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You've started your business, you've bought your domain and just as you're about to checkout from GoDaddy you get an offer: Office 365 for cheaper than Microsoft even sells it! You click Add to Cart and boom! You're off to the races. And for a while, you're right there along with the pack. Your business starts growing and your tools (including the GoDaddy version of Office 365) support you along the way. Yet suddenly, you've grown just a little too large, and...you start falling behind. Other businesses keep growing, they easily track their performance, and they integrate new tools. You, on the other hand, aren't able to do these things, nor are you able to manage all the new employees you're bringing in through your Admin center. Before too long, the pack is way ahead of you. What's happened?
What's happened to you is what's happened to countless other growing small businesses: they've outgrown GoDaddy. The only problem? Once you've outgrown GoDaddy there are only two options: stagnate or migrate. Yikes! Sound bleak? While yes, the optimal situation would be not to start with GoDaddy in the first place, it's completely understandable why people do (hello discounted licensing and sneaky marketing! 👋). How common is this problem?
Josh Franklin is often the first point of contact for customers at BEMO and every day he hears the same thing: “I need to migrate off of GoDaddy. My business is expanding but we are trapped by the licensing limitations. What can I do?”. Since this is an everyday question, I figured it might be good to reach out to Josh and get a little more detail as to what GoDaddy offers when it comes to Microsoft products and why our customers often describe GoDaddy as a “trap”. We will learn more about this trap and what to do if you've found yourself in its clutches. Let’s check out our interview:
Prefer to read about it? Check out the full transcript:
Julia: Okie-Dokie. So today we are talking with Josh Franklin about GoDaddy's Office 365 versus Microsoft's Office 365. So something that you get from GoDaddy, when you're signing up for, you know, your brand new company website, etc. They offer you this versus going with a partner or buying directly from Microsoft. So, thanks for joining us, Josh. So, okay. What's the deal with GoDaddy's Office 365? Like how did that come about? What is it?
Josh: Yep. So GoDaddy is what's called a Microsoft Partner, just like BEMO but GoDaddy has a special sort of a partnership with Microsoft where they provide the domains for Microsoft and I guess at some point in the past, they decided, you know what, we're already doing all of the domains for Microsoft. Let's go ahead and start selling Office 365. And so essentially the license is provided by GoDaddy. They're sort of a weird in-between licenses. What I mean by that is if you get your licenses through GoDaddy, you don't actually own the license, GoDaddy does. They're essentially just leasing the licenses to you. Hence why, if you've ever taken a look at what you have control over,you really don't have much control over the licenses.
Julia: Okay. So why does a company buy this?
Josh: Biggest reason I've seen is they don't know any better. So a lot of people go to GoDaddy for domains and website building and things like that. And when you're a small company, you have maybe two or three employees, you are going through a good idea for pretty much everything. And at some point you're going to realize, "Oh cool! They offer Office 365 licenses." You're already getting your domain through them. You already have your website through them. So why not just get Office licenses through them as well? That's usually how most people get started with Office 365 for GoDaddy. I have never met anyone that goes to GoDaddy specifically for Office 365. It always seems to be an add-on kind of.
Julia: Yeah, well, I have a personal website and a hundred percent almost bought it before I worked at BEMO. So, are they the same plans? What does GoDaddy actually offer?
Josh: No. So GoDaddy names their licenses different things. I don't know if it's to confuse businesses or what, but they have three SMB licenses just like Microsoft. They have online business essentials, which is essentially just Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Business Professional, which is basically just business standard for Microsoft, and Premium Security, which is a business premium from Microsoft. They all offer pretty much the exact same things with the exception of again, because you don't own the license, you don't have any sort of control in the admin center, and you can't purchase any sort of add-ons. So if you need things like Vizio or Business Voice or Project, you can't get any of that through GoDaddy, unfortunately.
Julia: What are these add-ons good for? Like, do we really need them?
