|Would Godaddy hosting be a sign of a weak potential competitor?|
I'm carefully looking at getting into a new type of internet business. I've been studying the competition very closely.
One new potential competitor was due to go live today, but there's an announcement on their site that there was a problem with the servers at Godaddy, and it will be a few days before they switch to a new host.
It's been my impression--possibly mistaken--that Godaddy isn't a real top-shelf hosting company for a site that's intended to have 100% uptime and be a credible site. If this is the case, then it may be that I can discount this potential competitor as not professional. If I'm wrong in my impression about Godaddy, then this competitor could still be a serious one.
So, am I right or wrong about Godaddy?
Domain registration, and hosting could've been bought by the website owner who found Godaddy domain+hosting package to be an interesting offer. The developer taking up the project could still be more knowledgeable - in your case, might be the reason they are moving away to a new host as you mentioned.
Hosting at Godaddy, even if you and I consider it as unprofessional, can't be the only clue to what they've in the works.
Having just one strong competitor in SERPs might not be that much of a bad thing.
You are wrong. :)
One thing to remember here is that as with any other hosting provider, "GoDaddy" can mean many things.
Shared hosting, Virtual Private Hosting (VPS), Dedicated Server hosting, and lastly the network uptime, which is separate from how the servers behave.
If your competitor has setup their hosting on a cheap shared-hosting server, then yes, they might have some trouble, simply because of the number of other domains they will be sharing Web- and database servers with.
If you check the IPs of some hosting companies shared hosts, you can easily find that a single IP carry up to maybe 4000+ "web-sites" on it. Even though maybe 90% of these "sites" are mere junk or parked domains with no traffic, they still represent competition for the server's attention. Typically slow, in other words, and almost surely not able to handle high traffic spikes, such as on a successful advertising campaign. If that business requires running scripts on the server for data-processing or loading, there will also be failures because of memory limitations.
If your competitor has their site hosted on a VPS (a server time-sliced into looking like multiple individual servers), they might be sharing with potentially 50-100 other domains/customers. It all depends. Again, it will take away some of their ability to handle spikes. Plus it limits the amount of memory they can "own". Typically to maybe 512Mb or less.
If your competitor leased a dedicated server from GoDaddy (or anywhere else), they would have the whole server's attention to themselves, and it would serve only their domain(s). No different from if they owned and located the server at their business location directly, or if they used a co-location site. You are then down to the only difference being how well the network performs. The server behind that competitor would be the same as anywhere else, and depends only in how much money they put into configuring that server (how many GB of RAM and how many CPU cores mostly).
The Godaddy networks as such has in my experience had superb support. In all my years there I have never experienced any real network downtime. A side-effect of Godaddy's data-centers servicing thousands of large and small sites 24x7, having alternate routes, ... . I personally pump many GBs of data through those networks, both in outgoing traffic from sites and from data pushed into my servers through large data uploads 24x7 every day.
If you look at dedicated server level service, the only real difference between Godaddy type hosting and such as RackSpace and others is one of flexibility. At hosters such as Godaddy, you configure a standardized type configuration. Define what you need in memory, disk, and so on from a standardized list.
For example a Linux server, 8GB RAM, 600 GB disk, Plesk control panel, ... They build one, stick the OS on it, and put it in your account. Takes no time at all.
At some other hosters, you can do that plus you can choose to have very personalized server setups for specialized needs (at a much higher price of course). For example define and acquire your own large RAID units, extra large memory setups, and much such. That goes more in the direction of co-location type setups, where you own everything yourself, but locate it in someone else's datacenter.
Once upon a time many years ago, I had a site running on a shared server setup. Not really a good experience.
Everything since then have been dedicated Linux servers in max configurations (I am an old Unix/Linux geek), and I have never had an issue. I manage my own stuff and my own configurations, and they keep my servers, firewall units, and network powered up and communicating.
Bottom-line. You wont know about your competitor, unless you know exactly what they purchased from Godaddy (or anywhere else they might go).
When many people think of Godaddy, they think "Walmart of cheap domains", "bad advertising for the masses on the Superbowl", or maybe even "unprofessional".. But that is merely because most people think in terms of the shared hosting setups, and the advertising they see for the masses, and associate that branding as "GoDaddy". But there is more to it.
Also, as far a competition goes, do not discount the fact that your competitor might be able to buy twice the dedicated server power you pay for elsewhere. Upping their site speed, which leads to increased Google priority, cheaper ads on Adwords, ... :)
Just saying.. :)
If I might ask a question
Is it better to have the server power in place fro the begining or wait till traffic develops
Tricky question, because the answer is "it depends". :)
It depends such factors as
Do you expect to be running Adwords campaigns? It is hard to have good quality scores (making for cheaper ads), if your setup is slow and non-responsive.
Do you expect to have sudden surges in traffic, because of a campaign, or that very special post on a blog everyone wants to read, or, ... It is too late to suddenly regret that your setup is cheap, after you have already been flattened.
