GoDaddy and 1and1 are two web hosting companies that have both been around for a very long time. They’ve both had their ups and downs, but battled through to remain popular today. Let’s compare both of them, their most popular offerings, and let’s determine which one is better. In addition to looking at these two brands, we also want to direct your attention towards two alternatives that are also worth checking out, for a variety of reasons.
GoDaddy was launched in 1997 and has been one of the most popular domain registrars ever since then. They’re known more for domain names than for hosting, but have offered hosting services for a long time, and have a huge list of clients. You’ll find mixed reviews, and in the past, their hosting service has definitely been lacking. It’s not perfect now, but they’ve gotten better. Let’s take a look at what they offer…
GoDaddy Hosting Plans
The following are shared hosting plans, which is good enough for most new websites, at least to get you started. As your site gets busier, you’ll probably want to upgrade. GoDaddy is notoriously not one of the easier hosts to move away from, unfortunately. Some hosting companies have their platform setup in a way that makes it easy to move your site away, but there are plenty of stories about people having a tricky time with GoDaddy, which is too bad. On top of that, their renewal costs can be quite pricey, not for hosting necessairly since it’s pretty normal to get a discount on your first bill, but for things like domain names and domain name privacy, the renewal fees can get pretty hefty.
The cheapest plan only lets you have one single website under your hosting account, but the other plans allow for unlimited websites, so if you’re planning to create more than one site, make sure you go with Deluxe or higher. All of their plans come with a free domain name for the first year but once again, the renewal price can be quite a bit higher than other domain name registrars.
They offer at least 100GB of storage, which is plenty. All of their plans have unmetered bandwidth, which basically translates to mean that as long as you’re not using too much bandwidth, they won’t hassle you about it. The problem is you don’t really know what the limit is until you start hitting it.
In additional they have the following features:
They also have more powerful servers available, and hosting plans created specifically for WordPress. Their WordPress plans are different than their regular shared hosting plans that we looked at above, here’s a peek:
You can see that it’s a little bit more expensive, and doesn’t offer as many unlimited resources, but that’s actually a good thing. With these WordPress plans by GoDaddy, you should get better performance since the servers are optimized specifically for WordPress.
You can use WordPress on their regular shared plans, too, but these resource limits are beneficial since they allow you to plan exactly how many visitors your site can support each month, rather than run into an invisible wall. These plans can handle plenty of traffic and even come with a staging site so that you can make changes to your site and not have to worry about breaking it and losing out on business.
Malware scan and repair can be crucially important if your site is ever attacked. It can be really difficult to get rid of malware, so having some help with that is very worth it. You can look at the extra charge as a bit of an insurance policy, you won’t need it most months, but if you ever do need it you’ll be glad to have that extra support.
To really sum up GoDaddy, they offer a lot of the standard stuff you’d expect from a modern hosting company, they fall short in a few areas, they are competitively priced but they also don’t always have the best performance, and they don’t really go above and beyond. They’re not an outright bad choice, but they’re also not our favourite.
Having said that, we give GoDaddy the nod if your only options are 1&1 and GoDaddy, but perhaps consider the 3rd and 4th options that we’ll be looking at last. Before that, let’s go over the basics of 1and1 hosting.
The 1&1 hosting company is huge, they claim to have 15 million customer contracts. We’re not really sure how many customers that translates into, or exactly what’s included in coming up with that number, but it’s an impressive accomplishment none the less.
We mentioned earlier that GoDaddy has had some missteps over the years that have dinged their reputation, but it wouldn’t be fair to mention that and not bring up that 1&1 don’t have the most stellar reputation in the world of hosting, either. Being popular doesn’t always translate to quality.
They’re located all around the world and are a one-stop-shop when it comes to getting a website online. They were founded more than 26 years ago, and have over 7000 employees working for them. Suffice to say, this is a huge operation.
One of the issues with this hosting brand is that they have historically made it difficult to switch to another host if you ever decide to do that, some people get so frustrated when trying to transfer their site out, that they just end up staying with 1and1 even if they don’t really want to. Their support isn’t the greatest, and it can be downright frustrating when you continue to get billed for a service you’ve already cancelled and it’s difficult to get ahold of anybody to help you.
Their plans start very affordable, and even their renewal rates are relatively reasonable, but in terms of quality and performance, there’s a lot of sizzle here but not much steak. The prospect of hosting your website for $12 for the first year is tempting, but if you’re using your site for a business, or even for personal stuff, it’s truly worth investing a bit more into a higher quality host. You might have a perfect experience with 1&1 hosting your site, but if your website is important, especially if your business depends on it, then you’re playing with fire to trust 99 cents per month hosting.
1and1 Hosting Plans
One of the issues we have with both of these brands is you have to be careful when you’re placing your order because neither of them are strangers to trying to sneak extra stuff into your cart if you aren’t paying attention. Whether it’s extra features that nobody needs or really expensive renewal costs that might catch you by surprise.
Let’s take a look at two other hosting brands. They’re super upfront about their renewal costs, they offer better performance in our experience, and better platforms overall, so either one of these is definitely worth a strong look.
Alternatives to 1&1 and GoDaddy?
