Rackspace vs. GoDaddy

GoDaddy vs. Rackspace is a dispute that can only be settled once you have a good idea of the kind of host your website needs. Are you looking for an affordable and quick solution to create and publish a website? Or does your project require greater customization, better security features, and premium performance?

Both GoDaddy and Rackspace are excellent services, but they are designed for different purposes. That being said, you might have a negative experience with either of them if you do not make your choice according to your specific needs. After all, you don’t want to pay exorbitant fees if your website doesn’t have high storage, security, and performance requirements. At the same time, you also don’t want to be stuck with a hosting plan that cannot meet the demands of your website because this can cost your business sorely.

That’s why you need to know exactly what each of these hosting providers brings to the table before you go for either GoDaddy or Rackspace. Then, you can consider whether GoDaddy’s standard plan is enough for you or whether you need to take it further with Rackspace.

GodaddyRackspace
PlanSharedDedicated Server
Pricingfrom $3.99/monthfrom $50/month
Storage100GB2x 300GB
BandwidthUnlimited2 TB
Free DomainYesNo
SSD StorageYesYes
Easy Control PanelYesNo
Uptime offer99.94%99.96%
SSL CertificateYesNo
24/7 SupportYesYes
FounderBob ParsonDirk Elmendorf/Pat Condon
Year Founded19971998
Ideal forSmall to Medium EnterpriseCloud Computing and Applications
HeadquartersUSAUSA

At the end of the review, we’ll be giving our final verdict on the host that we think is generally the best choice. However, you don’t have to come to the same conclusion as we do. You can decide your own winner, and importantly, you’ll have all the necessary data to do so.

Rackspace vs. GoDaddy: Overview

Founded in 1997 by Bob Parsons, GoDaddy is the biggest domain registrar on the planet. We would have said the universe, but it’s likely that aliens may have entered into the domain registration business. In any case, GoDaddy is also one of the largest web hosts on the internet, with over ten million websites. For more information about GoDaddy history feel free to read our GoDaddy review.

Rackspace began as Cymitar Network systems and was founded in the same year as GoDaddy by Richard Yoo, Pat Condon, Morris Miller, and Graham Weston. In 1998, the company took on the name Rackspace with Richard Yoo installed as CEO. The company went on to go public ten years later.

In terms of size, GoDaddy is certainly bigger. That isn’t the only difference between Rackspace and GoDaddy, though. The business model is also markedly different, with Rackspace targeting high-end users who want managed, dedicated, and cloud hosting solutions. GoDaddy, on the other hand, primarily targets customers who need Shared Hosting solutions. As a result of this, Rackspace’s plans tend to be generally more expensive than GoDaddy’s plans.

When it comes to time brand awareness, both hosts have carved a niche for themselves in the hosting market. Rackspace, for one, is one of the leading providers of managed and expertise hosting, while GoDaddy provides cheap web hosting on Shared servers. The fact that they are targetting a different customer-base is the main reason why Rackspace was not included in our list of the best GoDaddy alternatives.

GoDaddy Popularity vs. Rackspace Popularity

If you don’t have any foreknowledge about what you’re going into, it is easy to get lost in the maze of the internet, with questionable sites throwing you names here and there. It is even easier to go with the host that you think is the most popular because you assume that if a lot of people like them, they must be good.

That’s a great assumption, but the only problem with it is that it is wrong. In fact, many of the less popular hosts we’ve reviewed always have better performance than the more popular ones.

However, if you still think that it’s better to go with the most popular host, then you should go with GoDaddy. They are the more popular host by far.

So if popularity isn’t important, what then is?

Performance Comparison

We’ll be measuring the performance of both hosts using two very important metrics. The first is speed, and the second is uptime.

Uptime

To test the uptime of both hosts, we did the only logical thing. We bought hosting plans from both and put our tools to work.

Now, this was pretty tricky because when testing uptime we usually just buy a Shared Hosting plan. But Rackspace doesn’t have Shared Hosting plans, so we bought a Cloud Hosting plan, which was considerably more expensive than GoDaddy’s Shared Hosting counterpart. And if you know anything about hosting, you’d know that cloud-based solutions usually score great marks in performance. Here’s the result of our uptime test over four months.

