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GoDaddy’s Down – The good, the bad, and the Ugly

GoDaddy DownToday, the largest domain registrar in the world, GoDaddy, went dark. Instead of a homepage filled with models and discount web hosting ads, web browsers around the world were spinning their wheels, returning error messages, and frustrating business owners, bloggers, individuals, and consumers alike. You can scour the internet to learn more about the individual claiming responsibility (yes – one person) and how he did it if you want, but I wanted to take a moment to share a few thoughts about GoDaddy.

I’ve been a customer of GoDaddy for years. I’ve always been a bit perturbed by the way they use sex appeal to sell domain names, but the truth is, they sell domain names for cheap, and since I own quite a few of those, I use them simply as a utility to get what I need. What I’ve never done, though, is buy into “the whole package” they want to offer.

GoDaddy is, at its core, a domain registrar. A domain registrar has be defined as “an organization or commercial entity that manages the reservation of Internet domain names. A domain name registrar must be accredited …[and manage domain names] in accordance with the guidelines of the designated domain name registries and to offer such services to the public.” (Wikipedia)

See anything in that definition about “Host your site for only $4.99 a month!” or “Increase your SEO?” No,  you don’t. Because that’s not what domain registrars do. Instead, they help people register domains – like c2itconsulting.netme2u.us, and chetcromer.com. There are a number of domain registrars out there, many of which provide only that service. These systems tend to have better focus and support because they focus on one thing and one thing only, but they often cost twice as much because of that focus. GoDaddy, I’m sure, makes a huge portion of their profit from the hundreds of thousands of customers that buy in to their other products.

If you were a user of those other products today – web hosting, DNS hosting, email hosting, take your pick – your site and its services were down today. If you simply used GoDaddy to register and manage your domains (or even to purchase your SSL certificates), your site stayed up, because you were using GoDaddy for what they, as a company, truly exist for (or at least what they used to exist for).

What to do? GoDaddy makes it so easy to buy a domain and build a simple website that they do bring a lot of value to the marketplace. From bloggers to businesses, they offer a product at a price that doesn’t even compare to something like we provide. The thing is, if you host with GoDaddy, you also get to deal with their support, their strict limitations, their advertising methods, and everything else that comes with that package.  Oh, and yeah, you get to deal with the occasional wordwide shutdown one of the largest hosting companies on the planet.

Is it worth it? That’s for you to decide. But when you do, know that there are alternatives. GoDaddy is a big target, both for their size and for their wishy-washy stance on political issues and internet censorship. Using a company like my own to host your site means you don’t have a hundred people waiting for your call when you forget your password… it means you have a team of a few people, people that know your name, your goals, and truly want to help YOU.

What do we recommend? As I said, I’m a GoDaddy customer. I have probably 30-50 domains purchased through them, and manage many others for my clients. Here’s what we suggest, if you want to get the best from a large registrar like GoDaddy:

YES:

  • Domain Registration is CHEAP and quick.
  • Because GoDaddy is so huge, they’re also a decent place to sell a domain you already own.

NO:

  • Don’t let them host your site.
  • Don’t let them host your DNS (Name Servers).
  • Don’t let them host your e-mail.
DEFINITELY NO:

  • Please, please, please, don’t let them host your online store. Especially if you’d like to grow and expand your store some day in the foreseeable future.
  • Virtual Private Servers

MAYBE:

  • SSL Certificates (encryption). If you can get what you need, they’re just as secure as anything else. If you’re a bank, you might look elsewhere.
  • Backup / Mirror Site. We use GoDaddy servers for some backup / mirror servers for a few.

Already have your site hosted at GoDaddy? There’s no reason to freak out. They’re not going away. They’ll probably not be down much like they were today. And you’ll probably get your money’s worth. But when your site breaks, and you call a person like me, and I tell you that it’s going to cost you more than you expect, don’t think it’s because I don’t like GoDaddy. It’s because GoDaddy does a few things good, but they also do a lot of other things.
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