HostGator vs GoDaddy: is there a clear winner?
In this comparison, I’m going to analyze HostGator vs GoDaddy side-by-side. I'll concentrate on their pricing, ease of use, performance, security, and customer support. After all, these are the main things you are paying for.
These two are probably the best-known figures in the online services market. GoDaddy is the biggest domain registrar and also a web hosting provider. And HostGator is one of the first choices for beginners when it comes to web hosting.
So, I’m not surprised you ended up comparing these two.
However, popularity or the provider’s promises are never enough to make a decision. So I bought the accounts, set up the websites, and went exploring.
In this comparison, I tested and evaluated the pricing, ease of use, performance, security, and customer support to find out all about them. So let’s jump straight into it with a quick overview of today’s candidates.
HostGator vs GoDaddy: general info
HostGator and GoDaddy are two popular options for anyone starting a website. However, HostGator offers cheaper pricing and all-inclusive hosting packages. GoDaddy, on the other hand, is more expensive and oriented towards business users.
Here you can see a quick overview of both providers. Feel free to choose an area of interest, or if you’re curious to know the final verdict, jump to the bottom of this article.
|Pricing:||From $2.75/month||From $1.99/month|
|Ease of use:||Modern native dashboard with the classic cPanel integration||Native dashboard with the standard cPanel integration|
|Performance:||>99.99% uptime and 525ms response time||99.98% uptime and 341ms response time|
|Security:||Free SSL and server monitoring||DDoS protection and email privacy with encryption|
|Support:||24/7 live chat and phone||24/7 live chat and phone|
HostGator vs GoDaddy: pricing comparison
HostGator is a cheaper option than GoDaddy, starting at $2.75/month for shared hosting plans. Meanwhile, the more expensive GoDaddy’s shared hosting packages start at $1.99/month, although an additional discount may be available. GoDaddy’s shared hosting prices go as high as $19.99/mo for the most expensive plan. HostGator's, however, stops at $5.25/mo for its most inclusive plan.
Both providers also have:
- WordPress (HG - $5.95/mo vs GD - $4.99),
- VPS (HG - $19.95/mo vs GD - $4.99/mo),
- Dedicated hosting (HG - $89.98/mo vs GD - $129.99/mo).
More so, only HostGator offers Cloud hosting solution starting at $4.99/mo. Yet, shared hosting is by far the most popular solution. So, I decided to focus on that here.
There are a few similarities between HostGator’s and GoDaddy’s plans. Both providers give you free domain names for a year. Although, only HostGator includes free SSL certificates in all its plans. The entry plans also start with the 1 website limit with both providers.
- HostGator (Hatchling – 2.75) – allows connecting 1 website using unlimited SSD storage and bandwidth. A free domain, free unlimited email accounts, and free SSL certificates are also included.
- GoDaddy (Economy - $1.99/month) - this plan allows hosting 1 website and provides 100GB SSD storage and unlimited bandwidth. Free domain and one free Microsoft 365 email account are also included.
I must note that GoDaddy occasionally has some special offers. Those deals are the reason that makes this provider much more tempting price-wise.
If you’re only looking to dip your toes into the hosting world, currently GoDaddy is offering a huge discount on the Economy plan. You’ll unlock a $2.99/mo offer by choosing a 12-month subscription. Grab it while it lasts!
Disregarding the discount, it seems HostGator comes out way ahead here. Not only is it cheaper, but it offers better features like "unlimited" SSD storage and email accounts, as well as free SSL certificates. This raises a question - is HostGator better than GoDaddy overall?
What's worth pointing out, GoDaddy offers 100GB SSD storage and only one email account. And while HostGator claims that both are unlimited, we all know there is no such thing as truly unlimited. Some sort of limitations always exist.
Regardless, the promoted prices are only a one-off thing, and the renewal rates will be higher. Here’s what both providers’ cheapest plans would look like:
|Provider||Plan||Billing period||Total initial price||Total renewal price|
Overall, if we're looking at the long-term value, HostGator is cheaper. Although the initial payment will be higher. However, with a massive discount, GoDaddy takes the throne for the best short-period value for money.
