If you want to create a website, you’ve probably heard of GoDaddy. As one of the oldest domain-providing services on the internet, they’ve been around since 1997. Since that time, their revenue continues to go up despite new competition entering the field.
But revenue doesn’t necessarily mean GoDaddy is a good provider. We’ll be going through how the Tempe, AZ based hosting provider stacks up on pricing, features, ease-of-use, uptime rate, and security in this GoDaddy hosting review.
What is GoDaddy?
GoDaddy is a domain provider and host that has been around since 1997. You might recall them from their provocative commercials. One of their most memorable was a spoof of Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction during the 2004 Super Bowl. From 2018 to 2019, GoDaddy went through a complete brand change, stepping away from the extended mid-life crisis logo.
The logo sought to appeal more to small businesses and entrepreneurs. This change also came with GoDaddy offering website building services, making the company more competitive against sites like SquareSpace and Wix. Whether that translates to a functional product will be determined below.
GoDaddy Pros and Cons
What’s a GoDaddy review without a list of pros and cons? Before every review we like to give you a list of items to review. Before choosing a web host, you want to make sure you’re able to get a broader picture of what they offer. Here’s what you can expect overall from GoDaddy.
Paying for the thing is step one; the next step comes down to testing site speed. Speed is a pretty big deal. As Google continues to press user experience, you can’t afford to have a slow website. To determine consistency, we’ve done two tests on two different websites:
- The official GoDaddy site
- The Free Dictionary (by Farlex)
Both use GoDaddy hosting and are relatively high-traffic sites, giving us a good cross-section to look at. So let’s run some comparisons:
What is GoDaddy’s Speed?
As you might expect, GoDaddy saves the best for itself. With a page size of about 1/2 MB, it takes two seconds to load and roughly six seconds before you can interact with it. Combined with a first contentful paint of about three seconds, it doesn’t take long for people to see their site. When we compare that with a larger site of nearly 2 MB, here’s the difference:
As helpful as this third-party site is for looking up definitions, the 2 MB page is a bit bulky. That makes the “time to interactive” incredibly slow. However, we can’t point the blame squarely at GoDaddy here. The page size is bulky, and they may be on one of the lower-end programs. GoDaddy uses shared hosting, which appeals to small businesses. However, the result is a significant loss in potential speed for lower-paying customers. For a visual representation, check out the tests we ran on GTMetrix:
Testing GoDaddy’s Homepage with GTMetrix
Third-Party Site Hosted By GoDaddy
GoDaddy Uptime Guarantee
Much like other providers, GoDaddy offers a 99.9 uptime guarantee (percentage) of your website staying up. That means if your site goes down, you could get a partial refund. StatusGator has been monitoring GoDaddy since November of 2019. Their records indicate that this service has been up continuously for the past year. That means that their reliability among web hosting reviews is accurate.
- Domain search
- Domain transfer services
- WHOIS Services (for finding who owns a domain)
- Shared hosting plans
- Website building
- eCommerce site management and payment systems
- WordPress hosting
- Cloud servers
- Microsoft 365 Email
GoDaddy’s Hosting Plans (WordPress and Otherwise)
GoDaddy offers two distinct hosting types: with WordPress and without WordPress. “Without” comes under the assumption you will also be working with their site builder. Here’s a list of features noted on the WordPress page.
Both the basic and standard hosting package come with 30 and 75 GB of storage, respectively. They also come with automatic daily malware scans and website backup protection.
GoDaddy breaks down how the basic plan is best for 25 thousand visitors per month, and the standard plan is best for 100 thousand visitors per month to simplify matters. It provides a great frame of reference, but the pressure for investing in the next level is high.
Advanced Hosting Features
Standard plans and higher come with an SEO optimizer and a separate testing site. The premium level has all of this alongside unlimited visitors, storage, malware removal, and hack repair. All of this comes with business email, a free domain name registration, and SSL certificates.
You might think this sounds like a lot, and you would be right. That means that the advertising for this web hosting provider is working. There is a bit of confusion when comparing to the standard hosting platform:
These hosting levels are (from left to right) economy plan, deluxe, ultimate, and maximum. They all come with Microsoft 365 email. GoDaddy hosting comes with unlimited sites and databases on the deluxe through maximum levels. It also has support for WordPress but to a lesser capacity.