GoDaddyRackspace
July100%100%
August100%100%
Sept99.98%100%
Oct100%100%

We often say that no host can maintain a 100% uptime over a sustained period, but it does seem that Rackspace can do that over four months. As the test shows, GoDaddy has an average uptime of 99.99% while Rackspace has perfect uptime.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, though. We purchased a cloud hosting solution that is normally known for next to zero uptime, and Rackspace can do this, they claim, because of advanced redundancy technology. This ensures that when or if a particular network or provider fails, their system immediately scans for a replacement, eliminating any threat of downtime.

Uptime Guarantee

Even though both hosts have great uptime, we still would like to check whether they have great uptime guarantees. GoDaddy offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee, which sounds great till you learn about the compensation you’re entitled to if your uptime gets lower than 99.9%.

Basically, you’re entitled to a whole of 5% off your monthly hosting fee. So if your monthly hosting fee is, let’s say, $10, you’re entitled to 50 cents if you experience 0.2% downtime. To make matters better, only GoDaddy can determine whether or not your site experienced downtime.

Generally, we feel that GoDaddy’s uptime guarantee is… an uptime guarantee. Rackspace, on the other hand, offers a 100% uptime guarantee. That is, for every 30minutes of downtime experienced, Rackspace will apply a 5% credit of your monthly fee on your next purchase.

Speed

Before we talk about speed, let’s talk about speed optimization.

CDN

Content delivery networks save a cached version of your site on servers around the world. That makes it easier for visitors to access your site quicker. GoDaddy comes with CDN installed, but users will have to configure it through cPanel. Rackspace also comes in with an inbuilt CDN as well.

Datacenters and TTFB

GoDaddy has global datacenters, while Rackspace operates 14 data centers in 12 regions.

(picture of all GoDaddy’s and Rackspace’s datacenters here)

Some think that speed, especially when it’s close margins like a second or two, is a vanity metric. Well, studies have shown that a delay of one second can reduce your conversion rate by about 7%. That’s a lot, especially if you’re someone who depends on your website to sell or generate sales. We tested the response time of both hosts from different locations and repeatedly. To make our tests fair, we disabled all speed optimization plugins.

GoDaddyRackspace
New York104ms12ms
Ontario121ms18ms
Mumbai409ms291ms
Bangladesh979ms320ms
Amsterdam619ms93ms
Barcelona151ms71ms

Our speed test was overwhelmingly clear about one fact; Rackspace is way faster than GoDaddy. Again, that was sort of expected. Cloud hosting platforms are generally faster than Shared hosting servers. It is just what it is, we suppose.

Load Impact speed

The gap between Rackspace and GoDaddy speed-wise might be a lot, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to test for stability during traffic hikes. Our test went exactly the way you would think. Rackspace maintained far more stable speed levels than GoDaddy.

GoDaddy vs. Rackspace for Ease of Use and Friendliness

The best hosts are easy to use. Creating and maintaining a website is certainly a very technical job, and the best hosts give you as much help as possible. We’ll be looking at exactly how easy it is to use both hosts and the extras that they offer users.

User Interface

When it comes to user interfaces, we believe that the best answer is cPanel or Plesk. GoDaddy agrees emphatically with us, and as such, cPanel is installed on all GoDaddy’s Shared Hosting plans. It’s also a pretty clean version too, as we had no problems navigating through.

Rackspace doesn’t offer cPanel or Plesk but has an inbuilt control panel called, wait for it, the Rackspace intelligence dashboard user interface. Which, if we are being honest, sounds about as creative as something not really creative. What about the functionality of the interface? Surprisingly, it was quite simple and intuitive, if you know what you’re doing.

The average user would have a lot of problems understanding the interface. If we had to choose between a regular cPanel and a whole new layout, we would obviously go with the cPanel without thinking twice.

