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Without a doubt, GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting is better than its shared hosting… by a lot. It’s also better value for money – and its onboarding process is perfect if you’re a beginner. It’s far from perfect, though, and its sometimes inconsistent performance is a bit of a red flag. It’s definitely not for everyone – but if you’re just getting started, then it’s got a lot going for it.
GoDaddy has name recognition to burn, so you’ve probably heard of it. Why? It’s only one of the longest-running domain name registrars, with an advertising budget that got it an actual race car driver back in the day.
And heck, the domain service is alright. Not my favorite, but it’s many other people’s favorite. GoDaddy’s hosting service, however, has historically been a mixed bag at best. GoDaddy is not exactly a hosting company. It’s a domain company that has some hosting, with shared hosting plans, WordPress plans, VPS hosting, dedicated servers, and its own website builder.
But here our focus is on WordPress plans. Some web hosts charge you extra for a “WordPress plan” that isn’t anything more than a shared plan with some plugins thrown in. Other hosts actually optimize their servers for WordPress and give you specialized support, automatic updates, and extra security features.
I myself went and got a GoDaddy WordPress plan, just for a while, to see if it’s any good.
I have to say that GoDaddy’s features, both general and WordPress-related, are pretty darned good, especially for the price. The domain giant has struck a good balance between loading its plans up with extras and keeping things relatively simple.
1 website – this means you can only attach one domain
Website backup protection with 1-click restore
Automatic daily malware scans
Free domain – only if you pay for more than a year, but the domain is free for your initial term
Free business email for the first year
Free SSL certificate
For the price, that’s a respectable offering right there. Things get even more interesting when you bring the following features into play:
The WordPress Plans Are Actually Semi-managed
Semi-managed means that a lot of things are done for you, but by automated tools. By and large, GoDaddy’s support staff won’t get involved unless you ask them to. The management is relegated to simple things, like automatic core WordPress updates and plugin updates. Still, that’s a lot of stuff you mostly don’t have to worry about.
Unless, of course, something goes wrong.
That’s when you can get support involved, and unless you’re doing something really complex with WordPress, it’s almost like having someone manage your site for you. You’ll still have to put in your own content and choose your own theme, though. The installation wizard literally walks you through the set up of your site, which is great if you want a totally hands-off set up.
All Plans Come with Premium WordPress Plugins
GoDaddy has chosen to expand the default WordPress by including a fair number of extra plugins from the get-go. Some of these are free, some are paid, but they’re all good. Maybe not essential to the WordPress experience, but good.
First up is CoBlocks, a free plugin that adds a bunch of predesigned content elements to WordPress’ posts and page editor. It includes things like hero blocks, pricing tables, Click to Tweet buttons, extra image gallery styles, and more.
Next is Gravity Forms, one of the best paid form plugins out there. It allows you to make just about any kind of form you want without coding it yourself: contact forms, newsletter forms, surveys, multi-page forms, and more. It has form validation, spam protection, and pretty much everything else you’ll need.
Sucuri Security is designed to help you with auditing your security, scanning for malware, and generally hardening your site against attack.
WP101 Video Tutorials is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a plugin that delivers WordPress tutorials right to your WordPress dashboard/admin area. Learn WordPress without ever leaving WordPress.
Now, one downside: The WordPress plans are advertised as coming with an SEO plugin. On GoDaddy’s basic plan, I saw no such thing. It just wasn’t there.
There Are Daily Backups to Ease Your Mind
I cannot sing enough praises to any host that includes daily backups in its plans. You can also create backups manually, and all backups are kept for 90 days. This is actually longer than many hosts will provide, and most don’t have an option for daily backups at all.
I’m so serious about this, I always list this as one of the primary features whenever I review a site that includes it. Embrace the backups. Love the backups. Backup the backups. It’s not just nerd stuff, it’s good business.
To be fair, I’m exactly the kind of guy who saves his work every 30 seconds or so, even when the apps I’m using autosave everything I do.
There Are (More) Malware Scanning/Removal Tools
Sucuri Security is only part of the equation when it comes to security. GoDaddy has its own tools that are designed to keep your site free of anything that would attack it or your users. A lot of hosting companies leave security up to the user (beyond a basic firewall, perhaps), so this is a nice touch.See full list of features
Ease of use
GoDaddy Has Fantastic Onboarding Tools for Beginners
GoDaddy has very specifically set up its WordPress hosting with beginners in mind. Due to its brand recognition, GoDaddy is often the first port of call for many a new web designer or website owner, so that makes sense.