GoDaddy’s web hosting services have a bit of feature crossover. Choosing between the two might be confusing for some clients. To simplify things, ask yourself the following questions: Do you have multiple websites? If the answer is yes, GoDaddy’s standard web hosting page is for you. If you have a single WordPress site, stick with GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting services.
What is GoDaddy VPS Hosting?
VPS hosting is GoDaddy’s “almost shared” server technology. The “virtual server” use a single powerful unit, splitting its power into multiple pieces. VPS hosting is different from shared hosting in that the segment you have is entirely yours.
While you share the server, you don’t share your part of the hosting power. They only use Solid State Drives (SSDs) to increase speed. Much like a dedicated servers, GoDaddy offers managed services for companies that lack the resources. GoDaddy VPS Hosting is best for medium-sized businesses. If your site supports a good deal of traffic, consider an upgrade. Overall this is a much better option than shared hosting.
Does GoDaddy Offer Cloud Hosting?
GoDaddy’s cloud hosting services are part of their products. However, it isn’t a primary feature, and you won’t see it advertised anywhere. They attempted to create a cloud computing service to compete with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2016. However, the service was closed a year later.
GoDaddy’s Dedicated Servers vs. Shared Servers
A big reason why they can keep costs down is due to their dependency on shared servers. Shared servers are standard for any hosting company. However, it often causes a higher potential for speed reductions when you go with shared hosting plans.
They supplement this by offering dedicated server hosting, which is for the most prominent websites. Here’s a breakdown of pricing comparisons:
If you are like most of us, paying between $130 and $600 a month for hosting is out of reach. Small businesses rarely can afford this kind of support, nor should they consider it. But this tells us an essential fact about GoDaddy hosting: They own all of these servers. They even offer fully managed servers for those who don’t have the time or resources.
The processing power behind each server also means that GoDaddy has excellent scalability potential. So if your eCommerce business grows excessively, you can easily upgrade to the next level server available.
Domain Search, Transfer, and WHOIS Features
GoDaddy offers standard domain registrar and search features that allow you to buy your perfect domain. This feature isn’t unique, as lots of hosts have been doing this for ages. They’re currently offering a unique special on .email domain names. You can pay $5.99 for your first year of investment in those
Domain name transfers cost about $8, including free registration for a year. You can also transfer multiple domains, typically waiting around 5-7 days to get this done. They also offer business name and domain name generators. By inserting a few keywords, you can get some brainstorming ideas.
They also offer domain name auction services. That means if you want to sell your site or flip your domain, GoDaddy Auctions is a solid place to start. It’s no surprise that GoDaddy has a vast offering regarding domains. After all, that’s where this company got its start. Domains are their bread and butter.
GoDaddy’s Website Builders and Online Store Builder
Two distinct website builders are included with all plans:
- The standard site builder
- The online store builder
All website builder plans come with the following features:
- Site security (SSL certificate)
- Free domain registration
- Website editor
- GoDaddy Insight (Analytics)
- Set one-time appointments from your website
- Professional branded templates for social media posts
- Limited social media features (One social media connection and five posts)
- Email marketing features (100 customers per month maximum)
The “minimums” above come from the basic plan. The basic plan is minimal and better if you want to test the platform out. I can’t recommend the basic plan if you’re going to have a serious business site.
The image below lists features of basic, standard, premium, and eCommerce plans, respectively. Thankfully, you don’t have to pay to use their builder if you don’t want to.
How Easy is GoDaddy’s Website Builder To Use?
To simplify the website building process, you start off by choosing your category: For this test, let’s assume we want to offer marketing consultant services. The next screen allows you to enter a unique name.
Let’s go with “Steve’s Marketing Consultant Services.” After getting through a screen trying to sell you one of their website building plans, we can take a look at the actual builder. Kudos to them for picking the dark theme right away.
However, not everything is golden right away. The biggest problem I’m seeing comes from the lack of a walkthrough. It just plops you in the middle of the builder with no highlights or arrows pointing you towards essential sections.
Expect to struggle if you are naturally uncomfortable around computers. However, the host has made the interface pretty easy to use and overall really user friendly with one click customizations.
GoDaddy’s Website Builder Navigation Bar
The navigation bar allows you to switch between different pages quickly. Default pages for most services are already included. You can also choose to switch between three major areas:
- Website – This selection along the top allows you to switch between different pages.
