Both sources I relied upon, for assessing godaddy, provided a positive assessment. First source, recommended godaddy as cheap and reliable. This source used them to create a simple child’s web site using Macromedia Flash. The other source, a web designer by profession, said of godaddy, “you know they aint going away.” Overall I am in agreement, based on my use of them.
One thing I liked when I signed up with godaddy is you can use their free hosting plan to set up some simple pages. The issue you find though, is godaddy pumps its google-ads into these pages. Godaddy is clearly attempting to generate advertising revenue from ‘your site’. I suppose its fair, since you get the hosting space free. Also, while you can put up simple pages, you can’t use a dot net web application in godaddy’s free plan. That you have to pay for. But the good news for small money you can get this, and its not much to pay. Godaddy may not be the cheapest in dollar, buts it’s in the same ballpark and you get a lot of extras like coupons for ad credits and such. They also provide wizards to help you set up forums, blogs and other web apps commonly used.
My own investigation has led me to the conclusion that godaddy is indeed reliable and pretty cheap. However, I do have some pet peeves to mention about godaddy along with the good points.
Overall, godaddy tends to be a slow adopter of the new technologies for their cheaper shared hosting plans. For example for the longest time godaddy did not offer SQL Server 2008 edition even though this version had been released for quite some time. They gave you instead sql server 2005. I know pretty much the same thing but if you really want the new stuff it is a disappointment. What you have to do is send an email to godaddy asking them to hurry it up and adopt. So, due to the lack of the latest sql server database version, I was annoyed. It almost stopped me from using them.
A careful review of other less well know sites will reveal some competitive features they don’t support at the same cost or even a little better. One such web hoster is Arvixe. If you download and install the web matrix software from Microsoft, you can search these providers. Microsoft requires these to prove they support the latest and greatest.
For example, I wanted to use the new razor syntax of .net 4.0 in a web application. I had a hard time with godaddy trying to get it to work. However arvixe hosting company got me up and running immediately at a very cheap price. You get a free domain name and you can purchase the two-year plan for extra savings. Also I recommend you search for a coupon, you may be able to get extra savings. One thing I liked about arvixe.com right off the bat, they don’t send images in their emails like godaddy does. They also have nicely stylized online help system that is easy on the eyes. Godaddy tends to cram lots into a big space and for a new user, it can get confusing. Ok, really it can be considered irritating. Especially the constant emails of offers. It must be working because godaddy has grown so large. Still it’s unseemly in my opinion. I let these email offers filter to my junk mail folder. I leave them unless I really do want a coupon code, don’t worry they will come.
Over time, I’ve gotten used to godaddy’s style. The crammed interfaces and the offers to upgrade annoyed me. The images in the emails were not necessary. I’m not in love with this design choice but it is what it is. Still, you can use pretty current technology like Visual Studio 2010 edition. In just a few clicks you can create a site template, and have it up in running on ASP.NET 4.0 environment. All this is on the cheapo plan. I’ve even used the Visual Studio 2010 Web Developer edition (free edition) and was able to create multiple web applications using Visual Studio’s ftp deployment settings. It was all pretty painless. Just make sure you have your ftp accounts and passwords in hand. Godaddy, alternatively, provides a nice java virtual machine ftp client that also works and it does this over a secure web connection. You can also use the ftp file manager they provide with all their accounts. One thing that godaddy at least at this time, did not support, was web deploy because it’s a new technology. For that, you have to use a company like arvixe.com.
What about help when you need it? The customer support from godaddy is reliable. However, in my experience the email response time other than the auto-responder responses seems, in my opinion, a tad slow than I’d like. If you post a question at night, you get a response the next day. If you post early in the morning, you get a response in the afternoon. I suppose for the dollar you pay it’s not bad overall but if you rely on email mostly, you’re going to spend days and weeks if you need their help. Due to this, for experienced customers who can do their own troubleshooting godaddy is a good deal. Best thing with godaddy they won’t forget you, once you get the ticket in, they will respond and sooner or later it will get resolved.
On the database side, while you don’t get adequate sql server space on the economy plan. You can perform most necessary functions from the SQL Server Management Studio and you can perform this running the management studio from your own home computer. The edition of SQL Server that godaddy offers is better than the sql server express edition. Your are allowed to do things like create database roles. My guess is they are offering the web edition of sql server.
While, on the godaddy economy plan you are limited to just one SQL Server database, you do get an easy to use web interface to perform development on. For me, I like to use sql server management studio. In my opinion, for a developer who loves sql server, this limitation of just one sql server database is a disappointment. But then again it’s not like you are dishing out much money. Other plans I see out there for the same money or even less provide SQL Server Express Edition Release 2, which many other hosters allow you to have the full 10 gb potential. But it is only SQL Express Edition which for instance doesn’t support roles. SQL Express Edition also has a very small number of connections that can be made. For busy sites, could be a problem. So, you get less size but a better version of SQL Express. You do get 10 MySQL databases which you can use up but I’ve found most web hosters provide this as well. Godaddy recently started offering a pay service called easy database which some might like however it doesn’t rely on sql which is my world is not very useful. For non-technical people, it’s another option you can try.
One other consideration regarding godaddy. I’ve known people who buy and sell sites. It can be an essential business function as you turnover unwanted unproductive sites and acquire sites into your portfolio. As a well-known hoster, if you ever wish to buy or sell sites, as one of the biggest hosters, many buyers and sellers are already familiar with godaddy so you have a greater audience that is interested in your offer.
So, in conclusion, overall what is godaddy’s strength? Just like my colleagues told me and I concur. Godaddy won’t be going away; you get affordability, stability and reliability. So, while there are things that I consider less than optimal, overall, for most people, you get all the essential services needed with godaddy.com. If you happen to need a special technology on the shared plan, you can find it with other hosters. Sooner or later though, any industry adopted technologies are adopted by godaddy if you can manage to wait.