I Have (Go)Daddy Issues, Help Me Resolve Them Without Therapy
July 23, 2014 10:26 AM   Subscribe

My personal website has been down for the past 4 hours. Never had an iota of problem with GoDaddy before. I have domains through them and also shared hosting. Naturally, 4 hours of downtime is shocking to me, so I call them and say "Hey! What's up with THAT?"

The guy puts me on hold, performs a few tests and comes back and tells me that the problem is that I'm running the most recent version of WordPress on an old server. I'm on an old server, he says, because I've had hosting with them forever. I'm a good customer so now I'm suffering for it.

I ask what they can do. Dude says you can sign up for a new hosting plan, we'll give you credit for what you're owed on your current plan, and you can FTP your site to a new, shiny server.

This sounds okay, except for the fact that I have to do all the file transferring. They, of course, are willing to move everything for me, for the low, low cost of $79.00.

Right now, I'm seriously thinking about jumping ship over to BlueHost, HostGator or someone else, because if I'm going to FTP myself, why not go over to someone even SHINIER and NEWER?

Is GoDaddy full of it, or is this legit and standard operating procedure?
I'm sure it's easy to do, I'm familiar with the FTP process, but right now it's more about the spirit of the thing rather than the letter.

I'll gladly take any and all advice, recommendations, etc. because four hours and counting, that's why.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box to Computers & Internet (26 answers total)
That sounds like BS to me. Did he elaborate on why the age of the server should have any impact on whether Wordpress is working or not? I assume it worked prior to 4 hours ago. I'd try calling back for a second opinion, or perhaps escalating your support call.
posted by axiom at 10:33 AM on July 23, 2014 [4 favorites]

Really? Four hours ago, did you upgrade to a new version of WordPress? I doubt it.

Anyway, this should NOT be your problem as a customer of web hosting services; it's their responsibility to keep their equipment up to date. Push back against the $79.00 charge. Say it worked four hours ago and you did not upgrade WordPress at that time.

Or, if you think you'd spend more time fighting the charge than transferring the site yourself, then transfer the site yourself.
posted by tckma at 10:37 AM on July 23, 2014 [4 favorites]

Absolutely should not be your problem. It was their responsibility to keep the server your site was on up-to-date and maintained/replaced, as needed. I would definitely jump ship, since they're telling you to transfer the site yourself or pay them to do it. In fact, you may be able to have your new host transfer the site for free, to get your business.
posted by destructive cactus at 10:42 AM on July 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I would jump ship if I were you. You've been a long-time customer and that's just bad customer service. As tckma said above, you are paying them to keep their their equipment up to date. It is not your job as a customer to call them every couple years and ask if you are on a server that can handle advances on the internet.
posted by ohisee at 10:42 AM on July 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

There are a few common approaches: one is to keep servers running old stacks in a kind of grandfathered quarantine with the assumption that at some point user software will become incompatible at which point you'll reach out to support and move your stuff to a new server; another is to say "hey, we're upgrading to [version x] because [version x-1] is completely obsolete, your shit may break and we're not liable for it."; another is to say "we're decommissioning Server0532 and moving you onto Server5491 with a shiny new stack, all of your files will be copied over."

I do think that customers have to accept certain maintenance obligations of their own: you might be paying a host to keep its hardware up to date, but you can't expect support for a particular stack indefinitely. Not saying this applies here, but it's a factor: stack updates and migrations are a pain, because shit breaks -- even minor updates to PHP versions can sometimes break things, and most hosting customers, especially at places like G*D*ddy, will just assume that the host broke their website.

The $79 fee sounds like a combination of standard G*D*ddy skeezy upsell bullshit and "we really don't want to have to do this, so do it yourself or pay up if you're rich" with the assumption that most people just let their hosting accounts lapse and GD can usually decommission a server when all the old customers have departed.

Move anyway, because they're a terrible company.
posted by holgate at 10:51 AM on July 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Not to threadsit, but:

Companies that deal with a lot of data often will have redundant backup servers and storage so that if a server or disk goes bad and needs to be replaced and/or upgraded, you wouldn't even notice the hiccup. I can't imagine that GoDaddy is a company without the money to have simple redundancy/load balancing; it seems such a basic thing for a web hosting provider to do.

This "$79.00 fee or transfer it yourself" BS seems to indicate they may not be doing this, in which case I'd jump ship to a provider who does.

OK, yes, you have certain maintenance obligations yourself, but it sounds like you were on top of those obligations.
posted by tckma at 11:02 AM on July 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Jettison them. Moving your stuff to a new virtual machine should be trivial.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:10 AM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm not trying to discourage you from changing hosts, but I've found that it's not trivial to move a WordPress site from one host to another. It's actually a bit of a pain. If it were me, and if money wasn't real tight, I'd pay the $79 fee just to get the websites on-line again, and then I'd do some research on the best way to move them to a new host.
posted by alex1965 at 11:22 AM on July 23, 2014

Did you do your own install of WP or are you using their control panel's installation? If you use theirs, they'll nag you to upgrade, so if that's the case, this is absolutely their problem to solve on their dime. Either way, before you do anything, call back and talk to somebody else. You may get a completely different reason/excuse/option/outcome. But if they stick with the idea that their obsolete hardware is your problem, jump.
posted by sageleaf at 11:32 AM on July 23, 2014

I would escalate. In a shared hosting environment, the working assumption should be that they keep the system software up to date. The only reason you should run into maintenance issues is if you had some homebrew site code that broke because of an update, NOT broke because of the reverse compatibility finally breaking. This has site security implications if they're running old shit on that environment. They should absolutely move you to a new server at their expense.