Now, if you’re not super excited about either GoDaddy or 1&1, we wanted to include a couple of other options. Both of these two other hosts have offerings in the same ballpark, which is relatively affordable shared hosting, but we feel like they do a better job overall when it comes to flexibility, ease of use, their customer support, and overall value.
They solve a lot of the issues we have with GoDaddy and 1and1, but these are still hosting companies operating in the budget space, so they’re not 100% flawless, but you can have a great experience with them as long as your expectations are good. For example, all of these hosts will charge a higher price when your initial package is done, but you can get around this by simply signing up for a longer term to start with, in order to lock-in the cheaper rate.
GoDaddy will hit you really hard with renewal costs, and while SiteGround and Bluehost also have higher fees when you renew, they both typically work out to a lot less in the long run, and it feels like you’re getting much better value for your money, so it’s less of a bitter pill to swallow when it’s time to renew your site.
Alternative #1: Bluehost
Once again, Bluehost operates in the same ballpark like every other host we’ve mentioned today, but we feel like they do a better job overall at offering a similar product. Bluehost’s support is accessible, fast, and equipped to help you with just about anything. You can get through to them easily, 24/7, and it makes the whole process a lot easier and a lot less intimidating when you’re setting up your first website.
Your mileage will vary with any host, it really depends on what type of site you’re building and what type of hosting plan you need while making sure your plan suits your site (If you have a hugely popular site, you’ll need a more expensive host, in order to assure a great experience, for example.)
It’s worth mentioning that Bluehost isn’t perfect, but they do offer greater overall value than both 1&1 and GoDaddy, and they offer excellent performance with hosting that’s optimized perfectly to run WordPress very quick. Fast websites are so important, we won’t even get into that whole can of worms, but just know that it matters a lot, and Bluehost can help you achieve it right out of the box, by default.
Alternative #2: SiteGround
SiteGround is another example of a hosting brand that’s been around for a long time, has a ton of customers, but doesn’t fall victim to the same curse that strikes some of the other big brands like pinching pennies instead of hiring a bigger support staff, or trying to use lower-quality servers with too many websites on them.
They do a great job of offering up a great value. Their introductory rates are a steal of a price, and their renewals are a bit higher but definitely worth it. After the initial period is up and the price goes back up to the regular rate, you’ll know if you plan on keeping your site active or not. If you do plan on keeping your site up, then it’s definitely worth the cost of admission to be with a higher quality host like SiteGround.
Like Bluehost (And GoDaddy, and many other shared hosting companies these days, to be fair,) SiteGround makes it really to get started. Most of the setup and the work is done for you, and everything that you’re responsible for comes with very clear instructions that you can follow along with. If you still run into any hitches, simply get in touch with SiteGround’s support team and they’ll get you sorted out right away.
At the end of the day, all 4 of the hosts we featured on this page fall under the same umbrella of offering easy to use, affordable shared hosting plans that are suitable for the majority of new websites.
It’s the little things that differentiate them, especially when those little things turn into big things.
For example, being easy to migrate away from a host doesn’t really matter if you never end up doing it – but if you do decide to switch hosts, you’ll be really annoyed if you’re with a host that makes that process harder than it needs to be.
If your site never gets very many visitors, you might not be too concerned with performance or knowing that you can handle a sudden surge of visitors – but if your site does start to get a lot of visitors or even to earn you a decent income, all of a sudden performance and reliability start to matter a lot more.
In our recommendations, we weigh the pros and cons of these different hosts, and here’s how we would rate them, taking everything into consideration.
Things to Consider
- Value (Not just how much it costs, but what type of service you’re getting for that money.)
- Your needs (Choose a plan that fits your needs, for example, if you want to host multiple websites you’ll need to choose accordingly.)
- Performance (How well does the server perform?)
- Reputation (Are they a brand that has handled themselves well over the years, or is there a long history of unhappy customers in their wake?)
- Support (How well-staffed is their support department? Do they invest in being able to help their customers?)
These are all important things to consider when choosing a web host, and they’re all important questions to ask. Keeping all of that in mind, along with experience over the years, talking to veterans of the industry, talking to people who use hosting from all kinds of different brands on a daily basis, here’s our ranking of the aforementioned hosting companies:
- Bluehost: Our top pick, they make it dead-simple to get your site up and running on the cheap.
- SiteGround: Another great option, they’ve clawed their way to the top of the hosting world by doing a great job for their customers.
- GoDaddy: They have their issues, but it seems like they’re really starting to turn it around lately. They’re certainly a company to keep a closer eye on, and to re-evaluate down the road.
- 1&1: They come in last overall out of these brands, but they’re also the most affordable. If you only have $12 to spend on hosting for a year, they can get the job done, but just watch out for those renewals and stick to using them for sites that aren’t super important or mission-critical, keep backups on a separate server, and you should be all good.
That’s the order, overall, when we take everything into consideration. In that order, is probably about how likely you are to have a good experience with any of those hosting companies. Having said that, all 4 of them are massively popular and have a ton of clients, years of experience, hard-working staff members doing their best, and can certainly handle the task of hosting your site – but why not go with the one(s) that get it right most often?