In this GoDaddy review, I decided to check if the provider is good at hosting websites. While it is an obvious choice for domain services, GoDaddy is a leading web hosting provider as well, taking a big piece of the market share of this industry.
At first glance, GoDaddy does not look like a company I’d like to trust my business with. It’s followed by scandals and outrageous ads everywhere.
Because of GoDaddy, we saw Janet Jackson having a wardrobe malfunction, Candice Michele wearing the company’s logo on a shirt that barely covers her breasts, Bar Rafaeli kissing Jesse Heiman, and a puppy jumping out of a driving truck.
But bad press is still press, right? Perhaps that’s a reason why they got so big.
Well, another scandal misfired in 2010. People took more than 72 000 domains and websites hosted with the company and left.
So that was obviously a sign for GoDaddy that something has to change. Sexism and scandals won’t cut as a sustainable marketing strategy anymore.
Change they did.
From the change of management to the newly found purpose of helping small businesses, GoDaddy is now a seemingly reputable hosting and domain management company.
Seemingly. A ton of GoDaddy web hosting reviews still say that GoDaddy sucks and that you should never trust your website with them. But who am I to follow the popular opinion? After all, the Salem witch trials were fueled by fear, and I’m not the one to be easily scared.
So I did purchase a hosting plan from GoDaddy. Throughout the following sections, you’ll find what I discovered about pricing and ease of use, performance, security, additional features, and customer support. In case you don’t want to spend the next 15 minutes reading about all that, just skip to the end or choose the part that you’re interested in:
|Feature||4.0★||Great for small businesses|
|Pricing||★★★★||GoDaddy has many web hosting options with pricing starting at $2.99/mo.|
|Ease of Use||★★★★★||Modern dashboard with convenient website management area and standard cPanel are all easy to use and functional.|
|Performance||★★★★★||GoDaddy’s performance is good, with 99.98% uptime.|
|Security||★★||In terms of security, some basics such as SSL are lacking while paid features are too expensive.|
|Support||★★★★||You can contact GoDaddy 24/7 via live chat and phone.|
Pros and Cons of GoDaddy
- Modern and easy to use interface
- Generous server resources
- Free domain is included
- Servers location choice in the US, Europe, and Asia
- Fast and reliable server performance
- Prices could be lower
- Security measures are lacking
GoDaddy’s regular prices start at $2.99/mo for shared web hosting. It’s a very average industry price. However, occasional discounts can lower this price to $1/mo. Other options include WordPress, Business, VPS, and Dedicated hosting options.
|Shared web hosting (from $2.99/mo)||Affordable option for small websites|
|WordPress hosting (from $6.99/mo)||Beginner-friendly hosting for small business and personal websites|
|Business hosting (from $19.99/mo)||eCommerce ready plans|
|VPS hosting (from $4.99/mo)||Powerful hosting for advanced needs|
|Dedicated servers (from $129.99/mo)||Enterprise-level solution|
There’s a ton of options for all kinds of users and websites. Prices are actually average except for VPS hosting – it’s cheap. But if you’d look at server resources, every plan includes a lot. More than what other average-priced hosts are offering.
But today, I’ll be sticking to shared hosting. That’s the most popular option in general that suits the majority of smaller websites.
In any case, there are 4 shared hosting plans. All of them are very generous and include a free domain and unmetered bandwidth. The advertised prices are available with a 3-year subscription.
- Economy ($2.99/mo) comes with 1 website limit, 100GB storage, and 10 databases. It’s a good option to host your service page, portfolio, or blog.
- Deluxe ($5.49/mo) does not limit websites or storage and comes with 25 databases. It’s a plan for when you need more than one website.
- Ultimate ($6.99/mo) adds unlimited databases, premium DNS management, and an SSL for the first year. It’s also hosted on a lower-density server and is capable of handling more traffic. It’s a good option for business websites.
- Maximum (13.99/mo) comes with unlimited SSLs for all websites and premium DNS management. The Maximum plan accounts are also hosted on the server with the least users. This improves performance and gives you more resources. The plan is good for popular high-traffic websites.
100GB storage on an entry plan is generous! However, SSL certificates are only included in Ultimate and Maximum, which for me is a big drawback. Plus, the rest of the plans are on the more expensive side.
If your hosting does not provide an SSL certificate, you can install one for free on your own. Some of the most reliable providers are Cloudflare and Let’s Encrypt
We are always on the lookout to get the best deal possible. Currently, GoDaddy is offering a huge discount on the Economy plan. You can get it for $1/mo for the first year. Grab it while it lasts!