Also, high renewal rates are nothing unusual, and they’re simply unavoidable. So no matter which provider or plan you choose, the prices will return to the standard price point after the initial period.
Just keep in mind that the cheapest plan usually ends up being quite restrictive. It’s highly possible that you will need more than one website at some point, meaning you will be forced to upgrade.
If the cheapest plans only look good in theory, which ones are truly worth your time?
For starters, HostGator offers 3 shared hosting plans costing from $2.75 to $5.25 per month. That is when you choose the 36-month billing period.
HostGator here, very subtly (with a bright orange block), suggests that Baby plan is the one to offer the best value for money.
And I must agree. You get to connect as many websites as you’d like only for an extra $0.75/mo compared to Hatchling. The Baby plan’s renewal is also $5 cheaper than Business.
At the same time, if you're looking for SEO tools and daily backups, Business offers the former free of charge, while the latter will be paid with all plans.
To get the most with HostGator, you should consider the Baby plan. To secure the initial promotional price, you will have to choose a 3-year subscription. The first payment will round up to $126 for the 3 years, after the renewal it’ll go up to $358.20 for the same time.
Alternatively, GoDaddy has 3 shared hosting plans ranging from $1.99 to $14.99 per month. Again, a three-year subscription is required to access these prices. And the renewal prices are also noticeably higher – the cheapest Economy plan renews at $8.99 per month.
Even though GoDaddy chose the Ultimate plan as its go-to recommendation, it's truly not worth the price point. In fact, all GoDaddy's plans are quite pricey for the features they offer.
If you're looking for more powerful plans, consider other alternatives. Meanwhile, no one can beat the Economy plan if you want to see how web hosting works and create a small website. With a 12-month billing period, it costs only $1.99/month. Even though it's an entry plan, you are guaranteed an unmetered bandwidth.
To secure the best price deal, you should opt for the Economy plan. You can get it for only $1.99/month for the first year. After the renewal, the plan will cost you $107.88.
It seems that to get the same resources with GoDaddy as you would with HostGator is simply too pricey. Therefore, you have to sacrifice some features to get a better price. Also, the discounted price with GoDaddy is only available for 1 year.
Additionally, GoDaddy offers the standard 30-day-money-back guarantee, while HostGator gives a 45-day money-back guarantee. Just keep in mind that both providers will charge you a non-refundable domain fee. Moreover, HostGator’s refund policy applies only to shared hosting plans. And to get a refund with GoDaddy, you’ll have to contact customer support and manually request it.
Ultimately, I have to say that HostGator’s price structure is a lot more appealing than GoDaddy’s. Its shared hosting is significantly cheaper and offers better value for money long-term. Also, the plans are more inclusive, with even the cheapest HostGator plan offering an SSL certificate. However, when it comes to short-term value, GoDaddy blows HostGator out of the water. $2.99/mo price point for a year is very tempting for any first-time user looking for a cheap and non-binding plan.
Hosting management: ease of use
Comparing HostGator vs GoDaddy's ease of use, there aren’t many differences. Both providers have custom dashboards for setting up the most important settings. cPanel interfaces are also available for more advanced customizations. Also, both include modern and intuitive in-house website builders.
Ease of use is important, as you want to spend as little as possible setting up the basics. This allows focusing on the actual website development. Because of this, I decided to compare HostGator vs GoDaddy in terms of their functionality and ease of use first.
Let’s have a look at what I discovered, and see which host guarantees a better user experience.
Account management dashboard
HostGator and GoDaddy both use beginner-friendly default user interfaces. Both providers give access to quite a few management tools from their main dashboards.
To begin with, I've examined HostGator’s user interface. It includes links to a selection of useful tools. You can find SSL management, WordPress installation, and email accounts right there, on your dashboard. Users can also access most other basic tools via the menu on the left of the screen. More so, a cPanel link is provided for more advanced management.
This user dashboard allows you to quickly set up the key things for your website – install WordPress, create a professional email, and secure everything with an SSL.
In saying that, GoDaddy’s user interface is just as impressive. It’s set up a little differently, and the main dashboard lists the products and services you’ve signed up for.
