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Hosting issues

My blog is currently hosted by GoDaddy. I’ve been using them now for almost a decade.

Most of the time, I have no complaints (though they do have a habit of calling every six months or so to make sure “everything is OK”, but this is really just a thinly veiled attempt to get me to re-subscribe early for another yearly plan to stop me churning, I get this, they are running a business. If I’ve time, I’ll take the call as they usually offer a discount to continue; it’s a Quid Pro Quo trade).

However, the true test of customer service is how a company behaves when something goes wrong. Today GoDaddy really dropped the ball on this one, and they really aren’t interested in picking it up.

In addition to my blog, GoDaddy hosts a couple of other websites for me. One is these is for a small poker card strategy card retail business. It really is a small venture. Once upon a time, I had a full eCommerce site on there (which GoDaddy hosted), but now I simply direct people from the site to Amazon to buy. It really is just a marketing site now, and for this reason, I’ve not really been keeping an eye on the site traffic.

By chance, I decided to look at my site this morning, and I could not get it to resolve! Uh-uh, it appears it’s down. After a couple of minutes with some utilities I determined that it’s not just down for me, it’s down for everyone. There is something up!

I soon discover I also can’t FTP into the box to see what’s wrong.

So, I login to my GoDaddy account and am helpfully told that my server is “Up and running with no issues”.

Time to call their phone support

After a brief hold, I’m connected to “Molly” in their support department. Molly confirms she can’t get to the site either, and is puzzled for a minute or so, but then finds out there’s a problem with my DNS configuration which is causing cycling. Good sleuthing!

For some reason www.[mydomain].com is redirecting to [mydomain].com, which in-turn is redirecting back to www.[mydomain].com in an infinite loop. She can fix it! Great. Thanks. (The change has been made, and I’m happy to confirm that the change replicated out within a few minutes).

So, out of curiosity, I ask, how did this happen? I mean I’ve not changed anything. I’ve not logged onto the site in over a year, who could possibly have changed this? After a little digging, she said that this change was made on February 11th of this year. WTF? My site has been down for 6 months! OK, shame on me for not checking this religiously (or subscribing to a monitoring service), but who made this change? And why?

Sheepishly, she admits that GoDaddy ran an update script on their servers and this had a known bug that, for some sites, it messed up the DNS and put them into this state. Well, that’s wonderful, but do you think that since you knew about this bug you could have written a test script to test for this? It seems not. Or identify the sites affected? It seems not. Molly did say they sent out emails to everyone asking them to make sure to test their servers (so paradoxically, they can write a script to email everyone, but not to test to see if their sites' respond). A great way to pass the test burden on the end customer.

However, as you can see from my inbox, I never received and email about this issue. (The email account I use for correspondence with GoDaddy is hosted by them, so they can’t claim it got blocked by an over zealous spam filter, and you can see all the rest of their email comes through with no issue). Maybe they didn’t send an email after all?

So, ignoring the loss of business I’ve suffered from no traffic; I’ve been paying for six months of hosting that they’ve not been providing because of a configuration change they made (unrequested, and untested). What were they going to do about? Molly was most apologetic, and “understood how frustrated I must feel”, and escalated to her supervisor “Marcus” to see what they could do. After a hold she came back to tell me that they’d offer me credit for one month, if I renewed my service with them!

So let me get this straight: You disabled my site for six months, because of your mistake, charged me for six months of hosting services (that were not being used), and your solution is to discount me for one month of future business? (And the same discount I could get by simply renewing early anyway!) I understand that working out compensation for loss of business could be arbitrary, but at least credit me for the six months of hosting that you charged me for that was unused; even as a sign of goodwill, or to apologize, or to thank me for being a loyal customer for the last ten years. Nope, nothing!

I asked to speak to Marcus directly to see if I could get a little more sympathy, as I understood he was a supervisor. I explained the situation again, only to be told by him he really wasn’t technical so he didn’t understand the issue (it seems he is an inbound support supervisor, not a technical supervisor, as GoDaddy does not employ any of those). I asked what he was prepared to do to help, and he offered to apologize to me, and repeated the offer that he’d give a month discount if I renewed with them. I explained they’d taken my site off the air for six months, and charged me for it, and he said it was not their problem (when Molly already admitted that it was their problem, and they knew it caused issues).

I asked to speak to someone else there for some recognition, or at least get a credit for the six months of hosting they charged me that was useless, more as a sign of apology than anything else. No, he said it wasn’t going to happen. He told me I could email pr@godaddy.com if I wanted any more escalation, but said there is no person who works in the PR department that has a name, and there is no phone number of anyone there, and no warm body I can speak to. He said my only escalation was to email that address, but admitted that I’d probably not get a response.

I do, however, have one additional outlet for escalation, and it’s this blog.

If anyone from GoDaddy reads this, and cares, you know how to get hold of me.

If anyone from GoDaddy read this, and doesn’t care, I suggest you read this article about how Customer service is everything.


[I'll update this page if I receive any response.]

Update #1 - August 29th 2017

A couple of people have emailed me to let me know that GoDaddy does have individuals (complete with names, emails, and phone numbers) in PR. They even have a web page Go Daddy Media Relations.

This begs the question as to why their support supervisor adamantly said that this was not the case. Was he poorly trained as a inbound support supervisor, and not educated that they have individual contact names? Was he trained, and the training is to tell people to just email pr@godaddy.com? Or was he being less generous with the facts in an attempt to attenuate my escalation?

Update #2 - August 29th 2017

As expected, I got an automatic response from the PR email alias telling me that the best thing to do is call the support telephone number, who, as we know, direct you to this email address. Ironically, the issue that caused my website to go off-line is a cyclic reference, and this is what they are doing with support.


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