What to Expect When Moving WordPress to New Hosting

While many people were vacationing, relaxing, and whatnot during the three day weekend, I was taking the opportunity to do something that needed to be done for a long time. I moved my photography blog, my husband’s HDR photography blog, and several other WordPress sites that were on HostGator to GoDaddy. Yes, you read that right. And yes, I’m using an affiliate link as I use and support their services.

Why I Chose to Go All GoDaddy

I know that a lot of my readers have suggested HostGator over GoDaddy, and so I gave it a try for about six months. While I believe that a lot of people have had great experiences with HostGator and less than stellar ones with GoDaddy, my experience was much different so I thought I would give a little insight into why I made the switch.

Less Downtime with GoDaddy

This was the biggest motivator for moving my sites. Every site I had on my HostGator account would go down a minimum of what felt like once a week, and sometimes it would be in bursts once a day.

HostGator has a 99.9% uptime guarantee, and they were pretty darn close to it according to my Pingdom reports. I started this service on one of my HostGator sites (Photo Ninjas) and Kikolani, and the following are summaries of my websites for the month of April.

Pingdom Monthly Report

While 40 outages and a downtime over 2 hours still does make for 99.71% uptime, it’s just not good enough. Especially when a lot of the outages happened during the day which meant our photo sites lost out on a lot of traffic and comments. For this site, it would mean a loss of mailing list subscribers and sales, ie. not acceptable!

UPDATE on June 6, 2011: One thing pointed out by one of my commenters is that I should also be looking at page load times. I don’t have that report in the free Pingdom account (which will probably be the motivator to sign up for a $9.95 a month plan), but what I did have was response times. Again, these are banners showing average, fastest, and slowest response times for my site on HostGator (Photo Ninjas) vs. this site on Godaddy.

I would actually suggest that if you have a self-hosted blog or website that you sign up for a free account with Pingdom. You can monitor once website and get these monthly reports plus email notifications of when your site has gone down and additional details about outages that you can share with your host’s support team to troubleshoot any problems.

Better Support Service with GoDaddy

Now it’s not that I haven’t had my share of issues with my sites on GoDaddy. But GoDaddy had something that HostGator didn’t in those cases. Probably the biggest one was the major hacks to WordPress sites that happened almost a year ago. Since that, I had one issue where people using a particular ISP couldn’t access my site for some reason and, just this weekend, an issue with this site going down.

Just to note, the latter issue was actually my fault though as other sites on the same account were still live – Kikolani was just behind in updates and that finally came to bite it in the bum. After upgrading WordPress, Thesis, and the plugins I use, everything started running smoothly again.

When it comes to the support, GoDaddy was hands down much better. During the hacking spree last year, I had to contact support. A lot. Their entry level support team wasn’t quite helpful, and after a while I figured it was because they didn’t know what the problem was, let alone how to fix it.

After a bit, another member of their support team at a higher level became my personal go to guy and helped me diagnose a lot of the issues and put some things in place to prevent the problem. The hack has since evolved and hit many, many more sites, both on and off GoDaddy, but mine have since been pretty immune.

HostGator, on the other hand, never managed to do anything but blame me for the problem. After several chats (one of which was at 5 o’clock in the morning, took an hour, and was the reason I had to miss out on a great photo trip), I never got anything more from them than:

  • Everything is fine on our end. Must be something wrong with your site. Surely this was because I had something identical to all five of the sites I was running on that account that broke them all simultaneously, and magically without me having to do anything, they would be fixed again.
  • Please sign up for Pingdom and send us a detailed report. I signed up, got them a report during the next outage, and then they told me they saw nothing wrong with my sites through that report even though the report said the sites were down.
  • The only thing we can suggest is an upgraded to your server package. Because there is nothing I want to do more than pay 10 times what I’m paying now in hopes that it resolves the problems.

For a while, I thought there was a teeny, tiny chance that maybe our photo blogs and the other sites on my HostGator account got so much traffic that they were just breaking the server’s limit since I only had the shared business hosting plan for $12.95 a month.

Then I realized that I have Kikolani on a $7.99 GoDaddy plan – both HostGator’s and GoDaddy’s plans are supposed to have unlimited bandwidth. Kikolani gets much more traffic in a day than all of the sites on my HostGator plan combined and certainly doesn’t go down because of it.

I think the exception maybe a brief lapse when I launched the Blog Post Promotion Guide, but I also feel that most people’s sites crash during a launch and that’s probably a good thing! No crash = you’re paying an obscene amount for hosting or you’re not getting enough attention to your launch.

Better Social Media Response from GoDaddy

Businesses should know that social media is becoming a hot bed for customers wanting service, especially amidst a crisis. For hosting customers, a crisis is any time their site is down. So whenever my sites went down for the umpteenth time during the month of April, I let loose this little tagged post.

HostGator Facebook Post

Now granted, in retrospect, I should have just posted directly to their wall as they can’t reply to my post on their wall since it’s just tagged. But no one from HostGator even commented to their wall above it, which would have been their next best effort. As it turns out, according to a little Q&A with the founder of HostGator on Blondish.net,

We have a Facebook page, but really don’t do that much on it. …I personally feel the biggest benefit our Facebook page along with the rest of our social media presence has is with our search engine rankings along with reputation. Social media is becoming a bigger part of search rankings every day.

