Consequences of Switching Hosts on Live Site?

In the past I have worked with GoDaddy for web-hosting and domain names, and while I know LOTS of people hate them and feel they offer sub-par products and services, the one benefit they have is that at least I am comfortable with them and know what to expect.

Here is my dilemma…

I have a deadline where I need to “go live” with a website by the end of January 2015. (Not a lot of time left!!)

If I had more time, I am sure that I could find better hosting and domain offerings than what GoDaddy has offered in the past. The problem is that I do not have the time to do proper research and still finish this project. And it seems that it is better to go with a so-so host and know what you are getting, than trying a new host that seems better on paper, but bombs out later after your site is up.

So I am wondering…

If I decide to stick with GoDaddy for the time being, how much will I hate myself in 6 months when I am likely ready to switch providers?

For example…

1.) Could GoDaddy hold my client’s domains hostage?

2.) Could GoDaddy hold the website hostage?

3.) Would my client end up with tons of down-time while we switch web hosts?

4.) Would switching web-hosts and SSL certificates ruin months of SEO work?

5.) And finally, what are the consequences of switching hosts (i.e. web-hosting, SSL certs, email, domains) on a live website that is a $$$-making business??

I hate staying with GoDaddy, but it seems like a safer bet, and maybe the only choice to help me meet my deadline.

Then again, if it is going to cause lots of heartache when my client wants to switch hosts in 6-12 months, then maybe I need to find a better host first.

I just see this entire topic as so risky and unknown… :frowning:

There are lots of factors to take into consideration when you hire a hosting provider. Cheap hostings like GoDaddy (which I never used but I used 1and1 and similar) are good for starting sites, in my experience. Furthermore if it is shared hosting.

Yet, if you’re happy with them, then you shouldn’t have a problem.

One main concerns I’ve heard about GoDaddy is that it is hard to leave… especially when it comes to domain registrar. And that makes me want to stay away from them as far as I can.

To questions 1 and 2, the answer is yes.

Normally, it would be like 30 mins or so but you have to be aware that it may take up to 48 h till the DNSs replicate worldwide.

You definately will experience a sudden drop in your results which can be very dramatic. Yet, if the quality of the page and the content are good, it should recover.

Same as we SEO although not that dramatic. If you’re swtiching host, you’ll contract the new host and configure everything in advance, so it works perfectly. Only when everything works, then you change the DNS and make the move. So the impact for the regular visitor will be minimal.

It is attracting new users, the one that comes from organic traffic, where the company may lose revenue. But if it is a good site, they should recover soon. And if the new server provides faster speed, better perfomance, etc. they may even see their sales increase due to a better user experience and shorter downloading times

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That is scary…

How do you think that would play out?

Can you describe some scenarios that you have hands-on knowledge of, or that you think could really happen…

Never used GoDaddy but that’s what people said… so do take my comment with a pintch of salt. I insist, what I heard to other people

Where area would most likely be the largest bottle-neck and cause the most issues?

To me, it seems like the domain…

The slowest part is the time between setting up the site on the new hosting and being able to turn off the old hosting. You need enough overlap between the two so that at least most DNS have updated to point the domain at the new hosting before you turn the old hosting off.

The one thing to never try to do is to switch hosting provider and domain registrar too close together. If you want to move both then allow at least two months between moving the one and moving the other to ensure that the two moves are kept completely separate.


Not sure I understood you.

My client has domains with GoDaddy now, but no site. I personally used GoDaddy in the past for my site, and while it was okay, I have heard enough bad things about GD that I question if it is a good choice moving forward.

If I move my clients domains from GD to someone else, how hard would that be? I have read things online where GD refuses transfers. (If this will tie up my clients domains indefinitely, then that scares me.)

Can you explain more what the domain transfer process entails, and how to make sure GD doesn’t try and punish us for switching?

Then as far as the server goes, can you explain some more what you meant above.

