GoDaddy is one of the biggest names in web hosting with over 17 million clients worldwide.
They provide shared, WordPress and VPS plans. And they offer everything a small business needs to get a website, launch it, and grow traffic.
That includes marketing services, monthly consultations, and business software.
But how is their customer support? How should you judge their hosting performance? And how do they compare to competitor Bluehost?
Let’s find out.
Pros and Cons
- Variety of hosting plans
- Low prices
- Marketing services for small business
What are the Pros?
One of GoDaddy’s chief advantages is it’s a “one-stop shop.” What does that mean?
You can get a website from GoDaddy, domain names, email, marketing services, business phone number, and even learning materials to help you grow your small business.
As you’ll see later in this review, in our testing GoDaddy’s server response speeds came in at roughly double those of other top bargain-priced web hosts.
Why does this matter? Having a fast-loading site has been correlated to better SEO, more conversions and increased sales.
GoDaddy was founded by Bob Parsons in 1997 as Jomax Technologies. In 1997, the company was rebranded GoDaddy.
Parsons wanted something memorable, but the initial suggestion of Big Daddy wasn’t an option since someone else already owned the domain. Parsons suggested GoDaddy, and because the URL was available, this was the name that stuck.
In 2015, GoDaddy went public, with Bob Parsons also announcing that he would step down as the Executive Chairman of GoDaddy.
Today, GoDaddy is the world’s largest domain name registrar, serves over 18.5 million customers, and operates 14 facilities around the world. Its headquarters are in Scottsdale, Arizona.
What Companies Does GoDaddy Own?
Over the years, GoDaddy has brought several companies under its brand, including Media Temple, Freedom Voice, ManageWP, and Main Street Hub.
GoDaddy is known for its web hosting, but it offers a wide variety of services, apps and tools designed to help you get your site online and grow your traffic.
Here’s an overview of the apps, tools, and services that you can purchase from GoDaddy.
Web Hosting Types and Plans
Web hosting is GoDaddy’s bread-and-butter offering, and there are many different options from which you can choose.
Note: GoDaddy doesn’t currently offer any free web hosting options, but the company offers plans that would fit with most budgets.
Here are the highlights of GoDaddy’s offerings.
Shared Web Hosting
If you’re looking to get started with a simple plan, GoDaddy’s shared plans are a good option. You’ll get everything you need to support one website, as well as 24/7 support in the event that you have any questions, comments, or concerns.
The most basic plan supports PHP, comes with email, and includes a free domain for subscription contracts lasting at least a year.
You can, however, upgrade to either of the more expensive options if you’re creating multiple websites, need additional storage or processing power, or want a free SSL certificate. You can get any of the plans on a Linux or Windows-based server.
GoDaddy’s higher level shared hosting plans are aimed at small businesses, though you might consider these if you just want a more robust hosting package without springing for a VPS plan or dedicated server.
These plans are also managed plans, so you don’t have to worry about server system administration.
WordPress Web Hosting
WordPress is the most popular content management systems (CMS) in use. As such, GoDaddy offers a number of plans catering to those who are powering their sites with WordPress.
If purchasing a WordPress hosting option, you can choose from the four plans on offer. Plans vary primarily on the number of websites you’re hosting, the amount of storage you get, and the maximum number of visitors to your site on a monthly basis.
More expensive options also come with extras such as search engine optimization (SEO) tools, staging areas so you can test changes before they go live, security tools, SSL certificates, and site management tools.
What makes the WordPress plans different from any of the other hosting options (which you could use to host WordPress sites too) is the inclusion of WordPress-specific themes and plugins, as well as regular and automatic updates of the WordPress core so that you don’t have to take care of this.
If you host and manage multiple WordPress sites on your GoDaddy account, you have the option of purchasing a custom management dashboard that allows you to handle everything from a centralized location.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Those who want GoDaddy’s staff to handle the basic administrative tasks associated with WordPress hosting would be interested in the Managed WordPress Hosting option.
The tasks handled for you include WordPress installation, automated daily backups, updates to the WordPress core as required, and server-side caching.
GoDaddy offers four different managed WordPress hosting plans from which you can choose. The best option for you depends on how many site visits you expect in a month, as well as how many WordPress sites for which you need hosting.
VPS Web Hosting
If you’re building a large website that will see higher levels of traffic (or you anticipate having a website that meets these criteria in the near future), you might be interested in a VPS hosting plan.
GoDaddy offers both Windows and Linux-based VPS hosting plans.
Regardless of which operating system you prefer, there are four different plans from which you can choose.
