Bluehost and GoDaddy are two of the largest hosting brands on the Internet. They have both been around for quite a while (the late 1990s), and are well-known on the Internet. I’ve written in detail for both services. You can check out my Bluehost review and GoDaddy review individually, but this post compares them head to head.
However, both the Internet and the world have changed dramatically – many times over – since they were both founded. Both Bluehost and GoDaddy have changed their positioning, products, and pricing several times over the past 20+ years.
Here’s a quick synopsis of Bluehost vs GoDaddy in 2021
|Key Strength||Ease of Use & Pricing||Product Integration|
|Key Complaint||Focus on WordPress||Plan Caps & Exclusions|
|Best for||Beginners & bloggers||Current GoDaddy customers|
|Current Promotion||$2.95/mo + Free Domain||$2.99/mo + Free Domain|
Best for pricing & simplicity.
Best for bundled services.
They both have strengths, weaknesses, advantages, and disadvantages. Here’s how Bluehost and GoDaddy compare as web-hosting providers across different aspects that I tell my clients to look at.
WordPress Hosting & Web / Shared Hosting
But here’s the short version.
- WordPress is software that can run on almost any Linux-powered shared hosting plan, just like Microsoft Word is software that can run on any Windows or MacOS powered computer. It’s most popularly known for running a WordPress blog, but can run nearly any type of website.
- WordPress uses server resources in a predictable way and has predictable support needs compared to other software.
- Some companies have created hosting plans with custom add-ons and custom resources specifically for WordPress. They call these plans WordPress Hosting plans.
- Some companies just take their web hosting plans and create a landing page to emphasize that their default web hosting plans run WordPress. They also call these WordPress Hosting plans.
Bluehost is a web host that emphasizes that their default web hosting plans run WordPress. The signup is the same, the pricing is the same, and the benefits are the same between their Web Hosting and WordPress Hosting products.
GoDaddy is a web host that has a custom WordPress Hosting plan, except that it doesn’t seem to add any specific technical benefits. It only has stricter limits and a more expensive price. The WordPress Hosting package promises “auto-install” even though the Web Hosting plan promises “one-click install.”
Both companies have a wide range of hosting solutions ranging from the already mentioned web and WordPress hosting all the way to dedicated server / dedicated hosting options. I’ll be focusing on their most popular web hosting service options.
One addendum – both Bluehost and GoDaddy offer Managed WordPress Hosting plans that start around $20/mo. I will leave these out of the scope of this comparison since it starts to get *really* confusing. If you are looking for Managed WordPress Hosting service, check out my Best WordPress Hosting guide or my WordPress Hosting Explainer for how to shop.
Comparing Bluehost and GoDaddy Plans
Both their web hosting plans run WordPress. In fact, Bluehost’s web hosting plans onboard nicely with WordPress as default. GoDaddy has a usable custom dashboard that does make WordPress available with one click.
Pricing & Value for Money
Bluehost’s and GoDaddy’s web hosting plans are incredibly similar with only a few exceptions. Here are their current pricing charts.
Bluehost Shared Hosting Plans
|Bandwidth (per month)||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited|
|Free Domain Name||1 year||1 year||1 year||1 year|
GoDaddy Shared Hosting Plans
|Storage||25 GB||48 GB||100 GB||200 GB|
|Bandwidth (per month)||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited||unlimited|
|Free Domain Name||1 year||1 year||1 year||1 year|
Both Bluehost and GoDaddy do regular discounting, so it’s better to look at their renewal rates…which turn out to be *exactly* the same.
So here’s a few key differences in their plans:
- Bluehost includes an SSL certificate in every shared hosting plan, which is essential for any website.
- On cheaper plans, GoDaddy caps your databases while providing a bit more storage. These differences are fairly marginal, except for specific circumstances like running multiple software installs or uploading lots of high quality photos.
- On more expensive plans, Bluehost bundles automated backups while GoDaddy always charges.
As for short-term pricing, I’ve found that Bluehost runs deeper discounts (such as this one) compared to GoDaddy.
Bluehost vs GoDaddy on Pricing
Due to the deeper discounts and bundled SSL, Bluehost pricing has marginally better value than GoDaddy pricing.
Usability & Onboarding
Hosting companies are selling something that is inherently technical by nature – and daunting for many users.
Good web hosting companies strike a balance between convenience and control. Their “backends” and account dashboards should be clean and straightforward.
As mentioned, both Bluehost and GoDaddy use cPanel for their server backends, which is the industry standard. They have both customized them for simplicity.
GoDaddy’s New cPanel Backend:
Those are screenshots of the backend of GoDaddy and Bluehost. Those are the screens that you get to see once you purchase your hosting account.
When you sign up for a shared hosting plan – you don’t get a website, you get a place to “put your website” – as it were. So you get a dashboard to operate your hosting account – add domains, install files, manage databases, install WordPress, monitor bandwidth, etc.