- Style – This section allows you to choose a theme, font selection, and buttons
- Settings – This section allows you to insert basic site information, including social media links and your domain.
Simple Customization Options
Switching gears to the style section, you can switch between different themes. This is not unlike WordPress, but on a much smaller scale.
The number of themes is small enough that you don’t need a search bar, meaning you’ll have to upload your own to be unique.
The last three sections refer to color, fonts, and buttons. Color refers to the selection of color for your headings, buttons, and other general website features. It includes different options based on your logo’s color, but you can customize this completely.
This gives us another reason to stick with their WP hosting, as WP offers many more themes by comparison. Others who don’t care much about an original design will find the lack of options less overwhelming.
The “fonts” section refers to different suggested font pairings, typically combining serif and san-serif fonts that work professionally together. Selecting “advanced” allows you to choose fonts based on your preferences from a drop-down menu.
The “button” section refers to customizable buttons with your preferred “CTAs” (Calls to Action). Clicking on the button under “primary” shows you how to customize dominant actions (Buy now, subscribe, etc.) The “secondary” button is for less dominant actions.
GoDaddy’s Advanced Website Building Features
GoDaddy is primarily a web host. However, their advanced web-building features are solid. Under the website tab on navigation, clicking the plus sign will allow you to add a new page. From this, the central section allows you to click “add section.” The menu above will then pop out to give you different options.
At this time of this review, a COVID-19 business response is still necessary, so it’s on top. They also have different recommended designs, popular pages, and a search bar. This is far more engaging than their theme selection. For example, having a FAQ page is suitable to confirm what sort of consulting services you might offer.
Their advanced features allow for easy editing of text with a click. All modifiable sections will appear on the right side under the navigation bar or be editable within the site itself. GoDaddy is one of those hosting providers/website editors that choose a “plug-n-play” system like WordPress. Among other web hosts, this isn’t a bad feature to have. Because it’s a new service, it still needs a lot of work.
GoDaddy eCommerce Management System and Payments
GoDaddy allows you to sell physical products, digital products, and services with their eCommerce platform. As a Web hosting service, it’s appealing to try and keep everything under one roof. More money and more convenience is a good thing. The above screen shows what happens when you click on “add product.” From there, you’ll need to insert all standard pieces of an eCommerce store:
- Is it a physical or a digital product?
- What’s the name of the product?
- How much does it cost?
- Is it currently on sale?
- What category does it fall under?
- What is the Stock Keeping Number (SKU)?
- How is it taxed? (digital products, non-taxable, standard.)
Creating an eCommerce Store on GoDaddy
Each product page has a unique URL. You can also create custom categories that have their URLs. This is a common feature that you’ll want to take advantage of to have solid SEO on your website. From there, you can go back to your website to create a store page, where you can include all products and featured products.
They also offer a marketplace option for $15 per month (if paying for the entire year) or $30 per month usually. The marketplace allows you to list your items on third-party sites for greater exposure. It will be up to you to find the storage space for the extra inventory you’ll need to stock.
Does GoDaddy Help Businesses Who Offer Services?
GoDaddy has a built-in appointments tracker for both one-time and reoccurring needs. You have three different options:
- One-on-one appointments cost nothing for you to include as a service; you can establish business hours when you accept these appointments. This option is perfect for small consulting services.
- One-time events are premium services that involve you presenting to a large group of people. You can establish appointments on Facebook and Instagram and set regular text reminders. Suitable for those who have semi-regular workshops
- Repeating events are premium services that involve you regularly teaching a class. Text reminders and social media invitations mean you pay for one premium plan for both advanced features.
You will end up paying $13.99/mo if paying yearly and $24.99/mo if paying monthly.
Does GoDaddy Help You Take Payments Online?
In 2021, GoDaddy completed the acquisition of Poynt, a prominent online payment processor. This expanded their eCommerce offerings, allowing them to process payments quickly.
You can also take advantage of their integrations with Square and PayPal, which allows you to accept payments for services and repeating events. It costs $24.99/mo or $13.99/mo when paid for yearly.
GoDaddy Marketing Solutions
The main dashboard has two final sections worth noting:
Marketing is a section that acts as a catch-all for advertisement services. They allow you to manage your social integrations, SEO, email marketing, and blogs here. eCommerce providers can also create coupons and offers to regular visitors.