On the other hand, whenever I tweet that my sites are down on GoDaddy, whether or not I include the @GoDaddy or simply mention GoDaddy, I get a reply tweet pretty quickly asking for more details. The time I tweeted off business hours, they responded the next day and apologized for the delay. My husband tweeted that our photo blogs were moving to GoDaddy, and they welcomed him!

I have also tweeted @HostGator during times when my site was down and received no response, either immediately or down the road.

Moving WordPress – A Quick and Dirty Guide to How I Did It

So what did I do to move my WordPress sites from HostGator to GoDaddy? I can’t guarantee that I did this the best or fastest way, but this is just how I did it.

1. I created folders on my hard drive for each site I was moving to organize the backup files.

2. I exported the databases per the phpMyAdmin instructions. It’s also a good thing to do prior to upgrading WordPress and to simply backup your information now and again if you don’t have a plugin doing it for you already.

3. I used FileZilla to download my website files to my hard drive for my sites’ WordPress themes (…/wp-content/themes/), uploaded files (…/wp-content/uploads/), and plugins (…/wp-content/plugins/).

Alternatively, you don’t have to download your plugin files from your site – you can just download a fresh copy of the plugins from WordPress.org or the site you got them from. Since my plugins are a mix of free ones you can and cannot find on WordPress.org and some paid ones, I figured downloading them would be faster than finding and re-installing them again.

4. I added all of the domains I was moving to my hosting accounts on GoDaddy and had GoDaddy install a fresh copy of WordPress to each domain. Note that all of the sites I moved were already at 3.0 and they were just upgrading to 3.1.3.

If your WordPress installs are older, you might want to read how to upgrade WordPress first before trying this. Especially refer to the extended version of the upgrade instructions if your installs are more than two releases back.

5. I imported the database to my sites on GoDaddy using the restoring database instructions on WordPress.org. Also a good reference to keep handy if you ever have to use one of your database backups for any reason.

6. I uploaded the WordPress theme files, uploads folder, and plugins to my new sites on GoDaddy. For the sites using Thesis, I also changed the permissions for the layout.css and cache folders.

7. I changed one little thing on HostGator for each site I was moving, such as rearranging the order of the social icons or adding an extra word into the footer.

8. Last, but not least, I changed the nameservers for each domain from HostGator’s to GoDaddy’s.

Sounds short and sweet, right? In all actuality, it’s not too bad once you’ve done it about five times. But it does take time to import, export, download, upload, install, and so on.

What Happens Next

The next part is called the waiting game. You have to wait patiently for the namerserver change to happen so that the internets know when someone types in your domain name to route them to the site on the new host instead of the site on the old host. A few of my sites seemed to change within 15 minutes (something I checked via the one little thing I changed in #7), while a few took an hour or two. It is estimated to take up to 48 hours for the Internet to fully recognize the new destination.

What this means is, in the meantime, any comments or or other updates that happen to your WordPress site on the host you are leaving will not be reflected on the host you moved to. In my case, I added a new post on Photostry while thinking it had moved over, when in fact it was still pointing to HostGator. So when morning rolled around and everything was pointing to GoDaddy, my post was missing. I just exported the database from HostGator and imported it to GoDaddy to fix the problem which took about 5 minutes, so no biggie.

With comments, your best bet (unless you receive hundreds of comments) is to just manually input them to your new site once you’re sure it’s changed over. Since I did the changeover on a Sunday night during a holiday weekend, there wasn’t any issues with that.

Also, make sure that your analytics code gets moved over onto the new site as well. Not sure how it happened, but when I upgraded Kikolani from WordPress 2.9.2 and Thesis 1.7, my Google Analytics code didn’t make it over. Missed two days worth of traffic data for that oops!

So There You Have It

Now you know everything from why I changed hosts to how I did it. Here are a few last thoughts.

  • Not everyone’s hosting experience will be the same. I have heard nothing but great things about HostGator from others, and nothing but terrible things about GoDaddy from others. My experience with both has been quite the opposite. The only way to know it will work for you is to give it a try.
  • All of the instructions given worked with my sites, but may not with yours depending on your settings, themes, plugins, content, etc. Please proceed with caution as I hold no liability if your sites should not transfer properly using the above steps. Always seek advice from a WordPress or hosting expert if you are not comfortable with the technical side of things.
  • If you are a hosting company, or any other business owner, for the love of all things holy do NOT create a social account if you don’t want to monitor your brand and reply to anyone who mentions it.

Have you ever had to migrate from one website hosting company to another? What has been your experience? Who do you recommend, and what plans do you use? Please share your hosting triumphs, migrations, and nightmares in the comments!

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Comments

  1. says

    Nice writeup. Why didn’t you go with Bluehost. I think they’re definitely the best for the price and features.

