AT&T Restricts Websites Hosted by GoDaddy; I Know Because They Admitted to It

It had been a while since I posted on my site. Close to a year. The site had always been functional and regularly visited due to topics such as Princess Syndrome and why people hate E.L. James, but I had not been posting much by way of new content nor visiting much myself.

Come January 1st, I decided to change that. I updated all my WordPress plug-ins and posted a brand-new blog. It went up just fine and everything seemed to be in working order. I checked the post the morning of January 2nd—still good. I left for work and checked my stats a few times that day—still going strong. But then I got home and that all changed. I couldn’t access my site. I was getting a time-out error. Not just on my iMac, but literally every other device I tried (an iPad, an iPhone 6s, a Kindle Fire, and a Samsung Galaxy). I tried Safari, Google Chrome, and Firefox—same result. Time-out errors every time.

Mind you, I still had Internet. I could access literally every other site I tried, just not my own site. Naturally, I went after GoDaddy first believing it to be a problem with them since they’re the host. A short call with the customer service rep revealed he could, indeed, access my site. He recommended I clear cache and cookies. I did, and still no luck. I investigated to see if perhaps WordPress was in the middle of a hissy fit that was causing an outage. That wasn’t the case, either.

After reaching out to a few friends and family members about the issue, what was revealed is that they could access my site with no issue. The difference? None of them used AT&T as their Internet provider. That’s when I Googled “does AT&T restrict certain websites” and started seeing all the various forums where customers detailed how they were getting time-out errors for specific sites. The common thread was that these sites were hosted by GoDaddy, who just so happens to host my site.

And so began my 3+ hour customer service nightmare with AT&T.

Technician #1: “Okay, let’s verify your information.” “Okay, have you tried restarting your computer?” “Okay, have you tried a different device?” “Okay, let’s restart your modem.” “Okay, let’s unplug your modem and plug it back in.” “Okay, I don’t know anything about us restricting certain sites. I see it just fine.” “Okay, I need to transfer you to a different technician.”

Rage level: annoyed.

Technician #2: This is where things got interesting. After confirming my information a second time, I reiterated everything about the situation, explaining that non-AT&T users can access my site just fine and citing all the forums talking about the GoDaddy-hosted site issue. This tech then admitted that AT&T does, in fact, restrict access to some sites hosted by GoDaddy and that she would need to monkey around with the settings on my machine and do God knows what on her end to clear up the issue. But I wasn’t talking to regular ol’ customer service anymore. Apparently, this customer service came at a premium, and I was going to have to pay money above and beyond my normal bill in order to get it. ConnecTech would end up costing $15 with the obligation to keep it for a full year, and there would be a penalty for early cancellation. The only reason I didn’t tell her to kick rocks because she assured me she knew how to handle the problem and that she could resolve it in no time. So, my choices were either a.) hang up and not have access to my site, b.) switch companies and deal with Time Warner again, a prospect I wasn’t exactly keen on, or c.) swallow my pride, pay the money, and get my site back. Although I was obviously being muscled into this, I ended up going with option c for the sake of expediency. If I could get the problem solved that night—money notwithstanding—I’d consider it a win. Big mistake. Once the tech added ConnecTech to my account and sent confirmation via email, she started messing around with my settings by commandeering my screen—a process that was lengthy and riddled with “oops” moments—and concluded when she couldn’t get the configuration right due to my machine being a Mac. Yet again, AT&T customer service failed, and this time it was costing extra money. Yet again, I’d need to be transferred.

Rage level: ready to pull a piece out on the lanes.

Technician #3: Because the call was routed to India, the connection was awful and I ended up having to shout my information rather than speak it. I shouted my name, my customer number, my telephone number. I screamed my website address and was starting to go hoarse explaining the GoDaddy situation for the third time in a row. “YOU GUYS ARE BLOCKING MY SITE BECAUSE IT’S HOSTED BY GODADDY! PEOPLE THAT DON’T USE AT&T CAN ACCESS IT! THE PROBLEM IS ON YOUR END! WHAT? YOU NEED TO CONFIRM MY PIN NUMBER?? YOU’RE KILLING ME, SMALLS!” After that, there was a lot of hold music and a ton of “I’m still checking into this.” It went on for a while. Then, after checking with so-called “upper-level technicians,” the tech revealed that there was an outage in my area. An outage that apparently doesn’t cut my Internet, doesn’t affect my speed, but rather, only cuts my connection from my own website. I’ll repeat: an Internet outage that only effects one site (that happens to be mine). She said it should all be resolved in the next 24 hours. Of course, I made her remove ConnecTech because it was added under the pretense that I needed a higher level of tech support. If I had been told about this so-called outage in my area, then I never would have agreed to it. The tech removed it. I hung up, ready to battle again in the event the issue continued the next day.

Rage level: defeated (yet still very angry) Nic Cage.

The following morning the site was back. Everything was normal again. I wasn’t exactly surprised because the outage excuse seemed flimsy and I had seen enough customers in the forums complaining to take them with more than a grain of salt. Also, the second tech admitted AT&T restricts certain sites (perhaps in error) and made no mention whatsoever about an outage.

So, it’s a question of what’s more believable: that an outage occurred that only cut access off to literally one site or that AT&T has a problem with sites hosted by GoDaddy and is subsequently restricting them.

After last night’s experience, I’m more inclined to believe the latter.