Yes, we know its a weird idea, but Godaddy does offer an actual Managed WordPress Hosting service. If you thought that was weird, guess what? Its not half bad. In fact there are some things about it that are pretty darn good. Now, this should not be confused with their old WordPress Blog installation service that masqueraded as hosting and it should not be confused with their more generic Linux hosting either. If someone had asked us a year ago if we would ever cover a Godaddy product and possibly recommend it, we would have laughed and laughed and thought it a crazy question. But times change and sometimes even large companies change too. We’re still not fans of some of the things their ownership has done either, but here’s the brass tacks & some things we love about the new service:
- Godaddy currently offers the least expensive entry level plan for Managed WordPress Hosting. The cheapest runs $1/ month if you prepay, and at a price like that you should.
- Godaddy keeps improving this service. It has been live for less than a year, but they keep improving it. Sometime in the fall of 2014 for example they just (quietly) added 1 click staging functionality.
- They offer an automated tool that performs free migrations, and it works very well if your old host offers FTP. If your old host only offers sFTP (secure FTP) then you are out of luck, the tool doesn’t support that yet, but Godaddy is working on it, and these days I believe they will fix it.
- We like their break points in terms of traffic. at 25k, 250k and millions of visitors its easy to figure out where your site(s) might fit.
Currently, based on our speed tests and experience, this is definitely not the fastest Managed WordPress hosting service. It might even be one of the slowest. That said it is still about 3-4 times faster than generic hosting that you might pick up through old fashioned hosting services, including Godaddy’s own Linux hosting. We’ve talked with Godaddy about this, and I suspect they will make improvements on this as well. In our tests, unless you do some heavy lifting yourself to optimize your site, which kinda goes against the idea of Managed Hosting to begin with, odds are your load times will be around 3-4 seconds until they speed things up.
Dig in and learn more about Godaddy Managed WordPress Hosting
GoDaddy WP Hosting faqs
In general, if you are migrating a site from WordPress.com to a Managed WordPress hosting plan on Godaddy, you may only need to repoint your DNS (Domain Name Server) settings. This is a relatively simple process that can be managed wherever your domain name is registered (You may have registered your domain name with WordPress.com or separately with Godaddy, or any of thousands of different companies or services on the web.)
If you are unsure, check with your registrar (the type of company that allows you to register a domain name) and find out how they recommend you make these changes.
Updating the DNS via an A record, usually requires an extra step, you are not simply replacing one DNS address with another, but typically adding a record to a DNS Zone File. The record being added is called an ‘A Record’.
Per Godaddy, here are their current instructions for performing this action. Other registrars may have different instructions.
An A (host) record connects your domain name to your IP address. A records let users enter your domain name in a Web browser to access your website. They are the most common type of zone record.
To Add an A Record
- In the DNS Zone File, click Add Record.
- From the Record type list, select A (Host).
- Complete the following fields:
- Host Name — Enter the host name the A record links to. Type @ to point the record directly to your domain name, including the www.
- Points to IP Address — Enter the IP address your domain name uses for this host record.
- TTL — Select how long the server should cache the information.
- Click Save, and then click Save Changes. The new A record displays in the A (Host) section.
To Edit an A Record
- In the A (Host) section, next to the record you want to change, click Edit Record.
- Edit any of the following fields:
- Host — Enter the host name the A record links to. Type @ to map the record directly to your domain name, including the www.
- Points to — Enter the IP address your domain name uses for this host record.
- TTL — Select how long the server should cache the information.
- Click Save, and then click Save Changes.
You can do either. It does not matter in terms of getting things done.
Later when the import of content is run, you will have the option to keep the original author from the wordpress.com site (importing and setting up that original user name) or alternatively attributing all the articles imported to any other user that you might want to select.
There is no magic bullet that solves this question, but there are several concrete things that you can do.
First, review and compare your new site with your old site. Look specifically at the number of Posts, Pages, Comments etc. Look for discrepancies in the numbers. If there are 1601 Posts with 48 drafts and 3 Trash items on your old site and there are only 1232 Posts with 48 drafts and 3 Trash items in the new site, then something is missing!
