GoDaddy a No-Go for Podcasting

Back in September, mass-market webhost GoDaddy unceremoniously pulled the plug on Adam Christianson’s well-regarded MacCast podcast. Flagging an account for high CPU load isn’t uncommon, but you’d think a company that sponsors dozens of podcasts would have been able to handle the situation better.

Well, GoDaddy seems to have crossed the line from incompetent to iniquitous.

Dave Shepherd of The Word Nerds recently reported that some of his subscribers had problems downloading his show. I was one of them. The end result being that the number of “The Word Nerds” downloads had dropped by almost fifty percent.

The error affected “only” subscribers using Apple’s iTunes software, and plenty of fingers were pointed in that direction. But for better or worse, iTunes is the primary client most podcast listeners use. Over 95 percent of “The Word Nerds” listeners, Dave reported yesterday in a blog post reporting the problem.

As it turns out, it wasn’t just a problem for “The Word Nerds.” Sci-fi podcaster Chris Hutchins had been wrestling with it, and Dan Kuykendall and Steve Eley were on the case, posting updates to the podcasters mailing list at Yahoo! Groups.

Early on, Steve suspected that GoDaddy was “doing something bizarre at the server level that validates IP addresses only after a request from a known user-agent, which iTunes isn’t.” And although no one has been able to reach someone in the know at GoDaddy, this indeed appears to be the case.

Basically, GoDaddy — a company that’s more than happy to market to and take money from podcasters — has configured its servers in a way to interfere with the number one podcatcher out there.

As Dave put it: “If GoDaddy is redirecting based on what client hits the URL, and if it doesn’t like iTunes, then what good is it, really, to a podcaster?”

Of course, GoDaddy did have one solution to offer Dave: its “Quick Podcast” plan. A plan that, at its most expensive “Premium” level, wouldn’t accommodate the needs of “The Word Nerds.” Needs that should be handled just fine with the plan Dave currently has. The numbers tell the story:

GoDaddy Plan Space: Transfer: Price:
Shared Hosting “Economy” 5GB 250GB $3.99/mo.
Shared Hosting “Deluxe” 100GB 1000GB $6.99/mo.
Shared Hosting “Premium” 200GB 2000GB $14.99/mo.
Quick Podcast “Premium” 10GB 500GB $19.99/mo.

How convenient that GoDaddy’s standard hosting plans have suddenly developed a quirk that conflicts with iTunes, now that they’ve got a podcast-specific plan that costs more for less space and transfer.

“My advice to folks looking for a webhost for a podcast feed is the
same as Stephen Eley’s,” Dave wisely concludes. “Avoid GoDaddy like the plague.”

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