Hi all. My name is Christopher Carfi (Drupal.org profile), and I work for GoDaddy. We'd really like to hear your opinion about experiences you've had with GoDaddy – both things we're doing well, as well as things we could do better. The company has gone through a LOT of change in the past couple of years. Our new CEO, Blake Irving, just did an AMA on Reddit that addressed many of the questions (and issues, and perceptions…) that the tech community has with GoDaddy. Here's a link to Blake's AMA: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/23v7f3/hi_im_blake_irving_i_am_the_ceo_of_godaddy_ask_me

BTW: I'm relatively new to the org and, frankly, wouldn’t be here myself if I didn't believe that it has done a 180 from from the GoDaddy I knew from pre-2012.

But this post is really about the Drupal community, and how we can better support you. My colleague Mendel Kurland (Drupal.org profile) will be at DrupalCon next week, and we'd love to hear from you about what your perceptions are of GoDaddy today, and things we could do better. How can we help?

Comments

John_B’s picture

Test installing Drupal 7 on Godaddy. You could also test a Drupal 8 install before it is released. If a D7 install does not work it is not necessarily the fault of Godaddy but (a) it may be and (b) it would be good if you were familiar with possible issues.

If you offer a one-click installer which includes Drupal test that (they tend not to work for Drupal and we advise people who ask for help to avoid them). Ensure your support team know how to get Drupal working and can do a successful Drupal install quickly.

Then Install a largish Drupal site (perhaps starting with a Commerce Kickstart install and make some dummy content). See how responsive it is both logged in and not logged in.

Install the latest version of drush (latest version required for Drupal 8 means installing from github drush-ops: for Drupal 7 the version you get with the older install method with pear still works). Check the install goes smoothly as drush is essential for anyone using Drupal professionally and highly recommended for all (or include drush pre-installed copy for your users).

Do all these with the same rights as a normal account has.

If you meet all these criteria (which I am well aware may involve some headaches along the way) you will be ahead of many budget hosting companies, on the way to dealing with some bad press, and have a chance of competing on quality with the more expensive niche hosting companies who specialise in Drupal.

If you want to take success to the next level do what everyone does to gain credibility in the open source world and especially in Drupal and contribute something back. This can include sponsoring core development with money and / or staff time; helping with major contributed modules (a very major one, Rules, found on very many Drupal site of all sizes, is currently looking for money and help to complete a Drupal 8 upgrade estimated to need a further 1000 hours developer time, if it is done by people who already have the highly specialist skills, see http://drupalfund.us); sponsoring DrupalCon (this is a purely financial thing which however is more convincing if you are involved in the community); and there are other important tasks such as helping documentation on this site / in comment text etc.

ccarfi.gd’s picture

@john_B: THANK YOU for the detailed questions. I will take these back to our hosting team and see what I can learn on all of them and bring the answers back here.

If you want to take success to the next level do what everyone does to gain credibility in the open source world and especially in Drupal and contribute something back.

We're working on it! Projects like http://webrockit.io/ (monitoring and performance) have active GD contributors, and if you (or others) have an Open Source project, we're actively supporting them in other ways as well (e.g. certs): (http://www.godaddy.com/ssl/ssl-open-source.aspx).

I commit to bringing these ideas into the org and getting some answers for you.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

-Chris

billwatt’s picture

Howdy,

One of the things we're looking into is the ability to have staging and preview environments. We're looking at a mix of options that range from making local environments easier to match up to production all the way to parallel to production with a simple publish option.

Thanks for the suggestions! We're working on a few of those but having feedback from the community is the easiest way to know we're actually thinking about you want us to go after.

Thanks,

Bill
Dir of Product, Hosting
GoDaddy

Jaypan’s picture

I don't use GoDaddy hosting, but I do buy my domain names through GoDaddy, and I have a couple of clients who are on GoDaddy hosting. I only have two things to say:

1) I hate going through the GoDaddy checkout process. It's like wading through an ocean of up-sells. I've done it many times now, so it's quick, but I won't even recommend GoDaddy to clients, because I don't want them to have to spend the half-hour it takes to get through the checkout process for a first time user.