The “content creator” allows you to create custom-design social media posts and email. They have a few pre-set templates to make those more attractive. They call this GoDaddy Studio. This is separate from their logo design services, costing $299 to work with a preferred designer.
Hidden here are additional payment packages you can look at, but many of those are already part of the website builder. You can pay for their SEO and analytics services by themselves for $19.99/mo or $10.49/mo if paid yearly. You can also take a look at their blog posting platform:
It’s bare when compared to other platforms like WordPress, but it runs a lot smoother. However, you might find yourself missing features like Yoast if you are trying to optimize a blog.
GoDaddy reminds us that this is more than just a web hosting review, as they now offer a comprehensive list of solutions beyond standard hosting providers. If part of your plan is to grow your business with blogging, they don’t offer as much power in this system.
Security: Is GoDaddy Safe?
When asking if GoDaddy’s hosting is safe, the answer is a resounding “maybe.” Let’s explore why that is below:
Standard SSL Certificates
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates ensure that the connection between client and server is secure. This creates peace of mind during any data transfers, as files are encrypted while sending. This is vital for any business that works in credit card transactions. You should avoid web hosts without SSL certificates at all costs.
Daily Malware Scans and Firewall
GoDaddy includes (with an extra charge) SSL protection and a Web Application Firewall (WAF). The combination of these two applies the HTTPS layer to all hosted sites.
Their WAF claims to intercept common security threats. Malware scans also offer a solid level of security alongside another essential feature: website backup. So while you won’t get a free SSL certificate with a hosting plan, you can always get a free SSL using a service like LetsEncrypt.
Website backup is essential protection against hijacked sites (Ransomware). Ransomware hijacks data and site information, threatening to destroy or leak everything should a certain payout not be made.
GoDaddy offers backup services for an additional $2.99 per month that will take this sort of attack off its feet. Even with all these security features, they are a web hosting provider that can be breached.
The GoDaddy Security Breach of 2020
On April 23, 2021, 28 thousand SSH usernames and passwords were compromised. This came after a phishing incident in March that resulted in additional domain customers being hacked. The response was to give those customers access to higher security.
As a web host, this is the least they could do. GoDaddy isn’t known for constant exposure, but the vulnerabilities do reveal some level of concern. As a hosting company, you need to be sure that all customer accounts are secure on every server.
Alongside selling domain names, GoDaddy needs to offer customer support. Thankfully, they offer phone support for those who prefer it. You can also get chat support if you prefer along with some tech support. Both support options are available 24/7, but there is no sign of an email address on their help page. Having 24/7 services is an absolute need for your hosting service. Here’s how a conversation I had with a live chat agent went:
GoDaddy Pricing and Plans
GoDaddy has separate plans for its website building and hosting services. First, we’ll get into their most popular offering: web hosting.
- Economy Plan – $5.99/mo ($8.99/mo renewal)
- Deluxe Plan – $11.99/mo ($11.99/mo renewal)
- Ultimate Plan – $12.99/mo ($16.99/mo renewal)
- Maximum Plan – $19.99/mo ($24.99/mo renewal)
You can save 22% on each hosting plan by purchasing for a term length of one year. Buying 36 months at once saves you 33%. Buying in bulk will save you money in the long run, so it’s recommended you start with one year. You also get a 30 day money back guarantee.
Deluxe is better for sites with expandability. If you have a moderate amount of traffic, their Deluxe plan offers unlimited storage. Compared to the economy plan, you’ll likely go through that 100 GB of storage quickly, primarily if you work in eCommerce.
WordPress Hosting Plan Options
- Basic – $9.99/mo ($4.99 with the three-year term)
- Deluxe – $14.99/mo ($6.99 /3-yrs)
- Ultimate – $19.99 /mo ($10.99 /3-yrs)
- eCommerce – $24.99 /mo ($15.99 /3-yrs)
For those familiar with WordPress’s website building and management platform, this is a solid start. All levels come with an SSL certificate for the duration of the hosting plan, a free domain, a business email for one year and of course live chat support. Both hosting forms come with a 30-day money-back guarantee if you buy a year (or more). However, month-to-month purchases only offer refunds for the first 48 hours.
