How to Ditch GoDaddy (Redux)

February 8, 2010

Last year's trashy GoDaddy SuperBowl commercials annoyed me enough to switch domain registrars; this year's just confirmed I made the right decision. If you want out, here's what I posted about it last year:

Yes, I knew that popular, cheap domain registrar GoDaddy always used sex to sell their services, and yes, their bullying upsells always bugged me, but yesterday’s Super Bowl ad shot my “Stop doing business with GoDaddy” to-do to the top of my list. But where to transfer to? I polled my Twitter friends on which registrars were the best alternatives. Here’s a spreadsheet of the full vote tally; turns out the least expensive, top vote-getter was Namecheap.com.

Been very happy with NameCheap ever since, and their "Not happy with your current registrar's advertising methods?" switching coupon code, SWITCH2NC, still works. Sorry, Danica: I like looking at beautiful people, just not at Hooters.

I’m a big fan of dreamhost.com
I got in with them a little over a year ago when they had a super sale going on. Unlimited hosting and 2 year domain registration for $10 at the time.
I will definitely be renewing with them when my 2 years is up. Even if I have to pay full price! The service is great and the one-click installs are straight forward.

Jeremy Townsend [+2]
Feb 8 10 at 9:51 am

That’s awesome Gina. Thanks. I’m giving a lecture this week on registering domain names and I’ll be sure to bring up namecheap.com!

Alan Simpson [+1]
Feb 8 10 at 9:52 am

Thanks Gina for throwing down a virtual gauntlet. Let year I officially became tired of GoDaddy’s advertising methods and moved to domain.com. They’ve been great and at least I don’t have to feel guilty for helping to pay for trashy ads.

Sean Dean
Feb 8 10 at 9:55 am

I’ve had good experience with domainbank.com and enom.com. But I don’t know where they rank in terms of price.

I never registered anything with godaddy because of their advertising.

n8
Feb 8 10 at 10:08 am

Hey, Thanks for this! Now I don’t feel so crazy for not going with what could have been a very cheap domain purchase w/ a discount I had. So, I went to domain.com and used a hak5 discount, and I’m happy with my domain registration.

Isaiah Roberts [+1]
Feb 8 10 at 10:18 am

I switched to Namecheap as a registrar from 1 and 1 last year and can vouch for the fact that they are awesome. Changes happen quickly, they are relatively inexpensive (as the name implies) and they have great DNS support (including SRV records). If only I could find a good host now. I’m currently using MediaTemple, but I have been disappointed with their service and uptime so far.

Stephen Zeidner [+1]
Feb 8 10 at 10:21 am

I think GoDaddy starts with the obnoxious idea that only men use computers, then use another obnoxious idea that men are helpless against advertising that uses pretty girls, and that’s how we end up with this crap. Along with those above me, I’ve also avoided GoDaddy because the ads make them seem sleazy.

Like Jeremy, I use (and am happy with) DreamHost, but I don’t know if I could recommend them to someone who used their website as a source of income. You get a lot for a little, but reliability can sometimes be a problem, especially with their in-house email.

Justin Cardinal [+5]
Feb 8 10 at 10:33 am

The cheapest way I know to register a domain name is to use blogger. If you create a blog and then add a personal domain name to it, it is $10 and is hosted through enom or godaddy- you can choose which one you want. Once you sign up, you have total control of the DNS and can set it to your own host. I use hostpc which starts at only $14 a YEAR. Never had a problem with either google’s domain registration or hostpc.

Jeremy
Feb 8 10 at 10:41 am

I gave up on them back in 2005 when the CEO condoned torture and wanted to expand our military interrogation operation. Never regretted it once.

Thanks for the tip, Gina. Just transferred my remaining GoDaddy-registered domain. I’ve been wanting to leave there for awhile, but didn’t want to pay what my webhost wanted for a parked domain. However, $7/year is a great price.

I wish I’d seen this before I gave up searching and just renewed with GoDaddy last August. If I transfer to NameCheap, will I forfeit the remainder of what I’ve paid for with GoDaddy?

Go Gina!

Bob is a bit like a bad pork sandwich. Too heavy on the cheese and … well, insert your pick of unfavorable male pig comment and reference to torture here … I’m eating so I’ll pass and vote with my registrations as they hit renewal.

gunnar [+1]
Feb 8 10 at 11:40 am

If you transfer from Godaddy to another registrar, you don’t lose a thing. When you pay the 6.99 at namecheap to do the transfer, it extends the expiration by one year.
They are great people, very helpful and if you have questions, they are quick to respond on the web chat.
And the comments in this thread about Dreamhost. They are just fine for people who do not use their sites to make an income. Once you start moving serious traffic, you could get your account banned or forced to move to a dedicated server which you can find much cheaper elsewhere.

I was a happy camper at Dreamhost, then my traffic hit a critical mass, and they shut me down.

docputer
Feb 8 10 at 12:36 pm

You can add another vote for 1and1. I used to use GoDaddy and switched to 1and1 a few years back. They’re cheaper than GoDaddy, but have great service, an easy-to-understand interface, and I’ve never had any problems with them. Further, their ads (I’ve only seen them in magazines) are a simple, straightforward promotion of their produce – nothing offensive at all.