Josh: So it really depends on what you guys are going to be using them for what you, uh, what kind of, I guess, environment you guys are in. So in most cases, people under 10 users won't really need a lot of add-ons, but as you start to grow, as you start to work on more advanced projects, depending on what industry you're in. Microsoft Project is an add-on that a lot of people have been coming in to us for recently, and it's also a big one that causes people to look at leaving GoDaddy. And so Project, for instance, will allow you to pretty much create an entire project within the app, assign the users to it, look at their progress, and have them add notes. And it basically makes you like if you have a project manager, it makes their jobs significantly easier and cleaner, I guess, because you're not having to write everything down. Um, and if you ever get to that, to where you need Project, you can't get it with GoDaddy. You simply just cannot purchase any add-ons whatsoever with GoDaddy.
Another one Business Voice, which is Microsoft's calling system. So as you grow, obviously, everyone's going to need a business phone number. It starts to get really expensive if you're going through Mitel or Vonage after 15-20 users. So Microsoft has this add-on that allows you to use the Teams App as your phone system. You can use it on your cell phone, on your computer - it's great. And it's actually really cheap compared to a lot of plans out there from different providers, but again, can not get it if you're on GoDaddy, unfortunately. So yeah, there's a good chance you probably will need a few of them at some point in time.
Julia: Yeah. Phones are pretty essential. That's what we're using right now is Business Voice, obviously. Um, is it secure, GoDaddy's offering?
Josh: It is, um, it is to an extent. So, by default with all Office 365 licenses, you get very, very basic forms of email security called,um, online exchange, online essentials, essentially. And so it's going to give you very basic spam filtering and phishing protection, but nothing advanced whatsoever. But you're going to get that just like you do with any Office 365 license, but where it gets a little bit more complicated is whenever you want the more advanced security setup, Defender for Office 365 plan one, which is more advanced spam filtering, email quarantining, uh, advanced phishing protection, things like that you cannot get that with any of the GoDaddy Office licenses, except for the most expensive one, Defender for Business, which is more of your endpoint protection.
So if they think of it as business grade, antivirus, antimalware you can't get that at all with GoDaddy, they don't even offer that with their top license, which it does actually come with the top tier Office license. So yes, secure, but not super secure.
Julia: Okay. Interesting. And so price-wise, we're talking about cost a little bit. Is the cost the same for GoDaddy?
Josh: No. So a lot of times what they do, and this is also why people go with them for Office is they will offer you a discounted rate for the first year. Now, what they don't tell you, is that in a lot of cases, they will try to get you to sign one to three-year contracts. So that first year you'll get it for a pretty good price. Honestly, it's cheaper than going with Microsoft direct, but once that first year is up and it renews, you're actually going to be paying significantly more for the licenses per user, per month, than what you'd get from a partner or Microsoft. There's nothing you can do because you can't get out of the contract and then you're still paying more. Yeah. It's, it's a pretty, pretty big mess at that point.
Julia: Yeah. Um, and then, so you said something about the Admin Panel? You don't have any access to the Admin Panel or it's limited? Tell me a little bit more.
Josh: Very, very limited. So, um, and to get the Admin Panel, basically think of your Admin Panel as your main hub for anything you want to do from a management perspective. So add, remove users, sign licenses, set up any security settings whatsoever. Um, check your, your One Drive accounts for all of your users. That's what you would use your Admin Panel for. Normally you would go to office.com login and then it would take you to your Admin Panel. GoDaddy because they own your licenses you don't actually have access to that. If you go to office.com and try to log in, you'll get redirected to Godaddy's login, it'll log you into their version of the Admin Panel, which is extremely watered down. You won't have any sort of control over uh, setting up any security settings, purchasing any add-ons, you won't have access to a full exchange Admin Panel. You won't be able to do any of that stuff.
Julia: And so do they do it for you?
Josh: No, so, um, you can, you can buy licenses from your main GoDaddy page and you can assign users, but if you ever need them to actually set up any advanced security settings, they won't do it. They don't have people on staff that specialize in that. They just, they don't, they won't do it for you whatsoever. If you reach out to them to set anything up at other than just add a user, remove a user, things like that.
Julia: Oh no. So can you just set up like multi-factor authentication or anything like that?
