Domain and Web hosting vendor GoDaddy today announced an expansion of its GoDaddy Pro program to enable authorized individuals to help organizations manage their Web hosting services. In addition, GoDaddy is expanding its managed WordPress hosting program, adding more features and security.
GoDaddy first debuted its GoDaddy Pro offering in October 2014. Jeff King, senior vice president and general manager of hosting at GoDaddy, explained that the initial program was a set of products including virtual private servers and dedicated servers.
"What we have done since then is to create a program and a set of features that are specifically built for professionals," King told eWEEK.
What GoDaddy found when it spoke to its small business customers was that more than half of them used a third-party professional to help them get a Website up and managed. King said that fact made GoDaddy realize it needed services specifically tailored for the professionals that help businesses.
"If you sit down with a professional that is developing Websites for half-dozen clients, you'll typically find that they have Post-it notes with their customers' user names, passwords and credit card information, so they can manage sites on behalf of their clients," King said.
With GoDaddy Pro, an authorized Web professional can get access to their customers' GoDaddy accounts, to help configure sites and even purchase additional services, according to King. He emphasized that with the new GoDaddy Pro access, a professional can get access to a customer account without actually knowing the full access credentials or credit card information.
"It removes the burden of password management from the professional," King said.
The way the new service works for a GoDaddy customer is that the customer can delegate management access to manage products they have already paid for. In addition, a customer can choose to provide management and purchase access to a professional.
From a security perspective, King said the delegated access approach is likely a more secure way of granting access than what many small businesses are doing today.
"What we're competing against here is people emailing passwords and credit card information to each other," he said. "So we feel the GoDaddy Pro approach is a much more secure approach."
King explained that to facilitate the new delegated access, GoDaddy has deployed a new authentication platform that works across all of GoDaddy's products and its 13 million customers.
"We basically replaced our authentication systems to support this new paradigm, and it was a ton of work behind the scenes," King said.
The new authentication system is further complemented by GoDaddy's ongoing efforts to monitor account access and prevent exploitation. King said that GoDaddy is always monitoring accounts to defend against password attacks, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and other types of security vulnerabilities.
"We have at both the firewall and at the application level security rules and systems in place to help prevent customers from getting hacked," he said.
Going a step further, King said GoDaddy partners with security vendor Sitelock as an additional service for GoDaddy hosting customers for Website scanning.
GoDaddy today is also launching enhanced managed WordPress hosting services. GoDaddy already enables its hosting customers to deploy and run the popular open-source WordPress content management system (CMS).
King emphasized that the managed WordPress offering goes beyond the basic capabilities that an unmanaged WordPress deployment enables. For example, the Ultimate Managed WordPress offering from GoDaddy now includes Sitelock's malware detection and removal, and includes Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for encryption.
"Given WordPress' success, it has become a big target for attackers," King said. "So having Sitelock baked in for constant scanning is essentially like having antivirus on your PC—it's something you really want to have."
While shared hosting can be used to deploy WordPress, the reality is that shared hosting isn't optimized for any one application, according to King. In contrast with the new managed offering, GoDaddy built a platform from scratch that is optimized for WordPress, he said.
Looking beyond GoDaddy Pro and the new Managed WordPress service, King said that GoDaddy is now working on a new cloud hosting product that will use the open-source OpenStack cloud platform.
"OpenStack for us is a provisioning and orchestration layer," King said. "We'll be provisioning in a new way with OpenStack in a more elastic way very shortly."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.