Wonder what it’s like to simultaneously get linked to by an industry heavyweight and have your host suddenly redirect your nameservers?
Let me save you the trouble, it’s a really painful experience.
If you came to our site yesterday and saw a parked GoDaddy domain then you are probably already catching on to the fact that this is exactly what happened to me yesterday.
It’s also safe to say that I wasn’t a happy camper, but we scrambled to move the site elsewhere and within a few hours now sit on a much better host.
This move should have happened a long time ago so I want to help save you from the same pain and agony I just went through.
#1 Rule: Never Host with GoDaddy
I’ve been using GoDaddy for their domain services since my first time doing anything online.
The experience hasn’t ever really been horrendous like yesterday, but it hadn’t been stellar either. I still use them to manage my domains, but I’m looking at changing to Namecheap for that too given the “fair weather” support they’ve given SOPA/PIPA.
Hosting however has been a whole different ball of wax, and nothing but problems. From shoddy load times, to a clunky interface and things just randomly breaking, I had been eyeing moving for a while now anyway.
When The College Startup was on GoDaddy, I had been using a CDN and security service called CloudFlare which improves the security of the site and helps it load faster for you (woohoo!).
However, recently there was an issue using FTP to get in touch with the backend of the site. When I talked with a GoDaddy customer service representative they were convinced that I wasn’t hosting my site at GoDaddy and that I was “hosted” with CloudFlare.
Sound the alarms, because even though I kept telling them that we were indeed hosted with GoDaddy and that changes made with our hosting account were reflected on the site. The representative continued to refuse to believe me and felt the need to “correct” the DNS information for the domain.
In essence they turned the site into a ticking time bomb, because as this “correction” propagated it’s way around the web incoming traffic started to see a “this page is parked courtesy of GoDaddy.com”.
To make matters worse, I couldn’t seem to roll back the changes in a way that was showing up. This also meant I didn’t have the standard admin access to my WordPress account and all of my data was in limbo. So here I was, no admin access and dead in the water when I was having an amazing traffic day that morning, getting more new visitors and opt-ins than ever before.
Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz Links to TCS
As my site was melting down thanks to a click happy rep over at GoDaddy, I knew something else was up. My traffic was spiking and conversions were pilling up (that is, until they came to a screeching halt).
It may not be obvious from the number of +1’s and comments on that status, but his social links bring some heat.
Not only was my Linkedin Ads article getting eyeballs, his traffic was crushing the real metric that bloggers like me care about, opt-ins.
While we missed a good portion of his traffic, I was seeing a threefold increase in opt-ins from the traffic coming from his direction. The interesting part? Only a fraction of them were happening on the actual article page, others were coming from the about and smarter marketing pages.
Simply put, his audience was completely engaged and wanted more. Perfect.
It’s important to understand that not all traffic is created equal, so it’s worth your time to go after the highly congruent sources of traffic instead of the vanity numbers.
How we fixed it
They offer cloud computing, dedicated servers and some still zippy shared packages as well.
I hit them up after I bought a three year package for the blog that I wanted to be able to give anyone interested in following suit a discount for their patience and hopefully let them make the migration on their own terms unlike my.
We were able to migrate the data with as minimal pain as possible but shoving the files onto Eleven2 via FTP and then giving the database some love, thanks in part to my friend Matt Mastracci
I urge you to take a serious look at where you are hosting your website and pick something that really fits what you need before you are cornered and have to scramble to keep your doors open.