I’ve been a customer of GoDaddy for several years at this point, and for the most part I’m a happy customer. Their prices are always among the best, their servers almost never go down, and their customer service representatives really seem to want to help me when I call.
However, I have also been a critic of their technical support staff. As a professional web developer I have a solid understanding of server configurations and language-specific coding practices. When I have run into development issues with my GoDaddy hosting accounts, my experience has been that the tech support staff has far less experience than I do. . . meaning that they rarely understand what my problem is, let alone how to solve it. (To their credit, they are a friendly bunch.)
This brings me to the GoDaddy Hosting Connection. If you’re not familiar with this service, GoDaddy basically offers to install a number of applications on your behalf (I’m assuming via some automated scripts). This sounds like a really nice feature, and GoDaddy will argue that it helps to make them the best choice to host your website.
Over the past day or so, I’ve been attempting to play with DotNetNuke which is one of many CMS tools offered in the GoDaddy Hosting Connection portal. Sadly, I’ve run into so many issues with their automated installation that I think I’m seeing more gray hairs. The installation of the application to my hosting account seems to succeed when you look in the GoDaddy Hosting Connection, but attempting to walk through the application’s setup is a very frustrating experience.
For starters, the installation script fails to notice that particular assemblies linked in the web.config file are already installed which results in a nice 500 error. Because the “customErrors” value is set to “RemoteOnly”, novice .NET users have no idea what the hell happened. Changing this value to “Off” allows you to see the errors, and you are forced to remove the fault lines in web.config to proceed with the installation. The errors I saw were different on my IIS6 and IIS7 accounts, and I have no explanation as to why.
Getting past the annoying 500 errors, my IIS6 setup seemed to move forward without too many problems. IIS7 on the other hand fails when DNN upgrades its database – its hangs on version 4.8.1, and no error is output to the screen. I waited and waited and waited for it to complete, but I eventually gave up. I never got DNN running on my IIS7 account.
Once I got DNN up on my IIS6 account, I noticed that all of my links had a hard-coded path to the subdirectory in which DNN was installed, despite the fact that I had the subdirectory aliased as a domain root. While this doesn’t prevent the application from working, it’s a problem for SEO and simple user interaction. After searching the Web for possible solutions, I dug into my SQL database looking for that value. I couldn’t find it. With a bit more digging, I find in the admin portal that DNN automatically assigns a “relative path” to my application because I didn’t install in my hosting root. As far as I can tell, there’s no way around that on GoDaddy.
I spent about another 10 minutes fidgeting with DNN host settings and somehow managed to break DNN completely (I sent it into an infinite loop). I have no idea what I did. *SIGH* I’ve uninstalled DNN for like the 10th time and am giving up. I’m going to try Joomla (also offered by GoDaddy Hosting Connection) but my faith in GoDaddy is growing thin.