BlueHost and GoDaddy are two of the most commonly recommended hosting brands out there, but that doesn’t necessarily make them both the best. They both have their pros and cons overall, and a lot of people who would refer you to both of them, and a lot of other people who would warn you to stay away from either of them. We’re going to break down some of the controversy, then jump right into to comparing these two hosting companies to help you decide between BlueHost vs GoDaddy, or if you should just go with a different option altogether.
The Elephant in the Room
In hosting circles, it’s often discussed how a company called EIG operates by buying up growing hosting brands that are making a dent in the market, cutting costs drastically, and many users soon seeing a decrease in service and quality. Hosting with a brand that’s owned by EIG isn’t a death sentence for your site, but it’s still considered ‘bad news’ if you’re hosting with a company that gets taken over. The transitions can be sloppy sometimes, just ask anyone who was happily hosting with A Small Orange a couple of years ago, before meeting weeks of downtime and support staff who were unequipped to deal with it.
EIG owns dozens and dozens of the top hosting companies that you’ll see referenced all the time, so what usually happens is somebody is unsatisfied with one hosting company, leaves to find a new recommendation, and ends up still hosting with EIG without even realizing it. In any case, we just want to get this out of the way and be totally upfront that BlueHost is, indeed, owned by EIG.
Now, there can be advantages to hosting with some of these giant brands like BlueHost and GoDaddy, too. The caveat is that they need to be well-managed. Not all EIG brands are created equal, it’s not like they’re all in the same building working together. Some of their brands are still run more or less independently, too. BlueHost is definitely one of the better ones, but in the name of transparency, we just wanted to go over this quickly to give you an idea what we’re working with.
The alternative is to look for smaller hosting companies, but they can also have their own issues sometimes. Either they’ll go belly up and your site will just disappear in the middle of the night, or they won’t be nearly well enough equipped to handle major issues if many sites go down at once, or they may simply be inexperienced and just a one-man operation working out of their home.
So, there’s pros and cons to going with massive hosts and with smaller hosts as well. The sweet spot is probabally somewhere in the middle.
Comparing BlueHost vs GoDaddy Shared Hosting Plans
Let’s start by comparing the shared hosting plans offered by GoDaddy and by BlueHost. While GoDaddy is best known as a domain name registrar, when it comes to hosting their main offering for consumers is their shared plans. BlueHost is also most commonly known as a shared host, so this seems like the best place to start our comparisons.
BlueHost was founded in 1996, whereas GoDaddy got their start in 1997. While both offer domains and a variety of other services, it’s worth pointing out that GoDaddy is the world’s largest ICAAN-accredited register as of 2014, whereas BlueHost has focused more on hosting over the years.
First, let’s take a look at both of their offerings, then we’ll break down some of the different specs and claims that they’re offering.
GoDaddy Shared Hosting Plans
Some of the most noteworthy things here is that their basic plan only allows you to host a single website, but the others allow for unlimited websites. The basic plan includes 100 GB storage, whereas the others offer an unlimited amount. Note: We’ve included some important information about “unlimited” hosting plans after the following BlueHost section, since both of these competitors mention “unlimited” but there’s more to the story that you need to know.
GoDaddy offers a variety of custom installation wizards for popular web applications like a “one-click” WordPress installer. In the past GoDaddy was using a custom control panel that was a bit clunky and made certain things (like moving your site away from them) more difficult than it had to be. They’re now using a version of the standard cPanel that you’re probabally familiar with if you’ve used hosting in the past. This chance took place when GoDaddy had a bit of a facelift and a re-brand in 2013.
BlueHost Shared Hosting Plans
Once again, you’re limited to 1 website with the intro package, and unlimited with the two more expensive option. There are other caps on the introductory-level plan, and the others are unlimited.
BlueHost also offers all of the basic expected features you’d find with any shared hosting company, they have a simplified version of cPanel, one-click installs, around the clock support with a variety of ways to get in touch with them, email accounts, backups on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis of your entire account included, and more.
CloudFlare comes built into your account, which can help quite a bit with load times, too. If you have multiple servers from them, you can easily manage them all from one location using their Multi-Server Management platform.
