For decades now, GoDaddy has stayed on top as one of the biggest names in web hosting, domain registration, and online marketing. GoDaddy offers a ton of services and aims to be a one-stop shop for all of your Internet needs.
Web hosting and domain name registration doesn’t sound like an exciting business, in fact it sounds downright tame. Even so, GoDaddy has managed to stay in the public eye with its infamous Super Bowl commercials and the recreational habits of its founder.
But what of its hosting? GoDaddy came in a comfortable third in our web hosting research with a rating of 83%. While GoDaddy isn’t the cheapest company around, you certainly get a lot for your money with its services.
In fact, beginners may find a certain advantage to choosing GoDaddy, since you can manage your domain easily with a dedicated domain registrar, as well as get your web hosting needs fulfilled with a capable service.
- Excellent template-based website builder
- Free Office 365 email with shared hosting
- Pricing is higher than other major website hosting companies
- GoDaddy’s unlimited offerings require a close reading of the fine print
Higher prices don’t always mean you’re being ripped off, and GoDaddy is a fine example. Its hosting services are as good as anybody’s, and their free addons are among the best in the business. It’s a question of finding a plan that fits neatly with your needs. Convenience and peace of mind has its value as well, and that’s where GoDaddy shines.
Founded in 1997 as Jomax Technologies, GoDaddy is the largest domain registrar in the world. It’s not clear how many websites it hosts, but the company manages more than 76 million domains. It has 14 facilities around the world, and more than 17.5 million customers worldwide.
Before most people around the world even understood what a domain name was or why you’d want one, GoDaddy became a household name. This was largely due to its Super Bowl commercials that began in 2005. In recent years, GoDaddy has given up its Super Bowl ads.
Beyond its memorable ads, GoDaddy continued to grow and offer more and more services until it became the full service web shop it is today. Its pricing is not as competitive as some other web hosts; however, you do get some nice perks such as Office 365 email, a website builder, and strong customer support.
If all you need is a beginner WordPress site, we’d suggest that pricing should be your primary concern. Not to be too flippant about it, but the WordPress user experience is pretty much the same once you’re in the blog platform’s content management system (CMS).
GoDaddy says it promises 99.99 percent uptime, which amounts to less than a day of downtime per year. Now, whether GoDaddy actually performs at that level is another question. A recent test by Down.com, a website that runs uptime tests on web hosts says GoDaddy has an average uptime of 99.97 percent. That equals a little less than three hours of downtime per year, which is still excellent.
A 100 percent uptime simply isn’t possible due to inevitable technical problems that can arise. But close to 100 percent, as GoDaddy offers, is what you should realistically expect.
GoDaddy has all the fundamental features you need in a web host. Its basic plan offers a free domain when you register for a year or longer. GoDaddy restricts its free offering to specific top-level domains including .CLUB, .COM, .NET, .XYZ, .ORG, .CO, and .CN.
It’s worth noting that you must also pay the ICANN fee of 18 cents per domain per year for the length of your commitment.
On the basic shared hosting plan, GoDaddy offers a free year’s subscription to Microsoft Office 365 business email, typically a $60 annual cost. GoDaddy hosting also offers unmetered bandwidth, which includes unlimited storage and website bandwidth. While unlimited bandwidth is typical for basic web hosting services, unlimited storage is less common.
That said, GoDaddy does have some specific limits to its unlimited plans. If you’re using its Linux hosting you are limited to 250,000 inodes — files, directories, and so on — per account. On Windows-based hosting the limit is 500,000 files and folders per account.
If that sounds complex to you, you’re not likely to be affected. GoDaddy offers a lot of storage that it will take a while to fill up for most sites.
Beyond the basic Economy plan, there are several higher-priced tiers. Deluxe has all the basics of Economy, but it gives you an unlimited number of websites and subdomains. The Ultimate plan increases the processing power of the server plus you get free HTTPS for one year, and beyond that business shared hosting adds more computing resources.
Choosing your hosting plan is very straightforward with GoDaddy. You pick the plan you want, and then there are well-marked offers for several optional add-ons. The only add-on chosen by default is website backup. The other possible add-ons include site security and an SSL certificate for HTTPS.
After the package is set-up you arrive on a simplified interface. From here you can set-up your email, build a website, and access your site’s cPanel control panel. Everything in this section of the website is very clean and simple — ideal for new users.