All plans come with a cPanel for the GUI-based administration of your server, free SSL certificate, file and database backups, and management services to lessen the amount of work you have to do to manage your server.
Therefore, when making your decision, you’re primarily deciding on how much memory, storage, bandwidth, and IP addresses you need. To find out more, visit GoDaddy now.
With “dedicated server” hosting you get an entire server (and all its resources) all to yourself.
While every other hosting option places some limitation on what you install on your instance, dedicated servers are fully customizable.
Dedicated servers are best for resource-intensive websites, so they’re probably not a good option for you when you start out (even if you expect to grow rapidly).
However, we are mentioning GoDaddy’s dedicated servers in this article so that you’ll be familiar with the ins-and-outs of such hosting options when it comes time for you to consider one for your website.
GoDaddy’s dedicated servers come pre-installed with your choice of operating system — Windows or Linux. You can choose to manage your server via its command line interface, or you can upgrade to a cPanel, which tends to be easier to use.
You can choose from four different types of dedicated servers, and each differs from one another based on the number of CPU cores available and memory and storage allocation. However, do note that all options allow for unmetered bandwidth and come with three dedicated IP addresses and a free SSL certificate for your first year of service.
If you’re completely comfortable with managing your own dedicated server, you can save some money and opt for the unmanaged option. However, if you’d like a bit more assistance, you can opt for a managed solution instead.
Those who have a VPS plan with GoDaddy and choose to upgrade to a dedicated server will get free data migration services.
When you choose to host a website with GoDaddy, the following are some of the features and functionality you can expect to receive. The specifics will vary based on the plan you choose.
GoDaddy offers its customers use of the industry-standard cPanel control panel. The cPanel is where you would go to check your website’s server resource usage, check your billing status/account-related details, transfer files to your web server, and so on.
Those who are coming from other hosts offering the cPanel will feel right at home with GoDaddy.
Every site on the internet can become a target, and in some cases, those for smaller entities are more enticing targets since they typically don’t have the robust security budget corporations do.
GoDaddy provides, as most web hosts do, 24/7 monitoring of their servers. They also provide protection against DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks.
GoDaddy offers the following security add-ons you can purchase to protect your website.
- SSL Certificates: SSL certificates use advanced encryption to prevent unauthorized parties from gaining access to and reading data that should otherwise be kept private. They’re now considered a must-have for all websites, whether you’re selling anything or not. The highest level shared hosting plan (“Ultimate”) includes a free SSL certificate. For other plans, you’ll need to purchase one. GoDaddy sells a variety of certificates, and the one you choose depends on why you’re building your site.
- Premium Website Security: This product is designed to protect your website from malware, hacking, blacklisting, and more
- Malware Removal: If your site has been compromised, GoDaddy can help you remove the malware, as well as set up ongoing protection so that your threats don’t return
Uptime and Performance
In our tests, GoDaddy’s server response speeds, are on average, slower than other top bargain-priced web hosts.
Server Response Speeds: What Do Our Tests Show?
The times (at left) are depicted in milliseconds.
Is There an Uptime Guarantee?
GoDaddy guarantees a 99.9% uptime, which means that, over the course of a month, you should expect no more than ~45 minutes of downtime (excluding periods of schedule maintenance).
All plans get this guarantee, which makes GoDaddy stand out from its competitors — many don’t offer service level agreements (SLA), especially not at the shared hosting level.
Domain Name Registration
GoDaddy offers domain name registration services, so you are welcome to purchase a domain name without also purchasing a web hosting package.
Purchasing a domain without a hosting plan is ideal if you have an idea of what you want your URL to be, but you’re not quite ready to purchase web hosting.
GoDaddy customers can manage their domain names/find their DNS information by logging into their GoDaddy account, then going to My Products > Domains.
E-Commerce and Website Builders
Those with WordPress-specific hosting plans get themes and plugins to help build their sites.
GoCentral: A DIY Website Builder
GoDaddy offers its own DIY website and e-commerce store builder called GoCentral. A website builder is a time saver and makes it easy to get your business online.
You can get started with GoCentral free of charge, but paid plans begin at $5.99 per month when you opt for annual billing. Plans then max out at $19.99, which would get you a full online store.
When getting started with GoCentral, you can choose to get started by selecting a theme that best fits your needs. (A theme is a pre-built website design.)
Then, you upload your images and change your text-based contact. That’s all you need to do to create a website.
If you want more control over your website’s appearance, you can use the modular site builder to build your website or store block by block. To make things as simple as possible, you can use what GoCentral calls “sections,” which are blocks that implement a full feature set, such as contact form, photo gallery, or events calendar.