Check GoDaddy Pricing Now
Looking at these plans, it’s safe to say that GoDaddy’s shared hosting is best for heavy websites that are not necessarily offering eCommerce functionality. That means you are better off not dealing with sensitive data like credit card info on these. At the same time, they’ll be great for news sites, blogs, and portfolios because of the huge storage space capacities.
But to get the biggest return on your investment, let’s do some math.
Pricing need to know
When choosing a plan for you, you can either grab a short-term discount or stick around and enjoy cheaper prices for longer. No matter what you choose, the initial price is bound to increase. In this section, I analyzed the pricing and how to get the best deal as well as compared it to other providers.
The cheapest option available right now is the Economy plan $1/mo deal for the first year. Your total will be just $12. It renews at an $8.99/mo rate, which is $107.88 for the next year. Alternatively, you can pick 36-month billing to enjoy the quite affordable $2.99/mo price for longer.
The increase after the renewal is anything but usual. That’ll happen with 99% of providers.
So if we’d like to get the same stuff as with GoDaddy (free domain, at least 100GB storage, and unmetered bandwidth), what would we pay with other providers?
- Hostinger Premium plan for 1 year: $71.88 initially and $107.88 on renewal. Additional perks: unlimited websites, weekly backups, and free SSL.
- HostPapa Starter plan for 1 year: $71.40 initially and $143.88 on renewal. Additional perks: 2 websites, free SSL, and one-on-one training session.
- DreamHost Unlimited plan for 1 year: $35.40 initially and $83.88 on renewal. Additional perks: unlimited websites, free SSL, domain privacy, daily backups.
As you can see, no one can beat GoDaddy’s initial discount. Meanwhile, renewal pricing is pretty much on the same level.
That’s why you need to weigh your needs against the price to see if GoDaddy offers good value for you. Also, if you do want to try GoDaddy but afraid of renewal prices – keep in mind that migrations are not as daunting as they sound. Most providers do them for free.
Also, GoDaddy has a 30-day money-back period. However, the free domain price will be deducted, and you’ll get to keep the domain. Additionally, if you purchased for a period shorter than a year, you’ll have 48 hours to cancel the service.
So in general, GoDaddy prices are average when compared to other hosts. On the other hand, it does give generous resources and some good discounts. The only not-so-good thing is that free SSLs are not included as a default in every plan.
While I easily disregarded other plans as “bad value,” I still needed one for this GoDaddy review. I chose to buy Deluxe as it gives me the possibility to host multiple websites for testing. I’ll now check whether GoDaddy’s value hides behind the servers and user interface.
Hosting management – is GoDaddy easy to use?
When it comes to user experience and hosting management, GoDaddy is really easy to use. It helps you set up a website in the native dashboard while cPanel is also available.
Once you sign up, the first window will be this:
By the Web Hosting section, there’s a Set up button. It hides a website and hosting setup wizard that you’ll need to go through in order to have your account ready.
You can also set up Microsoft 365. But keep in mind that it’s free only for the first year.
I decided to skip on the freebie and went straight with the hosting setup. Which was really easy.
All I needed to do is select my domain name, data center, and optionally – install WordPress. Which I did, as that’s just convenient.
Choose a server location that’s closer to your audience, not you. This way, they will enjoy faster website loading. Data centers in 3 continents are available – North America, Europe, and Asia, so that covers the majority of the world.
No more than 2 minutes and I had my WordPress live and ready for testing.
A new interface appeared, which is GoDaddy’s website management area. Here you’ll see all of your websites listed in one place, Action Center, as well as server and account information. There’s also a convenient cPanel Admin button.
In my case, Action Center told me that there’s PHP 7.4 version available. It’s a little bit weird that it wasn’t immediately updated when I was setting up my account. But I simply clicked on Upgrade and got the latest available PHP ready.
You should always choose to upgrade to the latest PHP as it’s one of the things that can speed up your website considerably. Unfortunately, not all providers have it. Even GoDaddy is yet to make PHP 8 available.
In any case, the initial account set up with GoDaddy was smooth, and I had no issues whatsoever. So basically, in the first 5 minutes of you owning a GoDaddy web hosting account, you’ll have a website ready to be worked on. Which is quite impressive.
But that’s not all that the provider has on its toolset.
WordPress starter templates
The first time you open the newly installed WordPress admin panel, GoDaddy will have a starter process ready. This is a neat detail that allows you to install one of GoDaddy’s offered themes and make your website look good immediately.
