So you've bought some domains on Go Daddy, now you want to set up a WordPress installation. It's easier to get them to do it but that particular site is a minefield of links to offers that are fiendishly designed to squeeze money out of your pocket. Should you do it yourself or leave it to them?
Go Daddy is an Internet domain registrar and Web hosting company that also sells e-business related software and services. In 2010, it reached more than 45 million domain names under management. Go Daddy is currently the largest ICANN-accredited registrar in the world, and is four times the size of its closest competitor.
As of last weekend, they sold their 50 millionth. Although I am an affiliate and genuinely think they offer good service I grouch about them from time to time because I'm accustomed to hosts that offer cPanel or variant thereof and therefore find it awkward to use.
Anyway, while trying to install WordPress for my latest client, TEDxSalford, I ran into a wall of trouble I don't usually have to deal with.
Grouch #1: you have to set up a config file even though WP offers an interface for doing this. The thing to do is launch the Hosting Control account for that particular domain then go into FTP file management. Click on wp-config-sample.php then look for the edit icon with the button picture near the top of your screen. Click that to open the file. Click inside the file then select all the text, copy it then exit. Near the top of your screen is an icon with a piece of paper and a +. Click on that to create a new file. Paste the text from the sample config file into it. Now fill in the details for your database username, database name, password and host. Your database hostname is NEVER "localhost." Go to your database and near the top of the page you will find 'mysql###.securehost.net' or something similar. In my case it ended with .mywebsite.com. Now you can go back to the installation screen you started at and complete the installation.
Grouch #2: Go Daddy offers WP-compatible hosting so they can do it for you. Forget this at your peril because all the things you now have to do manually can be done for you if you ask them to do it. First of all, you now need to go back to your FTP file manager and change permissions on the wp-content folder and its children or you'll have no end of trouble installing the plugins you need to make WordPress work as you want it to.
Grouch #3: never before have I uploaded TinyMCE Advanced only to have it wipe out the default text editor from the Visual tab. Bear in mind that if you ask for help from Go Daddy about a product they have not developed themselves you have to take pains to point out that they are the ones at fault unless you have goofed up in some way. In any case, it's their system that makes what ought to be a straightforward job so flippin' hard. Be as polite as you are firm in your dealings with them. I have to remind myself of this because I have been blown off from time to time when they tried to send me to the product developer instead of taking ownership of the problem.
Nine times out of ten they'll send you a scripted response from an FAQ they have about the problem, but nine times out of ten it's the right one so that's fine. You don't need an individual response when a common one will do.
What happened next
If you want to do it the easy way get Go Daddy to do it for you on WP compatible hosting. I don't think it's worth the aggro to do it any other way. To be fair to them, when they take ownership of a problem they're pretty quick at solving problems and getting you going. This is what they told me to do:
1. Log in to your Account Manager <http://mya.godaddy.com/default.aspx?prog_id=GoDaddy> .
2. From the My Products section, click Web Hosting.
3. Next to the hosting account you want to use, click Launch.
4. From the Content menu, select Go Daddy Hosting Connection®.
5. Click WordPress.
6. Click Install Now!.
NOTE: The Install Now! button displays only when the selected value application is compatible with one of more hosting plans in your account.
7. Select the domain name you want to use.
8. If you don't have a Go Daddy Community <http://community.godaddy.com> profile, enter a display name, agree to the Community terms of service, and then click Next. You have to scroll down the page to find the Next button.
9. Enter a database description and password, and then click Next.
10. Choose an installation directory, and then click Next.
To install WordPress in your root directory (ie, it displays as soon as someone goes to your domain name), remove any text from this field and leave it empty.
11. Enter the Admin Name, Admin Password, Email and Blog Title for your WordPress installation.
12. Click Finish.
WordPress will be installed to your hosting account with the options you selected within 24 hours. When it is complete, you will receive a confirmation email. It's a much slower way than doing it yourself, but it's a lot less hassle in the long run.