From here, you can easily set up your whole website too. The first time you log in to your account, GoDaddy will make sure that you install WordPress and have a working domain. After that, it works as the hub to navigate your account.
Let's say, you wanted to manage your hosting package and websites. Simply click on the "Manage" button on the Web Hosting tab. It will open a new interface.
Once there, you get to manage your files, PHP settings, as well as view server and account information. Also, this is where you'll get cPanel login button.
All in all, both hosts offer very intuitive and easy-to-use user dashboards. GoDaddy requires some more clicking around, but it really comes down to a personal preference rather than a difference in functionality when choosing between the two.
Let’s see if their control panels prove to be a significant point of difference.
Control panel comparison
HostGator and GoDaddy both use cPanel control panels. However, HostGator uses just a barely modified version of it, while GoDaddy uses the classic cPanel interface.
Although HostGator has integrated a tiny bit of customization, the interfaces look very similar, if not almost identical. The only differences are the layout of the sections in the cPanel, as well as the color scheme.
In saying that, GoDaddy’s cPanel is well... quite the same.
All the necessary tools are available, including file manager, email, and domain management. Just like with HostGator, you can also monitor basic server information via the panel on the left of the screen.
Overall, HostGator's and GoDaddy’s cPanel are very easy to use and navigate. It's very useful if you'd like to install any other content management system other than WordPress or set up and manage your email accounts.
Control-panel-wise HostGator vs GoDaddy comes to a draw.
When it comes to website transferring, both HostGator and GoDaddy offer website migration. Just one makes it a little easier than the other. If you’re a first-time user, you can expect HostGator to migrate your website free of charge. With GoDaddy, this service will be paid.
Talking about HostGator, it makes the migration process pretty easy. You can find the link to the migration form right there in your main dashboard by clicking the “Request Migration” under the Quick Links section.
All you have to do is fill out a form, and you’re good to go. HostGator can take care of WordPress and cPanel migrations for you.
Now, looking at GoDaddy, it is a little trickier. GoDaddy doesn’t have an option for you to just fill out a form as you’d do with HostGator.
As the provider is not very vocal about its website migration requirements, you will have to contact customer support to get the specifics. The agent will introduce you to rules and regulations as well as the fee (around $99) that awaits for the migration.
In short, both hosting services offer website migration. HostGator just does it for free, while GoDaddy's service is paid.
Website builder experience
HostGator and GoDaddy both offer beginner-friendly website builders to start your site with. If you choose HostGator, you will have access to a limited version of the Gator builder. With GoDaddy, you can build a single-page site with the GoDaddy Websites+Marketing builder.
If you’re using HostGator, I’d recommend looking at the Gator website builder. You will only be able to access the relatively limited Basic Website Builder plan, but it’s good enough for simple sites. It allows you to create a website with up to six pages with its flexible drag-and-drop editing interface.
At the same time, the Gator Builder also comes with over 100 modern design templates. If you just want to get online fast, you could consider building your site on top of one of these.
Now, if we'd look at GoDaddy's builder, we'd see it has quite a few limitations. Notably, it only allows you to create a single-page website, and this won’t be enough for most people. On the other hand, the editing tool is pretty sleek and intuitive.
However, the GoDaddy builder is one of my favorites mostly due to its simplicity. If you're happy with a single-page site, I’d definitely recommend checking it out. It’s simple, intuitive, and really is designed for beginners who just want to get online fast. The templates it provides are also very modern and sleek. A joy to look at, really.
In the end, though, HostGator’s website builder is better if we are objective. It is still limited, but at least it allows you to create a 6-page site, as opposed to GoDaddy’s single-page constraint.
All things considered, both providers are very easy to use. HostGator’s native control dashboard is very inclusive and easy to navigate. GoDaddy’s account management panel was slightly more confusing yet still as functional. Providers were even more similar when it came to the cPanel and website builder. However, GoDaddy was slightly disappointing with its one-page website building limit. More so, HostGator also outshined Godaddy with its free website migration option.