By the way, offered templates are beautiful and modern. You’ll find different categories for different industries. There’s quite a big selection of them.
Also, these templates are mobile-friendly. So no need to redo anything as the design will automatically adapt to smaller screens.
All this WordPress starter thing might seem like a small thing. After all, WordPress itself has a ton of themes that are beautiful.
But there’s always a but.
You see, some providers charge extra to make your site look like the nice “demo” template that all of the themes showcase. That’s because that “demo” content is not available by default. It has to be installed with all the settings attached.
Having a theme with demo content on it makes the website building process very easy. You can simply switch the demo text and images into your own, and the site is good to go.
If you’d like to use GoDaddy’s WordPress starter templates, all the demo stuff will be installed for you, for free. So I was impressed by this.
Overall, GoDaddy took an extra step in terms of making website building process easier. Starter templates is a great option for beginners and those in a rush.
How does the GoDaddy control panel look like?
In addition to the native interface, GoDaddy still remains faithful to cPanel for more advanced website management tasks. It uses the standard version of it, so you can easily find all the main management modules – file manager, email accounts, domains, software, and databases.
All the tools are on the main part of the interface, while you can find site statistics on the right. It’s helpful in case you want to see how much of server resources your website is using.
But if we already set up a website, do we ever need to use cPanel?
Generally, cPanel has more “advanced” tools. But you should definitely explore it, as it has many useful modules:
- Installatron – in case you don’t want to use WordPress or need to add a second website, head there. Installatron is a one-click installation library similar to Softaculous or QuickInstall. It has hundreds of different apps you can build your website on.
- Email accounts – you can create a professional email account with your domain name in this section for free. It’s as simple as filling out details like the name of the mailbox and password. Just keep in mind that this will only be good for casual use, as email clients used are rather outdated and hosted on the same server as your website.
- Addon domains – if you have a domain hosted with another company, but want to use it for your GoDaddy website, go ahead and add it there. Just don’t forget to point it to GoDaddy.
- Backup – you can manually back up the whole cPanel (with files and databases). This is a tool of precaution or for website migration. It can save you if you break your website or want to move it elsewhere.
That’s just a couple of useful features that you’ll find in cPanel. Don’t be afraid to explore it – every tool has a description and detailed instructions. You’ll quickly figure everything out.
All in all, GoDaddy is easy to use, not to mention functional. I liked the possibility to install WordPress during the initial setup as well as choose a data center. cPanel is another invaluable tool when it comes to managing your website.
Performance – is GoDaddy fast?
GoDaddy went through all of my standard tests and showed good performance results. I got long-term uptime monitoring data, tested website loading speed on multiple occasions, and checked if the provider can handle the traffic.
GoDaddy uptime and response time
I have monitored GoDaddy for 2 months now. In this time, it had 3 outages which totaled 16 minutes of downtime. In this period, the uptime rate was 99.98%, which is great.
The standard Service Level Agreement (SLA) for uptime is 99.9%, so GoDaddy is significantly better. For example, 99.9% means 43m 49s of monthly downtime. With 99.98%, that number drops to 8m 45s.
This tool also checks server response time every minute. GoDaddy averages at 341ms, which is a very good result. In comparison, the shared hosting average is around 600ms.
As for the next test, I ran a website with a standard WordPress theme on it through a speed test from 3 different locations – the US, UK, and India.
Just as I expected, GoDaddy was great in the US, where it is hosted. What we are looking at is Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). This number should be lower than 2.5 seconds to be considered good. It loaded in 481ms.
Very naturally, other locations took longer to load. UK visitors would have to wait 1 second, while India – 1.6 seconds. That’s because data needs to travel longer distances when compared to the US.
But even with this, the website fits into the recommended 2.5 seconds with a margin to spare.
Next up, I went through GoDaddy’s WordPress Starter and installed one of the themes with demo content on it. This made the website heavier and increased LCP to 791ms.
Still, an excellent result for a page with some nice pictures on it.
But this does not help me to compare it to other providers. That’s why I went in and installed my regular Astra theme that I use for all providers’ testing.
This time, LCP increased to 1.5 seconds.
As a result, it is great. We fit in the recommended 2.5 seconds with one second to spare.
On the other hand, providers like Hostinger and SiteGround load this theme in under a second because they have advanced optimization measures in place. I cannot say the same about GoDaddy.
P.S. This shows that GoDaddy’s starter themes are very lightweight and high-quality when compared to Astra, which is one of the most popular themes available on WordPress.
