So in November 2021 Go Daddy had a huge hack happen. I figured this out only because my websites were down for days. Down, then up, then down again. Now, to be honest this is sort of not new with Go Daddy. I have monitoring set up on my sites through a number of third party providers (they’re all free if you’re wondering). A very simple way to set this up is to use a WordPress plugin, Jetpack. Jetpack will give you a stats breakdown of who views your site each day, how they got there, search engine terms used – and of course, downtime monitoring. All of this is free and you can set it up on any and all of your WordPress sites. Not bad, right?
There are many other third party monitoring services out there. I would say don’t pay for one, because there’s so many that are free. Jetpack, as mentioned offers a simple monitoring service and will e-mail you when your site is down. It e-mails you when it comes back up too, so it’s simple and useful.
With my downtime monitoring in place, I constantly was getting notifications of my sites going down. Generally I began to understand that there would be a reboot of the server (or something along those lines) around 11:00 PM every night. Generally the downtime would last about 10-15 minutes, however in other cases it sometimes would last a half hour. Every once in a while, the downtime would last an hour. Sometimes, the downtime would last several hours.
Yeah. I dealt with that for a very long time. When you Google online and look at other people having similar problems, the reports are wide spread. However, one thing you’ll find – you don’t find a lot of people talking about their websites being up with Go Daddy much. Mind you, this is the shared hosting I’m talking about. Many arguments can likely be made “well, you paid for shared hosting, your website is hosted with many others, blah blah blah.” But let me tell you something.
I recently purchased a hosting package with Blue Host. I am in no means a proponent for blue host. I had read reviews, and I’ll be honest their interface sometimes feels a little slow to load. But heck, my sites now load WAY faster since they’ve been migrated over. Same thing, shared hosting with Cpanel. But the load time is much improved.
Also, they were having a sale so I paid $75 for a year of hosting unlimited domains and I haven’t had a problem yet that a chat session can’t solve. Much, much easier in terms of management for me so far. Getting my sites moved over was super easy (I did it all myself using Updraft and knowing how DNS works). Less time spent managing downtime and trying to restore backups when something goes wrong on Go Daddy, means I can now focus moreso on content creation. That’s super important. Uptime too – no more crashes or emails in the middle of the night about all my sites being down.
There are many services out there that check the load time of your website, and give you recommendations how to improve it. Even after moving to Blue Host, I still fared poorly for one of my sites on sitechecker.pro . This statistic pasted here that they have on their website, makes a lot of sense. If your website takes too long for that first load, you’ll get people that just go somewhere else while they’re waiting. On the Internet, fast load times are very important.
When I had all my sites on Go Daddy (and I’m still in the process of moving them), I had to use Cloud Flare to host my DNS. If I didn’t do this, my sites were SO slow to load – or sometimes, simply wouldn’t load at all. Once I set up Cloud Flare to be in the middle, they secured my sites with SSL (free) and my sites loaded much quicker. This is because CloudFlare is a content caching service. If you’re not sure what that means, read my article about how Cloud Flare provides a free SSL certificate and can help speed up site load times. I found when I had my sites on Go Daddy’s servers for years, I had to use a content cache provider like Cloud Flare. If I didn’t, my websites would load SO slow that I’m sure I had people leaving the sites before they would load. No doubt.
Now – fast forward to using Blue Host. Blue Host provides free SSL certs right from the get go. I’ve done absolutely 0 set up with SSL certificates – which is awesome. All free, included with my yearly. I signed up for a shared hosting package with cPanel and I can host unlimited websites for $75 for the first year – that’s in CAD. Amazing. Again, this is not an ad for blue host. But I definitely didn’t know what I was missing. Setting up DNS and getting sites moved over was so easy I did many, many websites all in one evening.
Go Daddy was very slow to respond to domain transfer requests. Some of them I had to submit multiple times. I was always waiting on the “losing registrar to approve the transfers” that’s Go Daddy. Trying to call Go Daddy for any help meant calling a phone number in Arizona and waiting 45 minutes to speak to them. Paying outrageous bills for phone support, and getting no help once I got them on the phone.
Go Daddy technical support will upsell your package. That’s what they do. They probably get compensated on it. I learned this after years of trying to work with them and get support. They’re the masters of bullsh*t. They’ll tell you you’re out of resources when all they need to do is reboot the server. They won’t reboot the server where your websites are hosted, because it’s a shared server and if they do that it then interrupts everyone else on that server. But guess what. After they upgrade your package, miraculously all your websites begin working. Why? Because they rebooted that server. Yup. You just paid a price increase of $10-$20/month for them to do a reboot, or for them to refresh something on their side. Seen it before and will never see it again. They can’t tell you specifically what resources you’re out of, or why I/O looks high. Just upgrade your package and then I/O or whatever resource issue will no longer be an issue. It’s like using a giant bulldozer to swat a fly when all you needed was a meter stick. Everything is overkill and every part of it is built to take your money – the waiting, the nervousness of your websites being offline, all of it.