My experience setting up a WordPress site was fast, simple, and for the most part even pleasant. Well, except for one little problem: It is NOT very well set up for using external domain names. It’s kind of expected you’ll buy your domain from GoDaddy.
Look, I get why that is the case, but it’s not cool that I had to jump through extra hoops to get my domain working. Every other host just let me point my domain at a nameserver and be done. GoDaddy has nameservers aplenty, so there’s no reason (other than sheer pettiness) for it to make you manually set up A records and TXT records to get everything working.
*Sigh.* That said, here’s some of the good stuff:
The Site Creation Wizard Is Fantastic
This part of the process was beginner-friendly as all heck and reminded me a lot of site builders. It asks you what kind of website you want to build, what sort of software you want running on it (WordPress in this case, of course), and where you want to put it, server-wise.
And then you get to choose from dozens of premade (and prefilled with example content) WordPress themes and site templates to get you started quickly. If you’ve ever thought putting together your own content layouts for WordPress was a hassle, then GoDaddy has you covered.
I was genuinely, actually impressed by this part of the onboarding experience. I don’t say that too often.
Detailed Help Center & Knowledge Base + Tutorials
Most hosts have some sort of knowledge base, a place to put all the questions that the support agents get tired of answering. Well, GoDaddy’s knowledge base is actually pretty darned good, because it is detailed.
There’s an article or tutorial for just about every facet of the service. This makes sense, as the company has literally had decades to sort out its documentation. As a writer (and eternal student of new tech), I truly appreciate good documentation. Credit where it’s due, and all of that.
Auto-migration Moves Your Site from Point A to Point G(oDaddy)
Many hosts now offer free site migration from other hosts to their own servers. GoDaddy has gone and automated this process. The idea is that it can move your WordPress site to GoDaddy’s servers with minimal fuss or human contact.
When I tested GoDaddy’s regular shared hosting,the performance wasn’t great.I’ll admit, I didn’t have high hopes for its WordPress hosting performance, either.
Now, to be fair, I don’t ever go easy on the servers. My test site is a bit heavy on the fancy stuff, including some rather large images. But hey, the point is to properly test these servers, right? If you want to know more about how we perform our tests, you can read about it here.
Now, the test results: The good news is that the test site maintained 100% uptime. The bad news is that complete page load time averaged out at 1.9 seconds. While that’s still under the 2 seconds you should aim for, it’s not the best performance.
I’m going to dive deeper into the numbers now, but if you’d rather just go to the Support section, I’ll totally understand.
This is the tool we use to see just how fast or slow a site loads in its entirety. Funny story, the first test returned a load time of 0.9 seconds, which is fantastic. Unfortunately, the slowest load time was 3.4 seconds, which is going to cost you in visitors.
And there was a lot of variation between those two numbers, so the servers aren’t at all stable.
UptimeRobot measures how well a server manages to not crash. This, at least, returned excellent results:
So, the good news: Support is available 24/7. I have tested this by being a semi-freelancer with a less-than-healthy work schedule and terrible sleeping habits. Don’t judge me; this is how I bring you the good stuff.
The bad news is that, if you like to open a ticket and then go to the movies, you don’t have that option. The only support channels you get are live chat and phone calls. Here’s how that went for me:
I straight up did not have a good time in my first chat interaction. It started well enough; I got my initial response in less than 5 minutes. But then, I made a mistake. I asked a simple question that a GoDaddy sales representative really should have been able to answer.
Specifically, I asked, “Why should I get a WordPress-specific plan? What makes them better or different from regular shared hosting plans?”
Well, I was made to send in account information before they’d answer a sales question (that’s not the agent’s fault, that’s just a dumb, corporate-mandated process), and then the agent proceeded to tell me nothing of value:
Let’s be clear: I don’t blame the sales rep here. I blame the sales training, which I must assume consisted of some bullet points about WordPress and a rousing speech about the importance of teamwork and unpaid overtime.
Well, the second live chat interaction went better. This time, I was talking to support, and they more or less have to know what they’re doing, right? Well, in this case, yes. Thank any god you care to name.
I asked, “Can I move my site between data centers?” and about 15 minutes later, I got the answer: It depends on your plan. Funny story, if you’re on the WordPress plan, you have to delete your site and go through the setup process again.
Then, you know, put your theme and content and all of that stuff back in yourself. So that’s fun.