    Also, you should learn about modifying your hosts file. That way you can manually “update” your local DNS info to point to the new server when you moved it over. Then, you can be sure that you don’t do a post to your old hosting on accident (like you did). Plus, you can switch back to your old hosting if needed as well.
    John just posted Becoming a Pro Blogger – You Can Do It

    • says

      Didn’t know that. Thanks for the tip John – I have a few other small sites to move that aren’t top priority, so I’ll definitely try that on them. As far as going with GoDaddy – I’m already with them for several other accounts, including the hosting for this site. Just wanted to have everything in one place and not have to take the time to learn another control panel. :)

  2. says

    Kristi – This is a very timely post as two of my clients are on non name-brand hosts and it’s wreaking havoc on their wordpress installs. Automatic updates are not going through requiring manual updates and plugins take a lot longer to add than needed. It’s a big deal to move hosts so your post above helps to think about who to go with and the steps to take. I’m on bluehost and find them very easy to work with but I do notice occasional week-day downtime (I’ll have to check the %ages). Thanks again for the great info.
    Tom Treanor just posted Getting Found on Twitter- 36 Essential Hashtags

    • says

      Yeah, definitely try Pingdom Tom. You might be surprised how a little bit here and there can add up in a month’s time.

  3. says

    IMHO there are three important factors to look at when considering hosting.

    1. Uptime – 99.8% is pretty much the golden standard since nobody can offer 100% through a shared environment or even in a more redundant environment even. Luckily with some of the technology I’m using right now the chance of an outage on my important sites is remote for even if the servers that host my site go down my site will still be online since I use anycast technology that will pickup traffic instantly.

    2. Speed – To me speed is the most important factor when choosing a host because plenty of studies show that just a few milliseconds of load time can cost you a visitor. There are many factors that decide how fast your site will run such as your httpd daemon config, caching, cdn and other things. I like my site lean and fast and I have my load time down to under 3 seconds.

    3. Cost – This is less important to me but I think you shouldn’t be paying out the ear unless its totally necessary. I have had sites that gotten on average 10k uniques a day with tons of bandwidth consumption and was able to manage on a plan that was under $100 a month.

    To save yourself the hassle of a FTP based backup of your files you should consider asking for shell access in the future and then just gzip your entire html directory.
    Benjamin Kerensa just posted It is a sad day when it is against Federal Law for Americans to

    • says

      I read a bit about the shell access Benjamin, but at the time it was flying right over my head, so I went with what I knew. I wasn’t in a rush to move things since I had all weekend, so I just setup everything to transfer and then worked on other stuff. Good points about the most critical parts to hosting, though I’d add support as #4. :)

    • says

      Thanks Ron! I’m sure that the dedicated hosting would work much smoother, but I figure I was paying less at GoDaddy and getting all I needed for my larger sites, so why would I spend more just for smaller ones. Way more for that matter. As far as moving, it was one of those spur of the moment decisions motivated by those sites being down again when I woke up on Saturday morning. But knowing about it for next time definitely might help!

  4. says

    Thanks for recording all the steps. But I have had great experience with hostgator. I think their support is one of the best. I had one of my sites hacked. And hostgator solved the problem and said it was due to a security loophole in older wordpress version.

  5. says

    Setting up sub-domains with GD is a snap as is most other functions.

    Saying that…. if they could make the admin UI a bit less cluttered, that would help so much :)

  6. says

    I’m very surprised to know that HostGator is not using social media to the extent. It shows how much they are lacking when it comes in terms of dealing with customers. I hope they are reading this post & may change their behaviour.

    I heard many bad reviews of Go daddy from most of my friends but glad to know its working fine for you.

    Thanks for writing step by step process of moving wordpress.
    hyderali just posted How to Use Social Media for your Consumers

    • says

      You’re welcome Hyderali. I guess since I work with social media and have had such great experiences with other businesses who use it to help customers that I’m usually a little surprised about it too. Not everyone has figured out the full potential of it yet.

  7. says

    Sorry you had all that hassle with Hostgator Kristi. I’ve yet to have any problem with them and have just started a new blog there. I don’t think the bandwidth was the problem, like you said it was unlimited, perhaps it had something to do with CPU usage. I know I’ve had to move blogs before because of that. That’s one of the reason I set up a new account with Hostgator rather than simply using an add on domain as I already have two blogs their and didn’t want to add to the strain.

    Did you check out BlueHost? I use them for Wassup and they have a rather unique feature called throttling. When CPU usage gets too high and a normal host would shut you down, bluehost’s throttling comes in and merely slows your site down until the levels go back to normal.
    Sire just posted How I Am Marketing My Online Lottery Niche

  8. says

    I have a domain with GoDaddy because they were the only registra I could find that did a certain suffix. After I registered the domain I found loads of bad press about them including NoDaddy.com. Although…. I kinda think that could of been set up by some clever competitors! lol
    Alex just posted Join our Affiliate scheme!

  9. says

    It’s interesting to read your experience Kristi. I first signed up with GoDaddy because it was the only service I could get in France with 24 phone support at the time… something that is critical to me.

