How To Jump Ship From GoDaddy To A Better Web Host And Registrar

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):

  1. First, you need to head on over to your account page.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Click the "Edit Account Details" tab.
  5. Click the link in the bottom right corner that says "Cancel this account."
  6. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Generally, by default, domain names are "locked" to prevent unauthorised transfers. In order to make the transfer possible you need to unlock your domain. To unlock your domain, go into My Products, then click "View in Domain Manager," and select the domain you want to unlock. Click the locking icon at the top, uncheck "Lock Domains," and click the "OK" button. Note: it may take a few minutes before these changes actually happen and show up in your account.

  4. Sometimes your new registrar/host will require an authorisation code to complete the transfer. While you're still in Domain Manager, find the section called "Authorization Code" on the left side and click the link "Send by Email." This will send the authorization code to the email address you provided for the administration contact when registering your domain (which is one of the reasons we updated that information in the first step).

  5. Provide the authorisation code to your new registrar/host.
  6. Wait.

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.


Comments

    I have my domain names hosted at NameCheap http://www.jackcola.org/reviews/85-namecheap-the-best-place-to-buy-your-domains-from, and they recently conducted a huge promotion with $5 domain name transfer from GoDaddy because of the elephant situation.

    Here is a excerpt of their email:

    " At the end of last month, it was brought to our attention that our elephant friends were being hunted and killed for sport. As you know, we're champions of environmental causes and consequently launched our own $4.99 transfer promotion. We're delighted to inform you that you helped us raise over $20,000 for Save the Elephants, an internationally-recognized conservation group -- and on top of that, Namecheap will donate another $10,000. A big thank you to all of our customers for joining us and recommending us to friends and family.

    We are still offering discounted transfers to Namecheap with coupon code SWITCH2NC. Please pass it on."

    And more discounts: # Coupon code ELEPHANTS will give you a discount new com/net/org/us/biz domain purchases.
    # Coupon code VPSX gives you 10% off your first month of VPS web hosting.
    # Coupon code HOSTU gives you 10% off your first month shared/business/reseller hosting.

    Considering NameCheap has given me $200 of credit for domain names in the past two years, they are pretty good through regular twitter competitions they have.

    Yeah. If you have "DomainsByProxy" enabled, be prepared. You may be told by GoDaddy to remove the Private registration before a transfer can take place. This means that the Registrant info will change, and, while it's not ICANN allowed practice, they may tell you that your transfer is denied and there is a 60 day waiting period before you can try again. I had to contact Go Daddy, refer to the ICANN rule (http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-19sep07.htm) and then they allowed my domain transfer. I also had to contact my new Registrar and they had to restart the transfer.

    The last job I worked at had Go Daddy for everything, their site hosting, their email systems.
    I could not believe how utterly crap their service is. We had some website downs and emailproblems at some stage, it took them an entire month to try an figure out the problem. In the meantime they kept pointing the finger at us, very rudely, and not helpful at all, untill they did their service overhaul, then magically the problems dissapeared.

    I have had some free webhosts in the past (I know free webhosting is kinda crappy) which were far better at what Go Daddy does, in terms of service, layouts, features.

    Go Daddy sucks basically, glad im not the only one who thinks so.

    Is it really any surprise that you get what you pay for in life ?

    Pay a little more to use a smaller, local solution and you'll usually find that the provider is personally invested in the quality of service and happiness of their customers.

    look at http:\\nodaddy.com
    in case you're thinking of touching godaddy

    go daddy has been sooo horrible and garbled junk all over their site, so many ads its a nightmare, for a few years i just let my sites sit dormant just because i was sick of their user interface untill i found a pretty reliable hosting company in sydney called spiderweb hosting. so much easier no ads nothing i feel like a wieght has been lifted off me lol. oh you can find their site here www.spiderhosting.com.au

    -Angelo

    I just purchased a domain name with gdaddy and I became thoroughly frustrated with the upselling crap I had to wade through. Not to mention the overly touchy navigation designed to make you click without your knowledge until you reach the cashier desk. Very manipulative, even for Web standards. Bye Bye BoB I'm bailing buddy I refuse to fund your egocentric boy into man rites of passage like elephant hunting. Elephant hunting? Really? Who do you think you are? Hemingway? Give me a break you child.Another internet small man with guns and money.See ya BOB you're tiresome and outa style.

    p.s. thanks everyone for the advice and tips wishing you all success...Liam

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