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After thoroughly testing GoDaddy’s hosting services, I can say one thing: avoid the basic shared hosting plans. They’re simply not worth the price tag. Opt for WordPress hosting from GoDaddy (because it actually uses modern technology and performs pretty decently) but I’ll warn you now – to get all the best features, it will cost you!
Hosting from the World’s Most Famous Domain Company
If you’ve been around the internet for a while, you’ve probably heard of GoDaddy. It’s the most well-recognized brand in domain name registration, even if that branding has changed some. Gone are the days of race car driver Danica Patrick on the home page. Now, GoDaddy wants to be your provider of all things website-related.
What’s on offer from the hosting division? Regular shared hosting, reseller hosting, WordPress-specific plans, VPS hosting, and dedicated servers.
You’d think that with over 20 years of experience offering web services, GoDaddy would know exactly what it’s doing. Well, branding isn’t everything, so I ran a test website on GoDaddy for several months to find out how well it could perform. I did this as part of Website Planet’s huge web hosting comparison project, where we tested all the big names in the industry.
Spoiler warning: I’m sorry, but GoDaddy’s ordinary shared hosting is not great. It’s really not great. And while GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting is better, it’s pretty expensive compared to many of our top-rated hosting providers for WordPress.
If you don’t want to pay for WordPress hosting from GoDaddy and are looking for a really cheap hosting solution that’s reliable, check out Hostinger’s latest deals – this is the host that achieved the best performance scores in our testing, and its prices are pretty unbeatable.
GoDaddy Talks a Good Game but Could be Better
Look, GoDaddy does domain names first and foremost. It isn’t the least expensive in the business – Hostinger offers slightly cheaper registrations overall. Still, it’s a major focus for GoDaddy, and services such as web hosting sometimes seem like more of an afterthought. A cynic might say that these services exist only to get more money out of existing customers.
That’s me. I’m the cynic. Anyway, I bought the basic Web Hosting plan, tested it, wasn’t impressed, so came back to test the WordPress plans, crossing my fingers, toes, eyes, and anything else that I could cross, in the hope that the WordPress plans would be better. To my eternal relief, my experience was much better the second time around!
First of all (a bit of nerd stuff ahead), GoDaddy’s basic shared hosting is Apache-based. That’s the classic (AKA old) web server tech that most hosts are moving away from. Actually, none of the best hosts use it. It’s inferior to the newer NGINX and LiteSpeed in its capabilities, and doesn’t work as well with WordPress and other CMS (content management systems).
Four different plans are available in the Web Hosting category, all with unmetered bandwidth. The Basic plan comes with 100GB of storage space (not SSD, which is the newer storage tech – but the older HDD), and the other three have unlimited space.
The more advanced plans support more databases, and while the basic plan can handle one domain, the others can handle unlimited domain names. There seems to be some “Processing Power & Speed” difference between them, which means the more expensive plans have more RAM and CPU.
This is cPanel-powered hosting, meaning you get all the regular tools. Installatron is the auto-installer tool available (it’s very similar to Softaculous), which means WordPress and many other CMS are easily installable in a few clicks.
GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting plans do have more going for them. There are four plans for WordPress (in addition to the much more expensive managed WordPress plans). The lower-priced plans don’t have unlimited storage – but it is SSD storage. Storage starts at 30GB, which is more than enough space for most websites, and the higher-priced plans are optimized to support unlimited monthly visitors (25,000 for the lowest-priced plan).
Here’s just a few reason why I recommend you choose GoDaddy’s WordPress Hosting instead of its standard shared hosting plans.
Free SSL Certificates are Included
Let’s be clear: SSL isn’t an extra or something nice to have. It’s a thing you need. Specifically, it’s the technology that encrypts all data that goes between your site and your users, protecting both. Search engines also prefer secure sites, incidentally.
GoDaddy is the one big web hosting company that still doesn’t offer a free SSL certificate on its standard shared hosting plans. It can choose to offer one, as Let’s Encrypt certificates are great and don’t cost the host a thing, but it doesn’t.
It does, however, offer free SSL certificates on its WordPress plans. All of them. For the lifetime of the hosting plan, not just for the first year like some hosts. I was very relieved to see this. I mean, I’d like GoDaddy to offer free SSL certificates on all of its hosting types, but I’ll settle for this. It’s a step in the right direction.
Backups Are Included on WordPress Plans
Unlike the standard shared hosting plans where pretty much everything beyond the storage space and a 1-click installer will cost you extra, GoDaddy’s WordPress plans include backups. You can schedule them, make them on demand, and download and/or restore your website from a backup with a couple of clicks. Yes, a lot of web hosts include backups, but GoDaddy’s standard shared hosting plans don’t, so this is definitely something to get excited about.
