EDIT: Originally published in Feb 2012, I’ve updated this post in May 2017 to reflect the current state of GoDaddy hosting for a 2017 GoDaddy Hosting Review.
This is a product review. It’s biased – but mainly because I’m an actual customer of GoDaddy in addition to other hosting companies.
You’ve probably seen GoDaddy’s Super Bowl commercials, GoDaddy girls all around the internet, and most recently their “Helping Small Business” commercials.
GoDaddy is certainly the market leader in domains – and trying to be in web hosting.
Are they just the right WordPress Hosting Tool to build a better blog?
Here’s 7 Pros and 7 Cons of using GoDaddy to host your WordPress blog…
7 Pros of GoDaddy Web Hosting
1. GoDaddy Is Cheap.
Their economy plan is $7.99/month at renewal – but they always give away coupons for longer lock-ins and you can push it down to even $3.99/mo.
Even though GoDaddy’s specialty is not hosting (they started as a domain registrar) – they are using their capital and market presence to really push down on prices.
If you go with them, you won’t have to worry if you are paying too much. (check out their prices here)
2. GoDaddy Gives Unlimited Bandwidth*
Bandwidth is basically how many people can visit your site at once.
Some web hosts might throttle your bandwidth (ie, crash your site) if you suddenly get that tsunami of traffic from CNN or Reddit.
I’ve never had to test it – but most other reviewers I trust say that GoDaddy held up well – even their shared hosting plan.
Even if they don’t hold up to the tsunami of traffic – you at least won’t have to pay for it, like some web hosts do (think overage charges at cell phone companies. (check out GoDaddy’s features here).
*Every shared hosting company is going to limit your features in some way. They usually limit your storage, databases, email or your bandwidth. I think that preemptively capping bandwidth is a bad way to go. I like that GoDaddy limits plans in other ways rather than bandwidth.
3. GoDaddy Offers Quality WordPress Auto-Install
Now I’m a fan of installing WordPress manually because of the control that it brings.
That said, having someone else (aka a robot) install WordPress is time-saving service – and helpful to anyone who worries about FTP / database names / security salts / etc.
But it needs to be done right – and every time I’ve auto-installed on GoDaddy – WordPress was installed correctly. All the security salts were in effect – and all I needed to do was install a security plugin.
It makes the process of WordPress *ridiculously* easy. You just go here to purchase hosting for your WordPress, then open your hosting account, and select auto-install, follow the prompts, and in a few hours – you’re done.
EDIT: They also offer a separate “WordPress Hosting” product. It’s more expensive, but offers auto-upgrades, security monitoring and other benefits. It’s confusing, I know. You can run WordPress on their normal hosting plans, which is what I do for my sites.
Definitely a huge benefit.
4. GoDaddy Integrates Products Well
But, like WordPress auto-install, having one company manage your domain name, email, and hosting can make things just a bit easier. Several of my friends & clients do this – and it works well for them. Their domains are cheap and their email is straightforward. They’ll also integrate with Google Apps if that’s your jam. They even offer bookkeeping services nowadays.
GoDaddy offers the full gamut of services and ties them all in together well. Check out their services here.
5. GoDaddy Offers Scale & Resources
Like any hosting company, they have issues with security. But – GoDaddy has the scale and resources to preemptively tackle security problems that smaller hosts can’t work with. This feature has to do with their huge scale (they have plenty of technology directed at thwarting spam and hackers), but also with GoDaddy’s restrictive policies (which will be a Con) but for now it also keeps out spam and the attacks. They’ve recently acquired Sucuri and SiteLock – two major companies in the web security world.
And that’s a good thing.
6. GoDaddy Has Phone Support And Little Down-Time
Some internet veterans will scoff at this (GoDaddy used to be absolutely notorious) but recently GoDaddy has greatly improved their customer service since the mid-2000s. They have improved even more so under their new CEO, and the new direction they set out in July of 2013. And more importantly for many customers – they offer 24/7 phone support, which is not common among hosting companies.
It’s not world-class, but for a huge corporate entity with super-discounted hosting… good support is a Pro in my book.
And they fulfill the *basic* duty of every web host… 99.9% uptime.
7. GoDaddy Hosting Is Current On The Latest Technology
They boast about their 4GH Linux Hosting…that means that they are current. PHP7, etc – GoDaddy has all the latest technical stuff to do web hosting right. Check out their features here.
7 Cons of GoDaddy Web Hosting
1. GoDaddy Uses A Custom Hosting Panel (unless you pay)
Yes, this seems technical – but the more in-depth you get with your WordPress site, the more the Hosting Panel matters.
Basically, when you log in to your hosting account via the Web or via FTP – you have a menu of options to manage your website.
The industry leaders (and best) are cPanel and Fantastico. GoDaddy uses their own custom panel.
You may notice that some plugins and themes for WordPress (such as Thesis Theme) require separate tutorials for GoDaddy…this is why.
Again, not huge, but definitely a con.
