GoDaddy is one of the world’s largest “web services” companies. Although they were founded as a domain registrar, they provide a whole range of services from web hosting to website builders accounting to email to digital storage to online security and much more.
Over the years, you’ve probably seen GoDaddy’s Super Bowl commercials, GoDaddy girls all around the Internet, and most recently their “Helping Small Business” commercials. They have brand recognition if nothing else.
With the popularity of using WordPress for setting up websites, GoDaddy has made a big product push for their “WordPress Hosting” product.
Like any product, there will be tradeoffs, advantages and disadvantages – depending on your particular goals, preferences, and resources. However, this product not only competes with other competitors but also with GoDaddy’s own regular web hosting product.
Disclosure – I receive customer referral fees from companies mentioned on this website. All data and opinions are based on my experience as either a paying customer or a consultant to a paying customer.
GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting vs. Web or “Regular” Hosting
Here’s the thing. The entire industry move to “WordPress Hosting” services is kind of a weird, confusing, maddening mess. I’ve written an entire post on Web Hosting vs. WordPress Hosting, Explained – but here’s the short version.
- WordPress is simply software that can run on any Linux server with PHP (aka “regular shared hosting).
- Again – WordPress can (and does) run just fine on web hosting.
- WordPress does use some server resources at an above average rate and others at a lower rate.
- WordPress also has very predictable problems & needs. It needs to be regularly updated. Some plugins create temporary security vulnerabilities.
- So – hosting companies saw an opportunity to create whole clusters of servers with only WordPress websites.
- Since they were all together, they could also provide dedicated support and some add-on services at a cost-effective rate.
- Hence, “WordPress Hosting” plans were created – which added a further opportunity for marketers & pricing specialists.
For some companies, WordPress Hosting plans became a way to increase revenue and decrease costs with little value-added. For other companies, WordPress Hosting plans became a way to create a huge value-add to differentiate from competitors and pass the cost savings to customers. For other companies – it was a mix. And in the end, it’s been thoroughly confusing for everyone.
But – the key takeaway is to identify your own needs & goals rather than going right for a company’s “WordPress Hosting” plan.
These pros & cons of GoDaddy WordPress Hosting will look at the tradeoffs between both GoDaddy’s web hosting plans and direct competitors in the WordPress Hosting space.
7 Pros of GoDaddy WordPress Hosting
Here are the 7 big advantages that GoDaddy has with WordPress Hosting.
Their plans start at $8.99/mo at renewal – and go up to $19.99/mo at renewal. Additionally, GoDaddy is always running sales & promotions, so you’re likely able to lock-in even cheaper pricing for over a year. Sometimes, you can even lock-in a $1/per month pricing.
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. Their WordPress Hosting prices are somewhat fudged by total value pricing (see disadvantages) but if you are looking for the cheapest option to get started – you won’t find anyone cheaper in the short-term.
Key WordPress Hosting Features
One key pricing difference between regular web hosting plans and WordPress hosting plans is the pricing per visits vs pricing per features.
In other words, instead of looking at memory, databases, etc – companies simply promise to serve an estimated number of visitors.
In other words – you are paying for results rather than features.
Like any subscription, you will be technically overpaying for the features you get…but that also assumes that you know how to use the features in the first place. There are tons of ways to speed up & make WordPress more efficient – but, there’s also a lot of value in letting someone else just do it for you.
For example, I once managed 10,000 visitors in a single day on my shared HostGator server with some heavy caching and lean plugin usage. I also routinely took this site past 50,000 monthly visitors on a regular shared InMotion Hosting server. I saved a ton of money using regular web hosting and adding a simple caching plugin like WP Super Cache or WP Fastest Cache…but I also like doing that kind of thing.
On the flip side, I have a client who cares exactly 0% about WordPress – but likes the platform and just wants to publish his content. He pays $$$ not just for WordPress Hosting but Managed WordPress Hosting at WP Engine – which charges a pretty penny.
Additionally, GoDaddy provides SFTP and staging areas on their upper plans. They also provide WordPress specific support. It’s nothing amazing (which I’ll cover in the disadvantages) – but they take care of the key features.
Backend & Usability
One of the *the* biggest hurdles for new website owners is the learning curve of a new setup. Running your own website can be daunting – and dealing with settings, drop-downs, and jargon only adds to the stress of actually running your website.
Backend design, usability, and “onboarding” help a ton with this problem. GoDaddy has made serious improvements in this area over the past 10 years. Even with a sprawling product line-up, they still make it pretty straightforward to shop, purchase and get on with your project.
Their WordPress Hosting product does away with some WordPress installation headaches on web hosting and provides a good setup to get on with your project.
The simplicity is a big advantage compared to their web hosting product and their design is a big advantage compared to their technically-oriented competitors.
Full disclosure, I’m a fan of buying your domain and email services separately from web hosting (ie, I use NameCheap for long-term domains & Google Apps for email hosting). It provides diversification – and allows you to choose providers that focus on a specific product.
But, having one company manage your domain name, email, and hosting can make things much more convenient. Several of my friends & clients do this – and it works well for them. Their domains are cheap and their email is straightforward. They have professional online security. GoDaddy even offers bookkeeping & accounting services nowadays.
