GoDaddy vs. Microsoft Azure

There are worst choices than GoDaddy if you’re looking for a reliable shared hosting provider. At the end of the day, though, the company can’t hold a candle to Microsoft Azure in almost any department.

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Author Jason Moth
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GoDaddy is the default choice for many users how are looking to sign up with their very first hosting provider. Although not necessarily one of the cheapest hosting providers out there, the company’s services are reliable and very easy to use. But as more webmasters are looking for advanced hosting solutions, they inevitably gravitate towards companies like AWS, Google Cloud, and of course Microsoft Azure.

But is it worth paying more for a less user-friendly service if it means getting better performance? That’s the exact question that lead us to put together this GoDaddy vs Microsoft Azure comparison.

GoDaddy and Microsoft Azure are very dominant in their respective niches but are often overshadowed by slightly more popular services. Bluehost in the case of GoDaddy and AWS in the case of Microsoft Azure. For the most part, however, GoDaddy and Azure are two wildly different services that don’t seem to have a lot in common. While one focuses on services for small and medium-sized businesses, the other is primarily interested in catering to the needs of developers and big corporations.

And yet, there are situations when both services may seem equally tempting and you’re not quite sure which to choose. If you’re in one of those situations, don’t worry because this comparison will help you pick the best service for your specific needs.

Performance

If we’re looking strictly at performance without taking anything else into account, it’s clear that Microsoft Azure has a big advantage in this competition. The service was designed specifically to cater to the demands of some of the biggest companies in the world. Bosch, the BBC, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation are just a few of the organizations that rely on Azure for their day-to-day operations. In addition, Azure is also responsible for bringing us applications used by millions of people on a daily basis. Applications developed by Microsoft themselves are prime examples but those are just a drop in the bucket.

So how does GoDaddy compare to a company that prioritizes performance above all else? Not very good, as you might imagine. During our recent GoDaddy vs Namecheap comparison, we learned that the former does a good job at handling small websites provided there are no sudden traffic spikes. However, the service slowed down significantly during stress testing and performed much worse than Namecheap in that department. GoDaddy is clearly doing something wrong if it can get outperformed by Namecheap, a company that isn’t known for being one of the fastest hosting providers out there by any means.

One of GoDaddy’s main issues is that the service doesn’t have great scalability. And we’re not just talking about the shared hosting plans. GoDaddy’s unmanaged virtual private servers are very restrictive and don’t have auto-scaling either. Similar companies like SiteGround have been using this feature for years so there’s no real excuse for GoDaddy to be so late to the party.

It is worth pointing out that GoDaddy’s managed virtual private servers can scale to your needs to some degree, however, these cost up to five times as much as the unmanaged version for the same amount of resources. By comparison, Microsoft Azure gives you much better control over your resources without charging anything extra for it. Sure, you will need to manage the server yourself but in this case that’s an advantage because you have so many great tools and features to play with it.

Location coverage is another area where GoDaddy falls behind Microsoft Azure. GoDaddy isn’t very transparent when it comes to its data centers but the company is believed to have at least nine of them spread across three continents. To be fair to GoDaddy, that’s actually not too bad when compared to other providers that focus primarily on shared hosting. HostMonster, for example, only has data centers in a single region. Microsoft Azure has a truly global network encompassing no less than 58 different regions. Not just that but Azure can also host your data at multiple data centers at once, ensuring even better performance and stability.

Speaking of stability, Microsoft Azure is hands down the best service on the market in terms of uptime. The latest data indicates that Azure’s uptime sits at around 99.995% and that Microsoft is working hard to improve that already impressive percentage even further. Our recent GoDaddy tests put the service’s uptime at around 99.97%, a bit low compared to a lot of its rivals and far less impressive than what Azure is capable of.

Pricing and Value

GoDaddy’s services are a bit on the expensive side of things, with entry-level shared hosting plans going for $5.99 per month. That price wouldn’t be too bad if the plans come with a lot of features, but they don’t. All you get is 100 GB of storage, a free domain name for the first year, domain emails, and support for a single website. It’s not possible to pay on a month-by-month basis if you pick the basic plan and the renewal prices are extremely high compared to the initial costs, which are already pretty steep to begin with.

Azure’s prices for virtual machines can be a bit confusing if you’re not familiar with the pay-as-you-go system. Essentially, there’s no fixed monthly price here. Instead, you get charged by the hour based on how many resources you use. You’ll need to use an estimate calculator to figure out how much you’ll end up paying during a given month depending on your virtual machine and a few other factors, such as the data center location, operating system, billing cycle, and the type of support you need.

While Azure’s system is amazing for experienced users, it can be a lot to take in if you’re a novice webmaster. Certain basic virtual machines can end up costing you as little as $5/month while high-end ones can easily set you back $2,000/mo or more. You definitely need to be careful when customizing your instance but it’s entirely possible to spend less on an Azure VM than you would on a shared hosting plan at GoDaddy. Especially since Microsoft lets you try out basic virtual machines along with dozens of other services for free for no less than 12 months. You won’t be able to find a deal that can even come close to that at any of the major shared hosting providers.

So why would anyone want to choose something like GoDaddy over Microsoft Azure? Well, for one, the prices at GoDaddy are fixed and very straightforward. There are a handful of hosting solutions to choose from, each with multiple tiers and easy to understand pricing. The costs change once your first term expires and things can get more expensive than anticipated if you decide to buy add-ons, but there are no price fluctuations aside from that. In addition, the company does have very appealing VPS packages starting at only $4.99/mo and robust business hosting solutions starting at $19.99/mo.