If my client decides to switch, I was thinking of trying to switch the domains to someone else first, and if that goes well, then consider also doing hosting with someone else.

Once my clients domains are with another registrar, shouldn’t it be easy to point any web host to the domains at the new registrar?

BTW, sorry if I am mumbling here, but when I did this for my own site in the past everything was with GD, so there was no “co-ordination” needed. Guess I don’t understand how all of this server stuff really works?!

It’s generally considered best to keep domain hosting and web hosting separate. It only takes a few hours at most to sign up for a new hosting account somewhere, so I’d suggest doing that before you launch the client site.

If GoDaddy uses CPanel, then I’d think it’s easy enough to move to any other CPanel hosting whenever you like.

GoDaddy can’t stop you from setting up the site somewhere else. All you’d need from then is access to your domain hosting, so that you can point it to the new hosting server—and that’s standard with domain hosts, including GoDaddy.

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I think your advice of keeping hosting and domains separate is a good idea.

And maybe that is my biggest concern…

Go Daddy charged my client like $30/domain per year with privacy. (I have some personal domain names at for only like $10/domain per year with privacy!!)

For one domain, that isn’t worth worrying, but considering my client has 15 domains to protect his company’s brand, that adds up to a lot of money over time!!

I think my client also has some concerns about Go Daddy’s image (e.g. bimbos, big game hunting, crazy CEO, SOPA, and so on).

If I recommend he switch from GoDaddy to another registrar…
1.) Could GoDaddy end up losing or stealing his domains claiming something like he doesn’t have the rights or whatever?

Today I read where a hacker stole a $50,000 domain because PayPal and GoDaddy let the hacker use social engineering to steal the domain.

[How I Lost My $50,000 Twitter Username][1]

I also had a friend many years ago who lost a domain permanently because of games that Network Solutions was playing.

While I cannot recommend that my client stays with Go Daddy for domains, I fear they could try and steal them.

Am I crazy??

2.) I fear that the transfer would go through, but could take weeks or months. (So much for going live on Saturday?!)

3.) I fear that if we go live on Saturday and then try and switch later, it will be harder and GoDaddy could bring down his website for a long period of time (e.g. weeks), thus losing lots of business.

Maybe if his domains were with another registrar, I wouldn’t be so worried about who the web host was, because I agree with you, Ralph, that switching host should not be as bad as switching domains - especially if what you say about E-mail and cPanel is correct.

So much stress on top of trying to finish up coding my client’s website…

I think that’s taking it way to far, TBH. GD may not be the best provider, but I wouldn’t worry that they would drop to that level. There are laws in place to keep companies in line, too, of course.

Don’t stress. Put the site(s) on GD for now if that’s the most convenient thing to do, and you’ll have plenty of time to work out a simple exit strategy.

For what it’s worth, I’ve never heard of GD stealing or withholding your domain or hosting if the customer didn’t **** it up themselves. So, if you lost your password, forgot your PIN, etc etc. then they might not provide you access - for good reason. As @ralphm says, that’s taking [the dislike of GD] way too far.

On the other hand, I agree that a) you should separate hosting and domains. Namecheap is a good alternative for domains, for what that is worth. And Google has an offering now as well. b) Moving away from GoDaddy is always a good idea, in my opinion, I dislike them for lots of reasons.

When moving the most annoying part to me is a domain transfer, as they take so long. Swapping hosting providers is easy, and I’ve never had an issue where I even needed the old host to be online for more than a few days, although usually I’ve left mine as @felgall says, just for the overlap, but typically people get served the new one pretty quick with decent DNS anyway.