Similarly, click around through your new site randomly. Maybe set a number of posts to randomly review. If you have 4000 posts, maybe you choose to sample 10% of your articles, by randomly clicking and opening 400 posts. Look for problems, look for missing posts, look for broken or missing images.
If you find problems, document them in a list and try to find a pattern in the discrepancies, then work to solve it.
If you find that you are missing content, simply upload your import file (the file you downloaded from WordPress.com) back into your new site. Sometimes the importer can stall out due to internet connections or a server problem or lots of reasons. It is designed to ignore the posts it already imported and only import in new items.
If you do run the import again, beware that the importer also imports Menu items, and the menu item importer is not as smart. It might import duplicate menu items, so if you run the importer more than once, you may need to clean out duplicate menu buttons in your Menu Customizer (wp-admin>Appearance>Menus)
Domain mapping only changes the root domain of the article in question. It does not search through all of your posts and find any old links that you may have written or edited into those posts that include something like yourolddomain.wordpress.com and then change those links to yournewdomain.com . That is not what mapping does.
However, there is a great plugin that can be used to achieve this same result.
before you use it, make absolutely certain that you 1 back up your database and 2 know how to restore it before using this plugin.
If you break your website using this plugin due to lack of understanding, it may not be fixable without a good backup.
If you are unsure, hire someone that knows how to do these things! 🙂
In the right hands this search and replace plugin is awesome. In the wrong hands, it is very dangerous.
This is part of what WordPress.com does when they map the domain from the old subdomain to the new domain name. They create a long list of ‘redirects’ visible to Googlebot, letting Google know of the old link that has changed and its new destination.
Learn even more here https://en.support.wordpress.com/map-subdomain/
The SEO benefits of moving from WordPress.com to a self hosted WordPress (.org) installation of the wordpress software on a Managed WordPress hosting plan on Godaddy, is relatively close.
Both offer great SEO advantages.
The biggest differences come in your ability to customize, typically via plugins, the setup on a site that is not running on WordPress.com. Many people may not need this for a simple blog, but as your site grows, or specializes or as is sometimes the case, grows to cover more than just a simple niche, but several topics, then the need to manage SEO and have a plan become more important. WordPress.com can be great for a single niche, articles all about the same thing.
Plus the article itself, if well written, can be the primary tool in driving ‘on page SEO’.
Not everyone can work with a one size fit all approach forever and when the time comes to move, SEO boosts can be one of the areas for opportunity.
When we say, “domain” vs a WordPress.com “sub domain”, we mean that a site has a unique domain name that is registered (like a lease not like owning a home). The domain name will often look like:
http:// YourUniqueDomainName .com/.me/.co/.biz/.org etc.
that is different than the free sub domain that WordPress.com will give you as soon as you setup a blog there. A WordPress.com sub domain name will look like:
http:// YourUniqueSubDomainName .WordPress .com
In the second case, WordPress.com OWNS the sub domain, you do not. They allow you to use it as long as you follow their rules. These are not tough rules, but they are not your own and in some cases, if you break those rules, WordPress.com will delete your account. (I am a big fan of WordPress.com. But it is THEIR system and THEIR rules, you follow them (for free) or leave.)
So the benefits of having your own domain are many. More than can be written in an FAQ, but there are 2 big ones.
- You control your domain, you pay the registration bill, and no one can take it away from you if you keep paying (if you follow the law)
- You build a brand around that domain and if you ever need to move your content somewhere else, to any other system, add on to it, add a store or a directory or a learning site or advertise or sell stuff or anything, you can move your existing site to a new provider (away from WordPress.com) and you can keep the same unique domain name.
- vs if you keep using a free sub domain name, you cannot keep using that sub domain name if you move away from WordPress.com. The content on the site is yours, but not the location, the website address.