2) The control panel is a mess. It's not well organized, and hard to find the things you want. Very disorganized.

ccarfi.gd’s picture

Hi @Jaypan. Hearing you loud and clear. We are working on streamlining the process for checkout and related items and trying to address issue (1) above. As far as the control panel goes, we are now actively supporting cPanel and hope that starts to address some of the "mess" issues. More on that here, if you're interested in seeing what the next wave looks like.

billwatt’s picture

Howdy,

Full disclosure - I'm the Head of Product for Hosting at GoDaddy. :-)

1) As Chris said earlier, we relaunched the GoDaddy.com site in Sept and have basically removed the old "gauntlet" where people would try and get thought the process as quickly as possible. The UI is cleaner, the crazy cross-sell / up-sell stuff is gone, and it is generally much much easier to get in and get what you want.

2) We relaunched the front of site in Sept and are making our way through the rest of the internals now. Hosting has a pretty simple "gateway" that seeks to streamline the whole approach to jumping in and accessing your sites and settings. We're not done... this is the start and it'll get much crisper over the next year.

All that to say... we're slowly chipping away at it.

Bill

paul.w’s picture

In the past GoDaddy offered updates for the Drupal core version installed using their click-to-install. At the moment my Drupal sites show they are four security versions behind. This is not a great way to keep GoDaddy or customer sites safe. It would be good if these updates would be brought back so we can follow the GoDaddy method for updating our Drupal install. It would also be good if the latest version was used for installing new sites instead of installing a version with security updates already required.

Thanks.

Paul

ccarfi.gd’s picture

Thank you, @paul.w. Will hit up our hosting team on this suggestion as well.

Keep 'em coming...

billwatt’s picture

Howdy,

Yes, I hear you. We're working on getting our legacy products cleaned up...

One of the things I want to do is replace our custom, proprietary installer with something more standard where the partner provider is on top of that. We're using Installatron in our cPanel environment and are looking at what we can offer for the existing environments. If you have a preference... ping me!

Thanks,

Bill
Dir of Product, Hosting
GoDaddy

Greg Boggs’s picture

Go Daddy should offer the same backup options as Media Temple. Easy to enable automated backup and on by default emergency backup.

ifyouwillit’s picture

Good thought. I'll zap your feedback over to our developers.

Dave Reid’s picture

Does GoDaddy support net neutrality and if so, what are actually you doing to support it?

Senior Drupal Developer for Lullabot | www.davereid.net | @davereid

Luckhardt Labs’s picture

"I believe that a free and open internet is the best way to empower people and grow economies and anything to the contrary is to be avoided." ~ Blake Irving (source)

Noticeably absent is a response to the question about Bob "Elephant Killer" Parsons' current role in the company.

Dave Reid’s picture

It does not however answer what they're doing to actually support it.

Senior Drupal Developer for Lullabot | www.davereid.net | @davereid

dags’s picture

GoDaddy's commercials have always been gimmicky, unprofessional, and most of all, sleazy. I think if they want to appeal to the Drupal community, GoDaddy needs to reevaluate their audience and change their marketing strategy. Reaching out like this is a good step. The name "GoDaddy" is super weird, btw

ifyouwillit’s picture

Dags, I agree that if we're going to appeal to the Drupal community, we need to re-evaluate our audience and change our marketing strategy. In-fact, we've been on that mission for some time now. Check this out GoDaddy's new image emerges in Super Bowl ad. More than just appealing to the community though, we'd like to genuinely help make community members more successful. That's where your feedback comes in.