This, thankfully, went a lot better than the live chat did. I called the US number (there are quite a few numbers you can call for support all around the world) because I had an actual problem. Remember that thing I said about external domains needing to be configured by A records? Well, that was in play here.
Apparently, to get an SSL certificate, I had to “verify my domain,” or prove that I owned it. I wasn’t sure what was going on there, so when I called, I asked, “What’s with this domain verification thing? What about nameservers?”
Well, first I had to get through a voice-command bot thing, and that actually worked well for a change, and then I asked my question to a human, after a 20-minute wait on hold. Considering that this was late at night in Central time, I don’t blame the night shift.
The tech was polite and helpful, and actually helped me resolve the problem fairly quickly. There was more messing with domain records, and then I had a working website with SSL.
Man, GoDaddy does not want you to use external domains. This is understandable, but still annoying.
One good thing about GoDaddy is that it has a wide variety of payment methods available to you, varying by country. Here are the big ones: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Diner’s Club, and PayPal.
As with most hosting providers, renewal fees are (much) higher than the discounted rates you get lured in with… but that’s just how it is with web hosting. I hate it, but I can’t say GoDaddy does anything that other hosts aren’t doing. The price you pay also depends on the length of your plan (so to get those advertised prices, you’ll have to pay upfront for a few years’ of hosting) – but again, almost everyone’s doing that.
Cancellations & Refunds
Cancellations and refunds are simple enough. If you pay for a monthly plan, you can ask for a refund within 48 hours of the original transaction. If you pay for an annual plan, you have 30 days to get your money back.
If you cancel within the time limit, you can ask GoDaddy support for a refund and get it. It’s simple.
It doesn’t matter how much you like the onboarding process for beginners, or the extra WordPress plugins, if the site you build won’t load before your users run off to live their lives and generally not browse your website. It’s just that simple. And while GoDaddy’s performance isn’t the worst I’ve seen (by a long way), it’s not the greatest, either.
There is a lot to like about what GoDaddy has built here, but the rather inconsistent performance makes me wary about totally recommending GoDaddy. The company could stand to give its sales reps better scripts too.
There are cheaper and better alternatives to GoDaddy – but the onboarding process does make it a great experience for beginners.
Do I need hosting especially for WordPress?
Strictly speaking? No. You can run WordPress on any server that can handle the PHP scripting language and MySQL/MariaDB databases. For the non-technical among us, that means almost every hosting company in the world can run WordPress. You can run WordPress on Hostinger’s basic hosting plan, for example, for just $1.39.
However, WordPress-specific hosting is useful when you care about performance. The best web hosts implement server configurations designed to make WordPress the fastest and most efficient it can be. Some, like GoDaddy, add a bunch of extra tools to help beginners make their first WordPress site more easily, as it can otherwise take a bit of setup time and learning.
What performance tools for WordPress does GoDaddy have?
Honestly? It seems like they don’t have any. I couldn’t find any specific information related to WordPress performance other than some people complaining in the GoDaddy forums that their WordPress sites were slow.
In this respect, GoDaddy’s managed WordPress hosting is leagues behind other services, both the expensive ones, like Kinsta, and the much cheaper options, like A2 Hosting.
Which offers better value, GoDaddy or InterServer?
Technically, GoDaddy is a bit cheaper, and it offers all those templates for you to choose from at the beginning, and that’s great. But InterServer is on our top 5 list for best WordPress hosts for several reasons, including: full control over your hosting, incredible performance, great customer service, and more.
InterServer’s WordPress VPS plan (which, as the name suggests, gives you an actual virtual private server to work with) is faster and more stable than most shared hosting WordPress services and is still incredibly affordable. Oh, and the price doesn’t increase on renewal. Whatever you start paying on InterServer, you keep paying that same price for the same service, for as long as you have it.
Yes. I can thankfully say that this is one of GoDaddy’s strong points. It’s incredibly easy to get a WordPress site up and running in just a few clicks, with a full pre-made design and plenty of premium WordPress plugins to get you started.
I would still recommend so many other services first, up to and including WordPress.com, but GoDaddy is easy to use. I’ll give it that much.
Ezequiel Bruni is biologically Canadian, legally Mexican, and self identifies as a total nerd. He's been a web and experience designer off and on since he was a teenager, and loves sharing the kind of beginner's advice he really wishes he'd had when he first started. He also loves video games, tacos, open source software, video games, sci-fi and fantasy in all their forms, and video games. He does not love writing in the third person.