Regardless of your feelings about GoDaddy's moral standing, its service is frustrating and restrictive. If you're sick of paying for crappy hosting and want to jump ship, here's how to leave GoDaddy behind for one of many better web hosts on the net.
A Personal Note: Why GoDaddy Sucks
A lot of people feel they shouldn't support GoDaddy because GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons shot an elephant. You can argue the ethics of the death of that particular elephant all you want, but a dead animal isn't necessary to make anyone want to leave GoDaddy behind.
I had to sign up for an account to write this post, and if it weren't necessary for writing this post I'd never have finished. I had to continue going back through the signup process because I'd either end up with a service I didn't anticipate, I wouldn't get what I wanted, or my cart would be set to bill me for for long term hosting. Even when I corrected everything, I was still required to opt a minimum of two months after jumping through several hoops.
I was also long under the impression that GoDaddy was inexpensive, but domain registration is more than most other places I've used even without private registration and other fancy add-ons. Hosting is less expensive than some of the well-liked web hosts (but not all), and that's only due to providing you with limited hosting features.
These are just the issues with signup and say nothing of the cumbersome control panel and restrictive service. (I've been a GoDaddy customer before, so I have experience actually trying to host a site with them.) This post exists to help get you off their difficult and frustrating service so you can start using a web host that makes a believable effort to provide a good experience for its customers.
Setting Up Your Sites With A New Host
You're going to want to choose a new host and get things set up before you cancel your account with GoDaddy so there's no downtime (and so you have a destination to transfer your domains). The problem is, these steps are going to vary based on the host you choose. Fortunately, we already have a guide for choosing a web host and launching your site to help you out with the process. Once you've signed up for your new host, you're ready to for your GoDaddy exodus.
Cancelling Your GoDaddy Account
Cancelling your account is actually not all that hard to do if you actually know what to do. The problem is that the help doc I found in their support section provided incorrect instructions. Fortunately the instructions weren't that far off and I was able to figure it out myself. Here are the steps that actually work (at least at the time of this posting):
- First, you need to head on over to your account page.
- On your account page, click "My Products" and then click the service you want to cancel. For the purposes of these instructions, we're going to assume you're cancelling web hosting.
- This should reveal a new section with a list of your web hosting accounts. Click the one you want to cancel and a new panel will appear on your screen.
- Click the "Edit Account Details" tab.
- Click the link in the bottom right corner that says "Cancel this account."
- You will be asked to confirm and will be notified that your hosting plan will stop immediately but you won't be refunded anything you've already paid. Basically, if you cancel your service shuts off right now even if you've paid for service well into the future. Even though you're not getting the service you paid for, you get no refund whatsoever.
Once you've completed those steps that specific service will be cancelled and you'll be asked to take a survey. Apparently GoDaddy values your feedback.
Transferring Your Domain Name(s)
To be fair, transferring a domain from one registrar to another is not as straightforward as it ought to be, and that's the case with virtually everyone. The whole domain registration system is a bit dated and weird, so you have an automatic guarantee of the process being at least a little annoying. Here's how you initiate the process of transferring a domain name from GoDaddy to your new host:
- Make sure all the contact information on your domain name is up to date. You may remember that when you registered your domain, you were asked to provide a bunch of information like your name, address and telephone number. If for whatever reason these do not point to you and/or are out of date, you'll need to update them. Check out the GoDaddy help page on updating registration information for help with this process.
- Add the domain to your new registrar/host. How this works will depend on the registrar/host. Most of the time it's not much different from adding a new domain name. The only difference tends to be that you need to specify it's a transfer and not a new registration. Of course, check with your new registrar/host to make sure you follow all the right steps.
- Provide the authorisation code to your new registrar/host.
Transfers can often take longer than registrations, so you might be waiting a little while. It could happen in a day, but it could take most of your week. Once the waiting is over, congratulations! You're all done. Well, you're done cancelling your hosting and transferring one domain. If you've got a bunch of stuff to cancel and transfer, you'll need to repeat these steps to do that. But then you'll really be done!
Before we wrap up, I think it's worth noting that this is one opinion (although a common one). If for whatever reason you like GoDaddy, that's fine. This guide exists to help people who don't, and feel stuck, get out of a bad situation. It's also worth noting that companies can change. We'd love to see GoDaddy make this post useless by creating a product and user experience that's good for the customer. Until then, we recommend making your escape.