According to BuiltWith, 1 out of 20 websites seems to be hosted on GoDaddy. They are undeniably a hosting titan, with about 20 million customers, more than 9.000 employees, and more than 80 million managed domains. But this is not a popularity contest. Instead, I’m about to review GoDaddy so you know what you can expect from their performance, what the deal is with their support, and how much it’s going to cost you. This is our GoDaddy Hosting review.
GoDaddy has enough products to choose from, but it can be challenging to find the right ones. The website mainly focuses on the core features, with very few detailed comparison tables you’ll see with other hosts. Anyone interested in low-level technical details may need to look for the support site to find out what exactly is in a plan.
However, suppose you are satisfied with the core features. In that case, it works just like any other host: choose a plan, a domain, a data center (North America, Europe, Asia), and hand over your money the usual way as long as it’s through the card, anyway – no PayPal, bank transfer or other options here.
One highlight is GoDaddy’s price clarity. Some hosts have messy shopping carts where you have to scroll around or open a list to find your plan options. GoDaddy has a very clear and minimalistic shopping cart, black text on a white background, plans available, offer and renewal prices of each, the total of what you have selected so far, and a warning that there may be taxes add, too. There is no attempt to catch you or push you in any particular direction; GoDaddy presents your options as clearly as possible.
GoDaddy Hosting Review: Creating a website
If you are looking for a WordPress site with your GoDaddy account, there is good news: the company makes it surprisingly easy. For example, the first sign-up wizard ends with an optional step, ‘Create a WordPress website.’ Click ‘Yes,’ enter a WordPress username and password, and the package will be installed within minutes. This is as easy as a WordPress installation can get, but it is also minimal and gives you no control over how it is set up.
However, skip the first WordPress installation option, and you can try again via Installatron, GoDaddy’s automated installation program with many features. This does not support as many apps as Softaculous (150+ vs. 400+), but it covers all the big names – WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, MediaWiki, phpBB, PrestaShop, and many more – and works in much the same way. Choose the app you need, fill in the required setup details, and Installatron will install and configure it within a minute or two.
Installatron also has other advantages, including support for some very advanced management tasks. It can back up installed apps to or from FTP, FTPS, SFTP, WebDAV, or Dropbox, for example, and then optionally restore them to another location, ideal when migrating a site. GoDaddy’s regular shared hosting plans do not include any website builder, not even the minimal demo versions you will often see with other hosts (many have limits on your website’s size, the number of pages, and more).
However, that is not so bad, because the company has many more possibilities. GoDaddy has its Website Builder with a solid set of e-commerce tools. There is a one-month free trial subscription, and plans range from $10 to $25 per month with an annual subscription, depending on the features you need. (The $10 plan has enough power for many personal and business sites, although you should expect to pay at least $20 a month to get a decent web store).
Suppose you are not using WordPress or the Website Builder. In that case, you can also upload your site via FTP or the file manager, use cPanel to create databases, set up email accounts, and generally manage every aspect of your website.
GoDaddy Hosting review: Performance
GoDaddy claims to offer ‘fast, reliable hosting,’ but does it deliver? That’s what we wanted to find out. We started our benchmarking process by setting up a simple website on our test GoDaddy shared hosting account. We then had Uptime.com check the site every five minutes from multiple locations in Europe and the US, recording the site’s availability and the response time. GoDaddy achieved 100% uptime, with no downtime during the week of the test. That’s good news, but it’s also what we would expect for short-term checks.
Reaction times were slower than most, with a range of 280-785 ms and an average of 354 ms. That’s at the dead-end of the 200-400ms spectrum we see in most starter hosting products, but it’s still a significant improvement over the average of 649ms we saw in our last review.
Dotcom Tools’ Website Speed Test measures page loading time from 16 locations in the US and Europe. The results ranged significantly from 1.1 to 2.3 seconds, but they were never impressive; some free web hosts have load times of less than 1.5 seconds, and the best products are closer to 0.7-0.8 seconds.
While these results are generally a little disappointing, please note that our tests only covered GoDaddy’s baseline shared hosting plan. VPS, dedicated, and other premium products give you more powerful hardware and a more significant share of resources, and they are likely to deliver much, much better performance.
GoDaddy Hosting review: Pricing and plans
GoDaddy’s shared hosting starts at $5.99 per month on the three-year plan ($8.99 on renewal), giving you 100GB of storage, ten databases, unmeasured bandwidth, and support for a single site. Unusual extras include a free 5GB Office 365 email mailbox for one year, and there is a free domain with annual and longer plans.
This is not bad, but it is disappointing to see that there is no SSL certificate. Bluehost, HostGator, InMotion, and other big names now offer a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate with even their cheapest accounts.
Those accounts can also be significantly cheaper than GoDaddy. HostGator’s Hatching plan supports a single site, includes unmeasured storage and a free SSL certificate but costs just $2.75 per month on the three-year plan, renewed for $6.95.
Move up the GoDaddy range, and there are some competent products. The Ultimate plan supports unlimited websites, disk space and databases, unmeasured bandwidth, premium DNS management, and a free GoDaddy SSL certificate for one year.
However, it is relatively expensive, at $12.99 per month for the first year, then $16.99 per month at renewal. HostGator’s Business plan supports unlimited everything and throws in a dedicated IP for $7.95 per month on the annual plan ($5.95 over three years), with a $16.95 renewal.
GoDaddy scores for its flexibility. For example, aren’t you interested in standard Linux hosting? Switch to Windows without a price premium, a very unusual touch. Also, capable VPS hosting products offer better performance, cPanel management, and a free SSL certificate starting at $19.99 per month over two years, $29.99 on renewal.
You can also choose basic or managed WordPress hosting for $6.99 per month. If you’re looking for maximum power, a highly configurable dedicated server family gives you control over hardware (RAM, storage), duration (1-24 months), administration (managed, fully managed, self-management), and more.
A 30-day money-back guarantee gives you some protection, but there are many conditions and variations. The grace period drops to just 48 hours if your contract lasts less than a year, and there’s a baffling array of other terms and conditions (the fine print of the refund policy alone is almost 2,000 words).
GoDaddy then rarely has the best deals, especially if you’re looking for a starting product. IPage’s baseline plan gives you unlimited disk space and databases, a free domain, and a free SSL certificate for $1.99 per month over three years, for example, $7.99 on renewals.
However, in other situations, the costs are much closer, and GoDaddy has its advantages (simple Windows hosting, the years of the trial of an Office 365 Outlook mailbox, as discussed above).
GoDaddy Hosting Review: Customer support
GoDaddy has 24/7 telephone support and live web chat support. We called on a weekday morning and spoke to a customer service representative less than two minutes later. We asked about the different email levels and again experienced the best customer support of all the web hosting services we have tested. The representative was friendly and knowledgeable. We had no problems when we tried chat support again later in the day.
GoDaddy has much business, and consumer-friendly options, a reliable, Microsoft based hosted email service and high quality 24/7 customer service. However, note that GoDaddy has no cloud hosting plans and has insufficient standard email accounts. If you still want to quickly set up a website, GoDaddy has the tools you need for a successful launch.
GoDaddy offers many options and quality support but can be expensive in some situations.
- Excellent 24/7 customer support
- Windows- and Linux-based servers
- Email tightly integrated into Microsoft apps
- Managed WordPress hosting
- Not the cheapest for some products
- No cloud hosting
- Skimpy default email plans