Never buy a full year of WordPress hosting

GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress hosting is a terrible product. One of its most annoying aspects is how slow the backend is. Use GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress hosting and need to make a change, install a plugin or add a widget, you’re going to wait.

I decided to see how long it was talking to perform simple tasks. I installed Page Load Time, an extension to Chrome that measures page load time and displays it in the toolbar.

The results were what I expected them to be:

  • Edit post: 24.1 seconds
  • Update edited post: 46.6 seconds
  • Dashboard: 23.1 seconds
  • Genesis > Theme Settings: 21.1
  • Genesis > Theme Settings > Update: 46.7
  • Plugins > Add New: 64.3
  • Plugins > Add New > Activate: 84.6 seconds

To wait over a minute to go to the screen that allows you to install a plugin is beyond ridiculous. It creates a lousy user experience. GoDaddy should have spent the money they dumped into last night’s Super Bowl commercial on fixing their products. It’s cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to get a new customer.

The only thing worse than GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress hosting product is their support. Twice I’ve reached out to their support using the chat tool and both times it was a waste of time.

The first was when I contacted GoDaddy about not updating WordPress from version 4.6.1 to version 4.7. A week had gone by since version 4.7 came out and GoDaddy had not installed the update. The GoDaddy support agent told me their WordPress experts had not yet determined if the new version of WordPress was “safe and stable.” Once they did, they would roll out the update in 24 hours.

It took them two weeks.

The next time I contact GoDaddy support was when WordPress released version 4.71. It was a security update. WordPress encouraged users to update their sites immediately. GoDaddy ignored this advice. The agent first tried to sell me their Managed WordPress hosting product. He explained that then GoDaddy would automatically perform the update. I explained that I already had the Managed WordPress hosting product. I explained I was contacting them because they weren’t updating WordPress like they said they would.

I requested they change my account from Managed WordPress hosting to cPanel hosting. That way I could perform updates myself. He said that he couldn’t do that. He said I would need to buy a whole new hosting account and then transfer my site from the Managed WordPress hosting account to the cPanel account.

I had already paid for a year of Managed WordPress hosting. When I asked if I needed to buy a whole new hosting account, why would I not leave GoDaddy and go somewhere else? He didn’t have an answer for that.

Seeing how long it was taking to perform basic backend tasks was the final straw. I got a new hosting account with another host and I moved this website over to it. It irritated me that I threw money away by paying for a full year of hosting at GoDaddy. I then realized that using GoDaddy was even more irritating.

It turned out to be a valuable lesson: never pay for a full year of web hosting. You may save a few bucks each month by paying in one-year blocks, but what do you then do if your hosting provider fails to do what they’re supposed to do? What if EIG acquires your web hosting provider? By going month to month, I have the power move my blog if I need to without feeling that I’m leaving money on the table.

A year is a long time when it comes to WordPress hosting providers. A lot can happen in a year. When you buy WordPress hosting by the year, you lose what little consumer rights you have.

GoDaddy isn’t sure WordPress 4.7 is ‘safe and stable’ yet

When I realized I needed to move my blog’s hosting provider from Site5, I decided I would move it to GoDaddy. I wanted to try the Godaddy Managed WordPress product. I heard an interview on WP Tavern’s WordPress Weekly podcast with Gabriel Mays, head of WordPress products at GoDaddy. I had a bad opinion of GoDaddy, but Gabriel Mays sounded like a decent enough guy and if he was in charge of WordPress at GoDaddy, maybe things were better there.

It turned out that I was wrong. Not about Gabriel Mays, but with GoDaddy. It’s just as awful as I thought it was. In fact, it’s even worse.

Up until moving to GoDaddy, I’ve managed all aspects of the WordPress installation. Their GoDaddy Managed WordPress product is different in that they take care of all the management tasks. They take care of all updates to WordPress and they even do a daily backup. The backup feature was very attractive to me in that backing up a WordPress site with a lot of posts can be troublesome.

WordPress released version 4.7 last week. When I paid GoDaddy for a year of Managed WordPress hosting, I was under the assumption they would take care of updating WordPress automatically. I thought this because this is what it said on the GoDaddy website.

GoDaddy isn't sure WordPress 4.7 is 'safe and stable' yet - Bent Corner

As of writing this post, my blog is still running WordPress version 4.6.1.