Since it is the backend of a server – it’s not going to be super-user friendly, but it’s also nice to be able to install and manage your account without having to learn to program.
Bluehost uses a backend called cPanel for all their accounts – which is the industry standard. Typically, cPanel comes with an unpolished, but straightforward interface.
Bluehost has really polished the backend compared to many other cPanel-based hosts. They’ve organized it with different tabs to reduce the appearance of clutter. They have also added several educational options in addition to the big, blue Install WordPress button.
Years ago, GoDaddy had a proprietary backend that was sleeker and more straightforward than cPanel but became frustrating, limiting, and unwieldy if you ever tried to build out multiple sites on the account.
With GoDaddy’s Fall 2013 re-brand, they officially switched over to the industry-standard cPanel, just like Bluehost. They did customize it a bit to make it more user-friendly like Bluehost was at the time – even though it’s still a bit unpolished.
Bluehost vs GoDaddy on Usability
Bluehost completely redesigned their signup flow and their hosting dashboard in 2019. It’s clean, minimalist – and super-straightforward (especially if you plan on installing WordPress). They have excellent WordPress integration.
In fact, it’s so sleek that I updated my Website Setup guide to use Bluehost’s screenshots.
GoDaddy’s usability, again, is not terrible. And it’s way better than it was. Their problem is that, as a platform, they are just trying to do too much with one screen. They’ve got accounting and email and everything else all crowding in on their hosting screen. Their cPanel is fine, but not intuitive like Bluehost’s.
If you already have all your other web services at GoDaddy, then it might be more usable. But for a head-to-head comparison, Bluehost is simply much better.
Customer Service & Support
Now, judging customer support is always going to be a bit anecdotal, especially if you don’t need to utilize it much. Your phone or email rep is a person – so at any given moment, your experience might be better or worse than mine (for example, my experience with Comcast support has always been solidly “fine” FWIW).
Based on my experience with both companies – and talking with people who use both as well – I’ve found GoDaddy’s support to be adequate. I always have to wait only a few minutes on the phone. I always have to explain a couple of times what my issue is. But overall, they get the job done, and my problem was resolved. No horror stories – just nothing super-special.
Bluehost, on the other hand, has always provided me fast, solid support. I’ve spoken with them via phone and email and had great experiences with them both times. Bluehost has highly rated customer service (especially for non-technical issues like billing, etc) and seems to deserve it – although they did come under fire with their response to a DDOS attack in 2015. In a recent incident, they were much more transparent . They’ve also improved their uptime.
But again – anecdotes. Instead, I think it’s better to figure out if a company views support as a cost, an investment or an upsell. Their company culture will evolve from there.
I think you can deduce this by looking at the diversity of support channels, investment in DIY help, and figuring out their approach to customer service.
GoDaddy and Bluehost both have large knowledge bases. GoDaddy seems to skew towards their own products rather than hosting help. Both have support across a range of channels including phone and chat.
The main difference that I see is that Bluehost allows for “self-triage” – you pick your support issue before calling and then they move to a ticketing system.
Whereas GoDaddy pushes everything to their main phone line to let account reps and/or the phone tree sort issues without a ticketing system.
I’ve found Bluehost’s approach to be much more preferable. If you are calling about a WordPress issue – then you aren’t stuck in the same queue as billing question people. There are fewer transfers between reps and I feel more in control since every single issue has the same reference ticket.
I’ve had multiple people write to me about frustrations with GoDaddy. GoDaddy seems great if they can answer on the same call, but anything that requires multiple calls just falls apart.
Bluehost vs GoDaddy on Support
Reviewing customer is support is always a challenge. GoDaddy is fine, especially if you have all your products (domains, hosting, email, etc) with them. However, if you have hosting-specific issues that require multiple interactions, Bluehost is a better option.
Features (e.g., cPanel, SSL & Domains, etc)
The absolute core features of any hosting plan are – the number of websites (domain names that can be assigned to a website on the account), databases (the number of unique website installations on the hosting account), and disk space (how much stuff you can put on your server).
I call them the 3 D’s – domains, databases, disk space. Those are the basics that you can compare directly and set aside to look at other features.
If you know that you only want 1 super-cheap place to host 1 small website – then you should consider GoDaddy’s Economy package or Bluehost’s Basic plan. They both limit either your websites, storage, or MySQL databases, but in different ways at lower tiers.
Otherwise, all their core features are basically the same. They both include cPanel if you want to run non-WordPress apps. They both have similar email and free domain offerings in addition to technical setups. They both provide “unlimited storage” at higher tiers in addition to unlimited bandwidth (technically “unmetered bandwidth” and unlimited website add-ons). GoDaddy uptime is fine, as is Bluehost uptime.