The Cost of Website Building on GoDaddy
- Free – This “plan” allows you to test out the site builder
- Basic – $9.99 per user/mo
- Standard -$14.99 per user/mo
- Premium – $19.99 per user/mo
- eCommerce – $24.99 per user/mo
You don’t need to buy their hosting to take advantage of the site builder. However, integrated systems like GoDaddy’s are much easier to manage if you buy them together.
VPS Plans (Virtual Private Server)
GoDaddy also offers VPS plans which have the following cost breakdown:
- 1 vCPU core, 1 GB RAM, 20 GB SSD – $7.99/mo ($4.99/mo if paid yearly)
- 2 vCPU cores, 4 GB RAM, 100 GB SSD – $29.99/mo ($23.99/mo w/ yearly payment)
- 4 vCPU cores, 8 GB RAM, 200 GB SSD – $59.99/mo ($47.99/mo w/ yearly payments)
- 8 vCPU cores, 16 GB RAM, 400 GB SSD – $104.99/mo ($83.99/mo w/ yearly payments)
Managed VPS plans can be overtaken by GoDaddy staff and vary from $99.99/mo to almost $200. GoDaddy also offers additional features for extra cost:
Cost of Extra Features on GoDaddy
- Firewall and Malware Protection – $63.99 per year (for one domain)
- Standard Email (10 GB of storage) – $1.99/mo ($7.99 for 50 GB of storage)
- Business Premium Email with Microsoft 365 – $8.99/mo
- Cost of Domain – $1/mo (or more depending on the domain)
The cost of these additional features is on par with what you might expect. Many of these features come standard with year-long purchases of the site builder and domain hosting. The malware scanner is still a separate purchase.
Because our experience isn’t the only one, I looked up user reviews to see what others had to say about their customer service. We went to Trustpilot and ConsumerAffairs to get a good cross-section:
Trustpilot User Reviews – Four out of Five Stars
Almost 70% of users on Trustpilot say GoDaddy is an excellent host. Many of them complementing their customer service:
Others complain about long hold times, high expenses, and short waiting periods. Others have identified that additional fees are what got them:
Consumer Affairs – 3.6 Out of Five
As a web host review, Consumer Affairs is a bit more critical but still mostly positive. A lot of people mention that they’ve been with the company for years. Here’s what the people had to say!
Some are slightly more critical:
Is GoDaddy Worth It?
The short answer: mostly yes. They are one of the most vital web hosting providers in the world. They are pretty fast, offer reliable uptime rates, email services, have good tech support, and are pretty secure. The money back guarantee also provides a level of comfort. If you’re looking for an alternatives to GoDaddy, check out our Bluehost review.
With shared hosting, VPS and dedicated hosting plans available, options are something you can expect with GoDaddy hosting. GoDaddy has stood the test of time over more than 20 years, making them more reliable than more hosts. Just be sure to pay close attention to a cost breakdown with all features you need before making a purchase.
At the rate that some web hosts die out, GoDaddy is almost a grandfather among the competition. With the addition of its website building services, GoDaddy does more than sell domain names these days. Of course, they have enough business experience to know that a company of its size needs to go beyond web hosting plans to remain competitive.
With a wide variety of hosting plans and a robust system to buy domain names, GoDaddy is an excellent hosting provider. They offer all the essentials, including WP hosting, to meet a wide variety of needs. That being said, the overwhelming number of packages makes it easy for you to miss something.
As a result, it’s easy to be drowning in GoDaddy’s overall offering, given how complex it is. In addition, their web builder options are simple and easy to use but often trumped by more excellent design options of website builders like Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress. It is still in its infancy, so we will see if they continue to expand this offering.
GoDaddy initially made a name for itself for their unique name as a domain registrar. Since then they’ve jumped into hosting, web building, and email services.
If you opt to go with a shared web hosting plan, you may experience slow load times. Especially if you have a heavy content/media based website. If you opt for a dedicated server, you’ll typically experience faster load times.
No, the web hosting services of GoDaddy are not HIPAA compliant.
Danica Patrick (former NASCAR driver) drove the GoDaddy car. She was recently sponsored in 2018 off the track by GoDaddy and continues to promote the use of the web host with her Warrior Clothing Line.
GoDaddy Headquarters is currently based out of Tempe, Arizona. The exact address is 2155 E GoDaddy Way, Tempe, AZ 85284.