By Richard Rost 6 months ago
Good Riddance, GoDaddy.
OK folks. I didn't want to post any details here until AFTER I had completed moving the site, but I had to get away from GoDaddy. They've been just awful these past few months. I've been defending them too. Even though my site has been going down repeatedly, almost daily, for the past year now, I've maintained the attitude "well, they're still delivering 99.9% uptime which is what they promise." Yeah, technically that may be true (barely), but it usually goes down at the most inopportune times. Up and down. Repeatedly. Interrupting me while I'm trying to work, and interrupting you while you're trying to watch videos, which is what you pay for.
At first it started as just my site going down for 30 minutes. Then after sitting on hold with them for over an hour, they got it back up and running. Then it went down again. And would come back up. And then go back down. This repeated itself for a few hours until it was just OFF.
They shut it down and locked my account. Bastards. No warning, no nothing. I've been a loyal customer for 11 years and they couldn't even bother to send me an email saying, "Mr. Rost, there's a problem with your server. Here's what we need to do." They just %^$#&$@ shut my server down. Yeah, I'm quite angry about it, and I will be very vocal about it in the future. What they did was completely unprofessional.
So I got on the phone and sat on hold again. I finally got through to a rep who told me that there was a problem with the hosting account and that I would have to wait for an email from their "advanced hosting department." This was around 8pm last night. The email finally came around 5am this morning. Talk about punctual. My business is DOWN and they decided to take their sweet time.
The advanced hosting people were trying to tell me that my web site was "flooding" their FTP and SQL Server connections. Not possible. I'm the only person with FTP access. My site only utilizes FTP when I connect to it to upload changes to the site itself. Most of my web site is processed via SQL Server, that is true. Every page, including the one you're reading now, is stored in the database. This is standard procedure for most major web sites now. The days of static HTML pages are long gone. Plus, I haven't made any significant changes to my site in months. A few minor tweaks here and there, but nothing that would "flood" their SQL ports.
I told them, fine, I would cut back on my SQL usage. I can turn off a lot of the monitoring and logging. The Level 1 tech I was dealing with said I would have to wait for a reply from the advanced people AGAIN. They would not give me a direct contact number or email address. GoDaddy doesn't offer email support anymore. You have to sit on hold or wait in their chat room for at least 10 to 20 minutes to get a Level 1 tech who will ask you to repeat the problem A MILLION MORE TIMES when it should all be logged on my account.
Furthermore, I couldn't talk directly to a supervisor or someone from the advanced hosting team. I had to go through Level 1 techs who know less than I do about how web sites run. Now, I'm not a web expert anymore. My skills are with Access and VB. I haven't done any serious web "stuff" in over 10 years (server configurations and that kind of stuff). I'm out of date with the cutting edge. But these people have no business being on the phone offering "tech support" when they have no clue how to help me. They're acting as a go-between between two people who know what's going on (me and the advanced hosting team) and I can't talk to the hosting team directly!
Anyways, if you're a major company and you're going to hire people to be in a customer service situation, interfacing with customers on the front lines every day, many of whom are frustrated because they're having issues with your product, you HAVE to hire people with good English skills. These are literally, word-for-word (copied and pasted from chat), the responses I got to some of my questions:
Huh? Yeah. That's what I said, too.
They were first telling me about the flooding of the FTP and SQL sockets. So I disabled a whole bunch of SQL stuff. Then it became an issue with me having too many files on my server. Uhm... I'm supposed to have "unlimited" hosting and I have less than 250 MB of files on my entire site. Not GB... MEGAbytes. That's tiny for a web site. All of my videos and downloads are hosted on a separate service (Wasabi, highly recommended). Then they tried to say I have too many large files on my site. Nope. Again, bullshit. The largest file on my entire site was only a few MB.
Today, I finally had enough! I had to move. I couldn't deal with it anymore. Not only was my site constantly running slow and crashing at least once a day for 10 to 30 minutes at a time, but getting quality support was impossible. I would always wait until the site was down at least 10 minutes before complaining. Sitting on hold on the phone would usually take 10 to 15 minutes and during that time the site would normally come back up. So I got to the point where I just said to hell with it and waited until my alarm was going off for at least 10 minutes before calling.
In any case, today I had enough. I've been researching other web hosting providers on and off for the past couple of months. Every time my GoDaddy site went down, I'd get on the Google Machine and look at reviews for other providers. My needs are simple: I need Windows hosting with ASP (not Linux). I need SQL Server (not MySQL). I don't need a lot of file space (less than 300 MB, and I could probably clean half of that out if I needed to). I don't need a lot of bandwidth since I pay separately for file storage for my downloads and videos.
I don't use my web site to send much email. I pay SendGrid for that. Again, highly recommended. I don't use my ISP for my domain names. I use Hover for that. I like the keep things decentralized. That way if I have a problem with one company, it's easy enough to move. Back before GoDaddy I used to be with 1&1 web hosting. They were even worse than GoDaddy, and I had EVERYTHING with them. Moving all of it was a nightmare.
Anyways... I don't need a dedicated server. I usually have at most 20 to 30 active users at one given time. That's nothing. Yeah, I've got over 50,000 customers, but at any one given time I rarely see more than 30 people on the site. So a shared hosting solution should be just fine with me (GoDaddy was trying to push me into upgrading to a dedicated server due to my supposedly-high SQL usage. Nonsense). I thought about getting a managed VPS server. This is basically a virtual version of Windows Server that runs in memory. It's shared on the same physical server with other users, but management is a pain.
So, after months of reading and research I decided to go with one of the hosting companies that's actually recommended by Microsoft: WinHost. And yes, full disclosure, after my experience today I was so happy with them that I set myself up as an affiliate to resell their service, so if you're looking to move your web site, click that link and I'll get a few bucks. But... the ONLY reason I became an affiliate was because of how happy I am with my experience today. I plan on endorsing them in all of my future videos that have to deal with web services. I'll be making an Access-to-SQL-Server Seminar very soon, and I'll be showing you how to do it on WinHost.
I found exactly the right plan that I was looking for. They've got a basic one for just $3.95 per month, but I opted to upgrade a little for the $15.95 "Ultimate" plan which includes Windows, ASP, SQL Server, unlimited disk space and bandwidth, 5 GB of SQL (which is more than enough) and a bunch of other stuff. I was paying GoDaddy more than that for less (plus the headaches). Setting up the server was a piece of cake. Their web site looks pretty simple (like it's straight out of 2005) but I love that. It was nice and easy to get everything up and running. Took me less than an hour to configure everything, and then maybe another hour of file copying (my database files, ASP files, etc.). That's it.
That's all fine and dandy, but here's what really impressed me. I sent this email to their support inbox (yes, they actually offer email support, which I prefer.) Here's what I said:
Two minutes. Yeah... that's right. They got back to me - by email - in two minutes. And in perfect English too. LOL. And I had a few other questions throughout the day while I was setting stuff up, configuring things, and getting acquainted with their site. They have a pretty good knowledge base for "canned" stuff that everyone asks, but every time I had a question someone replied to me personally within about 10 to 15 minutes.
So, as of right now, I'm pretty confident that everything is running smoothly. All of the site pages that I've visited appear to be working OK. The database is working. I've seen a couple of orders come in over the past couple hours, so that looks good. My secure server certificate has been updated so that's good.
If you find any problems, please let me know!
Thanks for listening to me rant.
P.S. I've had the site up and running on the new server WITH all of the original SQL routines back in place, and there have been no outages, down time, complaints about FTP or SQL "flooding" and everything is running so much faster than before. Thanks again, WinHost.