There’s Automatic Malware Scanning
Even the lowest-priced GoDaddy WordPress hosting plan includes free automatic malware scanning. If you choose the Ultimate plan and above (more expensive, of course), then you get unlimited malware removal and hack repair as well as simple malware scanning. This is just another thing that you have to pay extra for with GoDaddy’s standard shared hosting (and WordPress hosting isn’t really that much more expensive with GoDaddy, either).
Other Free Tools
Firstly, there’s the SEO tools and staging tools. Okay, so you do have to choose the Deluxe plan and above to get the SEO tools and the one-click staging area (for testing out changes to your website without affecting your live site), but the price difference isn’t huge.
Secondly, if you opt for the E-commerce plan, which pre-installs Woo-Commerce as part of your WordPress installation, you get access to premium WooCommerce extensions. These can help make your online store more profitable (as well as saving you money on the cost of the extensions themselves).
GoDaddy also incorporates its own bespoke WooCommerce payment platform that’s automatically activated when you install WordPress. It’s only available for stores in the US, however – but it’s included with all hosting plans, even the most basic shared hosting plan. The Poynt plugin enables you to accept major credit and debit cards – and receive the funds the next business day!
None of GoDaddy’s Plans are Perfect, Though
There are some things that I found disappointing with GoDaddy’s WordPress plans. These plans are semi-managed. That means that you can set up automatic backups and automatic updates, but if you don’t set these up, they won’t happen. GoDaddy doesn’t manage these things for you – but they will offer support if you need it.
Most web hosts include a free website builder with even the most basic shared hosting plans. I can understand why GoDaddy doesn’t offer that with its WordPress plans, but the standard shared hosting plans don’t include a website builder, either. If you want to use GoDaddy’s website builder, you’ll have to purchase a completely separate builder plan.
Ease of use
Shared Hosting is NOT Easy to Use – But WordPress Hosting is Simple. Kind of.
GoDaddy’s homepage can be deceiving. It’s nicely designed, the logo is modern, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is a modern, well thought out service. It isn’t.
Choosing Your Plan Can Be Tricky
The main thing to note about GoDaddy’s plans is that there’s not a lot of details. I like hosts that have those big comparison tables so I can easily see what each plan includes, right down to server software and PHP versions. GoDaddy doesn’t have those. It gives you the basic details, tells you what one plan has that the other doesn’t, but I couldn’t find any technical details anywhere.
If you’re not bothered about the technical stuff, then GoDaddy’s lack of it won’t be a problem, but it kinda annoyed me. I spent way too much time trying to find information out (because, well, asking the live chat agent was a bit of a joke!)
Connecting Your Domain Is Hard
Anyway, like I said before, the first time I signed up and tested GoDaddy, I went with the basic web hosting plan, and signup was generally easy. I was immediately given the A records (not nameservers) for connecting my domain. I took a screenshot at the time, but figured it wouldn’t matter because I’d just get that info again later.
For context, “nameservers” are the easy way to connect a domain name.
As it turned out, connecting the domain without my screenshot proved to be a ridiculously difficult task, as I couldn’t find those A records anywhere. The main account area has almost no information in general, and most of the tabs are filled with services that are available for purchase – ones that aren’t actually included with your plan.
Back to domain connecting. There was no info to be found, and support couldn’t help. They gave me the wrong nameservers and the domain didn’t connect. I ended up using my screenshot, and managed to connect my domain myself, but that was an unnecessary hassle. If you’re not experienced with web hosting, you definitely don’t want to be dealing with this kind of thing.
Of course, if you opt for buying a domain name with your hosting (or choose a plan that offers one free), then your domain name will be already set up and you simply have to link it to your hosting space from your account dashboard. That, at least, is pretty simple. Even if you buy your domain name from GoDaddy later, connecting it is easy. That makes me think it’s trying to get you to buy your new domain name directly from it. Anyway, that’s what I did the second time round and it was easy.
GoDaddy Might Take Your Money, Then Decide You’re a Fraud
Three weeks after I signed up for the first time, GoDaddy suddenly decided I was suspicious, and required that I verify my info. The system had flagged me as a fraudulent user.
Other hosts do this too, but it happens immediately after signup. Your account doesn’t get activated until you provide your ID. GoDaddy suddenly remembered to do this three weeks after I had signed up, when I was no longer actively checking my control panel – so I missed the notice.