Yesterday I decided to reach out to GoDaddy support via their chat tool. After a long wait, I was the 20th customer in queue, I was connected to a person named Jeffery.

I explained the issue multiple times. Jeffery first tried to talk me into adding Managed WordPress hosting my account so the updates would happen automatically. I explained I already had Managed WordPress, that is why I was contacting him. Once it sounded as though he understood why I was contacting GoDaddy support, he asked me to wait while he researched the problem. This is what he came back with:

Thanks for waiting Rick. I verified further and the changes made on your account are automatically done by our wordpress experts.

These new versions of wordpress are tested first on our hosting settings to make sure that they are safe and stable. Once the tests are completed – the changes will take effect automatically without your need to do anything

In most cases these changes are made in 24 hours once the tests on the hosting settings are completed.

So the reason my blog hasn’t been updated to the latest version of WordPress is that the GoDaddy WordPress experts haven’t decided yet if WordPress 4.7 is safe and stable.

This is so ridiculous. If my account wasn’t using the Managed WordPress product, I could take two minutes and do the update myself. Because I’m paying for the Managed WordPress product, I can’t upgrade my blog to the latest version of WordPress. I have to wait for their WordPress experts to do it.

I’m never paying for WordPress hosting by the year ever again. Hosting has always been the greatest weakness with WordPress. You never know when your hosting provider is going to cut corners and just not do what they’re supposed to do. Before Site5 was sold to EIG, I didn’t have any problems with them. Once EIG took over, they fired the Site5 support staff. I didn’t know this. I found out about it after I submitted a support ticket for another website I managed and it took them over a month to even look at it.

Even if I move my blog to another hosting provider and cancel my GoDaddy account, I’m out the money I paid for a full year of hosting.

I hate getting ripped off. I feel that’s what GoDaddy is doing.

Once again, stay away from Headway Themes

Stay away from Headway Themes. Stay away from Pressmatic. Stay away from anything associated with Vesped.

Close to three years ago, I wrote about my terrible experience with Headway Themes, a premium framework theme builder for WordPress. Vesped Inc., owned and operated by the father and son team of Grant and Clay Griffiths, produces Headway Themes.

I thought Headway was pretty terrible. It was hard to use, and it was incredibly buggy. The backend interface was sluggish and painfully slow.

What was even worse than the software was the support. Since it was a premium WordPress theme, meaning a person had to pay money for the privilege of using it, support is one of the things you are paying for when you buy Headway.

Official support is usually not something I require. I enjoy solving issues on my own. As a former tech support specialist for an e-commerce platform, I know only too well that some people need constant hand-holding and step-by-step guidance from tech support. I am not one of those types of people.

With Headway, it was different. The software was so buggy and hard to use, official support from Vesped was a necessity. The problem is that Vesped relied mostly on a member-only forum for help. Before any question could be answered, you were required to go to a screen in Headway and capture all your system settings. The reason? I think so they could blame your hosting provider and the server your website was on for most problems.

Message board tech support has always struck me as the worst way to handle support. Not only did you have people working for Vesped in an official capacity, but you also had message board know-it-alls chiming in with advice.  I’ve found these type of folks often don’t know what you are asking about, but they attempt to put forth answers so that they can bump up their post count.

It can get annoying.

Fast forward to today and it would appear the wheels have fallen off at Vesped. They released yet another buggy version of Headway and then proceeded to go radio silent with their customers.

One customer wrote a post on Reddit about the problem and encouraged people not to buy Headway. Then, another customer left a comment here on my blog saying many of the same things.

For whatever reason, Vesped parted ways with their entire support team, leaving only Clay Griffiths to field support questions, reportedly something he hasn’t been doing lately. It would seem he is focused more on Pressmatic, premium software that allows you to install WordPress on a Mac.

Vesped’s behaviour creates a real problem for the consumer. Anyone going to the Headway Themes website will not learn about these problems until after they pay for the software and then get access to the member-only forums. Vesped offers a 30-day money back guarantee, but considering that they no longer have a support team, and Grant and Clay Griffiths are not answering emails, getting your money back within 30 days may be problematic.

Stay away from Headway Themes. Stay away from anything associated with Vesped. I would also stay away from Pressmatic. Anyone wishing to run WordPress on their Mac can use MAMP. It’s free. It’s what I use and it works great.