on one of those special datacenters… it’s kinda mind-blowing how common it is, just blatant incompetence across the board I suppose.

  2. Migrating sites from GoDaddy can be both a pain and a mess to deal with.

  3. You also might want to watch out the renewal cost that’s being offered by Godaddy.

  4. When I made my first website with WordPress I needed a host and that host was Godaddy.

    After experiencing their horrible support and upsell tactics I have never used or recommended their services. No matter what new thing they come up with I don’t trust them.

    They also supported SOPA . One more reason to never think about using their services.

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