Garrett Albright’s picture

I'm surprised I'll be the first to bring it up in an community as (sometimes over-)sensitive to feminist issues as Drupal's, but here we go… Even more than the upselling and under-performing, your advertising did more to drive me away from GoDaddy's services than anything. While I'm not a huge fan of political correctness and in fact do enjoy boobs in the right contexts, any effect they have on my choosing what technology service to do business with is negative, I assure you - it's difficult to take a company seriously when they resort to such tactics for my attention.

I see you've written elsewhere that the company has ended that sort of advertising, and that's great if true, but the whole extended campaign just left a bad taste in my mouth. At least in my mind, the name GoDaddy will be associated with awkward moments watching the Super Bowl with my parents in the same room for quite a while, I'm afraid.

ccarfi.gd’s picture

I responded to this in another part of the thread, but the bottom line is those types of ads are done. If you seen anything out in the market to the contrary going forward, please feel free to PM me and I'll escalate.

KCarlile’s picture

I've been a GoDaddy customer for over 10 years and a Drupal developer for the last 4. I currently run 4 low-volume sites off of a shared hosting plan and it works for my basic needs. I also run a handful of other WordPress sites, static sites, PHPbb forum, and some wikis on that same plan as well. Like I said, low volume. :)

Anyway, as a long-term customer, here's my take on GoDaddy's services both personally and from the perspective as a Drupal developer:

  • The phone tech support is very good. By "good", I mean that they are friendly, well-spoken, and they try to help. I wish they were more technically savvy sometimes, but for free support on a $8/month hosting plan, it's adequate.
  • For the cost, the bandwidth and performance is pretty good.
  • The one-click (okay, a couple of clicks) installs of applications are great for beginners. Drupal has always been a supported option and I appreciate that. I like the automatic backup and upgrade feature, but it has been lagging behind a few versions for quite a while, so I had to bypass that and start doing it manually. It would have been nice if GD had better support for the more updated versions of D7.
  • There are definitely some frustrations with navigating through the administrative panels, but I understand that they are getting better over time.
  • I like the low cost options since my sites generate almost no revenue at all, but I don't care for the continual price hikes on domains. Register for $0.99, next year it's $8.99 (okay, fine), now some of my domains are up to $14.99. Again, I know this is relatively small, but it's still a complaint.
  • I liked that GoDaddy was tweeting about going to Drupalcon this year (they even replied to me about it), but I never saw ANYONE there with a GD shirt and there wasn't a GD booth. That would have been really nice to see. If GD wants to help get Drupal developers to use their service, they should invest in supporting the organization by sponsoring events and having a real presence at the conferences.
  • ...and then there's the PR problem. I have, essentially, 2 opinions of GoDaddy. There's the outward appearance (commercials, GoDaddy girls, Bob Parsons) that seems to be catering to the lowest common denominator: I hate this side of GoDaddy. But then there's also the real-world service of GoDaddy and that's pretty good. That's why I've actually stayed with GoDaddy, despite the horrible image the company presents. Drupal developers are really smart. If you want to woo them, you're going to have to start acting like you cater to smart people, not idiots, which seems to be the target market. To be fair, I took the bait, so maybe I'm one of those idiots. :)

In short: be smart, respect your audience, quit trying to cater to the least of your customer base, support Drupal (really), and give use better tools to use Drupal on your hosting service.

Thanks!

ifyouwillit’s picture

Kenny, thanks for being a customer, and for your candid feedback. I'm the one that attended DrupalCon. In-fact, I wrote about my experience (and it was a really great). I had a chance to discuss GoDaddy's role within the Drupal community with a broad spectrum of people who are all working to make the community better in different ways. One of the goals of attending was to learn about what GoDaddy can do to serve the Drupal community better. While you and I didn't have the chance to meet at DrupalCon, hopefully we'll cross paths soon.

vonn.new’s picture

I have had several clients who had hosting accounts on GoDaddy and asked me to deploy the Drupal sites I made for them there. My experiences were very negative and eventually I just had to start telling them No, if you want me to deploy your site you'll have to find another host.