GoDaddy stress testing
Now for the last test, I’ve sent 50 virtual visitors (bots) to the website. This puts big pressure on the server and lets us see how much traffic GoDaddy can handle.
Well, 50 visitors was a little too much. The CPU was overloaded and the test failed.
We can see that from the red line – it’s all over the place. It shows when the server did not manage to respond to, or fulfill a request.
I decided to reduce bots by 5 till GoDaddy was capable of passing the test. Turns out, it is 40 virtual users that GoDaddy can handle.
Right now, the red line is nowhere to be found, and the blue line (speed) remains very stable when the purple (requests) and the grey (virtual users) increase.
This is exactly how good performance should look like.
Looking at the numbers purely, GoDaddy can handle high peaks of traffic. 40 VUs could easily add up to 20 000 monthly visitors if that number remained throughout all days.
All in all, this part of GoDaddy review showed that the provider is very good when it comes to performance. It checks all 3 boxes – reliability, speed, and stability. So while it did not handle the stress test at the maximum load, it was still a good result.
Security – is GoDaddy secure?
As far as security is concerned, GoDaddy is disappointing. Standard plans come with basic security features such as fraud, virus, and spam protection. Email privacy and protection are also included. However, this is the least a provider can do.
In my mind, GoDaddy thought of the most basic security it can offer and chose not to go an inch further. Nada. My biggest shock was that SSL certificates are included only with two more expensive shared hosting plans. And for one of them, it’s free for only a year.
So analyzing the plans, I saw that 2 security features are included in all plans:
- 24/7 network security – security and DDoS protection monitoring
- Email privacy with encryption
Now, the problem is that the provider doesn’t elaborate at all. It’s a guessing game. Are they really implemented or not? Russian roulette? Anyone?
I want to see the best in people and providers as well. So, I assume that the 24/7 monitoring of the system is the feature that handles DDoS attacks and offers fraud, viruses, and spam protection. Again, it’s only an assumption. There is not much information about it out there.
As for the email & privacy protection with 256-bit encryption, it’s guaranteed by GoDaddy, but you can’t find it anywhere. I sifted through that dashboard like nobody’s business, and I got nothing. It donned the cloak of invisibility, and we can only hope it’s there.
So, what do you know? If you want to add some security features from GoDaddy, you have to pay for it. And that is a hefty price. GoDaddy bundles a bunch of stuff into one package – SSL certificate, Web Application Firewall (WAF), and malware scanning and cleanup.
This whole thing will cost you $171 for 3 years. That’s more than the plan itself!
Do I want to pay more for security features than for hosting? Hell nah. Especially when some of these features are pretty basic:
- SSL certificate – all other providers give SSLs for free. Unlimited ones.
- WAF – most of the time, it’s also free.
So basically, you are paying just for malware protection.
All in all, when it comes to security, GoDaddy is a greedy shark. It includes only the most basic features, and you have to pay for the rest.
Customer support – will GoDaddy help me?
To get in touch with GoDaddy’s customer support, you can use one of two ways. You can either use the 24/7 live chat or phone support option. The provider also delivers an extensive knowledge base, and there’s a community forum too.
While browsing GoDaddy’s website, I found out that the provider claims to have award-winning support that helped over 20 million people get online. I went all “innocent until proven guilty,” and guilty it was. I read in other GoDaddy reviews that customer support is not quite what the provider says it is, so I went on to see for myself.
My first attempt at getting connected to live chat was not very successful. On the Contact Us page, the live chat button was on Chat Loading… For as long as I was on that page.
So I went on the homepage and there was another Contact Us button available. I used that.
At first, a chat with the bot was needed but they connected me with an agent really quickly. So basically no wait time.
I asked if it was possible to get a free SSL certificate for my Deluxe plan. That’s a tricky question as you can install your own free SSL, but as GoDaddy has a paid option, I had little hope of a positive answer.
So the agent went in, checked my plan, and even offered to do a big discount on an SSL as the free one is “not available.” What I get from this is that the agents are not allowed to say that there are ways to get free SSL certificates.
At the same time, I’m happy with the interaction. The agent was polite and friendly. They also offered to get me a discount, which was very nice of them to do.
Another time, I was having problems with my domain. I wanted to add a domain that’s hosted on another registrar. For some reason, the domain was not working, and I wanted to make sure that I connected it correctly.
The agent was very polite, but I did have to insist on getting the domain checked. Finally, they did that and assured me that everything was fine and I just have to wait.
Coincidentally or not, the domain started working immediately after the chat.
