GoDaddy is one of the biggest names for web hosting and domain registration, having started in 1997 and going on to serve millions of customers worldwide.
While I do like their domain services, it’s easy to be coerced into over spending because of their confusing website layout (more on that in a minute).
Let me give you my own write-up based on my honest experience.
What I Use GoDaddy for Most: URLs
Whenever I’m researching domain availability GoDaddy are my first calling.
I’m not saying I buy URLs right off the bat – I just mean you can use them for research.
You do not even need to be logged in to GoDaddy to perform a quick search. It’s good to see what has or hasn’t already been taken.
The prices are pretty good, and even if what you want IS taken by someone else, you can usually find out who has it through a WHOIS domain lookup service.
If the owner of the domain has not purchased any privacy options, their details will be available for you to look up publicly, thus revealing registration/expiry dates.
Because of the WHOIS database, I’ve been able to make contact with people by phone or email to ask if they’d consider selling a domain to me directly.
It’s a way of negotiating or doing some competitive analysis.
Some people buy a domain just to squat on it, usually to bide their time before making some kind of transaction.
Domain Auction System
Unavailable domains can be bid on using the GoDaddy domain auction system, giving you first refusal on a domain if the current owner lets it go or wants to sell it.
I’ve never used this system myself because there’s no domain I’ve ever been desperate to acquire. The reason people might bid on domains is if the URL in question has a large and positive backlink profile.
Confusing Website Interface
The confusing dashboards and sneaky up-sell tactics always bothered me.
In circumstances where I recommend web design clients use GoDaddy I always fee like I need to give them a quick education on using the site.
It’s not unusual for an individual to end up purchasing the wrong products or an unnecessary add on due to the overwhelming website design.
With so many options, too many buttons and everything apparently “on sale” knowing where to begin is paralysing.
The pricing has never seemed transparent to me. In the past VAT was always suddenly added at the end of the checkout..
It was as though they are determined to keep customers in a state of confusion. Supermarket psychology.
I say all this to serve as a warning to anyone buying a URL/domain for the first time.
Update: At the time of writing this post (November 2014) it seems GoDaddy have started to pull themselves together with the layout/navigation of the site. I first began using them around October 2011 but it’s only recently that things have improved noticeably. I have greater confidence in recommending them but still watch out for their sales tactics.
A frequent debate surrounding GoDaddy is the supposedly unreliable hosting. I’m on the fence with this one.
They’ve always been known as the go-to source for URL search and registration, offering low prices, great management and decent phone support.
But their hosting reliability has taken criticism and is constantly been called into question.
- The conventional wisdom from most webmasters is to buy URLs from GoDaddy and use them with a different host by changing the nameservers.
The quality of GoDaddy’s hosting seems rather subjective. If you have a small, low traffic website for a local/small business, I would use a basic Linux hosting package with GoDaddy.
This ought to be sufficient. If you want more, you can upgrade or move to a different host.
By the way, a theory I’ve heard about GoDaddy hosting is that it doesn’t get along well with Virgin Media, the broadband provider in the UK.
Allegedly, whenever GoDaddy has problems, the downtime is most frequent for customers of Virgin Media.
If you’re reading these words, you are looking at a GoDaddy hosted site that is up and running without issues.
It’ll be disappointing if there’s lots of down time. Any trouble, and I’ll pack up and shove off to a different host!
CPanel Hosting Interface
GoDaddy now use cPanel, but prior to November 2013 they did not.
This attracted a lot of complaints, considering they’re one of the biggest providers in the world. Customers wanted cPanel.
It’s odd, because even low quality free webhosts associated with spam were offering cPanel while Godaddy did not.
As mentioned a minute ago, if I use a GoDaddy bought URL with a different hosting provider, I change the GoDaddy URL nameservers to use the nameservers of the different host.
If I’m using GoDaddy, I leave the nameservers as is.
In situations where I’m using a reverse proxy for speed/protection such as CloudFlare, I’ll use the CloudFlare nameservers.
In the screenshot below you can see the GoDaddy nameservers are using DreamHost, which sent my DNS panel over to DreamHost.
Linux Vs Windows Hosting
The majority of web hosts offer both Linux hosting and Windows hosting.
Generally, Linux hosting is synonymous with shared hosting and cPanel. This is without doubt the most popular hosting service in the industry because of the affordable price and flexibility.
Linux hosting is compatible with PHP and MySQL which supports scripts including WordPress, Zen Cart, Magento, phpBB, Drupal and Joomla.
Whatever provider you choose for hosting, your best bet is to select Linux over Windows.
If you’re switching from Linux to Windows, for example, you’d need to use web.config instead .htaccess since Windows used IIS, not Apache.
Some of my clients have gone ahead and signed up for Windows because it was “cheaper”, but Linux is not that much more expensive and by the far the better option for most websites today.
Besides, Linux is much less susceptible to malware threats, unlike Windows, a widely used operating system frequently abused.
GoDaddy Phone Support – I’m Impressed, Kind Of..
If there’s one thing they really have going for them, it is the phone support. I’ve had to call them a few times with questions about one thing or another.
The phone call was never very expensive, costing about 10 pence for a 10 minute phone conversation. Here’s my question: why no email support? They used to have it, now they don’t.
Anyway, on the whole, I never had to wait long in a phone queue although I’ve waited over 45 minutes on one occasion. It’s best to call up about 11pm if you’re in the UK.
I use Skype as my phone system – wonder if that has anything to do with the low call cost?
Earlier, I mentioned DreamHost as my preferred host, but if there’s one thing they lack, it’s phone support.
Well, it’s not that DH lack phone support… it is that they charge for it. GoDaddy offer 24/7 phone support as part of the service, but do not do email.
I’m usually prepared to try and resolve issues myself before running crying to the hosting support team when something goes wrong!
