At some point on Tuesday, the web host for will change from XO Communications to GoDaddy. In theory it’s going to go smoothly and you won’t notice. If disappears for a while, rest assured that I’m going nuts trying to fix it.

I can’t unravel the mysteries of domain registration and web hosting in a few paragraphs. It’s a vast landscape filled with mysteries. I have found it surprisingly difficult to get information on which companies provide good service for reasonable prices.

At one time XO Communications was a major player in web hosting as well as being an important Internet service provider. It fell on tough times at the end of the 90s, went in and out of bankruptcy, merged with other companies, and continues to provide telecommunications services to all kinds of big companies. Its web hosting has languished, though, with eccentric online controls and prices that are out of line compared to its competitors. I kept running up on a limit of 150Mb of storage space for the web site files and logs, with more space only available at inflated prices – $40 or $50 or $100 more each month. I had set up at XO almost 13 years ago and procrastinated about making a change, putting up with outages and bugs in the XO control panel and flaky error messages.

GoDaddy is the largest accredited registrar in the world; it surpassed Network Solutions several years ago. According to Wikipedia, it manages 30 million domain names, three times the size of its biggest competitor. Its prices are dirt cheap and it offers a full range of services – web hosting and design, hosted mail, SSL certificates, and much more.

godaddyhomepage I have resisted GoDaddy until recently because it has always had one distinguishing characteristic: GoDaddy has one of the ugliest web sites in the world. It’s cluttered and confusing and it has odd little bits that do not fit on the web site of a trustworthy big company. (On the home page for the last few months: “Watch our HOT, Internet only commercials!” Or how about the ad that I snipped from the home page tonight for a video from GoDaddy’s owner featuring “a very HOT Russian chick!” I mean, really.)

I’ve spent hours learning how to move around in GoDaddy’s control panels. Learning to use a new service doesn’t come easily. I don’t expect it to. Once I got oriented, I found that GoDaddy gives me access to absolutely everything I need to manage a domain name and a web site, in screens that are getting easier as I become more familiar with them. It’s still a little hard to forgive the clutter but the combination of cheap prices and rich controls is quite nice.

So has been hosted over at GoDaddy for a week or so. (So is, .biz, .org, and .mobi. Domain names are like potato chips – hard to stop once you get going.) GoDaddy’s hosting is about half of XO’s price for literally 10 times the file space, plus a plethora of new tools and hooks into Google Analytics and more. The domain registration should transfer to GoDaddy during the day today.

If you can still see this on Wednesday, things went well.

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