Once you get into the cPanel section things can get a little more confusing, but the design is still very clear. On the left you see the statistics for your website such as file usage, storage and so on. This can be helpful if you want to see the demands your site is putting on the server, and whether you’re maxing out your allowances.
The main part of the window taken up with the various cPanel categories such as Files, Preferences, Databases, Web Applications, Domains, Email, Metrics, Security, Software, and Advanced.
If you’re running a WordPress site or other dedicated content management system then cPanel won’t be a huge concern. But if you’re going to spend a lot of time in cPanel then you might compare GoDaddy to Bluehost to see which simplified design you prefer.
GoDaddy has its own drag-and-drop website builder. It starts by asking you to select a category and name for your website. Then it automatically selects a basic template for you to get started. The website builder then guides you through the creation process including the ability to change the automatically chosen theme.
It’s an excellent tool for beginners who want to build their own site but aren’t sure where to start. In our trial with the tool, it let us choose from eight basic templates and then gave us the freedom to adjust the colors and fonts. From there we could customize everything and changing any element was as simple as clicking on it, and then making the change in the right-hand sidebar.
While this isn’t free with the basic plan, it’s a great option if you’re looking to build a website quickly and easily.
If you have any problems with your GoDaddy site there are numerous official and unofficial options open to you to find a fix.
GoDaddy’s knowledge center should be your first stop. It’s likely your problem is not so unique and that a common fix is available. Surprisingly this often saves more time than waiting for a support representative.
GoDaddy’s help site is well organized with the most common issue categories represented by large icons; these include questions about domains, cPanel, Windows Hosting, SSL certificates, Office 365 email, and account management. Clicking on the More products link reveals further potential issue categories in a text-only list.
After selecting an issue, GoDaddy helps you drill down until you find an article that’s specific to your issue. Most of the solutions, however, are found in forum posts where customers help each other.
There are some basic tips at the top of each specific issue page, but GoDaddy typically doesn’t have the lengthy support articles that some web hosts create on their own. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as forum posts tend to keep the issue solutions more current, but it’s not for everyone as it usually requires a little more research.
If the knowledge base route fails keep in mind that a regular old Google search might also help. GoDaddy is so big and popular that many sites and YouTube channels write articles with fixes for problems specific to GoDaddy.
When that kind of research isn’t in the cards, GoDaddy also offers live chat, 24/7 phone support, and responses to support issues on social media.
GoDaddy have frequent sales, where prices for shared hosting with the Economy plan start at as low as $3.50 per month when you sign up for 3 years. After that initial period the price goes up to $8 per month. The Deluxe plan has an introductory price of $5 per month, and Ultimate is $8.
That’s quite a bit more expensive than Bluehost or HostGator, where prices start under $3. That extra cost could be worth it, however, for anyone that wants to use GoDaddy’s user friendly website builder.
GoDaddy’s dedicated WordPress hosting for higher-traffic blogs has an introductory price of $4 per month ($9 after the initial period), and Deluxe and Ultimate plans with starter prices at $6 and $10 respectively. There’s also a Developer plan for up to five websites that starts at $15 per month.
Virtual private server (VPS) hosting starts at $18 per month for a VPS with 1GB of memory, 40GB storage, unmetered bandwidth, 3 dedicated IPs, and a free SSL certificate for a year. The renewal price goes way up to $30 per month after the initial period. There are three other VPS plans with prices ranging from $22 per month to $40 per month at the introductory rate.
Dedicated hosting, where you basically rent a server from GoDaddy, starts at $70 per month and goes up to $130. Those are the introductory prices, however. After that initial period prices go way up ranging from $170 to $350 per month. That’s some serious money and only worth it for small businesses and blogs with the traffic and business to support it.
GoDaddy is a great choice for hosting websites, though you’ll have to pay a little more than you would with other major hosting companies. That could be worth it to get some of those freebies GoDaddy offers, such as free Microsoft Office 365 email, a free SSL certificate on larger plans, and a mostly free domain.
GoDaddy won’t be for everyone such as those on a price sensitive budget. Still, with several data center regions to choose from, a very easy-to-use interface, and all kinds of options for support, GoDaddy is well worth looking at for new users and experienced website owners. When a GoDaddy plan fits, it really fits.
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