I’ve had a love-hate relationship with GoDaddy’s hosting department that has now spanned for over a decade.

It didn’t matter that my sites would regularly go offline — sometimes for days at a time, that I’ve enjoyed many a security breach or that their customer service number has been called so often that it’s one of the few numbers I know by heart (866-463-2339!). Like any abusive relationship, I’ve just made excuses for their bad behavior and stuck with them out of convenience.

Of course, it isn’t like I haven’t cheated on them with other hosting companies. I’ve had some side pieces happily taking my data here and there for years. GoDaddy has just always been the one I came home to because I wrongly thought they were cheaper and easier. Plus, they were already there. But I launched StartupStud.com with a mandate of “uncompromisingly perfect execution from the start in every arena,” so sticking with my lazy, chain-smoking hosting company wasn’t an option.

Here is what happened when I made the switch!

Why I finally began to migrate my web properties away from GoDaddy hosting:

  • My WordPress websites would regularly time out when I was updating posts.
  • Every website speed test I ran would come back MUCH slower than they should be, which is bad both for your users and a site’s SEO.
  • Two of my websites on my GoDaddy shared managed WordPress account mysteriously went offline.
  • GoDaddy hosting has an abysmal reputation amongst the more technically savvy web community (developers especially).
  • I’ve probably spent more time over the years talking to their customer service department than I have my own father.
  • You really can’t ignore the better options, especially for WordPress.

Why I chose WPEngine to host StartupStud.com:

  • Their emphasis is on performance and your site’s security.
  • I’ve already tested them under the most extreme of traffic scenarios. Our original Unlooker website regularly had 1 – 2 million daily page views and WPEngine handled them all flawlessly. By contrast, even the most premium and dedicated of GoDaddy hosting accounts totally collapsed under half that traffic before we finally switched to WPEngine.
  • Even though StartupStud likely won’t ever come close to those traffic levels, if a site is making you more than $100 a month, it’s worth making sure your hosting isn’t going to randomly be offline – not making you money.
  • Their customer service is remarkably on point. It’s the equivalent of dealing with a pristinely clean Lexus dealership versus a twitchy meth addicted used car manager at a cash-4-cars wholesaler.

How was StartupStud.com’s server performance after moving from GoDaddy to WPEngine? Substantially better.

Using Pingdom.com’s Website Speed Test, I tested StartupStud while the site was simultaneously being hosted on both GoDaddy and WPEngine. As in, I’d migrated it to WPEngine’s server at startupstud.wpengine.com, but StartupStud.com itself still pointed to GoDaddy. This meant that the exact same site – with no differences whatsoever, was being compared between the two companies.

Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 7.36.37 PM

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It’s worth noting that this pings from different test locations, which has an effect on the results. I tested both servers three times and had similar results. GoDaddy’s three tests came in at 5.71, 6.96 and 11.37 seconds.WPEngine‘s tests came in at 1.06, 3.09 and 1.37 seconds. No matter how you sliced it, GoDaddy’s managed WordPress hosting was totally being crushed by WPEngine’s superior performance.

How hard was it to move the site over from GoDaddy to WPEngine?

Surprisingly simple. You download a WordPress plugin fromWPEngine‘d website and just install it on the current installation of your site (wherever it’s hosted, GoDaddy or not). When you order your hosting account, you’ll be sent a password, IP Address and a few other bits of information. You just copy and paste those 5 things into the plugin you’ve installed and hit go. It will create yoursite.wpengine.com so you can test to make sure everything worked. You then run the plugin again on the WPEngine version of your site and then just point your domain to their servers. Easy as that.

What is Managed WordPress Hosting?

Managed WordPress Hosting is meant to be as hassle free to the website owner as possible. Security, speed, WordPress updates, daily backups, uptime monitoring and scalability are all professionally managed specifically for WordPress sites. By contrast, most other accounts are considered “shared hosting,” which is the server equivalent of riding the bus to work. It will get you there, but not as quickly and you may end up on a bus filled with psychopaths.

Shared hosting is fine for websites that aren’t necessarily earning money, but I’d encourage anyone with a WordPress website that they care about to look into Managed WordPress Hosting.  It costs a little more each month, but having your site go down on you, being slow for users or harming your SEO can easily cost much more.

Oh, I forgot the SSL debacle!

When I ordered an SSL for one of our fitness sites on GoDaddy, they assigned us to the same SSL certificate as a website that had been banned by Google and considered a “security risk” when you went to it via Chrome. For obvious reasons, that’s less than ideal when you’re now banned by association. StartupStud.com has an SSL throughWPEngine and so far we haven’t been blocked by anyone. – JC