Why I’m moving my WordPress sites to GoDaddy after seven years with DreamHost

I was a huge proponent of DreamHost for years; I’ve used them for at least a dozen websites and I’ve recommended them to countless clients. They’re cheap, their site’s easy to use, and I’ve experienced little or no downtime on any of the sites I’ve hosted with them over the last seven years.

However, in the last couple years I’ve noticed that my WordPress sites that are hosted with DreamHost (I have about five) are running unbearably slow, while my other non-WordPress sites are running fine. I’ve done countless searches about this over the last year or two and I keep finding the same non-answers: many other people report this problem in various forums, and for the most part DreamHost representatives and other people simply tell them the slowness is due to their sites having too many plugins installed, or plugins that are poorly coded, etc. In a few cases I’ve seen people report that they got DreamHost to move their sites to another server, and that solved the problem. While I’m glad this solution has worked for people, it’s frustrating to hear that some of DreamHost’s customers (like me, apparently) are simple receiving poor service because they’re on a bad server. If the problem is so widespread, shouldn’t this be something they’re actively fixing instead of waiting for people to contact them about it?

So I wanted to figure out what was going on with my sites, and I did a test, using the site you’re reading right now. I set up this site in my DreamHost account, and added nothing extra: I used the default theme, and had just one page and one post, with no plugins or extra customization at all. And it was painfully, excruciatingly slow. All of my interactions in the Dashboard were brutally slow, and browsing the site itself was equally bad.

From there I added the theme and plugins and customizations that I wanted, and there was no change in performance. So the slowness clearly had nothing to do with my plugins, theme, etc. It was just the server.

I submitted a ticket to DreamHost support about this issue four days ago, and I have received no response whatsoever.

That was the last straw. Today I decided to try an experiment: I created a mirror of this site at GoDaddy, and right away it was exponentially faster. I’m now looking at the two identical sites side by side; they have the same content, same theme, same plugins, etc. I click on a post on the GoDaddy version, and it takes about .75 seconds to fully load. I click on the same post in the DreamHost version, and it takes five seconds to fully load. Five seconds feels like an eternity when you’re clicking around on multiple pages of a site. It feels even worse when you’re trying to maintain a site through the WordPress Dashboard and every single interaction, every click, takes five seconds. It’s torture.

I’ve timed these page loads about a dozen times to get an average, and it’s been between five and eight seconds every time for the DreamHost version. The GoDaddy version is under one second every time. I had no idea WordPress could move that fast.

So, I’m going to begin the laborious and costly process of transferring all my WordPress sites and their domains to GoDaddy.

Now, I should also mention, I’ve heard the exact opposite story from a few people over the years. A client of mine a couple years ago complained that her GoDaddy-hosted WordPress site was unbearably slow, and I took a look and she was absolutely right. I’m not sure what host she switched to after that. So maybe GoDaddy is just as guilty of this problem, and I simply got lucky when I signed up with them today. I’ll take it.

One Response to “Why I’m moving my WordPress sites to GoDaddy after seven years with DreamHost”

  1. manningkrull says:

    Unbelievable; I never received a reply to my ticket at all, and I moved all the websites I care about off of Dreamhost’s server. I still have some old stuff there that I left just out of laziness, and today (11 months later!) I received this email from Dreamhost:

    From: DreamHost Announcer
    Subject: DreamHost Webserver Performance Improvements

    You are seeing this message because we have identified the server which houses your account as being in need of a little TLC. What this means for you is that it is possible that your account will be among a handful of those moving to a new server in the next few weeks. If you are one of the chosen few, you’ll receive a detailed email with information related to the move (including settings needed to update outside DNS setups) which should cover any questions that come up. Please contact our support team if you have any questions or concerns:

    https://panel.dreamhost.com/index.cgi?tree=support.msg&

    We hope you enjoy the resulting service improvements!

    At least this serves as a reminder for me to cancel my account with them entirely.

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