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  5. Domain.com vs GoDaddy – One Clear Winner in 2021

Domain.com vs GoDaddy – One Clear Winner in 2021

Ari Denial
Ari Denial
March 03, 2021

I’m always cautious when it comes to companies like GoDaddy and Domain.com, that claim to be a one-stop-shop for all your hosting needs. What tends to happen is that they’re spread so thin that everything they offer is average at best rather than having one or two stand-out services. Is that the case with these hosts?

I signed up for WordPress hosting with both GoDaddy and Domain.com, used online tools to compare their performance, and tested out their customer support – and while I’m still not sold on the “we offer everything for everyone” approach, if I had to choose one of the two, it would be GoDaddy.

That said, I probably wouldn’t choose either of these hosts for my own website. I’d go with Hostinger, which offers excellent performance for a great price. Click here to see Hostinger’s latest deals, or read on to see if one of these two hosts might be the right choice for you after all.

1. Performance

Domain.com Fails to Meet Google’s Recommended Page Loading Speeds

When a host claims to be “powerful and reliable” like Domain.com does, I like to put those claims to the test. One of the main aspects of performance that I always test is page loading speeds – since slow page loading speeds not only cause over 50% of website visitors to click away, they can also affect your position in search results.

When investigating web hosting performance, I use my own test websites or choose websites that are built similarly in terms of WordPress plugins and content. With my test sites, I utilize the speed-boosting tools the hosts provide (if they provide them), such as caching tools and CDNs (content delivery networks), to demonstrate how these value-added features can make a big difference for page loading speeds.

I consider several performance factors. These include:

  • Fully loaded time. This is the time it takes for the webpage content and all scripts to be fully loaded from the host server. Google has issued guidance that your web pages should load within three seconds to avoid a high bounce rate (visitors leaving your website before it loads).
  • Time to first byte (TTFB). TTFB shows how quickly the server sends the first byte of data to your visitors’ browsers. This is the point at which the page actually begins to load. Slow TTFB times may indicate overloaded or poorly configured servers.
  • Contentful paint. This is the point at which your web page content is visible to your visitors – although any content that’s controlled by javascript may not yet be visible. Your visitors can see your webpage but it’s not fully loaded and will only be fully functional when all scripts have loaded.

You can see how GoDaddy and Domain.com performed in my tests in the screenshots below.

GoDaddy GTmetrix test results
GoDaddy was okay on my GTmetrix test, but not great
Domain.com GTmetrix test results
When I used GTmetrix.com to test a site hosted with Domain.com, the results were disappointing

The website hosted on Domain.com failed to meet Google’s recommended page loading speed – although its TTFB and contentful paint times were not much different from GoDaddy’s.

As well as page speed, I also look at the reliability of web hosts to assess performance. Reliability is measured in uptime – and while GoDaddy offers the standard 99.9% uptime guarantee, being compensated for downtime doesn’t make up for potential lost business during downtime. An uptime of 99.9% still allows for 43 minutes of downtime per month. Domain.com doesn’t even have an uptime guarantee!

GoDaddy, in my tests, proves to be more reliable than Domain.com, with its average monthly uptime rarely falling below 99.95%. Domain.com, however, has a lot more instances of downtime (perhaps due to overloaded servers) and fairly frequently has average monthly uptime scores of less than 99.85% (including one recent month with 99.42% uptime).

Both GoDaddy and Domain.com have their issues with performance. This is why I prefer Hostinger – its shared hosting plans provide some of the fastest loading speeds I’ve seen, and its uptime record is excellent.

2. Domain Registration

GoDaddy’s Domain Features Are Simply More Extensive

Yes, I know this is a web hosting comparison, but since GoDaddy and Domain.com were established as domain registration services before they expanded into web hosting and more, it would be foolish not to look at this part of what they offer.

GoDaddy often claims to be the best domain registrar – and since nearly 19 million people have bought domain names from it, it must be doing something right! What makes GoDaddy superior for domains compared to Domain.com is the range of domain-related features it offers.

GoDaddyDomain.com
Domain Extensions (e.g., .com)Almost 500, with new ones being added frequently, including .design, .realestate, .fun, and .coffeeOver 300, although some are still in the “early access period,” which incurs higher registration fees, and others are held in the “priority pre-registration” phase
Domain TransfersAutomated, fully supported process, with the option for bulk domain transfer of up to 500 domains (plus discounts when transferring more than six .com domains)Automated process with support if needed, but no option for bulk domain transfer
Domain Privacy (to keep your personal details private in your domain’s WHOIS listing)
Domain Name Generator
Domain Broker (to help you get the best deal if you want to purchase a domain that’s for sale)
Domain Value Appraisal (if you want to sell your domain name later)
Business Name Generator
Domain Auctions
List a Domain for Sale
Discount Domain Club (a membership club with discounts for new domain extensions)
Domain Backorder (to pre-order a forthcoming domain extension)
Discount on Basic Hosting When You Purchase a Domain (but only if you go to checkout without adding hosting)

Domain.com’s domain hosting features are adequate – you can search for your ideal domain name, there’s a variety of domain extensions to choose from, and you can purchase domain privacy protection – but compared to GoDaddy, these services seem rather basic.