    But I’ve been through a long series of viruses that came from the GoDaddy platform and I got no help from GoDaddy. And the time spent with them on the phone was both frustrating and a huge waste of my time. So I was looking to change host platforms and would have done so already had I not been so busy elsewhere. And of course Hostgator’s name came up.

    Today I think that big hosting companies are more often under attack than before and they just haven’t adjusted to serve their clients as best they can in these new circumstances. (It’s sooooo easy to say it’s not their fault… reminds me of the school playgrounds.)

    I hope they learn to upgrade their customer service to fit the needs of today’s market.
    Cindy King just posted 9 Tips To Learn More About Your International Markets Over The Phone

    • says

      Sorry to hear you had a bad experience Cindy. When I talked to their base level of support, they had a really hard time figuring out the issue. I think it was when I tweeted about it that I got the guy at the next level up – that made a huge difference!

  10. says

    Helpful article, thanks Kristi. A suggestion for moving blogs, use BackupBuddy from iThemes, it is designed to let you clone a WP blog and reload it on a another server or to another domain name.

    Peter

  11. James Ranch says

    When every you have problems with a host and you know they are rock solid like host gator, the best thing to do is be asked to move to a different server. They will do this for you and you should experience better uptime. Sometimes a server gets too many people on it and they don’t realize it.

    I would for others looking to move, I’d consider webfaction. They are a VPS, not shared hosting, but they manage everything for you. They are great if you have the $10 a month to spend and don’t ever want to move your websites again.

    • says

      I didn’t know they would that James, but I think in one of my chats I asked about moving to another server since the one I was on was causing problems, and that’s when they said I could upgrade my hosting to the over $100 a month plan. :(

  12. says

    Omg Kristi, I SO agree with hostgator blaming the client for problems! Last year on my birthday they took my site down cos of using too much bandwidth or data storage (?) without any warning! Then took a couple of days to fix it AND told me I had too many backups. Seriously? I was hopping mad, mad, mad. Their chat support is helpful and fast for small issues but for really big stuff, email support sucks and their twitter rep cldn’t be bothered to respond properly either. Good on you for doing what’s best for you and thanks for the in-depth writeup.
    Tia Sparkles Singh just posted Putting The Puzzle Pieces Together

    • says

      Glad to know I’m not the only person seemingly in the world that had issues with them. They have contacted me directly since writing this article though, so we’ll see how that goes. :)

  13. says

    Hmmm! Guess it’s different strokes for different folks. No one company is perfect, there are bound to be hiccups once in a while. Glad you found your best fit.

  14. says

    I’ve been happily using GoDaddy hosting for years! The only real issue I had was trying to host a WordPress blog on a Windows hosting account. It could take up to 30 seconds for the site to load. I wasn’t thrilled with their “move it to a Linux account” response since I didn’t want to have to pay for another hosting account, but I did and it’s worked out.

    I ran into a fairly ugly issue moving a WP blog to a new host though. My WP site was in a subfolder “www.myurl.com/blogfolder” and I was moving to the root “www.mynewurl.com” for the new host. My stylesheet, pages, and posts were all screwy and I had to make a lot of manual changes in the database. (since I couldn’t get to the Admin screens!)

    • says

      Yeah, I have everything in my root domain and started off with Linux as that was what I was familiar with. Glad everything worked out in the end Mike. :)

  15. says

    Wow, I am surprised you move to GoDaddy, after I have read lots of forum threads or people complain about them.

    I have personally used JustHost, HostGator, and I still recommend JustHost over HostGator..

    I somehow don’t like the long queue when I need something on their live chat support..but I admin HG live support is a lot better than JustHost..lol

    I hate JustHOst live support as well, but whenever I opened a ticket, their support is just superb..

    I would rather staying there, but abt 4 days ago, I move my blog to a managed VPS server..

    Thanks for sharing your experience Kristi.
    Kimi just posted Move to VPS Experience from a shared hosting to a VPS server

  16. says

    I’ve been with a number of different hosts over the past 8-12 years. My current host I’ve been with about 3 1/2 years. They are a smaller company and I’ve had a few minor bumps in the road with them. But, for the price I pay it has been better than I expect and I am pretty picky. I didn’t know pingdom had a service like you mention. I use their tools page often and never noticed.

    Moving and migrating a website is usually not a big deal depending on the script, the difference in server setups from one host to the other, and whether or not you are talking about moving just one site or several addon domains or subdomains. WordPress is usually fairly easy.

    I will be sticking with what I got for a while unless something happens. I am not affiliate with them, but I have been looking at Tiger Technolgies as a future host pick. From what I understand they only have a basic simple control panel and some things are done with ssh. They have 3 plans all under 20 dollars per month. And, part of the reason I would consider them is that Matt Cutts host his blog there, Searchengineland is there, and so is Sphinn to name a few higher traffic sites they handle. I figure if they can handle them and their traffic for those kinds of prices they would surely be able to handle my stuff.

    Regarding Godaddy time will tell. You might have to give us a review or update after 6-12 months of service with them.
    Ray just posted When Technlogy Fails

  17. says

    Nice how-to tutorial on how to move (frankly I would be completely lost if I had to do it and so will bookmark this for the future).

