A few months ago our websites underwent some significant down time. The dust has settled and my schedule has finally allowed a little time to write about it.
Here’s what went down: GoDaddy decided that something was wrong with one of my sites one day and initiated a move of my hosting account to the server ghetto. This is the place where misbehaving children are sent for a time out.
My dozen or so sites were reasonably up to date, but I immediately went to log in and update their code (several WordPress blogs that were in the middle of being consolidated under a single instance as well as some forums, photo gallery sites, etc.). I had never had any problems, so I wanted to check to make sure I wasn’t hacked or anything.
My sites were taken offline during the move to the ghetto, so I couldn’t check anything and people who tried to go to any of my sites got a big blank page. I called GoDaddy support to ask how long it would take, and they said the transfers usually take about 48 hours. I was only hosting around 8 gigabytes of data, so two days to transfer it in what should be a state-of-the-art gigabit per second data center baffled me, but I decided to wait it out and not argue the point.
I asked how long my account would stay on the ghetto server and they said a minimum of 30 days, then it would be reevaluated and moved back to the regular hosting server if everything was OK. I found this terribly insulting. Those ghetto servers are where hacked and infested accounts reside. They are given the least provisioned bandwidth since they are doing “naughty things”, but there is no way for me, a human person, to request my sites be checked and moved back in a timely manner. I get a 30-day “time out”, even though I installed from their tools, and stayed on top of patches. They wouldn’t even tell me WHAT my sites were doing that supposedly violated their terms of service and got me moved to the ghetto, just a generic “using too many resources” message. Did one of my sites just suddenly get too popular for them??
After waiting the 48 hours for transfer, my sites were still down. I called and they said that “something has gone wrong, we’ll look into it. Give us another 48 hours”. I gave it 24 and called back. Still no go. I called back every day. FOR.SEVEN.DAYS. A technician finally looked at their transfer script, fixed the hang up, and the sites finished the move to the ghetto.
Now that my sites were accessible, I checked them over, and nothing was amiss. A couple plugin updates, but nothing was tampered with, and there was no sign of anything going haywire. Things were slloooooooooooow though. I called support and got the runaround about having to wait the 30 days before they’d look at the site to clear it and then initiate the move out of the ghetto.
Screw that, I found another hosting company and had all of my sites moved away in a matter of hours and closed the GoDaddy hosting account.
Things go wrong sometimes, and the people on the phones are friendly and all, but 7 days to copy 8 gigabytes of data is insane. Moving you for no provable reason of wrong-doing is insulting. Leaving your sites on a festering hunk of silicon and steel with a bunch of degenerates for an arbitrary period of time for no reason other than “policy” is ridiculous.
On the recommendation of a friend I signed up for an account on imhosted.com and have been quite satisfied. There have been a couple minor down-time glitches, but all seems to be smoothed out now. I am getting to the point of seriously considering moving away from shared host plans to a dedicated VPS, so that will be the next bit of research to undertake.
GoDaddy’s marketing tactics have always left a bad taste in my mouth, but the prices were good, the bandwidth fast, and service prompt. A seven day outage and uncertain future stuck in the slow lane was enough to make me re-evaluate their value proposition and I am happy to say that the healthy amount of competition in the hosting space means I don’t need to take their guff!