There are a couple different ways including
- Simply looking at the individual post links in a browsers address bar. If the hyperlink no longer shows your old subdomain.wordpress.com when you are viewing a blog post, odds are it is done or close, and
- Better yet, login to the WordPress.com account (WordPress Admin area) and go to the Tools menu, select Export and export a full copy of your site from WordPress.com. This will take a minute or two and you may have to wait for WordPress.com to send you an email with a download link in it. Once you get that email, click the link, download the zip file. Open and/or extract the file from the zip file. The resulting file is a .xml file type. You can view this in a text editor such as Notepad on a PC or TextEdit on a Mac (both free and there are many others). When you look in the xml file, you will see a lot of text and code, more text than code. This file includes a copy of every blog post, category, comment and more from your site. ALL THE CONTENT! But we only want to focus on one area that repeats for every blog article. It is the hyperlink that appears between the following xml code brakets
- It might look something like this before the mapping is done
- It might look something like this after the mapping is done
If all of the articles have links like the example from AFTER the mapping, then the mapping is done. If you still find items between the link brackets that have wordpress.com in it, then the mapping is still proceeding.
It generally happens very rapidly these days, but I’d generally recommend waiting about 4-5 days just to be sure.
You can purchase SSL certificates through Godaddy. We currently do not know their pricing structure.
It works well, very well too. It is fast and mostly automated.
Your old host must offer ftp access to your files. If they offer SFTP then the Godaddy tool will not currently work. You can try it, a help support rep might even suggest you try it, but it will not work.
We know its weird and good. Rumor has it that they purchased Media Temple and are incorporating cool stuff from Media Temple as core ‘new’ services at Godaddy.
Email does not come free with their Manasged WordPress Hosting plan, but this is Godaddy so guess what?
They do offer an upsell/cross sell/ extra sale of email hosting. So Email is available for a little extra $$$.
These days unless you have a grandfathered plan already, Godaddy only offers a Microsoft 365 plan that starts at about $3.99 per month per email user. Alternatively you could also pick up email separately through Google Business Apps for about $5 per user or head over to Rackspace or some other hosts that offers email only plans and edit your MX entries to make all of this work.
Yes! (This is new as of the Fall of 2014)
Godaddy just silently or quietly (no announcements that we could find) turned on a one click staging tool for its Managed WordPress Hosting service. It quickly and easily creates a full copy of your live/productions website on a new temporary url that godaddy provides. It took about 4 minutes to create in our initial test where we clicked the button and waited 4 minutes.
The temporary url shows up in a list with the domain that it was copied from. This means that this does not use up your allowed number of sites for your plan. If we understand the implications of this correctly, if you are on a plan that allows 5 sites, that means you would be able to also have 5 staging sites, one for each of them.
The staging tool does allow you to copy the entire site or just the theme and plugins with no content going from live to staging.
We have not yet tested the tool and options pushing things back from staging to live, but there are several options there.
Their starter plan allows 1 domain for $1/ month for 25,000 monthly visitors.
Their Business plan allows 5 sites at $9.99 / month, 250,000 monthly visitors.
Their Pro plan allows 25 sites at $29.99 per month for millions of monthly visitors.
All of those prices are after Godaddy’s current discounts. Their normal prices (and the renewal prices after your prepaid discount renews sometime in the future) are $6.99, $19.99 and $69.99 per month respectively.
The service that WordPress.com provides called ‘Domain Mapping’ is essentially just a process to redirect the free subdomain that they provide yourblog.wordpress.com to a new domain that you might have or register (purchase).
A redirect is sort of like an official (Google bot accepted) detour sign. It says our location has moved for our home page, and every other post, page, category, tag, archive, image, everything. It has moved from our old sub domain location to our new domain location.
Anyone that happens to have one of your old sub domain hyperlinks and clicks on it, will be automatically sent to the new location of that same item in the new domain.
If you plan to migrate your site from WordPress.com to some other service. We highly recommend that you have the Domain Mapped by WordPress.com first. This is an important first step. This should be done before you export your content from wordpress.com to a self hosted server or setup somewhere else.
More information on how the Domain Mapping steps work are here.
Login your wordpress.com site. Go to the site in question (if you have more then 1 site on WordPress.com).
Click on the Users menu in the admin area (lower left).
Towards the top of the subsequent page is an ‘Invite New’ button.
Click this button and type in the email address of the person you wish to invite.
Tip! If they already have a WordPress.com account, make sure you check with them first and use the email address they have previously associated with WordPress.com
If you like type in a message in the area provided before sending the invite.
They will receive an email invitation with a button. They must push the button to complete the process and receive access to the site.