Okay, so on this one I’m guilty of trying to grab your attention with a shocking headline, or whatever, but the honest to God truth is that I just couldn’t think of a better headline, so in true Data Driven Design fashion, I didn’t overthink it, I just went with it and I’m going to see how well it works.
Dear SquareSpace: You’re The Worst. Especially when paired with Google Domains DNS Hosting.
Not really, overall. But you’re definitely NOT the best.
Alternate blog title(s): How To Actually Make Your Old SquareSpace Website Go Away And Replace It With Your New WordPress Website (Because SquareSpace Sucks). 🙂
Dear SquareSpace, I hate you. 🙂
Here’s what I mean.
If you’ve seen this screen, but clicking on “Unlink Account” or “Cancel Account” hasn’t actually done anything even though you’ve tried it two dozen times, this blog post will help you. A LOT.
Throughout the past 12 years, myself and other members of our team have extensive experience building and launching websites.
Launching websites includes the process of creating or changing a DNS A Record entry that exists at a host.
These hosts can include GoDaddy, WPEngine, BlueHost, HostGator, DirectNic, NameCheap, WildWestDomains, iPage.com, Pair.com, NetworkSolutions.com, even freaking Google Domains now. NGPVan, NationBuilder, the list goes on and on and on.
These are platforms I’ve literally personally logged into bazillions of times and made / changed DNS entries to launch websites.
Traditionally, none of them are that great. Honestly, GoDaddy has always been the best.
Let me explain. There are several factors that I use to assess “best and worst.”
1. Does the change “take.” This is simple, it means, when I make the change and click “save,” does the platform actually reflect my change. GoDaddy always does. Believe it or not, NetworkSolutions.com takes 3-5 repeat tries of the same action before this seemingly simple thing happens, and the rest aren’t much better.
2. What is the TTL? TTL is “Time To Live,” which means, how long after the change has been saved should it show to users on the internet. This can range from 60 seconds on a platform like GoDaddy, to 1 hour minimum on a platform like Google Domains. Gosh. That’s a long time to wait. Especially when your website visibility is at stake.
3. How long does it take for the change to propagate? Most of you have probably seen or heard that a DNS entry change (changing where a website domain points) can take 24-48 hours to show for everyone.
So now, understand that while SquareSpace is known for being this amazing, easy to use website building and hosting platform, know that it also has it’s own domain / DNS hosting service (of course), and that it is THE WORST. EVER.
Why? Because it fails miserably at my criteria above.
1. It won’t release the domain to allow the A Record to be pointed elsewhere. Case in point, with Google Domains, a SquareSpace hosted site is stuck. The A Record can’t be changed until the SquareSpace account is deleted, and even then it takes several tries to even do this.
2. While using Google Domains as the Domain Host, and SquareSpace as the website host, things get SO STUCK, that you have to literally create a domain forward within Google Domains to undo the A Record in SquareSpace, then try to delete the SquareSpace account again, before what Google Domains calls its Resource Record (fancy term for DNS Entry) to become available to point the A Record to the new web host.
3. After several hours of attempting the same action of deleting the SquareSpace Entry within Google Domains (because that’s what it says to do), I finally freed up the A Record (Resource Record) space by performing the action in #2, and then created the new A Record pointing to the new WordPress site we built for our client.
Now, the 1 Hour Time To Live still sucks, and so we wait. Then we’ll wait again for DNS Propagation.
So while it seems that I’m complaining, I’m actually writing this blog for people who may be having the same frustration of trying to launch a new site away from an old SquareSpace site, but are getting stuck, especially if also using Google Domains.
And finally, after the above steps, we’re here.
The Screen we expected to see literally hours ago. The screen that should have worked the first time we tried it.
But if our frustrations in this process can help one of you web designers, developers, marketers out there, and we’ve launched our client’s website without any negative impact on their business, we’ve done our job. For the moment. 🙂