    I’m using DreamHost and for my small sites, they’ve been great. Also the customer service has been very helpful (and patient!) with my questions. My only complaint is that the web interface for DreamHost is a bit of a mess. Discoverability of features, usability, etc. all very poor. I’m not a UI desginer and even I could see easy ways to make it all so much better. So while I’m happy with them (having figured out how and were to do things) the learning curve was steep and the online documentation offered minimal help.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences! – Alexis
    Alexis just posted What Everybody Ought to Know About Baby Swings

  18. says

    Hi Kristi,
    Thanks for putting this together, it looks like a great resource. So far I have been very happy with hostgator, they have been super helpful when I’ve had an issue. Even when I had a plugin issue they fixed it for me by removing the (free) problem plugin. They could have easily just told me what to do but they did it for me to save me the trouble. They also always ask me to rate their help.

    I’m surprised at all of the problems you’ve had, but I’m glad you found something that works for you!

    Stacy
    Stacy just posted Get Rid of Those Petty Annoyances

  19. says

    Kristi, I’m sorry you had difficulty with Hostgator. I switched to Hostgator a year ago after getting my blogs hacked 3 times on Godaddy within a 2-3 week period, and I’ve had zero problems since the move. The few times I’ve called customer service I got someone competent on the line within 2 minutes and quickly got my questions answered.

    And that’s a big contrast to the hack problem I had with GoDaddy. The advice I received was confusing, conflicting, and a big waste of time (and I mean many, many hours).
    John Soares just posted When Editors Don’t Get Back to You

    • says

      Good vs. bad support is really makes a difference when it comes to hosting John. My support with HostGator about the downtime was about as confusing as my first support when my sites got hacked though, especially when on one call they said to use this program and send them a report, and when I did and the report said the sites were down, they still said everything was ok on their end. They’re working with me directly though, so we’ll see how that goes. :)

  20. says

    While I have no experiencing moving domains between hosting companies, two WordPress databases moved between domains earlier this year. I didn’t have the patience or know-how to figure everything out, so I hired someone to do it for me. (I wrote about this at http://ariherzog.com/rebirth/ if you or other readers are curious.)

    I’m very curious why you chose GoDaddy instead of a much smaller provider which typically has much quicker and more personalized customer service. I use Tubu, for instance.
    Ari Herzog just posted Blame Email- Not Web- For Lost Productivity

  21. says

    The other day I bough a domain name at GoDaddy that I forwarded to my blog and got a phone call after 2 days welcoming me to GD and asking if I need anything. It was really easy to find the instructions to forward the domain so I had no questions for them but it felt good to be welcomed like that with them offering help even without you crying for it. I am definitely doing my business with them from now on!
    Brankica just posted Twitter Addiction Infographic Morning of a Twitter Addict

  22. says

    Awesome! I find your post very interesting. It could really help me a lot. Thanks for sharing some of your ideas.

  23. says

    It’s been over a decade since I had to move a domain from one provider to another, Kristi. Your experience sounds so much easier than what we had to put up with way back then. It was several days before the DNS caught up with the move.

    I’ve been using HostGator ever since I launched my first self-hosted blog 2 years ago. I’ve had no major issues with them and can only remember my site being down once during that time. I have noticed that my load times have been creeping up lately, but I’m not sure that it’s an issue with HostGator.

    I’m bookmarking this page just in case I find out they are the issue and I need to make a change. Thanks for the information.
    Brad Harmon just posted Don’t Let Your Website Be Held Hostage

  24. says

    Excellent details Kristi and I also migrated my sites to a new hosting provider this weekend, your issues and outages and support responses are exactly what I saw from Dreamhost 2 years ago. I was very happy with HostMonster and switched from them to test a new hosting provider offering VPS hosting as I started seeing cpu throttling by my current hosting provider with the shared hosting I was on. Still working on performance tuning and optimizing site however.

    I think what most companies fail to realize is that because WordPress is such a heavy PHP system there needs to be a ton of PHP optimizations to consider here. I won’t go into too many details but knowing the difference between FASTCGI, SUPHP and other modules to use as your PHP engine can make the difference between stability and not. One engine causes more memory use by your hosting provider, the other causes more CPU use but less memory so you need to know which suits the limitations of the hosting plan better. Caching and pre-fetching is a must also, W3 Total Cache minimum and if you do host lots of photography and static images it probably isn’t a bad idea to serve from a CDN like Amazon S3 as well.
    Justin Germino just posted Search Engine Optimization SEO- How Does It Benefit Everyone

  25. says

    I am hosting with site5 and using cloudflare cloud technology which makes sure that the site stays up via the cloudflare CDN even when the hosting server is down…..

    Moving sites to another hosts due to bad experience is a really unfortunate thing, but we have to take a stand sometimes as these hosting companies tend to oversell server resources lot of times and that causes slow response time….

    Btw did you move kikolani to a VPS now or still on shared hosting? Also will you be using CDN services ?

  26. says

    While I was moving from one server to another I faced a lot of difficulties because I wasn’t aware of using PHPmyAdmin that time.. I messed up with my database and had to get my friend to work around with it.. Rest is pretty easy, installing wordpress and all that!