Already mentioned here is the terribly convoluted interface and the upselling which I won't go into again except that when I am working I don't need to click dozens of links that look like what I want but actually are about selling me something I don't need.

Also previous noted that I would agree with strongly is the tone of the advertising and PR that treats women as window dressing and does not engender confidence in the technical aspects of the business. Then there was that horrible photo with the CEO & a dead elephant and the rather non-convincing story to justify it - my clients are pretty crunchy granola and they are just not going to give money to that guy.

But the kicker has been the extreme lowest common denominator tech support. For example, a database that had been working great on my test server and which deployed easily on another low-cost shared host would not import on GoDaddy not matter what permutations I could come up with. When I submitted a ticket, the response came back was basically 'Ask your developer' even though I stated all this info up front along with the fact that I am the developer.

At other times, I had issues that I did not have on other hosts and in trying to resolve them, spent the time to lay out a detailed step by step description of the issue and every time, I got back a very-not-helpful canned response that made it clear to me that if the person on the other end had actual read my ticket, they certainly did not understand it. There was never an offer to escalate the ticket to anyone who could help, just the standard 'Ask your developer'. I understand that GoDaddy's position in the market is to sell to people who aren't pros and probably you get tons of inappropriate questions about programming. That's not what I was doing, but I was treated as if I was.

The one thing I will say that GoDaddy has done well is help my customers out on the phone with questions about name registrations.

You say that the company has turned around 180. I'm one of those people who are going to take a LOT of convincing.

ccarfi.gd’s picture

Hi @vonn.new. Wanted to make sure that all your questions were addressed.

re: convoluted interface - We've heard this one loud and clear and are actively trying to make it simpler and easier. Particular feedback is always welcome on this front if you see screens that are super confusing or overly up-sell-y. We're working on it.

re: ads and related - Agreed with you, and that approach is not in line with where the company is today. Blake addressed this in depth in his Reddit AMA.

re: tech support - again, we're continually trying to improve on this front, and make sure that you are getting support at the technical level you want (and, frankly, deserve). We're constantly training our folks. (Protip: If you call into support and press 3 (tech support) then 4 (hosting support), you'll get routed to our hosting-specific folks)

re: name registrations - thanks for the good words. we're working mightily to get the whole company to have a similarly positive experience

Per Bill (upthread), we're continuing to work on all these things. Thanks for keeping us on track. Really appreciate you taking the time to provide such detailed feedback - it helps, a lot.

John Pitcairn’s picture

I recommend you change the title: Would love the community's feedback about GoDaddy

ccarfi.gd’s picture

Hi @john pitcairn - done.

XYZPublications’s picture

I just set up a new account with Godaddy which I swore I'd never ever do again, but I did, and selected Drupal as my CMS after 3 days of comparisons, and installed yesterday. Got the red alert about a major security bug, and that I must update to 7.31; it appears from reading the 7.31 notes I must to do this myself. Godaddy uses Parallels Plesk as a hosting panel and I have auto-update set ON, so just want to know if I am indeed supposed to install the 7.31 version myself. Is this as simple as uploading the 7.31 zip file to my Drupal dir and extracting? Or should I wait?

I think that Drupal and Parallels Plesk and Godaddy should get together so a user can choose from the latest and most secure version. Will that happen?

PS Chris I am choosing you since your posts came up when I tried to search for Godaddy 7.31 and you are with Godaddy.

Thanks!!

John_B’s picture

Hopefully Chris from Godaddy will reply. You could always raise a ticket to test their support desk!

There is documentation on this site for updating. Unzipping a copy of Drupal and overwriting your files will do provided you are careful not to overwrite the sites/ folder, which should not be updated. If you have modified .htaccess (e.g. for redirect to www or non-www version) and / or robots.txt you may want to avoid overwriting them too.