Josh: Yes, but it's very tricky because it goes through GoDaddy. If you set up MFA and for whatever reason you lose your authentication method, for instance, Microsoft Authenticator on your phone, you as a, as the account owner will not be able to reset it or change the device. We'll have to reach out to GoDaddy, go through a really ridiculous process of proving your identity. Um, you have to send them paperwork showing that you own the company. That you, in fact are who you say you are and then they can essentially reset it for you on the backend. But from what I've talked, when I, what I've been told by some of the customers that have come to us, it can take up to two weeks to get all of that set up. So if you can access your account for two weeks. Yeah. It's not going to be good for anybody.
Julia: We have customers who can't even be down for 30 minutes, so...
Josh: Yes, exactly.
Julia: Wow. Okay. So does it make sense for a company to buy through GoDaddy?
Josh: Sure. Um, if you're really small and you don't plan on growing, so let's say that you're under 10 users. You guys do really just need the basics. You need email, word, Excel, PowerPoint, all of that. You never plan on using any add-ons. You're not too worried about advanced email security then, yeah, I mean, it would make sense if just to keep things simple, keep everything in the same, same billing and all of that that you have right now with GoDaddy. It might not make sense from a cost standpoint just because they are very expensive after that first year. But I mean, yeah, just from a simplicity standpoint, that would be GoDaddy's ideal customers, someone under 10 users that does not need add-ons, doesn't really care about paying more, as long as it's all within the same billing, that would be really it.
Julia: Yeah. Okay. So I'm on GoDaddy and I'm growing and I'm feeling the growing pains. What are my options?
Josh: So if you get to a point to where you decide, you know what GoDaddy's office licenses are not for me. I need various ad-ons. I need different things. I want more control. I need security. You have two options. The cheaper one is to do what's called defederation. So when you defederate your Office tenant from GoDaddy, you're essentially reaching out to GoDaddy saying, "Hey, I no longer want to go through you guys for Office 365. I want to go through Microsoft direct." So when you do that, you still have to have some technical knowledge because you have to actually go in and do the defederation process yourself. But the main pain point that I've heard from customers that have tried this is that GoDaddy takes an extremely long time to respond to these requests. It can take months for them to get back to you.
In some cases to approve your request, then you'll have to still figure out how to do the defederation. And then from there, it's really what we call a messy migration. Reason being because GoDaddy owns your office tenant they set you up with a, just a random domain prefix. And the domain prefix is basically what comes before dot on microsoft.com on the admin side. Honestly, your end users won't really notice it except for in SharePoint and One Drive and things like that. But as we start to grow your it admins will notice it. And a lot of cases, they hate it because it's just some generic thing for whatever reason, just they don't like the look of it. And you can never change that. So whatever that is set as by GoDaddy, that's what it is. You can never change it to your company's name. You can ever change it to anything.
Julia: Ooh. Okay. So a little funky. Okay. That's one option. What's the other option?
Josh: The other option is to actually do a full migration, which is what we do. So with our migrations, we essentially have you create a new Office account. Let's set up for that prefix domain with whatever you want. And then we copy all of your data from GoDaddy. Bring it over to the new tenant. Put everything where it's supposed to go. And then from there you guys will officially be on Office 365 with Microsoft, you'll have full control of your admin panel. You can purchase any add-ons you want, you can set up any security settings you want, or we can do that for you as well.
If you need something like that. And then your GoDaddy licenses, you can just cancel them with them. with GoDaddy, your domain, your website, all of that will stay where it is. None of that will be touched because we don't want to break it. But your Office 365 accounts will officially be in with Microsoft and not GoDaddy.
Julia: Okay. And then the pricing will be Microsoft pricing.
Josh: Yes. Yeah. So whenever you go with a Microsoft direct or with most partners, the licenses that we provide are directly from Microsoft. The only difference is that you would purchase the licenses through an online portal, as opposed to microsoft.com and yeah, the licenses are exactly what you pay Microsoft. So there's no upcharge, there's no added fees or anything like that. Uh, such as what you get with GoDaddy, whenever that first year is up. Uh, yeah. And from there on out, any licenses you get, depending on, if you go with month, month or annual commitment, um, you'll have more flexibility. So, if you go with month-to-month licenses, you can add licenses, remove licenses whenever you want. If you go with the annual commit, you'll still have the option to pay monthly or yearly, but your price will never go up.
Julia: Okay. So I'm not super technical, but some people are, so what if they wanted to do this migration on their own?
