COMPARISON 16 minutes

GoDaddy vs. Shopify

Last updated:
Author Scott Whatley

Today we'll be looking at GoDaddy vs. Shopify. If this doesn't look like the typical hosting comparison, that's because it isn't. Both platforms have only one thing in common, and that is the fact that they are both great platforms for e-commerce – at least that's what most reviews will tell you (our investigations revealed some pretty surprising deets).

We've extensively tested both platforms out, and we can tell you one thing for sure, one is better than the other. However, our lenses are not yours and you may come to a different decision. What is important, though, is that you'll find all the data you need to choose your platform here. Let's get right into it, then.

Overview

GoDaddy, founded way back in 1997 by Bob Parson's, is not particularly popular for being an e-commerce platform. When you think of GoDaddy, you're more likely to think of domains and/or hosting than e-commerce (just like us in our GoDaddy Review).

It's not the same with Shopify, though. Founded in 2004 by Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake, Shopify is probably the first name that comes to mind when you think about e-commerce. Although there are many other Shopify Alternatives such as BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and more.

But we know, from sometimes painful experiences, that reputation usually matters little and all you know can be wrong. GoDaddy has a tool called GoCentral that does most of the e-commerce platform work, and that's the tool that Shopify will be directly going up against.

shopify vs godaddy gocentral
A template for an online store with GoCentral

Ease Of Use

For newbies and veterans alike, no one wants to spend valuable time fumbling over controls. That's why it's essential to know exactly how difficult each platform is to use.

Hosting Interface

GoDaddy makes use of the cPanel control interface while Shopify makes use of a proprietary interface.

Ease of Design

GoCentral is, without a doubt, the best for beginners. Technically, the GoCentral tool is called an ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence), and it can design a whole e-commerce store in about 5-6 minutes. The tool has a lot embedded. While Shopify is certainly not difficult to use, it would be difficult for any e-commerce platform provider to hold a candle to GoCentral. You simply answer a few questions about your business, and a ready to publish website is made available to you.

Of course, this has an unintended disadvantage. GoCentral isn't quite as flexible, and users with more complex inventory needs will prefer to use Shopify. Why? The drag and drop design makes it easy for you to customize your store and decide how you want it to look. Additionally, Shopify allows you to edit individual code, leaving you the power to come up with whatsoever you can think of. If you want, you could even integrate a proprietary language by Shopify called Liquid HTML.

shopify liquid html
Shopify's Liquid HTML developer page

On the other hand, GoDaddy's GoCentral reduces your creative freedom by coming up with an automatic template. If you want to try other platforms with the capacity to build e-commerce stores we recommend to check out our Wix and WordPress (aka WooCommerce) comparisons.

This analysis wouldn't be complete if we didn't talk about price. If you want to create an e-commerce site on GoDaddy, you'll have to pay extra for GoCentral. However, it is free to use for the first month. With Shopify, the site builder comes free.

Design Language

Both platforms work heavily with templates, but GoDaddy depends more on presets that help to do most of the work. Shopify provides about 60 templates for you to choose from. What's more? These aren't just generic templates created by some tired fellow with a name tag in the basement of some office somewhere. These templates are designed by independent designers and they come at a steep price. Costing anywhere between $140 and $180, these templates are not made for everyone. However, you have ten free template options if you don't have a lot to spend.

GoDaddy, on the other hand, has over one thousand five hundred industry-specific websites, with about nineteen themes for each. Unfortunately, with GoDaddy, once your site is generated, you lose a lot of creative freedom. So, while you have a lot of great choices to choose from, your ability to choose isn't that amazing.

Mobile Responsiveness

GoDaddy and Shopify wouldn't be what they are if they do not provide mobile responsive themes. A lot of people are using their smartphones to grey online now, and it would be suicide to create an e-commerce site that isn't mobile responsive. Thankfully, with these platforms, you have no trouble.

Onboarding

Shopify offers new customers a fourteen days free trial, and ordinarily, that ought to entice most webmasters. That is till you learn that GoDaddy offers double and some more, with a full one-month trial for new customers. What's more? You do not even need to input your credit card details to get started. That certainly saves you some stress.

