Mac Lab Report

Negative Synergy: Godaddy Redirect Problematic with Safari

- 2005.12.09

I've had a problem with Godaddy.com for a couple of weeks now, and a couple of links I read yesterday have shown me I'm not the only one.

Apparently the hosting service Godaddy.com has changed something about how it redirects pages when you buy a domain (such as AstronomyTeacher.com) and use their forwarding service to point to another (in this case, http://homepage.mac.com/astronomyteacher).

All you get is a blank page with no source code.

Let me summarize the situation, based on the posts I've read.

Around November 28, people began noticing that redirects from Godaddy that used to work no longer did, as described above. Through a series of experiments, it was determined that:

  • This is not due to an Apple Java update in that same time period as it happens to people who have updated (like me) and those who have not.
  • Other browsers on the Mac such as IE and Firefox do not exhibit this problem.
  • No browser on the PC exhibits this problem.
  • Sometimes if you load the page in Firefox first, Safari recognizes the redirect from that point on. Not always. (Not for me.)

Godaddy responds with a series of "did you set up redirect right" support emails and then concludes that the problem belongs to Apple - specifically Safari. Despite going to the end of the tech support chain twice with Godaddy, I have yet to get anyone there to verify that they actually own a Mac and are running Safari so they can reproduce the error.

All they say is, "We don't see this on our internal and external networks."

Bug reports to Apple have gone unnoticed so far, and as far as I could tell Apple has no official response (no surprise there).

Not every copy of Safari exhibits the problem. For some users the redirect works fine. This would seem to indicate a problem with the current version of Safari or the Java engine. (Editor's note: It works on my Mac with OS X 10.4.3 and Safari 2.0.2.)

GoDaddy claims that Java isn't the problem as the redirect uses frames to hide the original domain and display the masked domain. Whether or not the domain is masked (the original URL hidden) seems to make no difference.

I have a suggestion. Someone in middle management at Apple have someone call middle management at Godaddy, assign a couple of engineers to the problem, and fix it.

If anyone has a solution, please let me know. For once I'm thankful Safari is only the #3 browser and less than 5% of the world will see this problem.

Update: The flaw described in the article has been fixed. I didn't do a Safari update or a Java update, so the fix must have come from the GoDaddy side. To whomever fixed it, I say thanks. We appreciate the effort.

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is a longtime Mac user. He was using digital sensors on Apple II computers in the 1980's and has networked computers in his classroom since before the internet existed. In 2006 he was selected at the California Computer Using Educator's teacher of the year. His students have used NASA space probes and regularly participate in piloting new materials for NASA. He is the author of two books and numerous articles and scientific papers. He currently teaches astronomy and physics in California, where he lives with his twin sons, Jony and Ben.< And there's still a Mac G3 in his classroom which finds occasional use.

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