Greg (dancingguy) wrote,

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I defeated GoDaddy

For years I've owned my own domains on the Web. Basically, I've used them for email, and that's about it. Recently, I've been wanting to have a semi-private place where I could put large files and other people could go pick them up. (For example, the pictures I take are 10 million pixels. I trim them down by a quarter before I post them on Flikr, but I'm happy to give the full size version to the person in the picture. But email systems can get cranky about sending 6 MB + files. Then there's video....)

I've been paying Pair networks $6 / month for 250 MB of drive space and 10 GB / month of bandwidth. GoDaddy sells an account with 10 GB of disk space and 300 GB / month of bandwidth for $5. So, since it's time to renew my domain registrations anyway, I figured I'd switch.

Before I continue this rant I'd like to note that the GoDaddy tech support people are pretty good. They've been patient with me when I was slow, mostly knew what they were talking about, and they've all been native speakers of the English language.

However, GoDaddy's support sucks. Here's four things that you really should know before setting up your website, that GoDaddy doesn't mention anywhere.
  1. GoDaddy's FTP server's do not support Secure FTP (IOW: You have to send your password unencrypted.)

  2. Standard behavior is that if there isn't an index.html file, going to a directory gives you a list of files in that directory. GoDaddy doesn't do this. They tell you it's an invalid link, instead.

  3. Normally, you run PHP (which GoDaddy says the provide for my level of account) by putting it inside of an html file. GoDaddy has this turned off by default.

  4. GoDaddy does a reverse DNS lookup on every piece of mail sent to its users. If the lookup fails, the message is deleted, and never makes it to the user. On the plus side, i haven't received a thousand emails today. On the minus side, I have no way of knowing if they delete non-spam email, because I never get to see it.
As I mentioned above, I wanted this account in part so that I could post files for other people to download. This makes #2 really irritating. The tech support guy said I could get around this by making an index.html file that used PHP to get a list of the files in the directory, and make links to the files. Whereupon #3 bit me in the butt, because I couldn't get any PHP to run. After more than half and hour with multiple tech support people, I got a supervisor who told me about #3, and who told me that I would have to set up a .htaccess file to turn on PHP, but that he wasn't going to tell me how to do that because "that's scripting, and we don't provide support for that."

Now, I don't know how much time it would have taken them to write an FAQ that said Q: "How do I use PHP in an HTML file?" A: Add a .htaccess file to your root directory with the following contents:
AddHandler x-httpd-php5 .php .htm .html

But I bet you that the time they would have saved just in dealing with me would have paid for that Q & A Dumb.

As it was, I learned something else about the .htaccess. And that is that
Options Indexes

Reverse #2, and restores normal behavior. :-)
But, I figured that since I had started trying to write that script, I'd finish it, so that this would be at least a mildly useful learning experience.

    $files = scandir (".");            // Get the files of the current directory
    $begin = "<a href=\"";
    $middle = "\">";
    $end = "</a>";
    $rowStart = "<tr><td>";
    $rowEnd = "</td></tr>\n";
    echo "<table  border='1' width='400' cellspacing='0' cellpadding='1' align='left'>\n";
    echo "<th>Files in this Directory</th>\n";
    foreach ($files as $value) {
        $pos = strpos ($value, ".");    // Eliminate hidden files
        if (($pos === false) || ($pos > 0)) {
            echo "$rowStart$begin$value$middle$value$end$rowEnd";
    echo "</table>\n";
 So now it all works, and I'll probably stick with them. But I'm much less pleased with them than I was 24 hours ago.
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