When things go wrong for me online, I usually turn to t'internet to find solutions and nine times out of ten, it delivers. This is what to do when your Go Daddy installation on the standard hosting package moves more slowly than an elderly snail.
One thing people seem to do best on t'internet is have a good old moan. Apparently it's to do with relative anonymity: we end up doing and saying things we know we'd never get away with in real life.
It was on a WordPress forum where people were discussing the slow performance of their WordPress installations -- a situation I didn't think I'd be able to resolve without moving hosts -- that I discovered something interesting. Go Daddy apparently has a rep who will show up at discussions in which they are being dissed and give advice to solve the problem.
Anyway, there are three steps to the solution they offer and I'm going to go through them one by one because there are good principles at work here.
1. Identify the problem
Sometimes when a problem occurs we're too busy being annoyed about it to actually find out what is going on. In my case, the site was... I don't want to use the word "running" to describe it. It was crawling slow. Page loading time ws 87 seconds which is the kiss of death for a website.
Go Daddy says:
Every time a visitor goes to your WordPress® blog, the server processes PHP scripts and establishes a database connection—in laymen's terms, it's doing a lot of work. The busier (i.e. the more visitors are browsing) your site is, the slower this process becomes.
Slow page loads are problematic as they discourage visitors from visiting your site. The usual culprits are improperly configured or misbehaving plugins or using images that are hosted on other, slower servers.
Have you noticed that the last update to this was in June of this year? The WordPress forum thread in which I discovered the link is two years old. That means they update this article every once in a while, giving us the latest news as it becomes available.
2. Try some common solutions
Go Daddy offers shared hosting. Dedicated hosting means you get a server to yourself. Go Daddy offers dedicated hosting, too, but obviously this costs more. The advantage is that you have more control over what is on the server and therefore are less likely to suffer slow loading on your web pages. It's an established fact that shared hosting is slower if they have a lot of busy sites on their servers.
WordPress has been aware of the problem with shared hosting for a while and developers have come up with some excellent plungins for us to use. I've uploaded WP-Super-Cache and WP-DBManager. The site now loads like greased lightning. The plugins work by loading your web page as a static HTML page to viewers who are not logged in, but even though I am logged in it's pretty fast.
Go Daddy says:
Replace links to external images with images uploaded to your WordPress site.
I took the first piece of advice and the second I've been doing for a while now. Hotlinking can hurt you as much as it does the person you're too lazy to upload the image from because you need it to load where it is for you, then project itself on to your site. Text links to external sites are okay. In fact, I usually set the link to open in a new tab because I don't want people leaving my site. I know they could always hit the back button, but sometimes we can (okay, I can) get a bit lost when we're distracted by the content on another site, particularly if it's interesting or useful.
3. Trial and error
Ah yes, cause and effect. Too often it's easy to yell at people when something goes wrong when we ourselves are the culprits. Too many plugins or extensions on CMS like Joomla, Drupal or WordPress can slow them right down.
Go Daddy says:
- Disable all plugins.
- Re-enable plugins one-by-one to see which causes the slowness.
For help using plugins, see Getting Started with WordPress.
When I use plugins, I only choose the ones I need and use DHTML code in the widgets where I can. It saves me a great deal of hassle.
It's important to remember that while Go Daddy hosts WordPress and offers it as one of their applications programs, they didn't make it themselves and can't be held responsible for their performance.
The point is, don't just moan at them if something goes wrong; look for solutions and report the problem to support if you can't find what you're looking for. It works for me.
Loading time at the installation I was working on dropped from 87 seconds to 25.
Update: the WP- supercache plugin keeps disabling itself so you have to change the settings, then change permissions. The whole thing turns into a Kafka- eque nightmare if you failed to get Linux hosting in the first place. NEVER choose Windows hosting. We had to move this site but there are still a lot of complaints about Go Daddy not working with WordPress even on Linux so you might be better off going elsewhere for hosting for it.