GoDaddy Down: Attack, Internal Error, Or Who Really Cares?

Sep 14, 2012   //   by AmandaD   //   SEO Blog  //  22 Comments

When something goes wrong in a business, there is expected panic. You know that you have a lot of work ahead of you to fix the problem and you know that some aspects of your business might suffer. However, not many businesses have to worry about their entire business just disappearing with no solution in sight. Unfortunately, many blogs and other websites operate entirely online. The website is the business, and if the website is down the entire business is down for a certain period of time. In many cases, working with an IT team can solve the problem, but when your hosting service is out of commission you are on their good graces.

Although this may not be a common problem, it can happen, and it did. Just a few days ago one of the largest web hosting companies and the largest domain registrar GoDaddy went down. This left many asking the panic-stricken question: What do I do now?

How The GoDaddy Mishap Affected Customers

For those of you who didn’t hear, GoDaddy had a company outage that left millions of sites in the dark on Monday, September 10. The problem occurred for not only those who have their sites hosted by GoDaddy, but also the sites that have their domain registered by GoDaddy (even if they are hosted by another party). The GoDaddy phone service was also down, and it seemed Twitter was the easiest way for people to communicate about this issue.

The real excitement, however, seemed to lie in the story of why GoDaddy went dark in the first place. The company not only had to deal with angry customers and Twitter groups sprouting up complaining about the outage, but they had to deal with a little bit of controversy as to how such an outage could occur.

The Story: Why GoDaddy Went Dark

According to several sources, someone by the name of Anonymous Own3r actually admitted to attacking the company and causing all of this uproar. It was not a collective attack, but rather an individual who claimed in a tweet that he or she is taking GoDaddy down because:

Now that the company is back up and running, they claim that the problem was not the result of an attack. According to TechCrunch, GoDaddy claimed that the problem was “a series of internal network events that corrupted router data tables.” Interim CEO Scott Wagner explained that no customer data was harmed and there is now a system in place to make sure this never happens again.

The Future of GoDaddy: Are Webmasters Forgiving?

In the end, whether there was an internal issue or someone really did attack the company does not really matter. What matters is the fact that many websites were left in the dark and there was nothing that webmasters could do about it. It’s important to trust your hosting company for this exact reasons, so will this affect GoDaddy?

In my opinion, yes it absolutely will. Should companies be transferring away from GoDaddy? Although the problem likely won’t happen again, transferring over and registering your domain name somewhere else might not be a bad idea. Believe it or not, it’s not even all that difficult to do! Below are some of the steps to make it happen:

  1. Go to “domain management” and login to your account.
  2. Find the lock icon and click; then unlock the domain.
  3. Just simply uncheck the box next to “lock domains” and hit enter.
  4. Click on the domain name you want to move and click on “domain details.”
  5. Find the “authorization code: send by email” button and click. Check your email for an authorization code and give it to your new registrar.

If you are concerned about your web host, there are a variety of different options for you. You can visit Mashable to check out five great alternatives.

Is the GoDaddy drama going to steer you away from the company? What did you find to be the biggest problem? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for Highervisibility, a nationally recognized SEO firm that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country.

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  • I have never preferred GoDaddy, and issues like the ones you have mentioned make me shy away from it even more. HostGator has been my best hosting choice till now.

  • I have one of my sites hosted with GoDaddy. So it was down for a few hours – in the grand scheme of things, who cares? It’s never been down before in all the years I’ve used them so it’s hardly a regular occurrence.

    No-one can be perfect, all the time, and indeed GoDaddy don’t promise 100% uptime (because no-one can); so what’s the problem?

  • AmandaD

    Good points. I do agree with you Robert that maybe it shouldn’t really matter–but for some reason I feel like for those looking to start a website the first time, this might come into play. I suppose only time will tell! Thanks for reading!

  • Ryan says:

    You did a very good job in writing this article. Every hosting service has down time. The server my company uses has 99 percent uptime. Are customers don’t leave since they know everyone has downtime.

    The best advice to offer is to have your site on two different hosts at the same time. This way if one host goes down the site will fallback to the other host, so there shouldn’t ever be any downtime.

    The biggest issue I took away from this is that people need to learn how a server works, so they will understand why downtime happens. My hat goes off to GoDaddy for making such a quick recovery. Amazon has been down for days before.

  • char says:

    Yup, I was a victim of this mishap. In fact I host about 6 sites with godaddy and when they all were down for the better part of the day I was really peeved. I get a decent amount of traffic so I probably lost a lead or two. I can only imagine the losses sustained by a huge online company. They emailed me an apology and offered compensation. A measly $14.00 for my troubles.