Custom Website Design is Available
If you want to save time, you can purchase website, e-commerce, or logo design services from the GoDaddy team.
GoCentral vs Wix
GoCentral and Wix are very similar products in that both can be used to start websites for free.
Bonus features come with paid plans, and all such plans come with the web hosting you need to make your site live. Wix might be slightly easier to use for the rookie user, but both are solid options that offer professional templates to help you get started.
If you’re curious, read our full review of Wix’s hosting services.
Services for Small Businesses
GoDaddy offers more than just internet-related tools such as web hosting, website builders, and domain names. If you’re a small business, you’ll find the following GoDaddy offerings to be of interest.
Marketing: Get Found Online and Grow Traffic
With over 1 billion websites on the internet it takes work to stand out. Just launching a site isn’t enough.
Web hosts that provide marketing services can be a boon for overextended business owners.
So what can you get from GoDaddy?
- SEO Services including content creation and PPC (pay-per-click) advertising.
- Social media marketing, including brand design and content creation.
- Monthly meetings with your account manager.
- Progress tracking.
Email and Office 365
GoDaddy offers a Professional Email option that allows you to set up accounts and receive messages at an address whose domain matches that of your website. This helps improve the professional image of your business.
You have three different email plans to choose from. All are multi-device and include basic productivity features like address book and calendar.
For those who want a bit more than email, GoDaddy offers Office 365 subscriptions. The Office 365 subscriptions come with email functionality, but you’ll also get popular tools like Excel, PowerPoint, and Word.
These are cloud-based tools that come with cloud-based storage for all of your files. Depending on the plan you choose, you might also get extra features like HIPAA compliance, DocuSign functionality, and archiving.
Customer Service and Technical Support
GoDaddy offers 24/7 technical support via telephone. You can also get in touch via Live Chat Mondays through Fridays.
How Is Their Live Chat?
Since I’m a GoDaddy customer, I had the opportunity recently to use their live chat. I was pleasantly surprised.
The customer rep was knowledgeable, efficient, and resolved my question quickly.
I’ve used dozens of live chat services from different companies and have been disappointed by nearly all of them. This is one of the few I’ve been impressed by. I rated it “excellent.”
GoDaddy offers a variety of self-help resources. There are many how-to articles, and you can find what you’re looking for via search, browsing by topic, or browsing by product.
If you’re interested in crowdsourcing possible solutions or new ideas for your website, you can join and participate in the GoDaddy Community forums.
Pricing and Billing
GoDaddy’s pricing varies based on the type of hosting you choose. Shared options are the cheapest, while dedicated servers are at the other end in terms of cost.
Generally speaking, you can pay for whichever option you choose on a monthly basis, but if you opt to pay upfront for an extended contract lasting 12, 24, or even 36 months, you can save on your purchase of web hosting. Those with the longest contracts will pay the least on a month-to-month basis for their services.
Note that, if you purchase a domain name from GoDaddy, you might see it billed to you separately under the name DNH GoDaddy. DNH, in this case, stands for domain name hosting.
Refunds and Money-Back Guarantee
GoDaddy doesn’t advertise a money-back guarantee, but it appears the company does allow cancellations and, in some cases, refunds. To see if you qualify for a refund of what you paid if you cancel, you will need to begin the process by getting in touch with GoDaddy’s customer service team.
GoDaddy vs Bluehost
GoDaddy is known for its domain-related services, while Bluehost is known for its partnership with WordPress. Both companies offer shared hosting options at comparable prices.
- We would argue that Bluehost does more to appeal to those who are new to web hosting, but both have plenty of beginner-friendly tutorials.
- Both Bluehost and GoDaddy’s shared plans are all-inclusive, but Bluehost’s proprietary control panel has been customized to make sure the user experience is as easy as possible. Bluehost also offers a better money back guarantee/refund policy.
- Both are “one-stop shops” offering custom web design, SEO, social media, and PPC advertising.
- Bluehost wins on server response speeds
Special GoDaddy Discounts
GoDaddy is a popular and well-known provider of web hosting services. In addition to plans ranging from basic shared options to high-end dedicated servers, GoDaddy also sells a variety of apps, tools, and services designed to make it as easy as possible for you to launch your website.
If you’re not completely confident that GoDaddy’s the host provider for you, take advantage of the 30-day money back guarantee to receive a refund of all fees you’ve paid.
So you have nothing to lose. Visit GoDaddy now.
Your Review of GoDaddy Hosting
Are you a current or past GoDaddy customer? Would you recommend them? Please leave your comments below and let our visitors know what you think of GoDaddy’s speed, features and customer service.
Contributing editor: Sherrie Gossett.