[quote=“jeffreylees, post:11, topic:111088”]
For what it’s worth, I’ve never heard of GD stealing or withholding your domain or hosting if the customer didn’t **** it up themselves. So, if you lost your password, forgot your PIN, etc etc. then they might not provide you access - for good reason. As @ralphm says, that’s taking [the dislike of GD] way too far.[/quote]

Well, these fears come from first-hand knowledge of what other Domain Registrars have done in the past…

Case #1:
As mentioned before, I had a friend that registered a domain with Network Solutions in the late 90s. After owning the domain for over a year, Network Solutions claimed my friend had registered “too soon” on this new TLD, and so they took the domain away. The friend fought and fought with Network Solutions since he owned a registered Trademark on the domain/company name. After going before arbitration and spending tons of money, he lost. And early 20 years later Network Solutions - or whatever company they morphed into - claims “we will release your domain for re-purchase soon”

Registrars can’t steal your domain and brand name that you already owned? BS!! ICAAN and Registries and Registrars can get away with murder - and they do!!!

Case #2:
Another person I know was suckered into buying domains through the registrar “Domains of America” or something like that. (They we based outside of “America”.)

After suffering tons of issues he went to transfer them to a U.S.-based registrar, and this company dragged its feet for like 2 months before finally releasing them. It wasn’t until he threatened to sue them that they finally started the slow transfer process. (They always blamed the other registrar for the transfer issues.)

Apparently they are not the only registrar to do this… GoDaddy accused of blocking transfers

Suffice it to say, there are lots of other examples, but hopefully you see my concern.

To your and Ralph’s point, I would hope that IF my client wants to switch registrars, that GoDaddy is decent enough - and has learned its lessons - that it won’t be a major issue, but you just never know…

Yes, Ralph gave some really good advice there! :thumbsup:


I’m probably being too paranoid, but as mentioned above, mega-corporations do have a trend of abusing the little guy more and more each year.

And I think GoDaddy has more of a dark-side than most people think.

(Personally, I would have never registered domains with them, but they are very effective at making the Mr. and Mrs. Jones of the world want to buy domains from them with all of their ads and perceived “coolness”…)

@mikey_w the problem is that I’ve been involved with user support scenarios too long and too often to take “he fought with them” and vague mentions of claims with any seriousness. People believe crazy things and people misunderstand technology and people generally mess up.

That said - maybe you’re 100% right. All I’m saying is that your cases aren’t going to change anyone’s mind who isn’t swaying in the wind - and you aren’t even discussing the same company.

Incidentally, GoDaddy doesn’t like personally overwatch your client’s one domain. There are thousands and probably millions registered with them. It’s literally not worth their time (too many customers) to… basically ever interact with us - they just do it when they’re required or have to, afaik. It’s a simple process to transfer a domain away from them and I’ve done it many, many times, with the only hinderance ever being standard transfer rules (too early after purchase) or the client messing something up (“I swear I followed the instructions! Oh… maybe I forgot that bit…”). I think if you need to transfer, and you don’t have a random edge case that happens, you’ll be fine :wink:

That all said, we’re still on the same side :wink: - I don’t like GoDaddy either, and I’m doing my best to encourage anyone I deal with not to use them, or to move away. For whatever that’s worth :smiley:

On the hosting front - are you only interested in shared hosting, or have you ever looked at hosting on a VPS for any clients/yourself/etc?

I still have mixed feelings about them - love/hate. (It’s like that girl you know is trouble and yet you can’t stay away!) LOL

This will definitely be a VPS.

As I think I mentioned before, I have never really been in charge of hosting or running a site - just helping build or debug them. So all of this is new and nerve-racking for me.

That is another area where I feel paranoid for my customer and for some projects I am working on.

While I don’t like lots of things GoDaddy has done, ironically, I think I trust them more with protecting application code and data.

I’m going to start a new thread on this topic… Protecting Your Code & Data from a Web Host


You’ve been busy opening a bunch of threads! I’ve only had time to scan through this one but:

For too many years, Steve’s comments on GD being a registrar making extra money by hosting has been true. Too many complaints here over too many years about GD to do anything but warn members away from them.

