GoDaddy vs. WordPress – Stick With a Classic or Try Something Different?
GoDaddy and WordPress are two of the most popular companies on the web hosting market but don’t seem to be in direct competition at first glance. And for the most part, they aren’t. GoDaddy is primarily known as the world’s biggest domain registrar, a reputation that was carved over the 20+ years they’ve been in the business. Meanwhile, WordPress is best-known for its free open-source platform that powers millions of websites and blogs around the globe.
So how does one even go about comparing two companies that seem so different? Well, in spite of their differences, the two actually do have something in common. Among other things, both GoDaddy and WordPress offer web hosting services. It’s worth noting right off the bat that in this article we’re going to be comparing GoDaddy to WordPress.com’s offering. Most webmasters use WordPress.org’s free software in conjunction with other hosting providers like BlueHost, DreamHost or GoDaddy. However, WordPress offers hosting services of its own as well.
While we’re mostly going to focus on the hosting services themselves in this article, we’re also going to touch upon some of the other benefits you can expect if you decide to sign up with one of these companies. Things like customer support, performance, and price are just as important so we’re going to talk about all of that and more as we try to find out which of the two companies can offer the best bang for your buck.
Hosting Plans and Prices
GoDaddy and WordPress do things very differently when it comes to web hosting. GoDaddy is a fairly traditional provider that offers multiple types of hosting, each featuring several different tiers to choose from. While WordPress also gives customers the opportunity of picking between various tiers, the company only offers shared hosting services. Unsurprisingly, customers who sign up for a WordPress hosting plan are also limited to using the company’s own platform.
GoDaddy, on the other hand, offers a lot more flexibility. For one, the provider offers not just shared hosting services but also VPS hosting, dedicated servers, and even WordPress hosting. Interestingly enough, the version of WordPress you can use in conjunction with GoDaddy (or most other providers) hosting is actually less restrictive than the version used by WordPress (.com) itself. GoDaddy doesn’t limit users to just one platform, which is always an advantage. Having said all that, the pricing is often just as important as the benefits you might get so let’s take a look at how much you can expect to pay when signing up with either of these two companies.
Starting up with WordPress is essentially free but does come with some drawbacks. Aside from getting a very low amount of storage space to work with and no customer support, users are also forced to display WordPress ads on their website. Still, free is free and WordPress is one of the few companies that lets you create a blog (albeit a small one) without having to pay anything. In addition to the free plan, WordPress also offers five other plans ranging from dirt cheap to fairly expensive. GoDaddy’s shared hosting offering includes four plans, each of which comes with a decent amount of resources and features. Naturally, the highest tiers offer a lot more when compared to the lower ones.
GoDaddy’s prices for shared hosting start at $6 per month with the Economy tier and reach up to $20 per month with the Maximum one. The cheapest plan can only be used on a single website and the storage space you can expect is limited at 100 GB. You can host an unlimited number of websites with all the other plans while also benefiting from unlimited storage space. Naturally, you can also expect other benefits like more RAM, CPU power and additional features with the more expensive plans.
Free tier aside, WordPress offers five other plans starting at $3 per month with the Blogger tier and reaching up to $45 per month with the eCommerce tier. Disk space is very limited at WordPress, with the first three paid plans only including between 6 and 13 GB of storage. However, the final two tiers do come with unlimited storage. The differences between the plans are quite significant and you would need to go at least with the $8 Premium tier to even get close to what GoDaddy is offering in its most basic package.
GoDaddy is quite flexible when it comes to their pricing, offering users the option of paying their hosting subscription on a monthly, annual or multi-annual basis. The prices listed on the company’s website are all for multi-annual plans so expect to pay quite a bit more if you’re going with monthly recurring payments instead. It’s also worth noting that the Economy plan is a bit of an exception to all of this because you can’t pay for it on a month-to-month basis. You’ll need to go at least with a 3-month subscription.
WordPress has a very simple approach to pricing. You can expect to be billed annually for whichever plan you choose, so no monthly recurring subscriptions here. That’s not exactly ideal for a lot of people but at least it’s easy to calculate right away how much you can expect to pay for your hosting.
