As many of you know, I vowed to not make this blog exclusively about technical matters and in the near future I will definitely start presenting information about my artwork and watercolor painting techniques. However, before I begin integrating that information, there are some important things I have learned about WordPress when it comes to using GoDaddy as the platform’s host. Since this is information I desperately wish I would have known before I began, I definitely want to share it in order to save others from the trials and tribulations I suffered during the course of my website redesign.
One of the primary reasons I chose GoDaddy as my new website’s host, was because I already had domain names for several different websites through them and they provided a very simple way to install the WordPress platform. The GoDaddy hosting activation and initial WordPress installation went without a single issue. My problems, however, began once I made the decision to utilize GoDaddy’s Preview DNS mode.
It seemed like a great idea. The GoDaddy Preview DNS mode allows one to build a website in a temporary environment that isn’t seen by the public until it is officially published and the domain name is switched to point to the new permanent location for the site. This enables an existing eCommerce website to remain fully operational until the instant a webmaster deems their new website is complete. The instant change creates a smooth transition for customers and the web designer has plenty of time to experiment with the new design before its unveiling. Unfortunately, there are no warnings that the Preview DNS feature doesn’t work well with a WordPress installation.
Luckily, the first day I installed WordPress and began working with it in the Preview DNS mode, I only had time to explore and set up a couple pages. The reason I say this was lucky is because the next day I was completely unable to access any of the WordPress administration screens. Since I had no previous experience with WordPress or GoDaddy hosting, I was completely confused and had no idea why there was a problem or what to do about it. I did some Internet searching and the only solutions I discovered were to reinstall WordPress. I searched for reasons for the occurrence and all I really found was that GoDaddy blames WordPress and WordPress blames GoDaddy. What it really boils down to, however, is that when a person is using the GoDaddy Preview DNS mode, the WordPress site is really located in the Preview DNS domain and all WordPress references utilize the Preview DNS URLs. Because of this, attempts to access the administration screen from within the GoDaddy hosting menu fail since it is referencing the permanent domain location and not the temporary one. At the time, however, I had no clue why it wasn’t working. I resorted to reinstalling WordPress and beginning again. Foolishly, I decided to continue to use the GoDaddy Preview DNS mode. I had no idea that the Preview DNS mode was what was actually causing the problems.
After the second WordPress installation, I proceeded to rebuild all the pages I had created and sparingly experimented with the portfolio until I knew I was going to be able to actually use WordPress and the theme I had chosen to accomplish the website look and functionality that I was expecting.
I had assumed that the previous administration screen problem that I had run across was caused by some sort of GoDaddy time limits or updates so I decided to go ahead and publish the site even though I only had 4 images, the favicon, and logo in place. My thinking was that I would just work really quickly and get most of the images in place over the next couple days. Although this wasn’t the ideal Preview DNS site construction method I was looking for, I figured this was the safest way and would possibly eliminate the aforementioned administration screen log-in issue.
It didn’t take long to populate the portfolio with my images and after a couple days of being able to correctly log in to the administration screen of WordPress, I was convinced that all was well. About 2 week later, however, I discovered another issue. Specifically, the 4 first-loaded images, favicon, and logo for my site had completely disappeared. Everything else was completely functional but those images were missing. After some investigation, I discovered that the URLs which referenced those particular images were pointing to the Preview DNS site. It turns out that WordPress hard references the URLs of all images and GoDaddy only keeps the Preview DNS site around for 14 days. After the 14 days expired, the images were no longer available and WordPress couldn’t find them. I was forced to reload all the missing images and change the URLs that WordPress uses to find each of them.
The entire reason I have written this article and the lesson to be gleaned from my experience is simply to NEVER use GoDaddy’s Preview DNS mode if you are building a WordPress based site and do not know how to change the internal hyperlinks after the site goes live. Can you imagine how miserable I would have been if all 200+ images on my website suddenly disappeared after 14 days simply because I chose to use the seemingly logical Preview DNS mode to completely build my website? I would have been forced to begin again from a fresh install or find a way to search and replace all the image references from within the WordPress database or files. It was purely luck that made me decide to publish my website after the second installation and populate it from its permanent domain. Personally, I really think that GoDaddy should eliminate the Preview DNS mode from its hosting options if a person has utilized their automated WordPress installer. It would save everyone a bunch of headaches and I am sure it would lessen the number of help forum and customer service call references which they receive due to this issue. Although this wouldn’t help the numerous users who manually upload a WordPress installation to a GoDaddy hosting account, it would definitely help many people.
I sincerely hope that all who read this post and are considering using GoDaddy to host their WordPress installation take note and DO NOT utilize the Preview DNS mode. Simply publish the site right from the beginning and there will be far fewer issues with which to deal.Tagged with: administration, dns, domain, ecommerce, godaddy, permanent, preview, preview dns, temporary, url, wordpress