Furthermore, BlueHost offers a higher-tier plan called Pro, it has everything that Prime comes with and a few more things:
The Truth About “Unlimited” Hosting
We’ve discussed this previously here on the site, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s very relevant in this comparison. Both of these hosts mention “unlimited“, but that’s incorrect by the very definition of the word. Anytime you see “unlimited” as a selling point in hosting, just know that’s not quite the whole story. Here’s a look at GoDaddy’s “fine print” about the unlimited resources they offer:
“Our Web Hosting plans are designed to host most personal, small business and organization websites. We don’t limit the amount of storage and bandwidth your site can use as long as it complies with our Hosting Agreement. Should your website bandwidth or storage usage present a risk to the stability, performance or uptime of our servers, we will notify you via email and you may be required to upgrade to a Virtual Private Server or Dedicated (Private) Server, or we may restrict the resources your website is using. It’s very rare that a website violates our Hosting Agreement and is typically only seen in sites that use hosting for file sharing or storage.”
In other words, it’s unlimited and unmetered until they decide that you’ve used too much, and that’s what the limit is. This is why we tend to lean towards hosts that just tell you upfront how many resources you’re allowed to use, so you can plan ahead, rather than waking up one day to find out that you’ve used up all of your “unlimited” resources and your site has been taken offline until you upgrade to a VPS.
Having said that, it’s true that many sites won’t ever experience enough traffic to reach the invisible “limit”, and at the end of the day, if you just read it as “more or less unlimited, as long as my site doesn’t get too popular” then you’ll know what to expect.
Furthermore, if you’re stuck on the same server as somebody that is spamming or hosting downloads or doing something else to burn through a lot of server resources, you’ll be glad when they get shut down since they could hypothetically be slowing things down for everyone else. That’s just the nature of shared hosting, especially when you’re dealing with the most popular and cheapest shared hosting companies.
Which has Better Support?
BlueHost’s setup for their support is nice, it’s divided into 3 categories: Sales, Technical Support, and Account Management.
Each of these options lists numerous numbers to call to get in touch with the correct department, for example if you’re having an issue with WordPress, there’s a specific number to call. If you need help with a VPS, there’s a number to call, and there’s also a general support line. This saves you some time when you call, saves you from having to press additional prompts, and frees up the queues, and ensures the support people you’re talking to are much more familiar with that topic.
In addition, BlueHost a general phone number you can call for any other inquiries, and they have live support chat to help you if you prefer that to a phone call. Of course, you can also email them or open up a support ticket, too.
GoDaddy offers live chat but only Mon – Fri, 6am – 10pm PT. They are big fans of getting you to call in if you’re having any issues, possibly because it gives their team a better opportunity to try to up sell you on something. GoDaddy doesn’t have the best history when it comes to selling you things that aren’t necessarily essential, so make sure that you’re double checking your cart, what your renewal fees might be, and that there aren’t any checked-boxes to add features that you didn’t intentionally add yourself.
Both of these hosting companies are huge, the people who own BlueHost also own HostGator and many other very popular choices for shared hosting. And GoDaddy themselves are probabally the most recognizable brand in hosting overall, but it would be difficult to argue that either of these are the best in their price range for performance.
You would be a lot better off going with a $5 cloud VPS from DigitalOcean or one of the alternatives, if performance is very important to you, but there’s a bit more of a learning curve to learn how to set it up and manage it too, so like we said – there’s always pros and cons when it comes to choosing a hosting company. It’s difficult to measure performance on GoDaddy vs BlueHost with taking a large sample size over a period of time, because both of these hosts are massive and have countless servers all over the place, some of those are going to perform better than other ones, so it’s a bit of a roll of the dice where you’re hoping you end up with “good” websites on the same shared servers as you, and not bad actors.
Conclusion: Who Wins?
Overall, if you have to choose between one of these companies, we would point you towards BlueHost. They’ve been shown to have faster TTFB numbers in the past (time to first byte, how quickly the server responds to a request from a browser), and while GoDaddy has improved a lot in recent years, they’re still not an industry leader when it comes to hosting technology, even thought they’re one of the most well known, and the biggest companies when it comes to registering domains. Their price to value ratios are out of proportion in a lot of areas, and their upselling can be on the aggressive side.
That leaves BlueHost, who aren’t perfect, but do better in some of the aforementioned areas where GoDaddy lost points. We hope our comparison of BlueHost vs Godaddy has left you with more information to make the right decision – Good luck!
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