Microsoft Azure offers a much better bang for your buck in our opinion but we definitely understand why many novice webmasters might find the service intimidating. It was designed with developers in mind after all and isn’t necessarily worth the hassle if all you want to do is host a simple blog. If that’s what you’re after, there are certainly cloud-based solutions out there that are more user-friendly, such as Hostwinds or Cloudways.

If pricing is the main thing you’re worried about we recommend going with Azure because the incredible 12-months free trial will give you plenty of time to wrap your head around the service even if you’re a complete beginner. GoDaddy’s cheapest offering comes in the form of self-managed VPS, which isn’t all that easy to set up and manage so there's going to be a learning process either way.

Customer Support

GoDaddy claims to have award-winning customer support but in our experience the service is hit or miss. Agents sometimes take longer to reply than you would expect and the phone support is only available 24/7 in certain countries. On the bright side, you can reach out to GoDaddy via all the regular channels, including live chat, and the company provides support in multiple languages. The tech agents we talked to seemed to know their stuff but that’s apparently not always the case based on what other reviewers are saying.

Microsoft Azure providers multiple tiers of customer support, most of which aren’t free. Given the technical nature of the service, this system does make sense, as helping a big business solve critical issues is more difficult and time-consuming than helping an individual user solve a basic problem. Unfortunately, regular users have to rely a lot on self-help resources because 24/7 support via email and phone is only available with paid plans. Luckily, there’s no shortage of quality self-help resources on the company’s website.

Ease of Use

Ease of Use is often very subjective. While many inexperienced users will find Microsoft Azure overwhelming, we’ve heard a lot of veteran developers saying this is the simplest cloud-based service they have ever worked with. But with all things being equal, there’s no doubt that GoDaddy is a more user-friendly service for the average user. The built-in cPanel makes managing your server an absolute breeze and the 1-click WordPress installer combined with GoDaddy’s site builder lets you start working on your website meme moments after you sign up.

Things aren’t quite as smooth with Microsoft Azure. If you don’t already know what you’re doing, it’s going to take you a while just to wrap your head around the interface and the countless tools that come with the service. Once you do, you’ll be able to build not just websites but also complex applications, however, getting past that initial learning curve can prove to be a challenge.

Security

GoDaddy focuses more on security than a lot of other standard hosting providers. Malware, spam and fraud protection and included right off the bat with all plans and you can also expect strong email protection, and a few other useful features. Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay extra for things like SSL certificates and backups, both of which are usually free at many GoDaddy alternatives we’ve looked at in the past.

As expected from a company as big as Microsoft, the security features found at Azure are some of the best on the market. Things like malware and DDoS attacks are not something you’ll have to worry about at Azure but if you’re not satisfied with the built-in protection you can always add third-party firewalls on top of everything else. In addition to the regular safety features included by default, a skilled system administrator can use Azure’s vast array of tools to tighten up the security even further.

Main Features

Before we start drawing some final conclusions let’s take a quick look at what you can expect from these two companies in terms of main features.

GoDaddy

  • Free domain name for one year
  • Unlimited storage with most plans
  • Data centers in nine regions
  • cPanel and 1-click installs
  • Unlimited email addresses
  • Linux and Windows hosting
  • WordPress hosting, VPS, dedicated servers
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Microsoft Azure

  • On-premise, hybrid, and multicloud hosting solutions
  • Flexible pricing with pay-as-you-go model
  • Tons of customizable virtual machines to choose from
  • Data centers in 58 regions
  • Instant provisioning
  • Unparalleled performance and security
  • Dozens of services included for free
  • 12-month free trial

GoDaddy vs Microsoft Azure – Our Pick

Picking between GoDaddy and Azure is like picking between apples and oranges. GoDaddy is certainly a more appealing option for novice webmasters but if you don’t mind the learning curve, Microsoft Azure is superior in pretty much every other way.

  • Performance: Azure is one of the best services on the market in terms of performance while GoDaddy is arguably not even in the top 10.
  • Pricing and Value: While GoDaddy may seem cheaper at first glance, the service is actually pretty expensive for what it gives you in return. Azure undoubtedly offers better value thanks in no small part to its pay-as-you-go system and incredibly generous free trial.
  • Customer Support: Azure has better and more specialized support but only if you’re willing to pay for it. For free support we actually have to go with GoDaddy. The company’s support agents can be a bit slow but at least they’re easier to reach.
  • Ease of Use: Azure isn't nearly as easy to use as GoDaddy, unless of course, you're already an experienced webmaster. But if you're not, you're definitely going to struggle with Azure at first.
  • SEO: Azure has various guides on how to improve your SEO but doesn’t offer a dedicated tool that can do it for you. At GoDaddy you can find a tool like that but you’ll need to purchase it separately.
  • Security: Although GoDaddy has better security features than a lot of its direct competitors, it can’t hold a candle to Azure in this department.
  • Scalability: Azure was built specifically with scalability in mind and easily outmatches GoDaddy.

Click here if you want to see more comparisons like this one or check out our reviews hub for in-depth looks at some of the most important hosting providers on the market.

Overall Winner Microsoft Azure

Azure is one of the top cloud computing services on the market and it’s easy to see why. The service is miles ahead of GoDaddy in terms of web hosting while also offering much better value for your money. The average user may struggle at first to surpass Azure’s learning curve but the effort is ultimately well worth it in our opinion.

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