GoDaddy offers the full gamut of services and ties them all in together well. There’s no pointing your DNS records or futzing with SMTP settings. It’s all there and it all works together. Big advantage to GoDaddy.
Scale & Resources
Like any large hosting company, they have issues with security. They represent a huge target to takedown…especially when political controversy erupts.
But – GoDaddy has the scale and resources to preemptively tackle security problems that smaller hosts simply 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.
For example, when GoDaddy needed to beef up their online security product, they simply went and bought Sucuri – the go-to the web security company.
And scale has advantages too. When GoDaddy says that they can “increase your resources to deal with additional load” – yeah, they can actually do that. When a mass hack or DDoS attack happens – they actually have resources to throw at the problem.
For example, one of the largest exclusively Managed WordPress Hosting is WP Engine. They have 429 employees. They’ve been growing rapidly. GoDaddy has 6,000 employees and 17+ million customers. That can be a bad thing…but on the Internet, it can be a good thing.
Phone Support & Improved Down-Time
Some internet veterans will scoff at this (GoDaddy used to be absolutely notorious for support) 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 – even those famous for customer service.
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.
Brand Recognition & Stability
Yes. This is an advantage no matter what Internet hipsters say. Sometimes buying a big brand is an advantage even when a small upstart might be “better.” Big brands stick around and are stable. In an environment like the Internet where companies launch and fizzle daily, there’s an advantage to going with a company that has been around since the early days of the consumer Internet.
7 Cons of GoDaddy WordPress Hosting
Here are the 7 big disadvantages that GoDaddy has with WordPress Hosting.
Total Value Pricing
Like I said about the advantages of pricing, WordPress Hosting plans are a little different in that you are basically paying for a recurring service rather than anything tangible. That might be what you are looking for but if you are trying to get full value for your money, WordPress Hosting and GoDaddy’s WordPress Hosting, in particular, is a very poor value.
On all of GoDaddy’s WordPress Hosting plans, you are severely limited on the number of websites and the storage space you’re getting – not to mention all the other freedoms you’re losing compared to a similarly priced web hosting plan.
For example, on my similarly priced InMotion Hosting Business Hosting (ie, regular web hosting plan) – I’ve got 6 small, but decently trafficked WordPress websites plus a self-hosted RSS reader plus I use it to triple-backup a few special family videos (ie, several gigabytes right there). When priced out by dollars per storage or by dollars per website – it’s an incredible value.
And that is ditto compared with GoDaddy’s regular web hosting plans.
Additionally, even in the world of WordPress Hosting plans – GoDaddy’s plans are cheap…but a seriously poor value when you look at the features that you actually get.
For example, HostGator provides unmetered storage space and unlimited email accounts on their WordPress Hosting plans. Not technically a “WordPress feature” – but still higher feature value.
And if you look at InMotion Hosting’s WordPress Hosting plans or SiteGround’s WordPress Hosting services – you’ll see that they both provide actual WordPress Hosting features that add value beyond their standard web hosting plans. They both provide built-in NGINX (a very advanced way to speed up WordPress) and built-in SSLs. InMotion even provides a staging environment at the lowest-priced tier.
Customer Protections & Politics
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 – everyone 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. They are aware of this perception – which is why they recently took preemptive action on the Daily Stormer, but they don’t have a super-consistent protocol.
Branding, Marketing & Company Culture
GoDaddy has built their brand with odd market positioning and weird “talk about me” ad campaigns.
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 their product.
I don’t know how this brand & positioning transfers to their company culture but I personally don’t see it as a positive in the “doing business with companies that I love” category.
Hosting Feature Limitations
As mentioned in the Total Value Pricing section – GoDaddy’s WordPress Hosting plans have surprisingly tight limits on features – even compared to direct competitors in the WordPress Hosting space.
Additionally, they are notorious for their own proprietary setup which can lead to email & hosting issues that are unique to GoDaddy. They have plenty of seemingly random caps on databases and bandwidth that you never really encounter until you really need to break those caps.
Account Lock-in & Diversification
This con relates to #1 above…but deserves its 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 its customers leave. That’s a con.
EDIT: Yes, as of 2018…this is still true. It’s a bit easier since it is WordPress after all, 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.
Upsells & Cross-sells
On one hand, it’s fine. They do own and operate a ton of complementary products. And it is convenient to keep all your services under one umbrella. But at a certain point, you’re not sure what you’re being pitched and what you’ve bought – and wow, you just want to get on with it.
With their WordPress Hosting plan – they promise “thousands” of free themes…when those are WordPress.org themes available to anyone, anywhere – but then upsell premium themes and even custom web design packages. They build in security to your WordPress website…but then pitch their upsell online security product. They promise “free SEO plugins” (which BTW, I’ve done a tutorial on here) while upselling marketing services.
It’s a bit exhausting – especially compared to other competitors.
Conclusion & Next Steps
GoDaddy’s WordPress Hosting plans are an interesting option for anyone looking to build a WordPress powered website. They offer brand-name stability, core features, and affordable pricing.
If you are looking to build a single site, want to save money, and really only care about simplicity and results, then go get GoDaddy’s current WordPress discount here.
If you are looking for a WordPress Hosting plan with better support, features, and performance, then I’d recommend InMotion’s WordPress Hosting plans here.
If you aren’t sure, then check out my Buzzfeed-esque quiz on WordPress Hosting here.