Migrating from GoDaddy to Microsoft 365 and Avoiding GoDaddy Issues

Migrating from GoDaddy to Microsoft 365 is not as simple as you might think. While GoDaddy is a decent webhost for startups and small businesses who need a cost-effective and simple online presence, like most things designed for start-up businesses, it is easy to outgrow. GoDaddy’s flavor of Microsoft 365 is a stripped down, more expensive version of the real Microsoft 365. Enticing businesses with simplified billing, low first year costs, and an easy upgrade from the dismal webmail provided by GoDaddy with their hosted domains, GoDaddy traps businesses into staying on the platform by making the email migration process as difficult as possible.

DO NOT BUY Microsoft 365 from GoDaddy

Normally we would do a side-by-side comparison, but there is really no comparison. the GoDaddy version of Microsoft 365 is just a bad business decision, no matter what angle you look at it from.

  • When you buy Microsoft 365 from GoDaddy you are literally paying more for less. They offer “first year pricing” in 22-point font, then below show renewal rates for the following year that are between 50 and 130% higher than buying direct from Microsoft. For example, GoDaddy Business Professional starts a $107.88 per year, then jumps to $191.88 after 12 months. This plan aligns to Microsoft 365 Business Standard which is $150 per year.
  • GoDaddy Microsoft 365 is NOT hosted by Microsoft, nor is it managed by Microsoft. GoDaddy’s 365 is designed exclusively for small businesses, so as you grow you will quickly need more services. GoDaddy 365 does not have Power BI, Power Platform, Dynamics, and there is NO WAY to upgrade or buy add-ons to get them, even from Microsoft. The only way to get those tools if you need them is to move to Microsoft.
  • No real admin here. The GoDaddy Microsoft 365 experience is designed for businesses with little or no IT staff. To simplify administrative tasks, the GoDaddy Office 365 admin portal is not the actual Microsoft 365 Admin portal, but GoDaddy’s stripped down version with limited tools.
  • 301 employees? Nope. GoDaddy 365 is limited to Microsoft 365 Business plans, and not Enterprise. This means that there is a hard limit of only 300 users per plan. Once you hit 301 users it’s time to migrate to Microsoft’s real Microsoft 365 so you can upgrade to enterprise plans that allow more than 300 users
  • Instead, buy Microsoft 365 from a CSP partner who can not only offer you licensing, but can also help you navigate complex licensing choices to make sure you are getting the best features and pricing for your unique business needs.

Migrating from GoDaddy to Microsoft 365

Okay, so you already messed up, and you’re sitting in GoDaddy 365. Now you need to move to the real Microsoft 365. While it is not a simple process, it is one we have had repeated success with. Here are the main things to understand going in, and then the unique steps needed to move the domain without destroying your tenant in the process.

GoDaddy Issues

While we have gone over some of the differences between GoDaddy and Microsoft’s versions of Microsoft 365, here are the specific issues you will encounter when trying to migrate to Microsoft from GoDaddy.

  • GoDaddy does provide services and a documented process for you to handle your own migration. However, their process requires cancelation of your GoDaddy Office 365 tenant to release the custom/SMTP domain and then PST files are provided. This is a DANGEROUSLY bad way to do it as it creates massive downtime and there is no ability rollback in the case of migration issues. You get one shot, and once you start the process you are down until it is completed.

  • The “limited” GoDaddy Admin interface lacks the tools normally needed for a standard tenant to tenant migration.

  • No real admin access means no PowerShell access so common migration tools don’t work properly.

  • GoDaddy’s standard support personnel are not all familiar with this process, so if you do need help you may have to wait for an escalation that can take hours to days.

  • During the migration process to not make ANY changes to your GoDaddy environment such as adding or removing custom/SMTP domains in Azure Active Directory, Exchange Online, or PowerShell. The GoDaddy interface has delays in recognizing changes from these sources, and there will be significant delays in waiting for these changes to be recognized. Migrating during that time will cause errors.

Steps to Mitigate GoDaddy Issues in Microsoft 365 Migrations

  • Register a new custom domain in your GoDaddy account
  • Migrate all Azure Active Directory users and groups from GoDaddy to Microsoft
  • Migrate any additional SharePoint, OneDrive, or Teams objects into Microsoft 365
  • Assign all mailboxes to the temporary SMTP domain registered above, so Microsoft 365 can consume the domain you are migrating
  • Now here comes the fun part. You cannot remove federation of the original SMTP domain. Instead, you must call GoDaddy support to coordinate the removal before things can move over to Microsoft 365. Note that this is an escalation, and it can take hours (or sometimes days) to coordinate.
  • Once GoDaddy finally takes care of things, you can assume the domain in M365

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