Sign-up process

The sign-up process for GoDaddy and Rackspace was relatively easy. However, for Rackspace, we had to generate a quote. That is, we were not given a price list. We filled a form, and a representative contacted us. Then we told them about our website needs and was given a quote. Importantly, it’s easy for a novice to get lost and confused on Rackspace’s website. We were often overloaded with information on products that we didn’t care or want to know about.

Free Site Migration

It’s our strong belief that any host worth anything should offer at least a single site free migration to new users. However, it is the strong belief of GoDaddy and Rackspace to ignore us and do the exact opposite of that.

Neither host offers free site migration. What both offer, though, are articles on how you can migrate your site yourself if you are so badly in need of one. While we weren’t able to get a quote on Rackspace’s paid migration service (or even if they had one), we were able to get some answers in GoDaddy’s migration service. Basically, it costs $99.99 to migrate to a single site. That’s decidedly expensive.

Website Builder

GoDaddy has an inbuilt website building tool called GoCentral. As far as website builders go, GoCentral is probably the best we’ve used for beginners. With only the answers to a few basic questions, GoCentral can design a workable website for you within minutes.

One drawback is that, because it is so easy to use, GoCentral has limited functionality in designing e-commerce sites and limited flexibility in designing regular sites. Rackspace, on the other hand, expects you to create your own website and upload it.

While this may seem crude to some people, it certainly will not seem all that difficult to Rackspace’s target market. It’ll do you good to remember that Rackspace is for large businesses with complex needs and a deep pocket.

Staging environments

For the newbie, there is hardly a feature more useful than a staging environment. These environments allow you to make changes to a copy of your website that is not live. That way, you can review decisions by seeing how your settings affect your site. Thus, if you make mistakes (which you will if you’re a beginner), you don’t have to pay dearly for it.

GoDaddy has staging environments installed in all managed WordPress hosting plans except the basic plan, and Rackspace doesn’t have staging environments at all. However, you can also create a staging environment yourself on a subdomain or by using a plugin.

Money-back Guarantee Policy

Generally speaking, the longer a money-back guarantee, the better. Long guarantees allow you to fully test the performance of the plan you’ve bought and let you get a refund if the performance hasn’t been quite up to scratch.

While GoDaddy offers the standard 30-day money-back guarantee, Rackspace doesn’t seem to be into such shenanigans. Although, their general agreement terms infer that in extreme cases where they have been some infringement on your rights, you could get a refund. Asides that, though, once you purchase a Rackspace plan, there’s no turning back.

Limitations

Well, you can’t have limitations when you don’t have a money-back guarantee in the first place, can you? We combed through GoDaddy’s user agreement and we discovered this actual gem: “If a Hosting Service has already been performed, then it is non-refundable (if not yet performed, eligible for a refund within 30 days of the date of the transaction)”.

Which is just as confusing as you think it is. Additionally, if you’ve received a free service like a free domain, the fee (about $15 dollars) will be deducted from your refund. If you’d like to check out a host with a really exceptional money-back guarantee, you should go through our GoDaddy vs. Dreamhost comparison.

GoDaddy vs. Rackspace: Customer Support and Reliability

Even the most experienced web users still occasionally run into problems that require the advice of customer support. When (it is often not a matter of if) a user runs into such problems, it is important that customer support is easy to reach, and that the support offered is helpful.

Customs Support Channels

While customer support isn’t the easiest thing to test because of a plethora of reasons, one being that it can be a subjective judgment, we tried to make our test as empirical as possible.

Rackspace, on the surface, looks like they would have great customer support. Apparently, they have a “Fanatical Support” system that has customer satisfaction as a priority. Additionally, they have over two thousand professionals, many of whom work in the customer support department. That way, you’re always speaking to an expert who can help you.

So, we tried to test this assumption, and for the most part, we were not disappointed. Wait time was often under two minutes, and the live reps we contacted sounded and answered our questions like they knew a lot about what they were talking about.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t quite the case with GoDaddy. First off, response time was unbearably long, and on some occasions, we could have filled up a basket with water during the period that we had to wait for. When we did connect, we were not blown away by the quality of support we spoke to. While all the reps that attended to us were cordial enough, too often, we had to be put on hold for pretty basic questions to be answered.