Do you have a product that might suddenly take off?
Do you have a business, where you might suddenly decide to offer a special deal on services such as Groupon. Groupon offers has (innocently) taken many businesses to their virtual knees (servers, phone-lines, personnel wise) by the sudden surge in traffic.
You can continue that list on your own.
That said, for us small people/companies I am a VERY strong believer in bootstrapping. Using existing resources and money, make a little, and bootstrap new features, services, and equipment up that way. Unless your plan is a known good to begin with, investing in a high-level of service might be lost money and not worth it.
Now.. Loop back to the beginning and continue that list of what/ifs based on your actual situation.. In other words, bootstrapping is good, but if the basic environment is not there to support what you expect to happen, then bootstrapping will not work out well. So an initial investment appropriate to what both you and your potential customers expect of your site or business is necessary. Sort of like starting a brick-and-mortar store selling widgets, but wanting to do it without actually renting a store-front customers can find. Rarely works. :)
At the very least have a strong backup plan for how to handle it, if your current setup suddenly gets killed by longer term traffic. For a single web-site setup it is fairly quick to switch from one setup to a better one, IF the plan is already available, the configurations already planned out, and you know how to quickly move a web-site from one server setup to another. Not because of a one-day surge, but because of an expected longer term uptrend.
That covers the basic setup. You obviously do not invest $1 Mill in fancy multi-server setups until your customer base and revenue is appropriate for that investment. But the basic speed should be available from the beginning. Users expect short load times and reliable connections. Otherwise they drop out.
Sorry. Not a clear yes or no answer, but as close as I can go based on no information. :)
Other people's mileage, experiences, and opinions will obviously be different.
BTW.. An addendum to @scooterdude.
Take special note of the Adwords cost bullet I listed before. Often people discount spending money on their server setups, because it is a fixed cost/investment and "it seems so much money"..
But then when Google starts charging your Adwords account, and lower your Quality Score (making for MUCH more expensive ads) because of slow server response, they quickly eat away any savings you might have had on server(s). Adwords can eat in a few days what you might have saved on hosting over months.
Thanks for the replies. The competitor made a comment on a forum that one of the drives on the server at GoDaddy "cracked". I have no idea what that means.
The site is a countdown competition type, where any delays will result in lost money and extremely unhappy customers. When traffic is very light, most servers can handle the applications. When there's a fair number of customers, though, if the server and the software don't work 100%, it's trouble.
I'll just have to watch and see how they do. So far I'm just seeing amateurs in this niche. I pray it stays that way.
|If I might ask a question |
Is it better to have the server power in place fro the begining or wait till traffic develops
For this particular type of business, being ready to go from day one with the right setup is best. There's typically a spike in traffic at the outset as people check out the new site.
@dickbaker, "cracked" likely simply means that they had a disk failure.
BUT.. That tells you right there, that they are on at least a VPS or a dedicated server setup. The larger shared hosting setups would have at least RAID 1 (probably better) - disk mirroring, and customers would never see a "disk cracking".
It also tells you, that they chose to buy a cheaper setup, where they have no disk redundancy. If they had chosen a server setup with for example just 2 disks in a RAID 1 mirror, the bad disk would have simply been swapped out and the server would have continued trucking. So, I would guess they must have saved the few dollars to lease that RAID card and the extra disk. Not an unusual mistake for non-techies to make. Maybe they just did not understand what that selection on the configuration screen meant to them.
That does not say much really about the hosting company.
News: All disks fail eventually. I buy new ones quite often for my test and data servers. My main data server alone pulls around 20+ disk drives of varying sizes and ages, and I have had to replace quite few over time. It is VERY hard on disk-drives, as it processes large amounts of data 24 hours a day.
Fortunately they all have redundant little buddies, so I have never lost data when a drive takes to "cracking". I just pop in a new drive, let it rebuild the data, and continue on.
It says more about either the technical abilities or the financial choices of the people purchasing the service. :)
Years ago I made the mistake of believing that only small, unprofessional retailers would host their site with Yahoo Stores. Then I realized some of the largest retailers in the world used Yahoo (as well as some of the smallest).
Most large companies like Godaddy,Yahoo, etc. have plans catering to every class of customer. Be careful on your assumptions!
|Be careful on your assumptions! |
I never assume anything, which is why I'm asking these questions. I want to gather as much intelligence as possible before committing dollars to a new venture.
No it's not a sign of a weak competitor. G.D. is **decent** economy hosting, and there's little about economy that is weak. Their shared hosting is another story, but then, ALL shared hosting is craptastic.
A recent incident has my blood boiling. I have a client who had a VDS on an unnamed host (you can only DREAM about them, but nightmares are more appropriate.) I'll spare you the rant, to summarize, "DREAM" turns NIGHTMARE.
We've moved them to a goDaddy VDS and the client is are back up and running. GD answers their phones, at least.