Jen
Feb 8 10 at 1:29 pm

I am happy with Network Solutions There more expensive but great service

Arthur Hyams [+4]
Feb 8 10 at 1:32 pm

My only experience with godaddy was with my dad’s business website about 5 years ago. Back then the site seemed a bit seedy (spam and all that). So from that point on godaddy has always left a bad taste in my mouth. Once the commercials started up… I was embarrassed that I ever even looked at them.

thebwt [+2]
Feb 8 10 at 1:52 pm

also: their business model reminds me of George Oscar “Gob” Bluth, Jr.’s “buisness model” (arrested development)

thebwt [+2]
Feb 8 10 at 1:53 pm

What about Domainsite.com. Granted I don’t do anything with my domain except use google apps (which they make setting up very easy btw), I got my domain for $8.88 per year. No coupon needed. Hidden whois was only $0.50 per year.

enlightenment
Feb 8 10 at 1:59 pm

I’ve been happily using NameCheap for my handful of domains for several years now. I think they’ve had one brief DNS outage in that time. They do pretty much everything you could want at no cost, including URL and email forwarding, and dynamic DNS. They even have an API.

Sexist commercials aside, I seem to remember avoiding GoDaddy because of some horror stories on WebHostingTalk.

Patrick Dawson
Feb 8 10 at 3:36 pm

While I agree that GoDaddy uses sex to sell services, I believe that they have a superior set of services.

I really don’t want to change hosting right now.

While I agree the advertising is offensive, is it really that bad?

I am sorry if it is.

Andy

addltd
Feb 8 10 at 10:05 pm

I am going to have to give a shout for NearlyFreeSpeech.net. When I started migrating my important domains from Godaddy last year, I found that they were able to provide the transfer and hosting with minimal fuss and cost, while gently stroking the part of my ego that gets off from supporting good causes. I have seen complaints about their recent pay-model shift, but I would still consider them a damn fine deal for the services that they provide, a point they argued well on their faq. Regardless, I like to see good companies succeed, and they get the job done right. I will certainly have to investigate NameCheap, you can never have too many good registrars or hosting co’s in your toolbox :-D
I have honestly been too busy with school to notice any kind of “super bowler” or what such.. but if there is a movement against Godaddy, I will go with the flow. A point is better made when it is made by an angry mob of former customers, right?

trubacca
Feb 9 10 at 12:02 am

GoDaddy has always used the marketing philosophy that if it gets people talking, it’s effective. I’ve had many arguments with people who claim that this kind of advertising works. Like when an ad has a horrible song in it that you can’t get out of your head. Well people say “yeah but it got you thinking about the product so it worked”. First of all, most of the time I can’t even remember what the product was because I was too distracted by whatever stimuli was thrown at me. Secondly if I did remember, it was in a negative way.

Gina, what I love about this post, and the comments that followed, is that it tells me that I’m not alone in this. It sends a message that bad marketing, especially offensive or pandering advertising (looking at you AXE Body Spray) can actually cause a company to lose customers. Of course I imagine that we’re in the minority here, but hey, it is grass roots right? The journey of a thousand steps and so on…

egonegative [+2]
Feb 9 10 at 6:19 am

While I do applaud taking a stand like this. It reminded of a debate that was raging on years ago in some computer magazines I read.

Every month the cover would feature a model in some suggestive pose, and there would be a wave of letters complaining how that kind of cover had nothing to do with the magazines content.

Some magazines tried to just put gadgets, game covers or original art on the cover, but every time they did, sales dropped.

I often think back to those early debates when I’m looking at magazines today. I realise it’s a brave move to have any cover that doesn’t feature a model, as that magazine will be taking a hit in sales for doing it.

It’s been nearly two decades since those early debates I read in magazines, and we’ve shown no signs of moving on as far as marketing goes.

So while I do applaud anyone taking a stand, I think it’s tough to put down a company for using established mainstream marketing methods that have proven themselves. I prefer to look at it from the point of view of sex selling things is the norm, and anyone that doesn’t gets my attention exactly for avoiding that.

Any company that’s advertising where traditionally you do see sex related advertising ideas, and choosing not to use sex, makes me think much more highly of that company. Like if that much thought went into the ethics there, how good must the rest of the company be ethically towards the customer, even when it affects profits?

techpops [+7]
Feb 9 10 at 11:02 pm

Hey Gina,

Just followed your lead and transferred all of my domains from GoDaddy.com to NameCeap. Their Superbowl ad was the final straw for me as well.

Love all of your work on this site, Lifehacker, ‘The Complete Guide to Google Wave’, and TWIG. Thanks for producing excellent content!

Drew McKechnie
Feb 11 10 at 9:35 am

Tip for those wishing to leave godaddy.com: do not alter your contact information for the domains you wish to transfer. Godaddy.com requires an ‘opt-in’ lock down of the domain for 60 days if you do.

If you have an old email in there then ONLY change the Administrative email (nothing else) and you will be OK.

I just spent almost 2 hours on the phone getting it sorted out.

Matt Gantner
Feb 13 10 at 6:28 am

Gina, this is the first time I’ve replied to your post. Most of the time I just lurk, but I SO appreciate you standing up for this, LOVE your post!!! Thanks for putting it out there!!!
I feel the same way a bout GoDaddy, I feel bad recommending them because of their emphasis and it’s good to know there are great alternatives out there!!!

Gina, thank you VERY much. You’ve saved me from mistaking GoDaddy for a better option than what I had.

Actually, the service I had wasn’t bad. But they insisted on sending me weekly notices that a domain was expiring, starting 60 days out from the expiration date. It got annoying, and there is, according to them, no way to disable this “feature.”

Derek Gwinn
Mar 12 10 at 6:46 pm


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