When calling GoDaddy support, you’ll be asked for your 4 digit call in PIN located under Account Security Settings.
The support staff have always been American, which means the UK phone number I’m phoning was being forwarded to a call center somewhere in the United States. That could be a reason the phone call cost is low – you’re paying a local rate.
In the video below, I called up GoDaddy to ask them about some DNS issues I was having on a domain of mine. We resolved it.
The conversation is a fairly typical one although some technicians refer me to one of their uber geeks when I ask particularly taxing questions.
Professional Email Tools
The email tools are provided as an add-on feature for your domain.
If you’re running a website for your business, you ought to be using a professional top level domain (TLD) email inbox for answering customer enquiries.
It is amazing how many businesses skip the relatively small fee for purchasing a professional inbox that looks something like [email protected].
An article was written about making your small business look bigger and one of the tips is setting up a proper email inbox.
A couple of years ago, GoDaddy actually offered a free email inbox with all domains purchased.
Unfortunately, GoDaddy pulled a classic bait and switch when they quietly announced in 2013 that email would be charged for but only on new accounts.
Thankfully any free email plans I had were grandfathered in so there’s no charge for that. Phew!
For new webmasters setting up email with GoDaddy, you have two options:
- Buy an email inbox for whatever it costs every month/year and send/receive emails easily.
- Use a free email forwarder to push emails from a top level email address and pick up the message on a free email provider.
Allow me to clarify the second point.
A forwarder is not actually an email inbox, but an email address that looks like a professional top level domain email inbox.
For example, emails from customers addressed to [email protected] will forward to a free email provider (Gmail, Hotmail) if you set it up to do so.
It’s good if customers email you, because when you reply there is nothing to give away the fact you might be using a free email provider to pick up the emails. BUT, you can’t compose original emails and have the reply to address show up as [email protected].
It will reveal you sent it from a free email provider (like Gmail, Hotmail as mentioned) which makes you look cheap.
Email forwarding is similar in principle to a virtual office postal forwarding address. Small businesses also use PO Boxes to hide their residential address if that is where they operate from.
Set Up Email Forwarders
This veneer of professionalism for your email address makes an awful lot of difference.
A forwarding address is set up in the email control panel. The screenshot below demonstrates how this is done.
You just need to create what you want your email address to look like and to where it should forward.
Using an email forwarder is okay for replying to emails you receive, BUT you’ll never be able to send an email from a forwarder.
The only way to compose emails and send them from a professional top level domain email address is to buy an email plan.
The screenshot below shows a professional paid for email inbox where messages can be composed and sent to recipients.
- Do you expect to be sending email messages to businesses or individuals?
- Do you really want to be seen using something like [email protected]?
- Wouldn’t you prefer that others see messages from [email protected]?
Email Inbox with Microsoft Office 365
If you want to forgo the hassle of email forwarding, buy an email plan from GoDaddy.
At present, for SmallBizGeek.co.uk, I’m using Microsoft Office 365 + 50GB email with the option to add extra user aliases.
So far this seems like a robust email system. You get approximately ten times more storage than the average GoDaddy email inbox.
Email has gone down for me three or four times (that I’m aware) for the entire time I’ve been with GoDaddy.
The 365 package also grants access to Microsoft Office as a cloud based suite of office tools.
Whether I decide to renew the Office 365 service remains to be seen, since I got the first year at a discounted price.
If I do not like/want/need the Office 365 email, I could always cancel the subscription when it is time for renewal.
You can always go for the slightly cheaper Domain-Based Email native to GoDaddy.
In theory I’ll be able to use the same [email protected] email inbox as long as I fully delete it from the Office 365 email subscription and then re-register the inbox under a different email plan.
Configure GoDaddy Email for Apple iPhone/iPad
If you’re using the GoDaddy WorkSpace email servers (SecureServer.net) you can set it up on your iPhone or iPad. I followed the instructions here by watching the video.
If you’re in the UK or europe, your outgoing mail server will be smtpout.europe.secureserver.net – not smtpout.secureserver.net. The video fails to mention this and seems biased towards US customers.
At first, it didn’t seem to work and gave me some hassle regarding SSL. However, I managed to save the POP3 email profile I’d set up despite a warning about the inbox not working. I checked my iPhone email and all my messages were there.
You might experience issues sending email. Some of my accounts work but some were giving me nuisance issues that seemed to have no resolution despite all settings being correct. There’s a forum thread about GoDaddy SMTP and Apple device issues here.
Some of the users replied with solutions that worked for them while some are continuing to experience aggro.
Here’s what worked for me, It may work for you.
First, delete the offending account.
Log into your GoDaddy account control panel and go to the management area for the email account you’ve had trouble with.
Reset the email password and then perform a “hard reset” on your iPhone or iPad. There’s a GoDaddy Apple mail support link you could look at if you’re experiencing other issues but the password change and reset helped me.
I was able to send email via the SMTP servers.
There have been some definite improvements to the service as a whole, so I won’t hesitate to recommend them as a domain registrar and email provider.
The phone support is brilliant, and if you struggle to remember what they are telling you, you can always record the phone calls as mp3 using Evaer.
As for GD hosting… well the honest answer is, you’ll just have to try it.
If the hosting fails you, moving to another host isn’t hard if you always keep back ups of your website.
Are you a WordPress user? You can use Instant WordPress with a backup plugin to migrate to a different host altogether without too much fuss.
If Godaddy doesn’t crap its pants, I might consider becoming a reseller so I can produce videos teaching people what exactly they need and earn commissions.
A lot of people do well with the GoDaddy reseller programme but all the bad press from before had made me reluctant to promote it.
That could change depending on my experiences.
I’ve been assisting clients setting up small business websites and so far they’ve had no trouble.
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