    Nameservers sometimes take pretty long to change, I have experience to Nameservers changing the values in 2 minutes and also, as long as 2 days!
    Rohit Sane just posted Samsung Bada 2 screenshots leaked version 201

  27. says

    I have a completely different opinion of Godaddy hosting. In my opinion, it’s just about the worst choice anyone can make for hosting. (Domain name services are fine, although plenty will disagree with that too, and I respect that). My best friend cleans hacked sites for a living, and he does it very, very well. He is incredibly detailed and goes above and beyond to find causes. Godaddy has been one of the biggest problems with hacked sites, and he gives full details about it on his site at http://smackdown.blogsblogsblogs.com/2010/05/13/hosting-with-godaddy-might-want-to-rethink-that-decision/ . I’m not here to convince you to change. That’s your call, of course, but I just can’t sit idly by and not mention the flip side. The flip side is pretty ugly, imo.
    Donna just posted How To Convert A Static HTML Site To WordPress

        • says

          DOH! Sorry Ana, no idea why I thought it was Kristi asking me that, so my reply that mentioned “you aren’t fond of them” makes no sense when responding to you instead. Oy. Anyway, sorry for the confusion. So, I asked my friend, and he said 2nd and 3rd choices would be Bluehost and Hostmonster in that order, because both also have the system setup so that users can’t see other users files (jailed accounts, is his term for it), and they both offer ssh. However, they do have some custom configurations that he doesn’t care for, but security-wise, they’re ok.
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  28. says

    Godaddy have been working for me for five years and I always think this way “if isn’t broken don’t touch it” when it comes to hosting or servers.
    I have two VPS and a hosting with Godaddy and so far they work fine (although the shared hosting is a little slow sometimes). Of course not everybody can have a VPS (you need some knowledge in Linux management), but is certainly one of the best options as soon and you reach certain position with your blog and websites.
    Good to know that I’m not alone :)
    Ricardo Nuñez just posted How to automate twitter with Buffer

  29. says

    Spot on, Kristi. The only thing I do differently, and this is totally personal preference since it really doesn’t matter which way it’s done, but I would halt all comments before dumping SQL to file. In fact, that’s near the last thing I do, as the transfer and config can happen before that.

    Basically flip 5 and 6, and turn off comments before performing 6.

    Tomato, Tomato. ;)

    You could also, on some hosts, create a dev.* if you have another domain on there and config everything under that, then re-wire the DNS when you’re ready to flip the switch. Allows you to test and play with the site prior, which can come in handy if upgrades/enhancement are part of the transition.
    Wayne just posted One tiger to kill the bots

  30. says

    Excellent post as moving a WordPress blog can be a rather daunting thing to contemplate.

    I have not had the same positive experience with GoDaddy that you have. I’ve experienced significant downtime and very slooow performance (timeouts, 45 second page loads) at times. Frequently they would try to blame the slow performance on WordPress. Then magically, after I had done nothing to my blog, the performance would improve a few hours later.

    This happened repeatedly until I move to HostGator. Vast improvement. I also have domains at BlueHost and they have performed quite well also.
    Mike just posted Android OS for Android Phones and Tablets

  31. says

    Hi Kristi,

    I’m the owner of hostgator and I just came across your blog review http://kikolani.com/what-to-expect-when-moving-wordpress-to-new-hosting.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

    I’m honestly very shocked that you prefer godaddy over us, however am not surprised if you’re comparing the pingdom numbers. Did you confirm many of the outages pingdom reported visually with your own eyes? The reason I ask is that our firewalls actually block many of pingdoms checks on purpose. The perfect example of this is demonstrated in the ticket you opened with us JJM-150851** Pingdom’s check said we were down however at the same time your site was receiving traffic which wouldn’t be possible if it was offline. (the logs don’t lie) The way pingdom does their check is the same way many ddos’s take place. It’s not real traffic so in many cases it hits our hourly limit and gets blocked which they in turn would report as a false downtime.

    I actually reached out to the owner of pindom just a little over a year ago when I noticed tons of complaints about our downtime as a result of false positives. The false positive problem went away as soon as we white listed their ips. I’ve just emailed San again to get an updated list and to see if he can add me to a notification list for their new ips. I honestly believe the majority of the outages being reported on your site were false positives as a result of our firewall blocking them.

    Don’t get me wrong we are going to have some downtime as a result of security updates, but you should never see two hours in one month.

    Have you checked your page load time with us versus godaddy? I’d love to do a friendly challenge with a $1,000 prize for you if I’m wrong. I will give you $1,000 if your users say that your sites loads faster with godaddy then hostgator. This would be pretty easy for me to rig so to keep it legit I’d ask you to pick any random server number from gator1134 to gator1200. Your account was on gator1133 and with all of these servers being fully active servers it will guarantee it’s a fair competition. I do ask that you not pick 1133 just in case this does somehow happen to be a fluke server with issues I’m not yet aware of.