As of January 2014, GoDaddy no longer exclusively uses a proprietary hosting panel. They use cPanel (which, again is the industry standard). That has greatly improved their backend. It is still a custom install of cPanel (sort like how Verizon will customize Android on your phone). It also costs $1 extra per month. This point is still a relative con compare to open providers, but nowhere near what it was in 2012.
2. GoDaddy’s Stance On SOPA/PIPA
Remember the whole black out the Internet back in January of 2011 because of SOPA and PIPA? And remember when that same issue has come up again and again and again?
Yeah – every one in favor of Internet Freedom was against those bills…except GoDaddy.
They eventually became against it…but only after customers transferred thousands of domains to competitors because of it.
Most of us will never forgive GoDaddy – especially because…
EDIT: This point is still true. GoDaddy is still exhibiting behavior that indicates they do not respect privacy or ethics (recent story here). They are a big brand that many argue can do things simply because they are the big brand.
3. GoDaddy’s Marketing Is (Historically) …Odd
EDIT: GoDaddy has recently sanitized their site and said that their 2017 Super Bowl commercial would not revolve around sex. Their new campaign is to be the “champion of small business.” However, they still want to maintain their “edgy” brand. That’s all an improvement, but I’m still wary of companies who do tons of interruption-style advertising over focusing on product.
4. GoDaddy Explicitly Limits Your Databases, Email Addresses & Memory
Other webhosts don’t do this to the extent that GoDaddy does. And what it means in practice is that your can’t put a bunch of websites up on one hosting account. A WordPress blog/website needs 1 database – so even on the Deluxe Plan, you are limited to 25 websites. They removed the bit about databases from their plans page so that it *looks* like you have unlimited everything – but those hard limits are still in place.
However, if you go for the Ultimate Plan, you get unlimited everything for a really cheap price. But still.
EDIT: In 2017, this is still somewhat true. They’ve gotten better with their Deluxe plan since you have unlimited disk space. But make sure you are comparing apples to apples with plans between providers. I’m a fan of this Buzzfeed-style WordPress hosting quiz to sort the options based on your priorities.
5. GoDaddy Is A Huge Corporation
Ok. There is nothing inherently wrong with being a huge corporate behemoth. In fact, it can bring really good advantages (ie, capital to make investments).
That said, GoDaddy brings with it everything you’d expect from a big corporation.
Foreign call centers. Entry-level, micromanaged customer service reps. Sort of that impersonal “you’re on your own” style.
If something goes wrong – umm, well…
But moving on – they do have good help articles, which still doesn’t make up for the fact that they are a cost-cutting corporation – and your Economy Hosting account really doesn’t matter on a grand scale – which makes bigness a con in my opinion. Most of my interactions with tech support meant more time on triage than actual problem solving.
6. GoDaddy Makes It A Little Hard To Leave
This con relates to #1 above…but deserves it’s own spot.
Mainly because when you choose a web host – it’s a pretty big time commitment. You’ll be investing a lot of energy into your website – assuming that the host is doing their job.
And even though moving web hosts should be simple…there’s a lot of little things that can make it go wrong. GoDaddy isn’t famous for helping it’s customers leave. That’s a con.
EDIT: Yes, as of 2017…this is still true. It’s a bit easier with cPanel, but their domain transfer is needlessly interrupted with annoying upsells and obstacles. I recently did a client site redesign, and scoped the project to migrate to another host. But – since my client had had email, domains and hosting there for years, the move simply wasn’t worth the hassle.
7. GoDaddy Is Very Restrictive On Data
This is the flipside of #5 Pro – that GoDaddy does good security.
Basically, if you want to auto-generate content, use web forms, wikis, etc – you’re gonna have to jump through a lot of hoops.
One of the most popular WordPress contact forms Fast Secure Contact Form has a special tutorial on how to make it work with GoDaddy – because normally GoDaddy would reject your contact form as spam.
Basically, GoDaddy makes you do a bit more work (though they say it results in less spam attacks for you).
GoDaddy Web Hosting doesn’t stack up overall against my general recommendation for starter sites – HostGator (see their discount offer here) for most starter sites (including personal blogs like this one).
However, GoDaddy hosting is solid and cheap web hosting. If you are looking for a host that,
- Integrates well with domain names that you own on GoDaddy
- Is cheap, branded, and supported
- Has a lot of documentation
And if you plan on not doing anything fancy – GoDaddy Web Hosting for WordPress is a fine way to go. I have friends and clients who have been on them for quite a while – and are fine with them.
And by the by, you can get 45% off any HostGator package here.
EDIT: To answer a lot of questions I’ve gotten about what you do once you get a hosting package…you should send your Domain Nameservers to your hosting account for reliability and speed reasons (automatic if your purchase your domain with your hosting or you get specific instructions if you purchase hosting separately). I’ve written a very detailed guide on setting up a website from scratch on here.
- Rated 3 stars
- GoDaddy WordPress Hosting
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Cheap, fast, easy to install. Limited features - you quickly outgrow it. Good choice if you want an all-in-one solution.