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Godaddy Dedicated Server review and experiances

Posted on Jul 29, 2009 by Paul White

Its taken me several years, but finally some of my clients which started off on shared hosting accounts have finally grown to the point that they need their own dedicated box.  Its a very proud day for me.  Even though these clients all where hosted with HostMySite.  We have decided to give godaddy a try.  HostMySite has some of the best support techs in the industry.  But their prices are a little too much for me.  So we are trying Godaddy instead. 

Why Godaddy?

I know what many of your are thinking.  Why would you use Godaddy?  Haven't you read all the negative reviews on them?  Yes I have, but I have also been hosting long enough to know what reviews are creditable and what reviews are not.  Back in 2003 / 2004 I tried godaddy for shared hosting.  But at the time there were several key features they did not support, and this was a deal breaker for me.  Well now its 2009, and I have to say Godaddy has come a long way.  They now provide MySQL 5,  IIS 7, and remote Database access. That and their servers seem to run plenty fast for my clients sites.  All the shared hosting accounts I have with Godaddy are the windows Deluxe plans.  Thus far they have been extremely stable and I would recommend them to others.  Yes Godaddy is kind of a paint because of hold times when you call in for phone support, and you have to navigate their control panels which have a slight learning curve, but once you get past that, and figure out how they are setup, its really a great place to host a website. 

What happend to HostMySite?

I still have many clients hosted with HostMySite.  As they out grow their accounts I will consider moving them over to Godaddy.  Let me be very clear.  The Techs at HostMySite are practically family to me.  Great people.  But I have to do what is best for my clients, and $24 / month for shared asp.net hosting is rediculous.  Especially when I can get the same at Godaddy for $6.99/ month, plus at godaddy I can run multiple websites on a single hosting account, which helps save some of my clients even more money.

My new Godaddy Dedicated Server

One of the things I like about godaddy is the level of transparency I get when building my server.  I don't have to submit a request for a quote.  I can just pick out what I want on my server al-la-carte and it will tell me exactly how much it will cost.  So the Server I built on Godaddy's Dedicated Server section of their website looked like this

First I clicked on Build your own, then I selected the following
  • Processor: Core 2 Duo 2.13 Ghz
  • Operating System: Server 2008 Standard
  • Bandwidth: 500 GB
  • Hard Drives: Dual 120 GB Drives with RAID 1 ( Disk Mirroring )
  • RAM: 2 GB
All the additional stuff like Panel and software, firewall, database, backups and assisted Service Plan, I decided to Opt out of.

The price was $176 / month, going month to month. With a contract you can get this down to under $140.  But my client doesn't have thousands of dollars to throw at a server.

I could have gotten this price down by about $30, by going with a single 120 GB hard drive, and no RAID, but I know if anything in the server is to go bad its the hard drives.  So I decided for a little additional redundancy the dual drives with RAID 1 was a good choice.

So My client made the order.
Within 24 hours our dedicated server was displayed on our control panel, where I had to confirm the settings.  Once that was done about 12 hours later, it was up and running ready for remote desktop access.

The First login

The first login I was greeted by 8 bit graphics and lots of popups for the management.  It was actually hard to read anything because of the graphics settings.  But a quick logout and editing the Remote Desktop display settings to 16 bit fixed this.  After I got into the server,  the first thing I did was browse around to see what all was installed by default.  Turns out that the Operating System was the 32 bit OS instead of the 64 bit OS of Server 2008.  This is nice because the 32 bit version tends to be more conservative with memory usage.  though I would have liked the 64 bit version as I will be installing MySQL and some other programs that are optimized for 64 bit.  This server is not going to be a running any intensive database applications so its not a big deal.  Another thing I came to realize is that the OS is Windows Server 2008 SP1.  So the first thing I did was hit up windows updates to get the OS updated with the latest patches.  Finally 4 reboots later I had SP2 installed. 

No FTP for IIS7

Not sure why but Godaddy does not install IIS 7 FTP server as part of the default install.  Instead its running FTP from IIS 6.  I had to hunt down the IIS 7 version of FTP from microsoft, then uninstall the older FTP server, before installing the new one.