I have never seen an automatic updater for Drupal & would not trust it - but maybe the installer in Godaddy's version of Plesk is ahead of the game. I doubt it. The easy way to quickly update a relatively simple Drupal site is from command line, with drush (which needs to be installed first unless you are on Drupal-friendly hosting where they do that for you). You type 'drush up', hit 'Enter' and you are done. Best of luck - it will be interesting to hear from you whether Godaddy do turn out to better than one might expect.

Best to back up before updating, and if the site is really mission-critical to test updates before applying them. A core update on a simple site rarely causes problems, but it is only fair to put in the health warning as there are people who come to the forums with a failed update which broke their site.

XYZPublications’s picture

Hi John and thanks so very much for the info. Interesting I came here days ago after being told by Godaddy support during a chat session August 7th, that the 7.31 update "ball" was in Drupal.org/support's court.

On 8/8 Goadddy sent around an email alerting users of the vulnerability, and telling us to go update our Drupal sites and provided a link to a Godaddy support file on how to do so. As of 8/10, Godaddy/Plesk still only provides 7.30, we're still to do the update manually.

Godaddy's support file on updating Drupal states:

"This article helps you with backing up your current site and database and creating a test site. For detailed instructions regarding additional upgrade steps, we recommend Drupal's site and the upgrade.txt file included with the new version to which you're upgrading."

So I deleted the Godaddy site, will load/customize Drupal on my own server, then upload to a host, which may not be Godaddy after all. I had hoped I could rely on Godaddy to be a reasonable hosting service which would faithfully provide basic admin services on CMS products, so I could concentrate on the site content...as of yet, not to be!

Bouncing users up and down their stakeholder chain and advertising beyond their capabilities are what I try to avoid in hosting companies.

John_B’s picture

You will save a lot of time going to a Drupal specialist host. Whilst some are premium products for larger sites, there are several smaller players whose owners post here. They all cost a bit more than more general hosting companies, but they do offer more in return, which may be worth it if you value your time & sanity. However, I do not think any will offer automated core updates. One or two have offered core updates without an extra fee, and on Drupal. I would not trust automated core updates or free manual core updates anyway. I know Wordpress has automated minor version core updates. Whatever way you cut it, Drupal is more work to maintain than Wordpress for comparable sites in most cases.

ccarfi.gd’s picture

@XYZPublications, apologies for the long delay on responding here. Missed the notification that this was here. If you're still having any issues, please drop me a note and we'll try to get them resolved. Thx, Chris

cates111’s picture

I've been a GoDaddy customer for 5 years, and a Drupal developer for about 4. Until last week, I had no complaints.

  1. Customer service was excellent and easily accesible
  2. I had the freedom and flexibility to do what I needed to do (even on some very intricate sites)
  3. Downtime and issues were at a minimum

In the past week though, I have had 2 clients undergo catastrophic, business interrupting issues that all stemmed from problems with GoDaddy servers. In both cases, the clients called support and were told repeatedly that it was a problem with the Drupal installation and not the GoDaddy servers. After repeated phone calls, one client was told that there was in fact a problem with the mail servers and the problem would be escalated. The other one has been on the phone with support several times this evening alone and is still getting the "It's not our fault" routine.

Between my own sites and client sites, I have over 20 sites hosted with GoDaddy, and the events of the past week are causing me to look for new hosting.

ccarfi.gd’s picture

@cates111, please feel free to drop me a note. I'd like to learn more about any issues your clients had. Obviously, that's not something we want to happen. If you're in the Bay Area, a number of our team (and I) will be at #BADCamp and we're happy to answer any questions.

TeddyJ’s picture

Hello everyone. I have my own Drupal site. Not being of a technical background with just basic coding skills, I expected to have trouble with everything and was hesitating to go ahead.

But the great news is that I was up and running in 1 day. I had got the domain and stuff from GoDaddy. They were wonderful with their support. And really fast. Thanks a lot.