HostGator vs GoDaddy performance
In terms of performance, the GoDaddy vs HostGator battle was quite neck-to-neck. Both providers are highly reliable and have demonstrated very fast site load times. The biggest difference was in the response times - with HostGator being at 525ms, while GoDaddy’s was 341ms.
I got these results by building a basic website with both providers and running tests over a two-month-long period, continually monitoring the results.
Uptime and response time
As you can see, HostGator’s uptime is almost perfect. My server was online across the entire two months for an impressive >99.99% uptime. HostGator does provide a 99.9% uptime guarantee, but you shouldn’t have to worry about it getting this low.
Unfortunately, though, HostGator’s 525ms average response time is a little worrying. It’s certainly on the higher side, and there were numerous times where the response time spiked above 750ms. However, the results are still lower than the market average of 600ms. Just by a little.
On the other side of the equation, GoDaddy’s 99.98% uptime is just as good too. This site also had 3 outages, which resulted in a total of 16 minutes of downtime. It does offer the same 99.9% uptime guarantee as HostGator, and it seems that’s not a point of concern either.
Luckily, my GoDaddy server had an excellent average response time of 341ms. The maximum response time reached just 447ms. These results are great and did go a long way towards restoring my confidence in GoDaddy.
So, both HostGator and GoDaddy seem to be very reliable and deliver even higher than promised uptime rates. Although, GoDaddy did have a better average response time - 341ms compared to HostGator's 525ms.
What’s just as important as uptime and response time is the loading speed. Site visitors expect websites to load within 3 seconds. If not, the site’s bounce rate increases significantly with each additional second.
So to see how fast these two are, I compared GoDaddy vs HostGator fully built WordPress websites’ load speeds. I’ve installed the Astra theme on each provider and chose the “Tech Startup” template to go with it.
To better understand the results, keep your eye out for a few measures:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – the time in which the biggest piece of content (image or text) is loaded. Best if this time is less than 2.5 seconds.
- TTFB (time to first byte) – this metric shows the time it takes for the server to react to the visitor’s request to open the page. Best if this time is around 200ms.
- Fully Loaded Time –a time mark at which the site is fully loaded and interactive. Best if this time is under 3 seconds.
You see, we pay extra attention to LCP and TTFB here. These measures are a few of the many that Google considers when ranking a site on the search results page.
It’s simple really, the better the results are, the greater are your chances to rank higher.
So keeping that in mind, HostGator demonstrated some speed for sure. Its Largest Contentful Paint is 1.1s, and the Fully Loaded Time is almost the same at 1.2s.
Alternatively, GoDaddy was a close runner-up. The Largest Contentful Paint with GoDaddy was exactly the same as its Fully Loaded Time - a very speedy 1.5s.
So when it comes to loading speed, both providers are excellent. With 1.2s and 1.5s Fully Loaded Times HostGator and GoDaddy have enough wiggle room to not overpass the 3-second benchmark.
Although their TTFB was a little more apart, with HostGator being 154ms and GoDaddy at 224ms. Regardless of the difference, it seems that servers with either of the providers are very capable and well.
Therefore, as a whole, it’s hard to label either provider as “better” than the other when it comes to performance.
Stress testing results
As the final nail in the coffin, I wanted to see what kind of traffic can each provider handle. As a starting point, I’ve sent 50 virtual visitors to each site.
That is pretty intense traffic, as 50 bots roam around your site all at once. That could pretty easily slow down or even overwhelm a less powerful server. So how did these two cope?
When talking about HostGator, it had no issue handling such traffic.
I even think it might have not realized a difference between one visitor or 50. That’s pretty clear from just looking at the graph. The blue line (response time) was very stable, and apart from one jump, it did not change as the number of visitors increased (grey line).
Just like with the speed test, GoDaddy is a close second. But still a second. It did not pass the test with 50 visitors, so to find its limits, I decreased the number by 5 and ran the test again. The first pass was with 40 visitors.
And 40 visitors is a great result. If this number of visitors would remain on the site each day, every day for a month, it would result in tens of thousands of monthly visitors.