Free Domains

GoDaddy comes with a free domain name for all new users, something that isn't particularly surprising, seeing as GoDaddy is the biggest domain registrar on the internet. Shopify offers a free MyShopify.com subdomain, and that's pretty much it.

GoDaddy vs. Shopify: Performance

When you create an e-commerce store, your end goal is obviously to sell as much as you can. SEO options, e-commerce functionality and so many other features could determine the level of revenue you eventually turn in. Therefore, if you plan on turning in a healthy profit, you really should only go with the platform that you're confident will put your site out there as quickly and as much as possible.

Well, let's see how well either host helps you to achieve this goal.

E-commerce Functionality

Generally, GoDaddy isn't a great e-commerce functionality guy, while Shopify's suite of features is one of the reasons why 88% of users recommend Shopify. Special features such as fraud analysis, specialized staff accounts, point-of-sale hardware and apps and a whole lot more are things that Shopify brings to the table.

We've said that this probably isn't GoDaddy's greatest strength, but the host still manages to incorporate some really great tools. For example, the simple web builder interface that GoDaddy offers allows the integration of a PayPal button quite simple to get around to. The real magic happens with upper their plans that allow SEO for platforms such as Yelp and Google my business.

While Shopify allows you to sell directly to social media through what the company calls “Sales Channels” (for example, you can sell your products directly on Facebook without having your customers leave Facebook). Godaddy offers no such features. To avoid any doubt, let's be clear; you cannot sell directly across multiple social media platforms with GoDaddy. Will that impact your bottom line? It almost certainly will.

Management, Product and Analytics

With GoDaddy and Shopify, you have the support to sell an unlimited number of products. Importantly, perhaps, Shopify and GoDaddy both have abandoned cart recovery support on all plans. To understand just how big a deal this is, some of the biggest e-commerce platforms only have it on higher-tier plans that cost upwards of $75. GoDaddy's probably more impressive in this aspect, with a reminder that allows you to send emails to customers to remind them to checkout by just clicking a button.

shopify analytics dashboard
Shopify's Analytics Dashboard, credits to Shopify Help Center

One crucial thing to understand about Shopify is that the process of shopping is extremely streamlined, and there are solutions for almost any conceivable problem. For example, it has partnerships with many top shipping services like UPS, DHL express, Canada Post and UPS which makes the refunds and shipping process a breeze.

SEO Comparison

Everyone knows the importance of SEO, and search engine rankings can easily destroy or lift your business. GoDaddy's SEO features aren't the best, and you might even be forgiven if you referred to them as basic. Shopify, for instance, has more built-in features to help with SEO rankings. The platform supports the best SEO practices like customizable title, H1, and meta tags. You also get $100 and credit after spending your first $25 on ads.

For some reason, GoDaddy focuses only on outdated strategies for marketing like “keyword rankings”. While the host might not hurt your marketing strategy, there's a very high chance that you will get more coverage with Shopify than you would get with GoDaddy.

Security

No matter how small or how big your site is, it can always get hacked. To reduce the chances of this happening, it is important to go with a host that offers robust security infrastructure. The truth is that the bigger your site gets, and the longer you are online for, the higher the chances that your site becomes a target for mischievous characters.

Shopify comes with the basic free SSL certificate— which GoDaddy doesn't offer. However, you can buy an SSL certificate from GoDaddy for upwards of $49.99 at checkout. To make up for the lack of a free SSL certificate, GoDaddy comes with incorporated malware and blacklisting services. GoDaddy also has a security portfolio that stops brute attacks and DDoS attacks.

To Shopify's credit, they offer a lot of anti-fraud and customer protection services that are mostly free with all plans. To maintain PCI standards, Shopify has a vulnerability management program for its network, GoDaddy also offers access to Sucuri, an in-house vulnerability identification and reaction program. To be fair we want to recommend Siteground (click to read the full comparison). It also comes with a partnership with Sucuri and has way more free features than GoDaddy regarding security.

Payment Gateway Options

If you accept more payment options, you'll appeal to a larger audience and will be able to rake in more profit. In fact, this is one of the most important things to look at when choosing an e-commerce platform. Transaction fees, if any, are also important and must be considered before making your choice.

