GoDaddy.com: When Bad Things Happen to Good DNS Hosts

As we mentioned earlier this week, GoDaddy.com, one of the world’s largest domain registrars and website hosting providers, experienced some significant issues with its DNS hosting services. As the company’s DNS servers went down, so did thousands of websites. If you’re an Alertra customer, you already know if the issues that were plaguing GoDaddy affected your site.

Monday the GoDaddy site itself was down for quite some time. People questioned whether or not a hacker was to blame, thinking the event may be an Internet version of David taking down Goliath. After all, a Twitter member named Anonymous Own3r did take credit for the issues that GoDaddy was experiencing. In the end, GoDaddy’s official statement is that the server outages had nothing to do with a hacker. Instead, they were the result of “a series of internal network events that corrupted router data tables.” The statement given by the GoDaddy site also said that the company has taken measures to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again in the future. So what’s the real story? Since no one on the inside is contradicting GoDaddy’s statement, we’ll have to assume that the internal network events did indeed create the chaos that affected millions across the Web.

Speaking of chaos, how exactly did the outage bode with GoDaddy customers and others who were affected by the DNS outages? As Twitter member Nash076 stated, “Good news! The GoDaddy crash wasn't caused by hackers. Bad news? It was caused by incompetence.” This statement is a prime example of how system errors and the resulting downtime can have a direct impact on a company’s reputation. Problems like the ones experienced this week can hit a brand hard, and there’s no question that people have their opinions regarding the issues that GoDaddy was experiencing. Sarah Lacey, another Twitter member, sarcastically tweeted, “GoDaddy: We Weren’t Hacked, We’re Incompetent.” We’re pretty sure this isn’t the image that GoDaddy wants to present to the public.

While those who were affected by the outages are entitled to their frustrations, let’s not be too harsh in our judgment of the company’s reliability or competence. After all, GoDaddy was quick to resolve the issues, did take full responsibility and even offered an apology to customers via their website stating, “We have let our customers down and we know it.” The company has historically provided 99.999 percent uptime according to the site’s statement. While this single event won’t likely have a long-term impact on the GoDaddy brand, it has left a bad taste in the mouths of many – no matter how temporary that taste may be.

While the importance of uptime is one lesson to be learned from this event, there’s an underlying lesson here as well. Just because your site or DNS is hosted with a reliable hosting company, don’t assume that you’re immune to downtime or unplanned website outages. Alertra customers knew of the outage as soon as it occurred because of the advanced monitoring services we provide. Our customers were able to publish statements on their sites apologizing for the downtime because they were made aware of the downtime when it happened. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for those who were not aware that their sites were affected. GoDaddy’s brand is big enough to take the hit and overcome the temporary PR nightmare. Other sites that were impacted by the domino effect may not be lucky enough to walk away so unscarred.