Go Daddy, I eventually realized is a scammer’s company that was built to screw people as much as you possibly or humanly can. Screw them 5 ways from Sunday. Once they have your website data you’re deep in the sh*t then. Get your websites and your data out of there as fast as you can. Run for the hills and don’t ever look back.
Transferring domains away from Go Daddy can be done instantly if you know how – otherwise you sit and wait for transfers that take a while
Moving domain names is actually a trick, I found with the Go Daddy reseller that I was using. If you know the trick, you can move domains almost instantly – in less then an hour. But if you don’t know the trick, you’ll wait days and have to login again, click different buttons and just jump up and down until the transfers are done. Like most other processes with Go Daddy, domain transfer is a little bit of a slow, frustrating process until you get good at it and know the trick.
This is what I see on Blue Host, after initiating a transfer an waiting for the “losing registrar.” The losing registrar is the one who is “loosing” the domain to your new registrar. In this case, I’m moving domains from a Go Daddy reseller to BlueHost after years of dealing with downtimes with Go Daddy, plus they didn’t even tell their customers about the large hacks, heads up change your password because you’re on WordPress, etc. If I called in, I have to wait in que to talk to someone in Arizona – no 1-800 number, and email support refers all support requests to call in for support. I’ve blacked out the account numbers and etc. as well as the domain name and the reseller I was with, as the intent here isn’t to point fingers at Go Daddy or their resellers. It was just time to leave. I had to, to get better support and better uptime. Bluehost’s support is actually really good and I can do everything over chat support in real time.
Let’s show you the tricks below to get domains moved faster away from Go Daddy and their tendrils…
Before you do anything…take a backup of your website. Make sure you’ve changed your DNS to the new provider. This way, you can point name servers to your new hosting provider, migrate your website, and have the website hosted at the new host before you transfer the domain.
Let’s do it step by step…
- Take a backup of your website. If you’re using WordPress, I recommend Updraft. It’s free, plus it can even take automated backups. However, we don’t care right now about that. Take a manual backup. Backups are generally 5 files – DB, Plugins, Others, Themes, and Uploads. Depending on who you’re with, Plugins can sometimes be a plugins2 file also and then you’ll have six files. Make sure you have all five or six files, especially the database.
- If you’re not using WordPress or another Content Management System (CMS), then you need to log into FTP and download your files that way to take a back up.
- Once you have a backup, go to your Domain Manager, click the Domain, click DNS settings and update the name server to your new host. For me, it was ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com
A note: if you are using a CDN (content delivery network) like CloudFlare, you need to login to CloudFlare, change your A records and any other relevant records, and set the records to “DNS only.” Turn off the proxy setting for the records needed, because while you’re waiting for DNS to update – it can take 24-48 hours and it’ll take a long time with Go Daddy, trust me – the CDN will be in control of the DNS records, until they reflect the update at the source. So, what I mean by this is the record change at the source (let’s say you’re hosting with Go Daddy currently), can take time. While you’re waiting for that change to happen, CloudFlare will still be the one who is pointing your DNS. So update the records in Cloud Flare too. Once Cloud Flare detects that they are no longer the name servers, they’ll email you about it. Ignore this email, but also you can take it as a reference point that now Cloud Flare has recognized a name server change (so their records basically don’t mean anything at that point). They’ll scrub your DNS records and your website will no longer show up in Cloud Flare within a few hours or 1-2 days of them detecting this NS change.
4. Now here comes the magic. Initiate the domain transfer by requesting the unlock code. Provide the unlock code to your new host, then proceed through the process of paying for the renewal. You don’t need to pay for domain security or WHOIS blocking services unless you don’t want anyone to know you own the domain. This is sometimes the case depending upon the industry you’re in. Without WHOIS protection & privacy lock services etc., most domain renewal services charge around $9-$20 USD per year per domain.
5. In about 20 or so minutes, look for the “transfers” screen, it looks like this (look inside your Go Daddy login area once logged in, or Go Daddy reseller),
6. Click on the domain and then “approve transfer,” it’ll likely give you an error but it’ll work
7. Check your new registrar, the domain should now be with them. Again, for me it was blue host.