What We Learned From the GoDaddy Service Interruption

Unable to load web page errA couple of days ago there was a collective tooth-sucking sound emanating from hundreds of thousands of alert webmasters as they realized their websites had suddenly gone offline. Soon after Twitter became abuzz with chatter as they all realized they shared the same web hosting service, GoDaddy, which had also gone offline.

Those with all their eggs in the GoDaddy basket (both web hosting and domain registration) were stuck. They couldn’t access their domain records to point visitors to an alternate web host. This would have been a quick and relatively painless way to get around the issue had the problem been with web hosting (no one really knew at the time).

But others with their domains registered elsewhere, jumped to their domain consoles and changed (redelegated) the DNS (domain name servers) away from GoDaddy’s but with the domain records still pointing at their web site’s IP on GoDaddy. Voila! After waiting for this change to be reflected across the interwebs (about 30 – 60 minutes), their sites became accessible again. Had this been a web hosting problem instead of the more common DNS failure, they could have still set up on other web hosting services using their site backup (you have a site backup, right?).

What this experience teaches us

  1. It’s inadvisable to have your hosting and domain registration (DNS assignment) from the same service.
  2. Back up your web site so that you can quickly set up on an alternate hosting service quickly if needed. (WordPress does this easily with its own “Tools – Export” plugin).

For those of you selling or providing customer support online, these two points are critical. Imagine if your services were down for days. How would you react? It’s not unreasonable to have a plan at the ready for just such events.


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