And then they CANCELLED MY ACCOUNT.
I lost everything I already had going and had to sign up again, starting completely from scratch.
As far as I’m concerned, this is ridiculously bad service. I lost time, I lost my work, and if I hadn’t thought to take my own screenshot, I would never have been able to connect my domain name to my hosting account.
It Got Better On the WordPress Hosting Plan
At least installing WordPress was easy – and on the WordPress hosting plan it was ridiculously easy. So easy, it almost seemed too good to be true! There’s an installation wizard that takes you through the whole process, including choosing a theme, so it’s 100% beginner-friendly. It takes about five minutes from start to finish – and if you haven’t got a domain yet, WordPress will be installed on a temporary domain so you can get started right away.
A Tale of Two Very Different Hosting Plans
For every host I test, I set up a test website with all the usual WordPress bells and whistles. I want it to be as close an approximation as possible of an average working website. I also always ask tech support if they can recommend (or perform) any website optimizations that might help speed things up, to give the host every chance to make a good first impression. I did this twice – once for the standard shared hosting plan, and again for the WordPress hosting plan. Looking at the results, you’d think that I’d tested two completely different hosts!
Performance on the Standard Shared Hosting Did Not Impress!
GoDaddy’s support agent recommended installing the WP Smush plugin, which compresses images in WordPress without sacrificing much in the way of quality. It was a decent suggestion, but it was also the only suggestion.
The average complete page load time for my first GoDaddy-hosted website was a ghastly 2.94 seconds, and the average global (not complete) page load was 4.160s. Ideally, you want loading times to be under 2 seconds. At least the uptime reached a solid 99.974%.
Ugh. Horrible speeds. Truly.
GoDaddy’s WordPress Hosting is Faster… But Less Reliable!
I had high hopes for GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting’s performance. I mean, it uses SSD, for starters, and it’s supposed to be optimized for WordPress. I ran lots of tests, though, and the results were kind of inconsistent.
The average complete page load time for the website hosted on GoDaddy’s WordPress Ultimate plan was an okay (but not brilliant) 1.78 seconds. The fastest was 1.1 seconds and the slowest was 3.2 seconds. Like I said… inconsistent. The uptime, however, was not such a great story. An average of 99.159% is simply awful.
Okay, I’m going into the rest of the grisly details now, but if you’d rather spare yourself the hosting-geek agony, skip ahead to the Support section now. Let me just warn you – that’s a whole different kind of agony.
There are three data centers to choose from, but GoDaddy is so secretive about their locations that you won’t even have any idea where it’s supposed to perform well. You’re just given a choice between “North America,” “Europe,” and “Asia.” Most other hosts go to great lengths to explain the exact geographic locations of their data centers, complete with pictures and details.
As for the tests, GTmetrix is my preferred tool for measuring complete page load times. Then, Sucuri gives me the average global loading times from around the world, and UptimeRobot checks to make sure my site is staying up.
Standard Shared Hosting
The fastest complete page load time of 2.2 seconds is well over the recommended maximum of 2s. Never mind the 2.94s average, or the whopping 5s slowest loading time.
GoDaddy’s fastest speed is most hosts’ slowest speed, and the slowest speed is so bad that any visitor that encounters it will immediately jump ship. The average, actually, is also pretty horrible, as two-thirds of your visitors will most likely immediately bounce back to Google.
The most amazing thing is that a GoDaddy agent told me that 2.2s is really the fastest speed the service is capable of. I found that to be an unintentionally hilarious confession.
GoDaddy WordPress Hosting
The fastest complete page loading speed of 1.1 seconds is decent – but, unfortunately, it didn’t last. The wild range of page loading speeds for my test website really bothered me. Sure the average stayed under the magical 2 seconds – but 3.2 seconds is going to send visitors bouncing right back to Google – just like with the standard shared hosting. I did expect better!
Standard Shared Hosting
When the fastest average global loading time (3.833 seconds) is nearly as slow as the slowest loading time (4.504s), it’s just bad performance no matter where you are in the world. I mean, the average-average of 4.160s is a bit more than double the recommended page load time.
These results are just nasty, and they’re some of the better results:
GoDaddy WordPress Hosting
Because I chose the Europe server for my test website, it’s no surprise that the page loading speed for Europe is pretty impressive here. Even the global page loading speed average is little more than 1 second. This did give me a little hope… although why it took over 4 seconds to load in Los Angeles, USA, I have no idea!