And THEN you start looking for another hosting company where you can do a migration at your leisure.
posted by randomkeystrike at 11:34 AM on July 23, 2014 [4 favorites]

This sounds crazy to me. For comparison, my web hosting company installed wordpress for me, set up a dev subdomain while I was working on the new site, and then transferred everything over for me once I was ready to switch. Then again, I pay $10/mo, not $3.50 or whatever.
posted by ktkt at 11:44 AM on July 23, 2014

Legitimate hosts upgrade their hardware all the time and don't let them go out-of-date with current software. GD blaming your problems on their old iron is absolutely not. your. problem. And, honestly, it sounds like bullshit. It sounds like a scripted CSR excuse for a server being unexpectedly down. Might as well use the opportunity to bleed the customer a bit.

Get a new host.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:57 AM on July 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Escalate. Regarding Bluehost and Hostgator: (a) they are owned by the same outfit and cohosted in the same data centers, (b) they've had some horrendous outages, most recently on April 16 which was the third big one within a year — all much longer than 4 hours.
posted by beagle at 12:27 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Wow...they're still using the 'incompatible' server excuse? I got the same line with them -many- years ago (+10 years) when PHP/MySQL started to step into the limelight and they weren't upgrading to follow suit. They offered the same 'remedy' to me that they offered to you: Move to a new server and move my stuff or pay them to do it.

The problem? They're the host...it's their job to make sure they're running the most up-to-date software - it's what their customers are paying them to do - to provide hosting that, y'know, works.

So I wouldn't even bother escalating this unless you want to stay with them for whatever reason. But if it were me (and it was), you're better off with a new host who's more diligent about keeping up with web dev trends. The best part is you'll probably be able to snag a great deal for new customers too (though you may still end up shelling out more $ than GD).
posted by stubbehtail at 1:07 PM on July 23, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I recently switched away from GoDaddy and only regret not doing so sooner. It was not too hard to transfer my files myself. The new host gave me a step-by-step how-to, and has very responsive customer service. May I recommend a small orange?
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 1:36 PM on July 23, 2014 [4 favorites]

I've always had great experiences with MediaTemple. Of course MediaTemple is now owned by... GoDaddy, so I get you might not want to give them any more of your business. But I haven't seen any decline in quality yet.

Re: moving Wordpress, don;t quote me on this, but it should be almost as simple as exporting your database from the old install and importing it into the new one. There might be a few more tweaks to copy over the CSS and stuff, but it shouldn't be too bad.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:49 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all so much for your answers and pretty much confirming what I felt to be true.

I'm on the phone now with a much nicer rep, and I'm going to give them one more chance to wow me with superlative service and speed before I jump ship to another hosting provider, such as the recommended A Small Orange.

If anyone wants to sing the praises of their hosting company, please feel free to do so for the folks who might come along later to this discussion and need the information.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 1:58 PM on July 23, 2014

I've had pair.com for about 12 years and they are fabulous and helpful.
posted by miss tea at 2:38 PM on July 23, 2014

I've had DreamHost for about ten years, and I have not had any serious problems with them.
posted by alex1965 at 2:49 PM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

More than happy to sing the praises of NearlyFreeSpeech.net. I don't do anything cleverer than host completely static content with them for my own personal use, which means not much data and not much traffic, which means they cost me very little. They have caused me no grief whatsoever.
posted by flabdablet at 11:31 PM on July 23, 2014

I've been very happy with Gandi.
posted by neushoorn at 11:35 PM on July 23, 2014

I loved DreamHost when I had a site.
posted by kathrynm at 4:29 AM on July 24, 2014

May I recommend a small orange?

Please do! I've been using them for years and have never had a complaint about their service. Very affordable, too.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:10 AM on July 24, 2014

My only experience with Godaddy was transferring a domain name I sold. They were awful. You deserve much better service.
posted by theora55 at 11:03 AM on July 24, 2014

For what it's worth - A Small Orange is now owned by the same company that owns BlueHost, HostGator, iPage, Fatcow and many more. My understanding is that A Small Orange continues to impress, but if they disappoint, you'll know why.
posted by FlamingBore at 5:42 PM on July 24, 2014

For what it's worth - A Small Orange is now owned by the same company that owns BlueHost, HostGator, iPage, Fatcow and many more. My understanding is that A Small Orange continues to impress, but if they disappoint, you'll know why.

That's correct — the umbrella company is EIG, and if you want to check out all the many hosting companies they own, they're listed here. The strategy seems to be to keep all the brands separate (even though often they're hosting in the same racks under the same roofs) so if you decide to ditch your hosting company and go somewhere else, you're likely to end up right back with EIG if you don't do your homework. Here's a good rundown on EIG (go to part 2 for some non-EIG alternatives).
posted by beagle at 1:48 PM on July 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

« Older Deskilled in the mating game - what now?   |   Short story identification Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.