One strong differentiating feature is the SSL certificate. Bluehost includes a basic free SSL certificate on all plans. It’s strong enough for almost every site, and it’s free. SSLs are essential for any website now. If you don’t have one, every browser throws up security warnings .
GoDaddy only includes a premium SSL certificate at the higher tiers and encourages a purchase of one at lower tiers.
Another differentiating feature is automated backups. For GoDaddy, it’s a paid feature only. Bluehost includes backups, but at irregular intervals. Bluehost is better but not as good as having a dedicated backup solution.
Bluehost vs GoDaddy on Features
With the exception of SSLs, Bluehost and GoDaddy are about the same on hosting features. They both get the job done. With GoDaddy, you’ll have to budget some for SSLs. With both, you’re better off budgeting for a dependable backup solution (like the JetPack plugin). I explored their features in-depth in my Bluehost review and GoDaddy review.
Speed & Performance
A hosting server’s primary job isn’t just to hold your website – it’s to provide it quickly to any browser that requests those files.
The easiest metric to measure here is Time To First Byte (TTFB ) – that is, how quickly the server gets the request and sends the first byte of information back.
TTFB is best measured as a trend & relative at the time of testing – which can be hard for average consumers to see. On this site – you’ll see test results that show variance in test times, but the trend & relative position usually remains the same.
It’s also something that competitors keep close at hand. However, Newfold Digital – the corporation that owns both Bluehost and HostGator – included their internal data and long-term benchmarking in their investor presentation.
Here are the results for my websites on a recent test.
Over the past few years, Bluehost has always led with GoDaddy trailing significantly. But recently, GoDaddy has been showing a bit better performance. In this most recent test – they are only slightly slower than Bluehost.
Keep in mind that TTFB times are best analyzed as a trend. But as a general rule, I’ve found GoDaddy to be slower than Bluehost. Bluehost and HostGator seem to fluctuate but generally, are tied or slightly slower than independent competitors that I also use such as InMotion Hosting.
Both are about the same on speed.
Bluehost vs GoDaddy on Speed
Bluehost and GoDaddy are both solid on speed. They both get the job done, and will not hold you back if you start optimizing for speed with caching, image compression, etc.
Company Structure & Direction
Products and prices change all the time. The hosting product that you purchase now might be different a year later.
After watching the web services industry for years, it’s really become clear that when purchasing a multi-year product, it’s important to think about how the company’s structure and direction will influence its product over the course of several years. For example, a company’s customer service doesn’t slide…just because. It slides because it’s structure treats support as a cost rather than an investment.
Bluehost and GoDaddy actually share a lot in common. Both are part of the largest & deep-pocketed web services companies in the world. They both have the scale & resources to operate massive, well-resourced web operations. They have both been around for quite a while.
However, their direction & product focus is quite different. Both have strong suites, but it’s important to match their strong suites to your needs.
Bluehost has doubled down on its bread-and-butter hosting solution. In fact, they’ve doubled down on self-hosted WordPress hosting. They promote a few sister brands like Constant Contact. And they’ll integrate some 3rd party services like Office365. But by in large, they have built their products, services, and checkout flow to revolve around the self-hosted WordPress websites.
Their parent company has designated the brand for broad appeal, high usability, and core focus. They are highly involved in the WordPress open-source project. In fact, their parent company has financial stakes in Automattic, the for-profit commercial arm of WordPress that runs WordPress.com.
GoDaddy has doubled down on being the “platform for small business.” They have acquired design & development shops in addition to web security companies, accounting software, drag & drop builders, photo storage suites, and basically every type of software that a small business would need to run. Hosting is a big part of that. But it’s not all.
You can tell simply from their main menu that doesn’t even list Web Hosting. It’s about Domains and Websites + Marketing.
Now, that could be a good thing if you want a one-stop-shop. However, that structure does lead to “upsell-itis” for which they are famous. Every product complements everything else. That can be convenient, but also troublesome if you just want plain hosting.
Bluehost vs GoDaddy on Structure
If you are running a self-hosted WordPress website, Bluehost will likely be a better fit, especially if you are a beginner or blogger. You are their core market. If you are a business, especially one with products already at GoDaddy, then you’ll likely find it convenient to be all at one place.
Is Bluehost Better Than GoDaddy?
So – who wins Bluehost vs GoDaddy? It depends on who you are and what you are looking for.
Best for pricing & simplicity.
Best for bundled services.
If you are looking for the best overall deal on web hosting and are limited to just GoDaddy and Bluehost, then Bluehost is generally going to be your better bet.
Now, if you are looking for a domain and whole suite of products like GoDaddy’s drag & drop website builder, etc – then GoDaddy might be a fit. However, I’d go back and think about what your end goal is.
Bluehost vs GoDaddy Alternatives
If you’re looking for an independent (ie, not owned by a holding corporation) web hosting company with a focus on technical service and high performance – go with InMotion Hosting. SiteGround is also good if you don’t mind a custom backend.