  • Abhishek says:

    Godaddy are considered as one of the best in the industry, I have always preferred them over others. This came as a big shock to me. Though I have got a mail from them in which they apologized and offered some offers but this outage has dented the confidence I had on them…

  • Marbella says:

    If you have several websites should you put them in different server, GoDaddy has become so large that they probably will in the future suffer more interruptions.

  • Abhishek says:

    I was really shocked to see this happening to godaddy since they are one of the best in the industry. This has shaken my faith as my websites were directly impacted. Though they apologized and sent some offers but that was not sufficient to bring back my confidence…

  • Hi Amanda,

    Really a disturbing news. Servers and hosting services getting affected is a worrying factor. All those who do not know about GoDaddy must analyse seriously before going forward.


  • Mark Brook

    Well I think this could be happen with any other company too but if that was an attack then go daddy must do something for there websites I always have and backup plan with situation like this but backup get off when your hosting server is down you can not do anything I have my domains on go daddy but those are only for fun buy them in sale, So for now on go daddy must make some protection against this type of attacks its hurts many business which are online not only blogging.

  • Allen Draven says:

    It’s needs very careful to GoDaddy and also others like it for the interest of self and blogger both. Thanks for your nice helpful article.

  • Whatever the real reason behind the problem with godaddy, the company must at least be extra careful of what’s happening with their services. They need to bear in mind that businesses can’t afford to lose their customers because of this kind of event, so they must at least come up with a back up or whatsoever remedy in case this will happen again.

  • Hairywom says:

    I have used GoDaddy as a domain register for several years (though not for hosting) and have found them to be a very competitive place to purchase from. This highlights the problem that we all face with dealing with a non perfect system and relying on other peoples systems to function our own businesses web design. The problem that GoDaddy had was at least sorted very quickly as apposed to some Telstra (Australia) network issues. This sort of attack or back end issues can effect everybody at any time and i think the best way to see what sort of a company that it is, is by the action and time they take to rectify the problem.

    P.S i don’t work for GoDaddy i just use their services

  • Ray says:

    I hadn’t noticed or heard about Godaddy down time until now. I have actually thought about transferring my domains somewhere else for awhile now. I just don’t like the Godaddy domain control panel that well anymore, nor do I care for their renewal process. They try to sell you all kinds of other stuff, and you don’t even know if you actually completed the process because it is so confusing. The only reason I put off transferring is because sometimes the transfer process is not so smooth either, and I don’t want to suffer down time due to dns propogating or updating either. One of these days I will just do it though.

  • Edd

    It sounds like it might not be a bad idea especially after all this online publicity, it will probably be only a matter of time until someone tries again just to see if they can rub up go daddy the wrong way. Thanks for the tips because I myself know of a few people that would just leave their domain registered there just because they believe it would be too hard to change registrar. Thanks

  • Emilia says:

    Godaddy used to be one of the most reliable hosting servers available and this downtime definitely caused quite a stir. This outage was definitely a wake up call to take better control of our digital property by backing them up because during these unforeseen events, data may potentially be lost. Thanks for sharing!

  • Stacey says:

    GoDaddy has been pretty reliable for most of the time. So yea, who cares if they suck just for one time? Just my two cents worth.

  • Godaddy are usually reliable most of the time. Surely this is an okay downtime within their 99.97% uptime guarantee or whatever it is. Lastly, I was on the phone to their tech support following a further DNS problem a week or two later and the on-hold music was childishly annoying. Just thought I’d mention that in case you need to give them a ring.

  • Sandra says:

    Well, every system has its ups and downs. GoDaddy might have had problems before but I still rely on them when it comes to quality domain hosting services

  • Sriven says:

    We do use GoDaddy for domain, hosting and email marketing related products. Thankfully we didn’t experience the issue stated here.

  • Priyank says:

    Godaddy annoys a lot at the time of domain registration. It almost forces the customers to bye also the hosting package & SEO packages. Its really so much annoying. Godaddy’s domain control panel is also little bit hard to handle for newbies. First time I’ve waste lot of time to find out the name server change setting.
    There are lot of rising new companies which are providing batter offers, options & support.

  • Bradley says:

    I’ve been using GoDaddy for years for all of my domain registrations, and this was the first time I have ever had a problem with their service. When they run sales, especially in combination with the ever-present coupons, they also have some of the best prices. A person who works there even calls me occasionally just to make sure everything is running smoothly. As far as the upsells during registration, show me a company that’s not trying to squeeze that extra money out of everyone. I utilize affiliate marketing on a farm of sites, and I upsell, too, because it works. I do agree with the earlier poster that dual hosting would probably be the best solution.