Supposed to get 120 GB hard drives,  got 160 GB hard drives instead.

Not sure if the Godaddy website is out of date, but it seems they installed 160 GB drives instead of 120 GB drives.  I won't complain about the additional 40 GBs.  Not sure if they do this with all dedicated boxes or just with guys who have dual hard drives in RAID 1.

What does Godaddy use for RAID?

When I asked them they told me that they use hardware raid, which is good, but would not tell me the specifics.  One thing you will learn about Godaddy is they are very hush hush on what they will tell you about their network and hardware.  Its as if its information that could be used against them.  So to find out for sure I went into the device manager to checkout what RAID card it was using.  Turns out Godaddy uses a RocketRAID 152x SATA Controller.  I googled the specs of this card to learn more and besides finding the installation guide via PDF, google turned up very little.  So I went over to newegg to see if they sell it.  Here is what I found

newegg newegg

HighPoint RocketRAID1520 PCI SATA / IDE Controller Card - Retail

  • Internal Connectors:

    2 x SATA 150
  • RAID:

    RAID 0/1 JBOD
  • Operating Systems Supported:

    Windows 98 / ME / NT4.0 / 2K / XP / 2003 , Linux (Redhat Enterprise Linux, SuSE Enterprise, SuSE Professional, Fedora Core) and FreeBSD
  • Features:

    PCI 32bit@33/66MHz 2 Channel PCI to SATA RAID Controller IDE hard disk compatible Better connectivity (low pin count, small cable and connector) Thin cable for easy routing and improving cooling inside a computer chassis RocketHead converter is easy plug and play for all IDE hard disks Bootable disk or disk
  • Package Contents:

    RocketRAID1520 User Manual 3 x Floppy Disk 2 x Power Cable 2 x SATA Cable 2 x RocketHead Converter
  • Model #:

  • Item #:

Its not the fastest RAID controller, but its a lot better than software RAID.

Thus far the setup on the Godaddy server is going very smoothly.  I will keep everyone updated on how things turn out.  I don't want to endorse it yet, as its still too early, but thus far I am happy with how things are progressing.

What does Godaddy use for Hard Drives on their Dedicated Servers?

Well I was supposed to get  Dual 120GB drives in RAID 1.  instead the partition size was 152,624 MB.  After doing some searching on google I found a thread that had this same partition size for a 160 GB Drive. The drive was a

WD1600JS-60NCB1 by Western Digital

The scary part was I did a search and found this drive has issues.  Hoping that there are other drives with the same partition size, meaning that maybe the drives in my server are not these specific drives.  Good thing I have the RAID 1 array in case one bites the dust.

UPDATE Aug 1, 2009

So I finally got everything setup on the Dedicated Box.  Thus far I am pretty happy, and feel the process went relatively smooth.  The only times I had to call Godaddy's tech Support was to get the IPs of the DNS server so I could setup smartermail.  However there was one thing I learned that may deter many from going to Godaddy.

Godaddy forces you to relay through their servers.

Most dedicated Hosting companies, and most offering VPS plans, don't filter your SMTP traffic.  But Godaddy does things differently.  You are limited to 1000 outgoing emails / day.  The nice thing is for people with legitimate bulk email lists, they are willing to raise your limit as high as you want, but you first have to submit a copy of your email for them to review.  I hear they are very strict about spam, and will suspend any account using their hardware for spam.  I guess they are trying to cover themselves legally.  For those of you who are running your own mail server on your Dedicated Box you will need to setup a gateway between you mailserver and the Godaddy relay server.  Takes 5 seconds to configure in smartermail

MySQL 5.1 wouldn't install on Godaddy Dedicated Server

Another issue I ran into was the server didn't seem to like MySQL 5.1.  I tried installing and reinstalling over and over again with no luck. It would always kick off an error at the last part of the configuration.  However MySQL 5.0 installed without any problems.

IIS 7 Request Length capped at 30 Megs by default.