If you thought that the multiple lots of downtime for standard shared hosting from GoDaddy was bad, well you ain’t seen nothing yet! After such a good start in the performance stakes, what I saw when I logged onto UptimeRobot to check on the uptime of my test website on the WordPress plan was really shocking. I mean, even on the standard shared hosting, GoDaddy got to 99,95%.
Admittedly, my test website for the WordPress hosting website was shorter, but over an almost two-week period, there were forty periods of downtime, most lasting 1-2 minutes – but one lasting a whopping 43 minutes. That’s your monthly ‘allowance’ of downtime with a 99.9% uptime guarantee gone in one period of downtime!
There is a 99.9% uptime guarantee, supposedly, but it’s not a very good one – all you get as compensation is a 5% credit of your monthly fee, which you can only use to purchase additional services from GoDaddy. Also, this guarantee does not apply to a long list of circumstances, from “scheduled maintenance” to “causes beyond our control.” In other words, don’t count on it.
I had a mixed experience with GoDaddy’s support. It is not the only hosting service to outsource their support to a faraway location (even good web hosting companies, like InterSever and A2 Hosting, are guilty of that), but Godaddy’s support is a catastrophe of epic proportions.
Supposedly, it’s a live chat service (“manned by experts”), available 24/7. In reality, it’s rarely available within a reasonable time, and sometimes it isn’t available at all. Just about every time it was available to me, the agent was less-than-helpful.
There’s also phone support, but I can’t rate it much higher.
Wondering what was so bad? For starters, the agents barely know English, and they don’t seem to understand how their company works. They don’t know what services are available, or what the differences between them are. They don’t understand how web hosting works. They don’t even understand how ridiculous it is to admit that Godaddy’s horrible performance is the best it can get.
The agents I spoke to ran me in circles, and often disconnected or just stopped answering me. When they disconnect, you’re back to the queue again, and nothing is saved from your previous interactions. You have to explain it all again – usually, only to be disconnected again.
There’s no way to track ongoing issues or to deal with major problems – it’s mostly you versus a loading screen.
My presale chat interaction involved the agent lying to me to about how great the service is, mostly by copy-pasting paragraph after paragraph from her prepared answer sheet. She didn’t even always copy-paste correctly.
I was trying to understand the difference between the plans, but she didn’t know. At first, she said some plans include SSL certificates, but then said only the highest-tier plans do. She didn’t know which plans supported WordPress or why I should choose one plan over another. I had to waste almost an hour on this completely useless support interaction.
When I wanted help with installing WordPress, I asked tech support for exactly that.
The agent replied, “How can I help you?”
I repeated myself. “Can you help me install WordPress?”
The agent asked what issue I was having.
I said, once again, that I wanted to install WordPress.
This playful back and forth continued for some time, until I was told to go use Installatron.
I then asked for help with connecting my domain, and the agent assured me multiple times that it was already connected. It really wasn’t, as domains don’t magically connect, and mine wasn’t even registered with GoDaddy.
This is exactly where a good support agent runs a DNS propagation test to understand where the domain is pointed at. GoDaddy’s support agent, however, just lied to me. Throughout this entire conversation, I spent long periods of time just staring at my screen, not getting any kind of answer.
If I’m being kind, the agent was probably juggling 40 other conversations. Or eating peanuts. You never know.
I managed to get him to give me the nameserver details so I could connect my domain, and we parted ways. They ended up being the wrong nameservers, and didn’t work at all. I had to resort to doing things myself.
When I wanted to ask for help with installing my theme and configuring WP, the live chat was unavailable for at least a few hours, so I just gave up.
When I sent a message later to request help with optimizing my site, the funniest thing happened. I got to speak with multiple agents, a message or two at a time, before they were all mysteriously disconnected. The agent I did talk with at the end recommended that I install WP Smush. Not bad advice, actually.
Still, my page loading time was a sluggish 2.2s.
I sarcastically asked if that was the best GoDaddy could do, but the agent told me happily: “Yes correct that the mx speed it can achieve!”
Well, when an agent tells you that terrible speeds are the best a host can do, who are you to question that?
When I contacted support about an issue with my website on the WordPress hosting plan, the agent wasn’t quite as bad. But the experience was… disconcerting. Why? Because I asked a simple question but was given a bizarrely complicated answer. Let me explain.
When you use the installation wizard to set up WordPress, you don’t set a password yourself. There’s a handy link in your account dashboard that takes you straight to your WordPress admin area. Perfect. Except then I did something (can’t remember what) and suddenly that link wasn’t working anymore and I couldn’t log in to WordPress. I got through to support (by some kind of miracle) really quickly, but then the agent gave me the most bizarre answer to the question “how do I reset my password?”