Generally, I think GoDaddy’s support is okay. It might be tricky to find the live chat button at times, but wait times are almost non-existent. Some agents are not entirely fluent in English, so some miscommunications can happen.
Alternatively, there’s a help center with how-tos, a community forum, a blog, and a system status page.
I find this section helpful. It covers a lot of topics and has good articles on various topics. The community forum is active and moderated, so you’ll find a lot of help there too.
All in all, GoDaddy has its bases covered when it comes to customer support. However, it’s not perfect. Sometimes it’s difficult to find a way to reach live chat. At the same time, agents are fast and generally helpful.
GoDaddy review – the final verdict
GoDaddy might not be the nicest guy in the web hosting industry, but it surely isn’t the worst. I started this GoDaddy review quite negatively – high prices, no SSL certificates, expensive security features… But it proved that not all is bad. GoDaddy has an amazing interface to work with and keeps up its end when it comes to performance. Not to mention helpful support agents.
So if we take every feature part by part. What does it all look like?
|Feature||4.0 ★||Great for small businesses|
|Pricing||★★★★||GoDaddy’s prices are very average, starting at $2.99/mo for shared hosting. Occasional discounts lower that price to $1/mo which makes it an amazing deal to start a website. At the same time, there are many other options such as WordPress, Business, VPS, and dedicated server hosting.|
|Ease of Use||★★★★★||From signing up to having a WordPress website working, it takes no more than 5 minutes. Every essential feature can be set up directly from the dashboard, while cPanel also has its perks.|
|Performance||★★★★★||In the performance department, GoDaddy did a good job. It handled reliability and speed tests great. Also, it proved to be capable of supporting big surges of traffic.|
|Security||★★||GoDaddy does not include SSLs in the cheaper plans but does have 24/7 DDoS monitoring and spam protection. Unfortunately, paid security features are more expensive than hosting plans.|
|Support||★★★★||As far as my experience goes, GoDaddy support agents are helpful, fast, and proactive. There’s also a big support center with how-tos and a community forum.|
So who and when do I recommend GoDaddy to?
GoDaddy has many options for all kinds of websites. On the other hand, shared hosting will be great for blogs, news sites, and small business websites.
Alternatives to GoDaddy
While GoDaddy is good, you might be looking for something different – cheaper, faster, or more functional.
In that case, I have a list of providers to consider. Hostinger will be a cheaper alternative, SiteGround – a faster and more functional one, while DreamHost is the perfect middle in terms of price and security.
With pricing starting at $0.99/mo, Hostinger is way cheaper than GoDaddy. What can be more surprising is that for such a price, the provider can compete and even overpass the subject of this review.
What I mean is that Hostinger showed better performance results. Plus, it comes with a free SSL certificate even in the cheapest plan. What you’ll be missing out on is storage space and domain. Instead of 100GB offered by GoDaddy, Hostinger includes 30GB. Meanwhile, free domains start with more expensive plans. Overall, Hostinger is a good all-arounder if you’re on a budget.
During my testing, SiteGround proved to be one of the fastest and most powerful providers. With a starting price of $6.99/mo, it also comes with a bunch of premium stuff – 3 layer caching, optimizations, and staging environment in more advanced plans.
What you’ll be missing out on are a free domain and generous server resources. SiteGround only adds 10GB of storage instead of GoDaddy’s 100GB with the entry plan. In any case, choose SiteGround if you need the fastest website with shared hosting possible.
DreamHost prices are pretty similar to GoDaddy, starting at $2.59/mo. At the same time, it comes with much better security features – free SSLs, daily backups, and even domain privacy.
On the other hand, DreamHost performance is not as shiny as GoDaddy’s. So it’s a better option for personal websites and businesses that are not working in the most competitive of markets.
What is GoDaddy used for?
GoDaddy is mostly used for domain registration and management services. It also has a big choice of web hosting plans, a website builder, and several marketing services. To sum this up, GoDaddy is a giant in the online services market and is used for building an online presence.
Is GoDaddy good?
Yes, GoDaddy is good for the majority of the services that it offers. It often has cheap domains that come with an easy-to-use management panel. Meanwhile, web hosting is fast, reliable, and very beginner-friendly.
Does GoDaddy offer free hosting?
GoDaddy does not have free web hosting plans. On the other hand, free hosting is included in its website builder plans.
Can I get a free domain with GoDaddy?
Yes, you can get a free domain with GoDaddy when you are purchasing web hosting or website builder services. A free domain is included in all of their plans. You can pick from .com, .biz, .club, co.uk, .net, .org, .co, .info, .rocks, .spce, and other popular top-level domains.