With that many visitors did not slow down the server, and it responded in 121ms on average. That becomes very clear when you look at the response time (blue line). It remained very stable and the number of visitors (grey line) had little to no impact on it.
And although GoDaddy showed great results, HostGator did surpass the competition, no questions asked.
All things considered, both HostGator and GoDaddy have shown great results in terms of performance. The providers were very reliable, with higher than guaranteed uptimes. The loading speed was very pleasing, and the traffic was handled almost without a hitch.
When it comes to security, both providers are on the very basic side. However, even here, HostGator manages to outdo GoDaddy with something as simple as offering free SSL certificates in all of its plans. However, don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions. Let’s see what each of them offers individually.
First, while HostGator provides SSL for free even with its cheapest plans, GoDaddy is not as generous. Greedy, even. You can get a free certificate only with its Ultimate and Maximum plans. And even then, it’s only for a year in the Ultimate plan.
Now to get the SSL certificate with GoDaddy would cost you $4.75/mo. Sure, the package includes a firewall and a malware scan, but I find the whole ordeal outrageous. It's more expensive than the hosting package itself! Especially when it should be free, and yet it has the audacity to apply the renewal rates ($7.99) after a year.
The second important thing is the website backups. Yet, neither of the providers offers automatic backups:
- HostGator has 3 packages for backups, with the cheapest being at $2.76/mo and going up to $8.33/mo (free with the Business plan).
- GoDaddy charges $2.99 per month for automated backups.
I should say that both of them do allow you to create backups manually through your cPanel. But that’s your responsibility entirely. Having automated backups simply eliminates the burden.
Lastly, while HostGator provides a server-level firewall for free with all plans, GoDaddy only puts that in the paid website security package mentioned above. Yeah, the one with SSL in it. Still mad about that one.
Altogether, HostGator is slightly more equipped than GoDaddy when it comes to security. Regardless, neither of the two is very security-oriented by default.
Talking about customer support options, both providers offer the same 24/7 live chat and phone support. However, HostGator also has ticket support for more complex issues, which isn’t an option with GoDaddy. HostGator’s agents seem to be much more professional, while GoDaddy has a very active community forum.
For starters, I had a close look at HostGator’s support. If you live in the USA, you will be able to access toll-free, 24/7 phone support. A number is available for international customers, but it’s not free.
Luckily, HostGator’s live chat is excellent. I was connected with an agent immediately, and I asked a few questions about the security features included in the Baby shared hosting plan. The support agent I was chatting with gave me the answers in minutes.
In fact, the agent even walked me through the available security services and how to set them up.
Unfortunately, my experience with GoDaddy’s live chat support wasn’t nearly as good. For one, I had to wait for 34 minutes before I was connected with an agent.
I asked them a similar question about the security features included with the Deluxe shared hosting plan, and I wasn’t happy with the answer.
All they could do was copy-paste the information from the GoDaddy website – and it wasn’t even relevant to the plan I was asking about!
GoDaddy also provides phone support in 51 different countries across the world. These include the USA, Canada, Australia, and the UK, among others. However, I wouldn’t rely on it to be any better than the live chat option.
Fortunately, though, GoDaddy does have a great knowledge base and community forum. Users can take advantage of these to find answers to their own questions. I particularly like GoDaddy’s knowledge base for its intuitive, beginner-friendly layout. The built-in search bar is extremely useful, and the content is heavily categorized by topics and products.
In saying that, HostGator’s knowledge base is no less impressive. It also contains a great range of articles, tutorials, and how-to documentation to help you set up and manage your website.
On the customer service front, HostGator comes out way ahead of GoDaddy. Both providers offer impressive knowledge bases and phone support is available, but HostGator’s live chat stands well above GoDaddy’s.
