10 January 2012

Over the weekend I transferred my domains from GoDaddy to Domain.com.  I wanted to leave GoDaddy because of their SOPA support (I don’t care if they retracted, they only did it for PR, not because of their actual beliefs).  Anywho, my initial opinion of Domain.com is that it is a bit unnecessarily difficult.

The transfer process was a breeze (of course) but once transferred it was a bit difficult to get things setup.  They have several things I ran into documented in their knowledge base but I don’t think I should have to go look up what are “normal” web hosting tasks.  I figured out the part to attach my domains to the hosting plan ok, but ran into issues with the DNS.  When I attached the domains to the hosting service I checked the “Enable DNS Configuration” box.  The reason being that all of their knowledge base articles tell you, you have to setup the DNS yourself.  Anyway, on the “Finish” screen it tells me my name servers are going to be domain.com’s.  This is perfect, this is what it should be.  Well, I gave it several hours and it wasn’t working.  My domains were still resolving to my old host.  All the mentioned configuration was done in the “Hosting & Services” section of the control panel.  Even when going back into the hosting and looking at the details of the domains I have hosted under that plan it tells me they have to be the domain.com nameservers.  So I emailed them and my response was that I had to set my domain name servers from the “Manage Domains” tab to ns1-3.nameserver.com.   The hosts I’ve had experience with have very generic nameserver names and I took this to be literal (I know, I know… but in my defense, the literal ‘nameserver.com’ has a working NS!).   So, should-have-known-better-me went and updated this.  It didn’t work, obviously.  So in the middle of my work day today I clue-in and change it the domain.com servers.  Like magic is started working.

After all of that, my two biggest gripes are this:

  1. Why did I have to manually set the nameservers via the “Manage Domains” section of the control panel when, when I attached my domain to the hosting plan it told me what the nameservers were.  I assumed they were automatically setting them as well (and since it’s all domain.com’s product why wouldn’t it?)
  2. When I emailed support, why didn’t the person responding actually look at my account and what I had purchased and tell me exactly what to do?  I got a generic template response they send out to everyone.  So in addition to that first question not actually getting answered, the other three I had in the ticket weren’t even acknowledged.

The WordPress setup wasn’t as easy either.  It installed OK (although it’s not the latest version that came out a week ago).  BUT it doesn’t tell you where it installed.  It’s not under the /wordpress/ folder you would normally be looking for.  That’s also the path it tells you to load it from yourdomain.com/wordpress.  It took me a while to figure out I had to go back into the control panel and into the “Site Applications” and back into the install for my domain and “unlock” the directory.  They warn you this isn’t a “good idea” and that you’ll be responsible for updating WP and they wont do it automatically anymore (because one click inside the dashboard is so difficult…).  BUT you still wont find the directory when you are in FTP!  It remains a hidden directory and it’s still not in the “wordpress” folder.  It’s in an obscure siteapps folder and then you have to type in the ID number into the remote site path of your FTP and load it manually.  For people like me who developed their own theme for wordpress we need this so we can upload our own theme!  I don’t share my theme with the rest of the WP community so it’s not available to search and download the usual way.  Because of all of this, it’s also extremely difficult to change my blog url to just the top level domain.  Again, you have to go through their control panel features and change the URL.

So, my biggest gripe there is that they try to manage things too much.  Your folder structure doesn’t reflect it’s ACTUAL structure when it comes to installed apps (if you install via their control panel).  I don’t want to be micro-managed in my hosting and I am entitled to access ALL of my site content.  I’m a web developer, I make and customize my own stuff.  In the case of WordPress, it’s it’s own application and many modifocations can be made via it’s own dashboard!  There is no need to create your own integration to the app.

My last gripe:  response time.  WP functions are laggy.

Hopefully things get better!


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