If you have followed anything on the blog in the past two weeks, you are probably aware that I made a rather sudden shift on hosting providers. I promised details, and here they are.
When I first shifted to WordPress, and bought my first domains, I went with GoDaddy. The reason was that they were cheap, and I needed cheap back then. So I signed up, bought my two domains, and launched into the world of WordPress!
Need a Map? Sorry! We Don’t Have One!
Unfortunately, they were very difficult to navigate. I couldn’t get anywhere I needed to be without at least three tabs in my browser, and I often spent time clicking myself in circles. (And I KNOW how to use the Web!)
It was one of the poorest-designed interfaces I had ever seen. In fact, when a non-profit I was involved with needed to make a hosting switch, I purposely told them not to choose GoDaddy because the person who would be managing it would have found it near impossible to navigate the site.
Support could be difficult, too. I learned early on that email support was worthless and the only way to get real help was to call. Which meant at least an hour on the phone.
The GoDaddy Girls Don’t Bother You?
I am a female survivor of engineering school, and I have a rather tough skin. I’ve had every form of sexism thrown at me in my life, and I guess it doesn’t bother me too much. I had always been bothered by GoDaddy’s use of racy ads for the Superbowl, but I know sex sells. That’s life.
I always shook my head that female pioneers would lower themselves to be “GoDaddy Girls”, but I figured that was their personal choice.
It was about a year ago when I realized my blog had been hacked. My site didn’t come up, and files were corrupted everywhere. GoDaddy denied knowledge of anything when I contacted them, but a search on Google showed that they had experienced wide-spread hacking. The next day I received a call from GoDaddy and was told that GoDaddy WordPress sites had been hacked.
I cleaned up the blog from backups (thank goodness for backups!) and set my security permissions as tight as they could get. For good measure I changed my password from a 12 length random string to a 23 length random string.
But then I got hacked again. And again. And a fourth time. Each time I contacted GoDaddy, and they kept telling me I wasn’t up to date on my software (I was) and on one occasion that my password was obviously guessable. (23 random characters? Really?)
At this point I started thinking maybe I needed to move hosts.
About three months ago, I noticed something wrong with my database. It wouldn’t allow me to log in. I knew the password and login name were right, because the site was still up. After 45 minutes on the phone, we determined that the problem was that I was using FireFox. Their database panel sometimes didn’t work right with Firefox, and I should use another browser, I was told.
I knew it was time to move. I had found another hosting company, HostGator, through an e-course I had taken, and had great experience setting up my husband’s domain. Their online chat people were fast and friendly. I starting making plans to move when the hosting contract came up for renewal in 2012.
But then came the elephants.
Elephant Hunting In Zimbabwe
You’re probably thinking, “OK, she’s lost it. Elephants?”
I read a story about how the GoDaddy CEO went on an elephant hunting trip in Zimbabwe and had killed an elephant. Various reasons were given, including it would keep people from starving (because elephants eat all the crops). Bob Parsons was proud of this! He videoed the mess, then tweeted it.
That was the final straw.
I love elephants. When I was in engineering school, developing my tough skin, I spent at least an afternoon a week at the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison. I loved watching Penny and Winkie the elephants.
Nowadays I support the Elephant Sanctuary, where elephants have a place to live out their lives in peace and freedom. Some of these elephants were tortured and abused, and were rescued. Others were seized by the USDA. Winkie, my friend from Madison, is there now, after the zoo decided to close the elephant exhibit at the USDA recommendation.
Shooting an elephant is not OK in my book. In fact, I think unless an animal is sick or will be eaten, there is no grounds to kill.
I knew I had to move hosts. Immediately.
I knew I would lose a bunch of money on my domains, and the hosting. But after talking it over with my husband, he agreed I needed to move immediately, regardless of the financial hit. “Right is right,” he said. “Do it.”
So I spent a week transferring, backing up, moving files, watching domains sit in limbo and finally, pointing the name servers to my new host.
All is good now, and things are back up and running.
Oh, and I checked with the HostGator people during one of the chats I had while moving files. Their CEO is a family man and doesn’t hunt.
Photo by thomascrenshaw