    I’d also ask you to check both our uptime as well as godaddy’s again using Pingdoms page loader check instead of their ping. Pingdom offers this as an upgraded service and with it you’ll get a true understanding of your sites uptime. There’s a very good possibility that your site was offline with godaddy numerous times with the page not loading even though it passed their ping test. If a site takes 10 minutes to load sure it’s technically up, but I definitely don’t consider that as up when the page is failing to load in a few seconds time as it’s suppose to.

    As far as their support being better I’m also very surprised to hear this. I looked through your ticket history with us (4 tickets) and see that all of your issues were handled in a timely professional manner. Our ticket support is handled 100% by admins where as our chat support is handled by advanced web masters. Our chat support is great for the majority of issues, however if there is ever anything chat isn’t able to help you with we ask a ticket be opened immediately. You can start a thread pretty much anywhere on the internet and it’s going to be filled with people talking negatively about godaddy’s support and positively about hostgator’s.

    We do mess up our fair share of issues, but overall we’re going to dominate them from a support perspective in any non biased poll. Our support also has my personal guarantee behind it. http://www.hostgator.com/shared.shtml “If you ever have a problem with the regular support, just ask that your ticket be assigned to Brent and he will personally take the time to give you the VIP attention that you deserve.” I also aggressively post my email brent@hostgator.com all over the internet for our users to contact me if they should ever have a problem.

    Please let me know if you’re interested in the challenge I propose. =)

    No joke your site just failed to load for me properly, as I loaded it to post this comment. (I decided to write this in thunderbird first due to length) It loaded all text with no images, resulting in me having to refresh your page to get it to load properly. I loaded your a page of 4 different times now while writing this and on the 4th time this very minute 12:13am it failed to load properly. I know this sounds convenient as I’m writing you, but I promise this just happened without me trying to make it. Any other users out there seeing this happen to them?

    Let me know if you’re interested in my friendly challenge.

    Sincerely,

    Brent Oxley

    • says

      Hi Brent,

      I appreciate you taking the time to read my post and comment here. Sorry my site was having some issues – I’m dealing with too many plugins and one of them has gone rogue and is causing me grief. Just updated WordPress and my theme, so just working on tweaking the issues.

      It’s late, but there are a few things I wanted to respond to.

      First of all, it was someone on the HostGator support team that suggested that I use Pingdom to run a report on my site’s downtime and send them the information. Maybe that is why they said the downtime was a “false positive” because their server was blocking it, I don’t know those kind of technical details and what not.

      What I do know is that my site was down every time Pingdom emailed to say it was. I visually saw that it was not loading any of my sites on my HostGator account from my home machine on three different browsers, at my office on another ISP, and on my mobile browser. I also received emails / tweets / comments on various occasions asking why they couldn’t get to my site, got bounced out after submitting a comment, couldn’t access the RSS feed, etc. Since I access my Godaddy sites and my Hostgator sites regularly throughout the day, usually in the same time period I can say that during those “spot checks” my Hostgator sites were down more often than my Godaddy ones.

      Not to say that my Godaddy sites never go down, but maybe just once out of the month, not once out of every week or every other day. The last time this site went down it was because I messed up my theme’s functions php file. Even then, Godaddy support gave me some troubleshooting options to figure out WordPress itself, even though it wasn’t anything they caused.

      My issue with the HostGator customer service was that on some occasions when I couldn’t reach my site and was chatting with someone on the east coast who also couldn’t, the support person was saying that everything was running just fine from their end. That’s all and well if you guys can get to it, but I need to get to the root of why others, including myself, couldn’t.

      As a customer service comparison, I experienced a weird issue with my sites on Godaddy – they running fine for some people, but not others. The Godaddy support person I was chatting with also said they saw my site just fine, but instead of just stopping there, they kept working on it until they figured out that a particular ISP was having some kind of communication issue with their servers due to a firewall setup or something of the sorts (again, not technical enough to understand). After a bit, they got the problem solved. And I don’t have VIP service or an super pricey hosting account – just the $7.99 a month plan.

      To be fair though, after writing this, one of my friends in Houston connected me with Chad at your company, and he has offered me a chance to get to know your hosting again with the sites I still haven’t had a chance to move. One thing I asked on the support chat was if I could just get my sites moved to another server, and they said no but I could upgrade to a higher priced plan which I don’t really need. Chad is going to get my sites moved on the same pricing plan to another server, which is all I really wanted to try out in the first place. When customer support refused and my sites went yet again, I was tired of trying support chat after support chat with no success, so I moved them. But I’ll be working with him to see if I can write a better review later down the road. :)

      Thanks,
      Kristi

      Again, thanks for your comment.

    • says

      I’m not sure exactly what you mean with the challenge, but Pingdom offers a response time which I assumed was load time for websites. This is the reports generated from Pingdom from both this site on Godaddy and my main site on HostGator. This site uses all of the same plugins and then some extras as the sites on HostGator, plus this site takes about twice the amount of traffic as all of my HostGator sites in one day.