Josh: Yeah. So we actually have a step-by-step GoDaddy migration blog that walks you through what to do. If you are tech-savvy enough to follow it, which we have quite a few people that reach out to us that are tech savvy enough, it will walk you through how to do it. You don't have to pay us for it. We provide it completely for free and I'm sure there's going to be a link somewhere on here that walks you, that sends you over to that. But, um, yeah, that would be the best option. If you wanted to do it yourself, the clean way without having to pay for us to do it or anyone else.
Julia: Okay. And about how long does it take?
Josh: So that's going to depend on how much stuff you have to bring over. So if, if you're like 10 users and it's just emails on average our migrations, once we get started can take maybe three to five business days. If you are like 50 plus users, you have emails, you have One Drive SharePoint data, you have Teams data, just a lot of stuff to bring over, the migration process itself. It can take, obviously it'll take a bit longer. It can take maybe 10 to 15 business days on the, on the longer end. But keep in mind the way we do it in the blog that you're going to share that what the guide on how to do it yourself there's really no downtime.
Basically what happens is the tool that we use called BitTitan, we'll do a live sync in the background. So it'll essentially copy all of your data on GoDaddy while your users continue to work, send and receive emails. They honestly won't even know that it's going on. And so the only downtime during this entire process is at the very, very end where we switch you from GoDaddy over to Microsoft. And that can vary, can take anywhere from 30 minutes to maybe a few hours. But, um, but yeah, I mean, it's still nowhere near as bad as being down for two to three weeks. If, if something happens with GoDaddy.
Julia: Yeah. Okay. You said 10 to 15 business days? And I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Too much.
Josh: Yea, we've had some very, very large migrations that have taken almost a month, but that's because they have so much stuff. And again, during this entire time, while we're syncing stuff up, you're still working. You're still using the Office suite. Nothing is down. You're still, yeah. There's no way if we, if our migrations took two to four weeks to even complete and you couldn't access any stuff, we would not be doing any of these migrations
Julia: Okay. Awesome. Um, and then is there any way to figure out, like, if this is in my price range, like how much does it cost?
Josh: Definitely. So we have a full migration calculator on our website and multiple places actually, which I'm sure again, will be posted on here. Um, it's very, very straightforward. It'll basically ask you how many users you have, what all you're migrating and then it'll spit out a cost. On average, uh, depending on how many users you have and what you have to migrate over, it can be anywhere as low as like $1,500. If you have like say 10 users with just emails and it can go up from there, but the more people you have, the less it is per person. So it's sort of like a waterfall pricing.
Julia: Gotcha. Okay. And will I lose any data?
Josh: No, that's also the beautiful thing of doing it this way with a live sync is there's no risk whatsoever of losing data. Reason being, whenever you do an old school migration where you actually bring the data from GoDaddy over to Office 365. Absolutely. You could lose data, but the way, the reason we do these live syncs is your data resides on GoDaddy. It does not move. We're just copying everything. And once we're done. We do a final sync check to make sure everything is there, bring it over to Office 365. And then even after that, we get with you to make sure that everything is there. Everything is good to go before you cancel your old GoDaddy licenses, because if for whatever reason, something didn't come over, the data will still be on GoDaddy's side of everything. It will just go back and get whatever it needs to be brought over and then bring it over before you cancel your licenses.
Julia: Gotcha. Okay. That sounds pretty doable. So. What if someone's interested, how do they reach out?
Josh: Yeah. If anyone's interested in having us do a GoDaddy migration for them, or if they just wanted to talk to one of us about going over the process, what it looks like, downtime, things like that. They can just reach out to any of our account executives. We'd be more than happy to talk to you about what the process is like. Give you an estimate on timeframe, cost, all of that. We also can talk about different Office licenses to make sure that you get the correct ones. We can talk about our cybersecurity offerings, managed IT offerings, pretty much anything you can think of.
Julia: Okay. Awesome. So they basically just need to contact you or anyone in sales and they're on their way.
Julia: Okay. Awesome. Well, thank you for your time today. I really appreciate it. And, um, yeah, we will include all the links that you mentioned so that you can do this migration on your own or contact us for any details.
Josh: Perfect. Thank you so much.