Phone support was much more of the same, with the only difference being that GoDaddy didn’t allow us to wait as much.

To be fair to GoDaddy, though, ticketing support was stellar. We got our tickets back within 24 hours and all queries were comprehensively answered. If great customer support is what you’re looking for, you can check out our SiteGround vs. GoDaddy comparison, where you can see how SiteGround took support to the next level.

Knowledge Base

Rackspace has an extensive knowledge base called “How-to”. Here, you have access to a lot of “how-to” articles and video tutorials as well. There’s also an open cloud community where you can connect to other users just like you. GoDaddy also operates an extensive knowledge base where you can get information/tutorials on basic procedures as well.

Security Infrastructure

The internet is an amazing place, but if you’ve ever been the victim of a hack or a malware attack, you’ll know that it can also be a pretty unsafe place. While most of the responsibility of keeping your site safe rests in your hands, your host also has a big role to play. That’s why it is important to know that the security of your host is in the right place.

Backup Policy

While most hosts offer a backup tool that helps you backup your site for a few extra dollars per month, there are some who have custom backup policies that are great if you don’t have a few extra dollars per month.

For GoDaddy, it is pretty simple. GoDaddy runs free daily backups on all WordPress hosting sites, but for other sites, you’ll have to purchase the GoDaddy Website backup tool. The website backup tool starts at $1.99 per month. As far as backup tools go, that is pretty cheap.

Rackspace, unlike GoDaddy, doesn’t run automatic backups of any kind. Users are advised to make their own backup arrangements. They do offer a paid cloud backup tool that allows users to set up their own backups, though.

Firewall service and DDoS protection

GoDaddy has a Web Application Firewall that protects against SQL injection and cross-site scripting based attacks. Rackspace, on the other hand, has a managed firewall service that allows customers to manage the security of their sites in real-time.

That is, Rackspace customers can change permit rules or view destination IP addresses in real-time. Of course, only users with a high level of technical ability can actually make good use of this feature. Rackspace also makes sure that your site is safe by initiating server-level anti-DDoS protection.

Security Solutions

Most hosts make use of SiteLock, a third party advanced warning and malware scanning prevention system for site protection. However, GoDaddy has an inbuilt tool that does that same thing.

The tool is called Website Security which, as we know, is a great example of intuitive naming. Website Security is a paid service and works more or less like SiteLock. Rackspace’s security infrastructure, though, is based on four pillars.

The first is breach detection, which means that Rackspace offers a team that monitors and manages your IT environment 24/7, searching for failures in infrastructure using analytics and advanced technology. The second is minimizing breach window, which also means that Rackspace’s security team closes down malware breaches before the problem gets out of hand.

The third is threat remediation response which means that Rackspace acts on anomalous events immediately. Of course, actions are based on pre-approved conditions. The last pillar is the reduction of TCO, which means that by turning to an MSSP with the experience and resources to detect threats quickly, your site’s integrity is maintained while reducing your cost.

VPS Pricing and Plans Comparison

This is perhaps the most difficult comparison here. Rackspace doesn’t have a regular hosting pricing structure. First off, in order to get any meaningful idea about the amount you are supposed to pay, you’ll first have to sign up to Rackspace to get a “free quote”.

This is markedly different from GoDaddy where you have an idea of the plans that suit your needs, and you only have to pay to have access to them. In any case, we’ll be looking only at GoDaddy’s VPS plans. We’ll also only be looking at Rackspace’s Cloud VPS plans.

Basic Plan

GoDaddy’s basic VPS plan is the Launch plan and it comes with 40GB storage, 2 GB storage, 1 CPU core and costs $29.99 per month. Unlike GoDaddy, Rackspace doesn’t have a fancy name for its plans. The 1GB ram plan, which is obviously the lowest Rackspace Cloud VPS plan, comes with 20GB space and 1 CPU core.

Importantly, bandwidth is paid differently and the first 10 TB of data costs $0.12 per GB. Also, price is calculated per region and the VPS plan covers the most important locations like the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The US region plan costs about $313 per month (we are assuming that you use 2 terabytes of bandwidth).