GoDaddy supports three basic payment options and they are PayPal, Square and Stripe. More importantly, though, the platform doesn't support digital wallet payments. So customers cannot pay using Paytm, Microsoft Wallet, Samsung Pay, Mobikwik, Alipay, American Express, and Apple pay. This cuts you out of a lot of business.

godaddy vs shopify payment options
Shopify's superior payment gateways to GoDaddy

It even looks worse when you consider that Shopify accepts the basic payment gateways that GoDaddy accepts, and even accepts digital wallet payments as well. The platform even accepts cryptocurrency payments.

Fortunately, GoDaddy has a redeeming quality, and that is the fact that there are no transaction fees imposed on any of the payment gateways that it supports. As you might have guessed, this is more than Shopify can say. With Shopify, you are expected to pay transaction fees on all payment gateways except the payment gateway of Shopify itself called Shopify payments. So with Shopify, you get more inclusion, but you also have to pay more.

Customer Support and Reliability

Creating and maintaining an e-commerce store, keeping an inventory, and selling your goods online is probably not the easiest task in the world, and you will sometimes need help. How great is the help you have access to and how quickly can you get it?

Shopify offers 24/7 support on the phone and live chat channels, and customers also have access to social media and email support. Customers also have access to a forum that helps you with issues that you may have. Shopify never quite leaves you to solve your problems alone, and that is an important guarantee to have.

GoDaddy also has 24/7 support on the phone and live-chat channels. It also has a dedicated twitter account that responds to queries quickly. Users also have access to a knowledge base where they can get needed information. However, we've tried out GoDaddy's customer service before, and it was quite disappointing. While we hope that it wouldn't be the same with their e-commerce hosting, it is really likely that you won't be satisfied with the quality of support offered – especially if you have very complex problems. Shopify, on the other hand, has great customer support, and that is something that most reviews seem to agree with. Vox populi Vox dei, it is.

To throw in a little diversification we'd like you to consider Squarespace as an alternative to GoDaddy and Shopify. We've made extensive comparison articles in which Squarespace turns out to be a great option too in terms of customer support and reliability as an e-commerce partner.

Shopify vs. GoDaddy: Pricing

We are down to the last metric. No matter how great the value offered by a service, it must be worth its price, except it isn't quite as attractive. Like we say, even the worst service can be excused if the price is just right.

GoDaddy has only one e-commerce plan which is called, wait for it, the E-commerce plan. Shopify has three basic pricing plans, which are the Basic, Shopify and Advance Shopify plans. There is also a tailored plan called ShopifyPlus, but it is only available by quote.

We feel like we should tell you that at the prices of these services you get many out of the box features that simply work with certain conditions/restrictions. However, if you want something custom made or you can develop an e-commerce website we suggest you buy a hosting service or a VPS. Our recommendation on this goes to Bluehost as the best hosting services provider.

Plans

Shopify's Basic plan costs $29 per month, while the Advance Shopify and Shopify plans cost $299 and $79 per month, respectively. With the Basic plan, you only pay 2.0% on transaction fees on other platforms, and you pay 1.0% and 0.5% transaction fees on the Shopify and Advanced Shopify plans. GoDaddy's plan, on the other hand, costs $29.99.

Shopify offers a lot of scalability, while GoDaddy's plan is on a “go big or go home” basis. Also, the E-commerce plan doesn't come with nearly enough sales-specific features.

Major Differences

Right before ending this article we wanted to quickly point a few major differences for you:

  • GoDaddy offers a month free trial period for new users, while Shopify only provides a 14 days free period
  • Shopify offers more control over the design process than GoDaddy
  • GoDaddy is way cheaper than Shopify
  • Shopify has more price tiers than GoDaddy, and that results in improved scalability
  • Shopify offers more app integration than GoDaddy

GoDaddy vs. Shopify: Our Pick

To sum this comparison starting a small shop with GoDaddy might be a good pick. But if you want to start small and scale effectively Shopify is no doubt the best option. GoDaddy offers a better starting package for most newbies but Shopify will make you feel like an expert in the field of online stores right from the beginning.

While GoDaddy isn't terrible, Shopify is miles ahead in customer support, pricing, performance and ease of use. Shopify beats GoDaddy in every category, and that's why they've won this comparison.

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