switching from godaddy to dreamhost


Last weekend I switched this website’s hosting from Godaddy to Dreamhost. My reasons for doing so were:
  • Godaddy’s connectivity was extremely dodgy – it would disconnect frequently during important file transfers
  • Godaddy’s hosting service was excruciatingly slow – posting a comment on this website was taking way longer than it should have
  • Godaddy does not properly support CGI scripts, which Movable Type depends upon to function
  • Godaddy can’t handle sub-domains properly
  • Godaddy doesn’t offer a shell account for SSH
  • Dreamhost has good connectivity
  • Dreamhost offered me unlimited diskspace and unlimited bandwidth for the life of my account at a reasonable rate
  • Dreamhost has very fast servers – this means faster commenting speed and search speed for you
  • Dreamhost can configure sub-domains properly
  • Dreamhost offers a shell account for SSH

Maybe not ironically, the worst part of dealing with Godaddy was the transfer away from them. I had over 12.7 gigs worth of files on my account and Godaddy’s sketchy connectivity meant a lot of retries. I thought about transferring my install of Movable Type over from Godaddy to the new servers but instead I installed a fresh version of Movable Type, but then I would be stuck with all the workarounds in the CGI files that I had done to make it work on Godaddy. Not something I wanted. So now I’m running Movable Type 4.23 and it’s got a few sweet changes to the interface. I also grabbed the Movable Type iPhone interface and installed it as a plugin – I’m yet to use it, but I like that I have it ready in case I decide to start doing mobile updates once again. Perhaps when I start up classes again in September I will find this useful.

In any case, there are my reasons and things appear to be working smoothly. The only real hiccups were, as I mentioned, coming from Godaddy on my exit, but I don’t have to deal with that anymore. A quirk of Dreamhost is that you can’t do absolute path PHP includes – instead you must use relative path referencing. That’s not really a big deal at all.

how do i really feel about Godaddy?

I hate to say something like this, but I never really felt like Godaddy was a real webhost. They’re more of a domain registrar than anything. After two years of dealing with them, I can say that they appear to run their hosting service much like a gas station would run a video store. Yes, they have some things you’d expect, but some of the items are old or out of date or even damaged and it’s just not their focus or area of expertise.

On the other hand, I am very excited to have a real hosting company like Dreamhost serving up my pages now, and I’m also pleased with the proper hosting abilities I have now. I don’t feel like I am compromising disk space or bandwidth for a good hosting fee, as I’m paying essentially the same amount and getting superior service and features in just about every way that I can think of.
Who are you hosting your website with? What have been your experiences? What do they do well, and what do they do not so well?

Join the Conversation


  1. mine is hosted by WordPress. I have no technical competency with regards to websites, which is why I use them and is also why I have nothing critical to say. It works. I wish I knew how to manipulate/customize a few things, but for now it is great.

  2. I’ve been using DreamHost for close to 6 years I think. I find things a little slow once in a while, but the other benefits you listed make up for it.
    Their support is usually quite responsive and have helped me out of a few jams I got myself into. They have lots of backups of your files and DB’s in case you need them.

  3. I used GoDaddy for a while and was also not very happy at all with their hosting services. I’ve used Dreamhost before and I really like them.
    Right now I’m using BlueHost and they aren’t too bad! Sometimes it is a little slow but overall there haven’t been too many downtimes yet.
    And yes, Dreamhost has AMAZING customer support!
    P.S. That photo above… :S Looks like a bad accident. Was everyone OK?

  4. Hi Davin,
    I work with the GoDaddy.com hosting team and recently came across your article. It’s disappointing to hear that you have switched hosts. You make some points that I would like to better understand. It would be helpful if you would email me with more details regarding the issues you had, aside from SSH access (which we recently began offering).
    Thanks in advance for your feedback.
    Alicia R.
    Go Daddy Hosting

  5. i’ve been using site5 for the past 10 years. they’re absolutely amazing.
    customer service – a total breeze. anytime i need some kind of problem solved, they provide answers immediately; sometimes within minutes. they are professional, yet personal. i feel like a unique customer, as opposed to a number in their system.
    prices – highly competitive. anytime i want to upgrade or buy another domain, they’re inevitably offering a very competitive deal at the moment. i was shocked at how cheap they were offering their unlimited *everything* deal for.
    uptime, bandwidth, etc – all better than i could have asked for given my previous experiences. i think in the past 10 years i’ve noticed very short periods of downtime (10 minutes or less) maybe a total of three or four times.
    ps. dear alicia: bullsh**!
    i was with godaddy once before as well. i think the only real thing they offer to compete (at a surface level) is cheap domain purchase prices. gas station running a video store is right.

  6. @Craig: WordPress offers a great service. I’ve tried it and I am a fan.
    @GFox: Good to hear about the backups and responsiveness.
    @Allie: Everyone was fine after the accident, just a little more flipping than was necessary to stop!
    @Bud: Thanks for the heads up on the recommended page. I think I replaced it and then destroyed the link in my footer include. Whoops, must fix that! I like that you’re hosting locally.
    @Alicia: It’s all pretty much here in the post. If you have questions, I’d be happy to answer them in the comments area so that everyone can see them.
    @joel: Good to know about Site5, thanks for passing that along!

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