Migrating Hosting from GoDaddy to Dreamhost

So, I finally decided to move hosting to Dreamhost and I am very pleased with the results. First of all, the decision to go with GoDaddy was hastily made at the time I purchased this domain. I knew nothing about hosting plans of the competing companies but I figured GoDaddy was cheap enough and I only wanted to host a couple small projects so I went with it.

email

The most annoying and completely ludicrous thing about my GoDaddy account was that it only provided 100 mb of storage for each email address, compare that with the 7000 mb I have now for up to 100 addresses. This actually wasn’t much of a problem until recently though because I just had my email client set up to pull email off the server and store it locally. However, lately I have been using two different computers regularly and need to be able to check my email from each one. I can’t have my desktop pulling it all off the server anymore.

So, it was pointed out to me that it would be best to use IMAP rather than POP which is the most common email protocol. In short, IMAP keeps a copy of each email on the server and allows all the compatible devices you have (computers, iPhone, PDA, etc…) to be able to view the email. It also allows each email client to communicate back to the server to manipulate emails. For example, I can read an email from my laptop and then move it into a “to-do” folder which transparently places it in the same folder on the server. Later, when I am browsing my email from my desktop that same email will appear in a “to-do” folder on my desktop client. Switching from POP to IMAP was as simple as enabling it on the sever and then setting up my client, Thunderbird, to accommodate it.

usability

The other blatant issue I have with GoDaddy is their homepage. I suffer from information overload just looking at it. To me it is just one big useless pile of crap. It might be acceptable when you are looking for new services, since it is mainly advertisements, but you also have to use the same page to get to the services you already purchased. I would prefer to entirely avoid advertisements and useless junk once I am paying for services.

Also, each different service (hosting, domains, email, etc…) is located on a different part of the page and each one is placed in a drop-down menu with other services they offer regardless if you can use them or not. Not to mention that there is a menu on the bottom of the page with the same headings but different information. Compare this with Dreamhost which presents a single decision upon navigating to their site: log in or sign up. Once logged in, you use a well designed dashboard where every service available can be viewed. You are not forced to navigate to a separate page for each one.

problems

The only problem I have had as of now was not a direct problem with Dreamhost at all. It was an issue with my inexperience with MySQL. I was running MySQL 4.1 with GoDaddy and my Dreamhost server is using MySQL 5.0. There were several new reserved words added with the 5.0 update, one of them being “condition” which I used in several sql and php files because it is a column name in one table. For example, one of the problem statements was:

DELETE FROM results WHERE condition != "Fast";

This problem stumped me for awhile because I forgot that I had used MySQL 4.1 previously. After realizing that and a quick google for changes in MySQL 4.1 to 5.0, both the issue and solution were obvious. The fix is to quote the reserved word in “ quotes although some implementations can use regular ” ” quotes. Thus, this statement works as expected:

DELETE FROM results WHERE `condition` != "Fast";

conclusion

Anyone looking for a new hosting provider should have Dreamhost on their list. It has been great in my personal experience and it also receives praise from many people in forums related to hosting. My experience buying a domain from GoDaddy was smooth, as I expected, because selling domains is their forte. However, I wouldn’t recommend hosting with them.