3. Plans and Features

Domain.com Has Simple Pricing and Provides Features GoDaddy Charges For

With shared hosting, you tend to find very similar (or even identical) feature lists and hosting plans. I’ve put the details of what Domain.com and GoDaddy’s hosting plans include in an at-a-glance table below.

There are a couple things to note about the differences between the two hosts. First, Domain.com doesn’t use promotional pricing or have pricing that changes depending on whether you pay upfront for a year, two years, or three years. The price is the same no matter the length of your plan.

Domain.com does, however, give you a discount on the basic plan if you buy a domain name without adding hosting – but you won’t see this discount on the web hosting sales pages.

A Free Domain is included when purchasing any hosting service from Domain.com

GoDaddy doesn’t support the automatic installation of Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates and only provides free SSL certificates on its higher-priced plans. You can use Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates with GoDaddy, but you have to install them yourself and reissue the certificate every 90 days (which, quite frankly, I’d never remember to do!). Domain.com will issue and maintain free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates for all domains on your hosting account.

Domain.comGoDaddy
Shared Hosting PlansBasic, Deluxe, and UltraEconomy, Deluxe, Ultimate, and Maximum
WordPress Hosting PlansWP Starter and WP EssentialBasic, Deluxe, Ultimate, and E-commerce
Specific WordPress Hosting Plan FeaturesWordPress hosting plans offer additional features like pre-installed plugins (e.g., Jetpack and W3 Total Cache)Less storage space but hosting is optimized for WordPress to deliver better performance, and free malware scanning is included
Storage SpaceUnlimited on all plans100 GB to unlimited (shared hosting); 30GB to unlimited (WordPress hosting)
BandwidthUnmeteredUnmetered
Free Domain NameYes, for the first year, but you need to enter a coupon code at the checkout (not automatic)Yes, for the first year on annual plans
Free SSLYes, free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate on all plansFree GoDaddy SSL certificate on Ultimate plan and above
Free Website MigrationsNoNo
BackupsNot included – website backup and restore is available as a separate product (not an add-on)Not included – available for an additional monthly fee, and can be added at checkout
One-Click App Installation100+ applications125+ applications
cPanelNoYes
Email AccountsUnlimited email addresses (G Suite available for additional cost)1 free Office365 email address for the first year
Free Website BuilderSeparate website builder hosting packagesSeparate website builder hosting packages
SSH AccessNoYes
PHP 7On some serversYes, but must be requested

4. Security

No Built-In Security Features – But GoDaddy Offers Website Security at a Lower Price

Many of the budget web hosting companies don’t include the kind of security features you really need – such as malware scanning and removal and web application firewalls – within hosting plans. Instead, security is offered as an “optional” add-on (even though there’s nothing optional about keeping your website protected from hackers!).

Both GoDaddy and Domain.com charge extra for security – but there’s a big difference between the two. Domain.com has partnered with SiteLock to provide three optional levels of protection – Essentials, Prevent, and Prevent Plus. Unfortunately, the Essentials add-on only provides the bare minimum of protection (and may double the cost of your hosting on the cheapest hosting plan).

To get protection from DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks and benefit from a WAF (web application firewall) that stops malicious traffic from reaching your website, you need to be on the Prevent plan – which will more than double the cost of the most expensive hosting plan.

Domain.com's SiteLock plans
I don’t like how Domain.com makes you pay extra for security

GoDaddy’s security features will still cost you – but DDoS protection and 24/7 security monitoring are included with all hosting plans. GoDaddy’s security add-ons are simpler, too. What’s more, the Website Backup add-on doesn’t just include backups – you get basic security (including malware scanning) too. With Domain.com, you have to pay separately for backups.

GoDaddy's backup and security add-ons
GoDaddy’s security also comes in the form of paid add-ons

If you want more security features, you can add Essential Website Security during checkout – at a fraction of the cost of some of the SiteLock plans Domain.com offers. There are more advanced Website Security plans available, but these are primarily aimed at larger businesses. If you need high levels of security, you can opt for Deluxe, Ultimate, or Express Website Security.

5. Support

GoDaddy’s Support Isn’t 24/7 Worldwide – But Domain.com’s 24/7 Support Isn’t Great

I spend a lot of time trying out customer support via live chat and I’ve learned that although having 24/7 support sounds great, if the quality of support is poor, then you’re no better off. A host that doesn’t offer 24/7 but is actually willing and able to help resolve your issues is a much better solution.

