Running WordPress on AWS Lightsail: Part 1- The Reason (hint: Godaddy FAIL)

A few years ago, I moved over to Godaddy for blog hosting. Yes, I know now that Godaddy WordPress hosting is not good. Keep in mind, I’ve had this blog for 10 years with several different providers and when I moved it to Godaddy, they actually had a better service offering for the money. The operative word here is “had”. Not anymore.

Now that I’ve started blogging again, I quickly discovered that the Godaddy experience for WordPress hosting, well, it’s abysmal. I kept getting hosting timeouts when trying to create a post or just hitting the site. Over the last week, I saw this screen nearly more than any other screen.

The middle part of “Godaddy Firewall”  in the screen shot above originally said “Cloudflare Firewall” because I had Cloudflare set up as a firewall and CDN. I was getting the hosting timeouts and contacted Godaddy support.

Godaddy support immediately pointed the finger to Cloudflare when Cloudflare was clearly showing that it was the WordPress server not responding in a timely manner. So, I decided to eliminate Cloudflare and move everything over to Godaddy firewall/CDN so it would be all Godaddy top to bottom and eliminate the finger pointing.

Of course, this changed nothing. I spent my evenings after work on many support calls or chats last week with Godaddy.  We exhausted all their troubleshooting steps including me allowing them to blow the WordPress installation away and build it completely new.  I had the exact same timeout problems. To my amazement, with a completely new installation of WordPress hosting on Godaddy top to bottom not working any better than before we started, the support guy tried selling me cPanel as a solution. In fact, he was pushy about it. “Can I add this to your account? Can we proceed with adding cPanel?” Unbelievable.

I was clearly demonstrating that WordPress and specifically the wp-admin functionality (the admin screens in WordPress) literally wouldn’t allow me to create blog posts because it was so slow and timing out on a brand new installation. To get the support salesman to move on from sales mode, I questioned him if he thought that creating a blog post was considered basic or optional functionality of the Godaddy WordPress hosting or did they require you to purchase cPanel to do create a simple blog post?

To be fair, not all of the Godaddy support people were like this. I talked to 6 of them over the course of a week and most of them tried to help and were friendly and their response time was good. Note: I talked to 6 different Godaddy support people over the week for a basic WordPress hosting site.

So after a week of constant troubleshooting a simple Godaddy WordPress Hosting installation, I woke up on Sunday morning and decided to fix it. I moved it all over to WordPress on AWS Lightsail. It was done in 5 minutes and was the easiest server deployment I’ve done. Note: I had to talk to 0 support people for AWS install.

If anyone at Godaddy reads this, take this advice please. Tell your support people to never try to sell more services when the service the customer purchased already isn’t working and tell your WordPress team to do installations and eat their own dog food.  They’ll find its unacceptable.

Also, you will be put out of business by AWS or Azure if you don’t provide a better technical experience because AWS is providing a much better technical experience.  Customers will move off your platform very quickly. I did it on a Sunday morning while having my coffee. For example, I also run our church’s WordPress site on Godaddy and I’m moving it too.

In the next post in this series, I show how I deployed WordPress on AWS Lightsail.

2 thoughts on “Running WordPress on AWS Lightsail: Part 1- The Reason (hint: Godaddy FAIL)”

  1. Shannon – excellent write-up! I moved my website over to Lightsail and it was the best thing I ever did. The speed and ease of use is great. Customer feedback has been great and the ability to spin up and down clones for testing in minutes makes it a logical choice for WordPress or any LAMP Stack solution for small organizations.

    1. Thanks Jim. I agree with your comments. They have other servers, including OS only deployments. What I like is they have boiled it down to the necessary steps you need to do in order to provision and support an AWS instance – with predictable monthly costs.

      I have more posts coming in this series showing how I did the configuration in Lightsail and Cloudflare. Hopefully they will help others gain confidence in rolling their own servers in the public cloud.

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