      Response time for Photo Ninjas (on HostGator) from April 1st – June 6th

      Response time for Kikolani (on Godaddy) from April 1st – June 6th

      I actually added the banner reports to the post above too for a side by side comparison. I hope this counts for a challenge. A $1,000 could go a long way in investing in a site that I will need a more advanced package of hosting for in the near future. :)

  32. says

    That’s odd that we were able to get it to it while you and others weren’t. We go through softlayer.com which is in a completely different city then us without any type of direct connections. If it loads for some and not others it’s a routing issue which can be either the fault of our isp and or our datacenter softlayer. If it was happening to multiple people with different isp connections it was more then likely an issue an issue with the datacenter.

    I’m sure this would have been investigated via ticket. I’m going to email you as I’d love more information to investigate who you spoke with. Thanks!!!

  33. says

    Side note: Thanks for including my interview with Brent on the article.

    As a web designer, I have had to deal with a lot of webhosted – on the installation of WP, installing plugins, importing posts, and uploading the theme design.

    Godaddy was not top in my books in any way and I have moved more of my design clients FROM GoDaddy to HostGator. I have even done HostGator to GoDaddy and THEN back to HostGator or even my dedicated server (which is through HG.)

    Support time with GoDaddy was never as quick as HostGator, even when I originally moved to them. When I did move to HG, there was a fire on the dedicated server floor and I was down for a few days. While I was concerned about my server, the fact that no one was hurt at HG was tops with me. However, I still did submit a ticket and voiced that I understood the situation and was patient.

    Brent personally emailed me and gave me a month – $219 of hosting for free to my account. I really was surprised. After the previous hosting experience with my dedicated server with another company, this was just huge. Who credits $219?!?!? No one- normally it would be a smaller amount or nothing at all.

    The thing is that with web hosting, especially support, you really should use the ticket support first. It is their primary service offered, along with their chat and phone system. And of course, Brent…lol.

    ———-
    Data usage: it does depend on the site. Pinging 2 different sites with different traffic amounts and different do have different results. Unlike 5 years ago, in web hosting bandwidth is not really much of any issue. Usually it is data resource usage.

    Justin mentioned above and he is right about WordPress, especially as your site grows. Even if you do install a Cache plugin like W3 Total Cache, your load time is effected by the php call to the database that draws your written word content, images, and anything that uses php.

    I did want to note that the page did load a bit slower here than usual and I did have to do a page refresh. Could have been your popular post. ;) *hugs*

    Regardless of whatever host, I would want Kikolani to have excellent time up. No matter what, I will still be a visitor/ reader.
    Nile just posted Agree To Disagree Blog Comment Etiquette

  34. says

    Hi Kristi,

    I’ve had a chance to talk with our CTO as well as have been monitoring your server. It turns out the server you were on has been the 10th most problematic server with load in our fleet of over 2,300 shared boxes.

    Your server is looking MUCH better now that we’ve taken action against two very problematic sites. Both of these sites have had action taken them against them in the past, and unfortunately in both incidents they managed to work the system to get re-enabled. I’ve left notes that they are permanently banned and will be keeping an eye on the server to make sure they don’t trick us into enabling them again.

    We have uptime reports for this month and so far the server has had a total of 7 minutes of downtime, which is pretty bad but not horrible. (Would end up being about 28 minutes of downtime for the month) The server has had some downtime as you witnessed, but I’m sure it is not the 2 hours that pingdom reported. I’m still waiting to hear back from pingdom on what their ip blocks are so that I may whitelist them. This will prevent our firewall from creating further false positives.

    Unfortunately I wasn’t able to locate the poor chats you had with us. We’ve hired a lot of new staff so there’s a good chance whomever you chatted with has since been terminated due to ratings. Any chat agent who doesn’t maintain a rating above 9 is given a chance to improve, and if they can’t we let them go.

    I’m still very interested in doing the $1,000 competition with you and paying out if godaddy ends up being better then us with load times. You have to compare apples to apples so comparing one site with us to a different site with them isn’t going to work. Think of it if I were to compare a blank index page to a site with a million pictures on it, of course the blank page would load much faster which is why it has to be the same site. I’ve done this test many times in the past and in every case we’ve been much faster. With that said with how bad your server has been I’d like to believe that Godaddy would be faster. I’m going to send you an email with further details on how we can pull this off.

    -Brent

  35. says

    Hmm.. I should say very Informative!
    Me my friend were talking about what are some good web hosting sites. Then he told me one of the Best was Hostgator. Seems having over 99% uptime is a good word of mouth. In fact I didn’t know anything about GoDaddy at all, not until now. ;)

  36. says

    If you compare a host that has servers configured with fast-cgi compared to suphp(cgi) you will find the fast-cgi host will be nearly 10 as fast in response time. Of course a lot of other factors are involved. But, mostly suphp server must load the php engine everytime someone visits your site. Where fast-cgi php the php engine is already load for visitors and stays loaded. This is a huge speed difference in itself. Fast-cgi is also a more secure environment too. I haven’t hosted with hostgator in sometime, but maybe they have suphp servers by default. It’s been a while since I messed with godaddy too, but if I remember right they were fast-cgi by default. So that could be part of the difference you are seeing. But, give it time. Things change as more users add files to the same server you are on.
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