NameSilo is a new registrar which does have their act together. I recently had problems with an Authnet (?) sub-registrar and did have difficulties moving to NameSilo but only because the old registrar wasn’t involved in that business any more and did not bother to approve the transfers. Whew! I’m glad I’m out of that!

GD has been said to KEEP any “free” domains that they purchased on a client’s behalf. Unfortunately, that’s legitimate (and a GREAT reason to keep registrar and hosting at different locations) action (albeit unethical) on their behalf.

IMHO, find a registrar with a great control panel (they will often provide a test for you) and move ALL your (clients’) domains immediately! Then, when you find a good host (like WHB - see your other thread), you can easily transfer the DNS pointers to your “Private Name Server” (my recommendation in yet another of your threads).

Oh, you did NOT get a SS Cert from GD, too, did you? Argh! ONE EGG PER BASKET! If necessary (when you move to a good host), get a new SS Cert from a GOOD CA (Certificate Authority) at the dedicated IP address at your new host

Protect your code and data? ARGH! If you have that kind of problem, you need to put all your code/data in your private data center (and post 24/7/365¼ guards … to accompany your server management staff). There’s no rest for the wary but that’s too paranoid to me. I’ve been stripping HALF of cc numbers and sending in the clear to clients for at least 15 years - they login via SSL to get the remaining numbers. Of course, you could encrypt the entire number and leave on the server BUT the salt and encryption code will be on the server for any hackers to find and use so why bother? Just make sure that your coding does not make it simple for hackers to break into your account.



LOL yeah, I have a lot to learn about web hosting ans servers!

Okay, thanks for the warning.

What I ended up doing was transferring just one domain from GoDaddy to a registrar I have used with good luck for the last decade. (It’s still pending.)

Ideally we would have done everything, but I figured it was better to have one fail versus tons. Also, my client just renewed 20 domains in December, and didn’t have the money to renew them again. (Small client - smaller budget!!)

No, no SSL with GoDaddy. But I was just planning on getting an SSL with the new host (e.g. WebHostingBuzz).

You prefer to get the SSL cert from yet another party?

With all of these data breaches in the news, plus the realization that I am responsible for protecting all of my client’s data, it makes me nervous.

I guess the way larger companies protect their assets is by having their own data centers and not using GoDaddy! LOL

Not necessarily - 99.999% of breaches come from outside of the data centers. The possibility of your data being stolen by people working for the hosting company or data center is negligible compared to the possibility of it being stolen by someone totally unconnected with those parites and completely unaware of where you have your hosting.

Have any sources to back up that statement?

I agree that hackers on the outside are usually the ones going for your data, but over the years I have read about customer data being compromised because someone found an old hard-drive or backup tape in a dumpster.

I doubt you would ever give away a business computer without at the very least formatting the hard-drive. But that doesn’t mean a company or web host is that smart…


There IS a LOT to learn about servers. However, a good staff at the host can certainly ease the pain in the learning process.

If you’ve been around SitePoint as long as I have (especially in the Hosting boards), you will have read MANY horror stories about GoDaddy. I keep echoing them as a warning to newbies but it does pay to Google hosts, too (and search here for old posts).

Smart move - test with a single domain moved to YOUR registrar. Actually, GD does have a good reputation as a registrar but I’ve advised for MANY years that you keep your registrar and host separate.

SSL from host? While I prefer to keep accounts separate (and some CA’s offer better deals than hosts), buying from your host can include installation of the certificate (a trivial process … but VERY important). I’d say to give it a try and have your VPS/dedi management team correct any error in the process.

Physical security is important as it’s sometimes easier to breech than server security measures. That said, newbie webmasters are seldom aware of hardening their code against hacker attacks. It’s far more important to be paranoid in this area than worrying about things over which you have no control (data center security and … tape backups?!?). Get your code in order (VALIDATE ALL USER INPUT id YOUR FIRST PRIORITY because, without that, all the other security is already irrelevant) before you go telling hosts how to secure the data centers they use!