If you’ve ever used WordPress, you’ll know that there’s a ‘forgot password’ link on the login page. All I had to do was click on that link and reset my password, but GoDaddy wanted me to go poking around in the database? That’s like setting fire to your house in order to get rid of some trash! Still, when I went quiet for a moment (because I was laughing too hard to type), the support guy helpfully offered to fix the problem for me and gave me a new password. Wonderful. Bizarre, but at least he was helpful!
GoDaddy’s prices are expensive by any standard, but when you consider that it doesn’t even provide basic features like free SSL certificates, it starts to look like a cash grab. WordPress hosting plans do include SSL certificates, but you’ll still need to pay extra for the website security basics (with malware removal) unless you choose the Ultimate plan and above.
That said, if I haven’t convinced you to run for your life, the payment terms available are 3, 12, 24, or 36 months. (Plus a monthly option with WordPress hosting plans.) You can only pay through credit card. Even the three-year plan is pretty expensive – especially compared to competitors like Hostinger or InterServer. And any minor add-on will cost you more than it’s worth.
There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on long-term plans. If you sign up for a term that’s shorter than a year, you only get 48 hours to change your mind.
GoDaddy’s checkout page is filled with automatic upsells you’ll have to manually remove on the shared hosting plans- if you don’t, they can end up costing waaay more than the hosting itself. Services like “Free Office 365 Mail” are only free for the first year and will renew automatically, potentially costing you hundreds of dollars. (Upsells aren’t automatically selected on WordPress hosting plans – or they weren’t when I signed up, at least).
GoDaddy doesn’t warn you about this, of course – the company would probably rather have you confused. It almost seems like they really want you to accidentally check out with add-ons you never asked for.
A free domain is included with the 1-year plan, but it will renew for a high price. GoDaddy says the value of the domain is over $30 USD a year. That’s just inaccurate. With Namecheap, you could get the same domain name for less than $10 USD a year, plus a privacy shield. You could even get it cheaper from GoDaddy itself, by buying the domain separately.
How does GoDaddy Hosting match up to the competition?
I’ll say it again: Don’t use GoDaddy’s basic shared hosting plans. The domain registration service is decent, the brand is popular, and even non-techies are familiar with it. But… the basic hosting services are a huge waste of money.
If you have the budget to spare, I recommend you check out Liquid Web– one of the best premium hosts available today.
How much does GoDaddy cost?The cheapest plan comes in at about $5.99 per month when you sign up, and increases by about 50% when you renew your hosting. From there, the bigger and better plans go up in price at a reasonably steady rate. It’s not going to break the bank for most of us, but there are cheaper services that provide much better quality hosting. Before you make any final decisions, you should check out Hostinger’s cheap plans.Why is GoDaddy so cheap?I would say, “because the hosting service itself is an afterthought,” but the truth is even more disappointing: GoDaddy really isn’t that cheap. The prices are average at best, with much better hosts charging less than half of what GoDaddy’s cheapest plan costs per month.
You can do better.
For starters, you should take a look at our frequently updated web hosting coupon page to see who is running the best deals right now.Is GoDaddy good for online stores?That depends. You can use GoDaddy’s website builder to build an e-commerce site, but it’s probably not the best choice if you need more than a simple online store with a few products. There are definitely better e-commerce site builders out there.
GoDaddy’s basic shared hosting packages are a different story. With the awful server performance, you’re more likely to have customers running off to buy something else, somewhere else, before your store even gets a chance to load.Which web hosts are better than GoDaddy?Well, almost every other big-name host is better… but if you want specifics, I can do specifics. Your best budget-friendly options are Hostinger and InterServer. Hostinger has a $1.99 per month hosting plan that outperforms GoDaddy in every way.
You should also look at our list of the best web hosting services right now, as a great many of the hosts you’ll find there can hit GoDaddy where it hurts, performance-wise.
Brent is a freelance web developer who loves experimenting with new technology and sharing his experiences with others. While his career life can get hectic sometimes, he always makes time for the important things in life: good coffee, good wine, and quality time with his twin boys, Aiden and Sean.
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Migrated my account. Restored old data. Site destroyed.
Godaddy migrated my shared hosting from a legacy service to a new cpanel service. I called in and reviewed site. Told them it was old. They looked at my current site and said I was not going to be migrated. Week later they uploaded the old data..
All my blogs are with godaddy windows hosting, recently i purchased a new hosting plan. Got a free domain with big discount on economy hosting. my suggestion is need to add more features, like others hosting companies are offering.