I figured this out when my client tried to upload a 90 Meg FLV.  I had to go in and configure it so it would take a larger file for uploads. 

SmarterStats Required .NET 1.1

Since I was using an older version of SmarterStats ( 3.x) I had to also install the .NET 1.1 framework, and then configure SmarterStats Application Pool to use it

FTP needed advanced configuration to handle passive transfers

I may blog about this in the future, but this was kind of a pain.  Since I am using the windows Firewall, I had to open up a good 1000 ports of so, and then designate these ports for FTP passive transfers.  I can't remember the link to where I figured this out. Just google for it and you will find it. 

Opinions on Godaddy Dedicated Windows Server thus far

This was my first Windows Server 2008 setup, and I felt the setup went pretty smooth.  As for comparing the Godaddy Dedicated Windows Box to the HostMySite 1 GB Windows VPS.  I would highly recommend anyone with a VPS to make the switch.  Even if you are getting just a bare bones Dedicated Windows Box running a P4 / HT with only 1 GB ram, it only costs $93/ month with no contracts.  Of course what we went with cost $176 / month, but still the cheapest Dedicated Windows box at Godaddy is better than any VPS or Cloud host.

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Dball | Aug 31, 2009 10:24 AM
My question is why wouldn't you host with a company that only deals with windows if that is what you are needing? Godaddy is good and all but they are have to split there staff for Windows and Linux. If it was me I would have gotten a managed Windows 2008 Server with Server Intellect. They are an Microsoft partner and only deal with Windows. I run 2 servers with them and the issues you had with installing SQL they could have resloved and installed for you. Wow and limiting your emails on a dedicated server is absurd, it is your server and bandwidth as long as your not spamming they shouldn't have control of how many emails your sending out. That is going to cause your problems later in life when you have 50 or more websites hosted on your box.
Paul | Aug 31, 2009 10:56 AM
The main reason I went with Godaddy was price. HostMySite wanted $300/month for a dedicated windows box, while Godaddy I got a fully loaded box with no setup fees for $176 / month. So far I am very happy with the box and how it has performed. My Ping times are consistent at 50 ms. I opt out of the dedicated support, as I am experienced enough to run my box. Yes the SMTP relay cap sucks, but I understand why they do this. I have since asked for the cap to be increased and they have increased it to 8000 / day, which is plenty for my needs. This box isn't going to host 50 websites. Right now its hosting maybe 10 when you include the web admins for the mail and stats servers. I might be a couple more on it, but that would be it. The box was mainly for one of my bigger clients, and he doesn't mind me putting my personal sites on it. If a person doesn't know what they are doing with a dedicated box, then yes I would advise going with a more support oriented hosting company. But If you know how to run your own box, and don't mind working around some of the negatives on godaddy, then yes they are a great deal. So far I have 2 dedicated boxes with them, and both have performed flawlessly.
JBJ | Jul 2, 2010 2:54 AM
Thank you for the detailed review. I'm seriously considering going with Godaddy's dedicated hosting now. Maybe they'll offer a full refund withing 30 days if I sign a 1 or 2 year contract.
Paul | Jul 2, 2010 3:13 AM
Just wanted to give you a little something to think about before you get a dedicated box.  If you need a dedicated server, and you don't need their support techs ( IE you know how to run and configure your own box ).  Then a godaddy server will get you by for now, but eventually you are likely to do what I did, and buy your own server and then colocate.  Godaddy was almost $180 / month for Dedicate server.  With Colo I am only paying $65 / month.  I was able to built my own 1U rack server with used parts off ebay for under $1500.  And my server smokes anything in Godaddy's Arsenal.  Even if they provided you with a decent server its pointless.  I learned that Godaddy over sells their bandwidth.  IE they put you on a 100 Mbit port. but only has enough bandwidth to support maybe 10 Mbit ( if you are lucky ).  Also the mail relay thing was a deal breaker for me.  My open rates had dropped to 30% of what they used to be.  I highly recommend you just buy your own server and colocate it with a local datacenter.  If you are in the market I highly recommend Acronoc for Server Colocation in Houston
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