GoDaddy is known for having somewhat complicated support availability. If you’re in the US or Canada, you can get 24/7 support via live chat and phone. If you’re in the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, India, or Israel, for example, you can get 24/7 support via phone, but live chat is only available during certain hours (often 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday). There’s a whole web page dedicated to phone numbers and availability times for global support.

I’m in the UK and I prefer to test support via live chat, so I can only evaluate GoDaddy on weekdays. At first, that seems like an inconvenience – but then I tried Domain.com’s live chat support and, well, I got better support from GoDaddy’s live chat during weekends (when it’s closed) than I got from Domain.com!

Below is a screenshot of my exchange with Domain.com’s live chat agent. After failing to actually answer my questions properly (just copying and pasting information from the website) and insinuating that I wasn’t looking at the website properly, the support agent simply stopped responding to my questions and the chat window was automatically closed due to inactivity.

Domain.com's live chat support
I was not impressed with Domain.com’s live chat support

GoDaddy Is Better Than Domain.com, but You Can Do Even Better

GoDaddy’s hosting isn’t perfect, and it’s not at the top of my list of recommended hosts, but compared to Domain.com, it’s superior in performance, domain registration features, support, and security. If you’re looking to build your first website for a blog or business, one of GoDaddy’s shared hosting plans could work for you.

But even if you’re just starting out, you shouldn’t compromise on the quality of your hosting. Switching to a different host later on could be a major hassle. That’s why I recommend choosing an excellent web host right from the get-go.

Hostinger’s shared hosting plans are cheaper than anything GoDaddy can offer. They also include better features and provide some of the best performance I’ve seen. It’s no surprise that Hostinger made it to our list of the top web hosting services for 2021.

Domain.comGoDaddy
PerformancePages are slower to load, failing to meet Google’s recommended maximum of 3 secondsPages load faster with GoDaddy – and it has better uptime/reliability
Domain RegistrationBasic domain registration services – but watch out for the automatically added domain name protection at checkoutComprehensive range of domain registration and management services, including the option for bulk transfer of domain names
Plans and FeaturesPlans are less expensive than GoDaddy’s and pricing is clearer;  Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates are includedPlans include most of the standard features you’d expect with shared hosting, but there’s no free SSL on lower-priced plans
SecurityWebsite security is an optional extra and is provided by SiteLock; only higher-priced plan have DDoS and firewall protectionWebsite security is an add-on – but backups and basic security are available for a low monthly price
SupportSupport was awful when I tried it – both times I used the live chat, the support agent couldn’t answer my questions and simply stopped respondingSupport has improved, with shorter waiting times and a better quality of support; it’s not 24/7 worldwide – some countries will only get support Monday through Friday

FAQ

What is the difference between a domain and a website?
People often get domains and websites confused – and although they’re very closely related, they are two very different things.

A domain name is part of the website address that your visitors can type into their browsers to access your website. For example, https://www.websiteplanet.com/ is the address that you’d type in to arrive at our homepage. You can also use domain names to have a professional business email address – even if you don’t have an actual website.

Having a domain name doesn’t automatically create a website for you! Some people register domain names and never use them just because they think that the domain name may be valuable in the future and they can then sell it at a much higher price.

To learn more, don’t miss our ultimate guide to choosing and purchasing a domain name.

A website is, essentially, the content that your visitors see when they type your domain name into their browser. To have a website, you need to have web hosting – because the content of your website needs to be hosted on a server (either physical or cloud) in order for it to display in your visitors’ browsers. For visitors to find your website, you have to have a domain name.

The TL;DR of this is essentially: your website is the content (text, images, videos) that you want your visitors to see, and you need to have a domain name to make it accessible. The domain name is what your visitors type in to get to it. However, you don’t need to have a website in order to use a domain name, because you can have a domain name and just use it for email.

If you’re looking for a web host, be sure to check our list of the best web hosting services currently on the market.

What is the best site to buy a domain name?
Both GoDaddy and Domain.com have relatively low-priced domain names, but Domain.com does automatically check the domain name protection option at checkout which will increase the cost of the domain name. GoDaddy is the better option, but the truth is that there are other places that you can get domain names at lower prices.

Check out our guide to the best domain registrars that are budget friendly and dependable to find out more.

Which is better, Domain.com or GoDaddy?
After testing both of these hosting companies, I’d say GoDaddy is a better choice than Domain.com. However, it’s still not one of my top picks for budget web hosting. Check out the deals Hostinger is running right now, or visit our web hosting coupon page to see which other web hosts are offering special discounted prices.
Should I buy a domain from GoDaddy?
If you’re planning on buying web hosting from GoDaddy, then yes, buying your domain from GoDaddy can be a good choice. Check first to see if your chosen hosting plan includes a free domain for the first year, too. Alternatively, you could opt for a domain from Namecheap, which includes free domain privacy with all its domain names.

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