As the sky is far from the ground, so is the way Rackspace’s prices are far from GoDaddy’s. Of course, the question is, is the difference in performance that important?

Medium Range Plan

Rackspace’s 2GB Ram plan comes with 40GB storage, unlimited domains, and two CPU cores. The plan costs $336.72 (US region). However, that isn’t Rackspace’s only medium-range plan, as there’s a 5GB ram plan that comes with 80GB, 4GB ram, four CPU cores, and unlimited domains. The US region price for this plan is $333.44.

GoDaddy has two medium-range VPS plans. The first is the Enhance plan and it comes with 60GB storage, 4GB ram, 2 CPU cores, and costs $44.99 per month. The second medium-range plan is the Grow plan and it comes with 150GB storage, 6GB of Ram, 3 CPU cores and costs $59.99 per month.

High Range Plan

Rackspace’s highest cloud VPS hosting plan comes with 160 GB worth of disk space, 8GB of ram, 8 cores, and unlimited domains. The US region price for the plan is $426.88.

While 160GB of space is a lot, GoDaddy manages to do better and even at a lower price. GoDaddy’s Expand plan comes with 200GB of space, 8GB of memory ram, 4 CPU cores and costs $74.99.

Basically, what this has managed to show us is that Rackspace is only for fellows with extremely deep pockets.

Extra Features

Rackspace has the following extra features:

  • The expertise and knowledge of over three thousand engineers trained in all things Windows, Linux, and VMWare;
  • Provides access to Google Cloud, Microsoft Cloud, and OpenStack Cloud;
  • Government Cloud-based Solutions (The host offers FedRAMP, FISMA, NIST, and DFARS-compliant cloud portfolio management)
  • Co-location services – this means that if you have existing hardware, you can have it set up in one of Rackspace’s data centers and allow the team to manage your physical servers.

GoDaddy has the following extra features:

  • Access to over 125 apps with one-click installs. This includes the more popular applications like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
  • GoDaddy offers a free domain name for the first term for every created website.
  • An extensive knowledgebase ensures that you do not have a lot of reasons to contact live support.
  • All hosting plans have access to a free website builder.
  • GoDaddy helps new websites to reach a larger audience with $100 worth ad credits for every $25 spent. The credits also include $50 in Bing and Facebook ads.

Major Differences Between GoDaddy and Rackspace

Well, there are a lot of differences between both hosts. This is like asking of the major differences between Paris Hilton and the Eiffel tower: yes, both have been in Paris, both are connected to Paris, but they are entirely two different things.

  • GoDaddy offers a money-back guarantee, while Rackspace doesn’t;
  • GoDaddy offers Shared Hosting solutions, while Rackspace doesn’t;
  • GoDaddy offers managed WordPress hosting, while Rackspace doesn’t;
  • Rackspace is primarily a cloud-based hosting platform, GoDaddy is not;
  • Rackspace is more expensive than GoDaddy;
  • GoDaddy comes with cPanel installed, while Rackspace doesn’t;
  • GoDaddy has a staging environment, Rackspace doesn’t;
  • Rackspace has a way better uptime than GoDaddy;
  • Rackspace has better customer support than GoDaddy;

Rackspace vs. GoDaddy: Our Pick

There are a lot of things not to like about Rackspace. It’s expensive, it’s difficult to use, and the host simply doesn’t care about refund policies. But when it comes down to performance and customer support, Rackspace takes GoDaddy to the racks. At that point, it stops being a contest.

However, it is important to know that both hosts target different markets. If you’re looking to set up a basic website, then GoDaddy is the best host for you. However, if you’re looking for something more, with better security, performance and customer support, and you have the budget to afford Rackspace, then Rackspace has the best solution for you.

Author Avatar
Scott Whatley Contributor & Writer
About the Author
Full BIO
quote icon
"No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader." ― Robert Frost
As a programmer and a geek, Scott always had a passion for servers. This passion has eventually led him to a deep dive into the hosting world for the past few years. Now he shares all the accumulated knowledge with all of our readers through detailed reviews, comparisons, and guides. His only purpose is to help users make the right choice for their websites, with no exceptions.
Leave a comment