HostGator vs GoDaddy: final recommendations
In this HostGator vs GoDaddy comparison, we’ve seen that HostGator offers better value for money, better reliability, and more professional customer support. GoDaddy also provides great performance, but its poor customer service and relatively high prices let it down a bit.
|Pricing||HostGator is more affordable with prices starting at $2.75/month, while GoDaddy’s starts at $1.99/month (occasional discounts are available).|
|Ease of use||Both providers offer a combination of native user interface and cPanel, which is very easy to use.|
|Performance||HostGator’s >99.99% uptime was slightly better than GoDaddy’s 99.98%. The average response was on GoDaddy’s side - 341ms in comparison to HostGator's 525ms.|
|Security||Both providers lack free security options with many tools being very pricy. Yet, HostGator, unlike GoDaddy, offers an SSL certificate and server-level firewall no matter the plan.|
|Support||HostGator’s customer support was better. Its live chat was quick, and its team was helpful. On the other hand, GoDaddy’s chat was slow, and the agents lacked knowledge.|
Ultimately, HostGator comes out ahead of or equal to GoDaddy at every step of the comparison. It should be easy to see that it’s a better provider for almost all users simply because it offers better value for money, better customer service, and a slightly faster website loading time.
However, GoDaddy is a great option if you’re a first-time user looking to explore the web hosting world for cheap. The $2.99/mo discount for the first year makes it competitive with HostGator.
Alternatives to HostGator and GoDaddy
Although HostGator and GoDaddy are two of the biggest players in the web hosting world, there are numerous alternatives available for those looking for something a little different. InMotion Hosting is a similar provider offering great scalability. Hostinger is a much cheaper alternative for those who want budget shared hosting. And Bluehost is a great beginner-friendly option.
InMotion Hosting is a great alternative if you’re looking for a provider with professional service and scalability options.
The cheapest shared hosting plan with InMotion starts from $2.29/month – even lower than HostGator’s $2.75 and GoDaddy’s $1.99/month per month. And for that price, you get great features, including a powerful security suite and free SSL.
If you’re looking for a more advanced solution, VPS hosting starts at $29.99 per month, and dedicated servers costs start at $139.99 per month.
Hostinger sits at the other end of the spectrum with its affordable shared hosting. It’s a great alternative to HostGator and GoDaddy if you’re looking for the best value for money.
A basic shared hosting plan with Hostinger will cost you just $1.39/month. And the features on offer are certainly comparable to both HostGator’s and GoDaddy’s entry plans.
So if you're looking for a cheap and performance-oriented provider, Hostinger just might be it for you.
Bluehost's prices sit just in the middle of HostGator's and GoDaddy's. The cheapest shared hosting plan starts at $2.95/month.
Bluehost mainly focuses on WordPress hosting. It offers a very easy-to-use hosting management panel, and many great tools for scaling, including staging. It's a great option no matter your level of experience in the hosting world. If you're looking to run a business site or a personal blog this just might be for you.
More HostGator comparisons you might want to read
- Namecheap vs HostGator
- Bluehost vs HostGator
- SiteGround vs HostGator
- DreamHost vs HostGator
- Hostinger vs HostGator
More GoDaddy comparisons for you to check out
HostGator vs GoDaddy FAQs
Does HostGator or GoDaddy offer better security features?
HostGator offers better security features. However, neither provider is great. HostGator’s cheapest shared hosting includes a free SSL certificate and basic malware scanning. GoDaddy offers no security tools whatsoever with its cheapest shared plan. Both providers push numerous security upsells.
HostGator vs GoDaddy - which is better for beginners?
HostGator is better for beginners. Although both HostGator and GoDaddy are beginner-friendly options, I would always recommend HostGator due to its more inclusive plans and a slightly more advanced website builder.
Which host is better for registering a domain?
GoDaddy offers the best domain registration services. As one of the world’s leading domain registrars, it provides a wide range of tools. However, it is a little expensive. HostGator offers much cheaper domain registrations, but its extra features are somewhat limited.
Which host is better for business websites?
HostGator is the best choice for business websites. It provides very reliable service with great uptime. Additionally, it offers a selection of great scalability options you can take advantage of when your website grows. And even though GoDaddy claims to focus on business websites, the lack of free security tools makes it less appealing.
HostGator vs GoDaddy - which is better for managed WordPress hosting?
GoDaddy is better for managed WordPress hosting. Both providers offer simple, semi-managed solutions. Despite being slightly more expensive, GoDaddy’s plans include much better WordPress-specific tools and features.