Most of the other providers out there, including GoDaddy, advertise their cheapest prices but fail to mention upfront that you’ll need to subscribe to their most long-term plans to benefit from those great prices. In the case of GoDaddy for example, the $8 per month price tag on the Economy package only applies if you subscribe to a 3-year plan. Monthly recurring payments will actually set you back $14 per month.
We mentioned before how there’s a bit of a difference between the WordPress platform used by its parent company and the WordPress platform you can use in conjunction with most of the other hosting providers, including GoDaddy. We wanted to reiterate this because in the following section we’re going to take a quick look at the plans offered by GoDaddy specifically for users who want to build their site on the WordPress platform. All of WordPress.com’s plans have been mentioned in the previous section so we’re not going to talk about them again here.
GoDaddy allows users to choose between four different WordPress plans, with prices starting at $7 per month for the Basic package. Prices can reach up to $30 per month with the Pro 5+ package or even beyond as this final tier is customizable. For an additional fee, users can add support for an increased number of websites along with extra storage space.
Regardless of which WordPress plan you choose, you can expect to benefit from free daily backups, daily malware scans, free sign-up forms, and a free domain name for your first year. Built-in SEO wizards and one-click installs are also included with every plan aside from the Basic one. Pro 5+ users receive even more benefits, including real-time performance and uptime monitoring, free maintenance tools, and a free SSL certificate.
Shared hosting is perfectly fine for a lot of websites but sometimes it’s just not enough. If you’re running a website that gets a lot of traffic or simply need more resources to work with you’ll eventually want to switch to a Virtual Private Server. Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t offer VPS hosting so your only real choice here (at least as far as this comparison is concerned) is GoDaddy.
GoDaddy offers four plans to choose from for users interested in upgrading to a Virtual Private Server. This type of hosting is a bit more expensive when compared to the previous ones, with prices starting at $20 per month for the Economy plan and reaching up to $75 per month for the Ultimate plan. Every plan includes unmetered bandwidth, a free 1-year SSL certificate, and 3 dedicated IPs.
VPS works a bit differently when compared to shared hosting as you can choose how much control you want to have over your server. Namely, you can choose between three levels of management – Self-Managed, Managed, and Fully Managed. Going for the Self-Managed option gives you full control over your server while going Fully Managed gives most of the control to GoDaddy, with the middle option sitting somewhere in between.
Allowing GoDaddy to manage all the technical stuff is very convenient but also costs a bit more. Meanwhile, managing everything yourself will allow you to save up some money but isn’t really recommended for users who are not tech-savvy.
Dedicated servers are similar to Virtual Private Servers in the sense that you don’t have to share your resources with anyone. This type of hosting is by far the most expensive one but you definitely get what you pay for. That said, dedicated servers are meant for big websites that receive a lot of traffic and require a lot of resources to run smoothly as a result. If you’re a novice webmaster, you don’t need to worry about going for a dedicated server right off the bat.
Once again, GoDaddy offers four plans you can pick from, in this case with prices starting at $90 per month for the Economy plan and reaching up to $180 per month with the Ultimate plan. All plans come with a free 1-year SSL certificate, 3 dedicated IPs, and unmetered bandwidth. The three levels of management described during the VPS section are also available for dedicated servers.
While pricing is always very important when deciding which hosting provider to sign up with, you should also closely look into what sort of features you can expect to benefit from in return for your money. Not everybody requires the exact same features of course, but a handful of features are usually a must-have. In this section, we’re going to cover the most important key features every webmaster needs to be aware of.
Registering a domain with WordPress.com is not possible without subscribing to one of the company’s hosting plans. If you do sign up with WordPress, you benefit from a free domain for your first year, which then renews at $18 per year. The nice thing about WordPress is that you can get a free domain even with the $3 Blogger or Free tiers. The bad news is that these tiers only come with ‘.blog’ domain names. Top-level domains like ‘.com’ are only available with the four other plans.
GoDaddy is the most well-known domain registrar in the world and also offers a free domain name when you sign up with them. However, this offer is only available for some of their hosting plans. If you just want to register a domain at GoDaddy without subscribing to a hosting plan you can so for $4.88. When renewing, you’ll need to pay $18 for each subsequent year, just like with WordPress.
Few other platforms can match WordPress when it comes to quick and efficient site-building. With WordPress, you can create a simple blog in literally one minute or spend countless hours customizing it to look like you’re running a professional business. You can get access to dozens of nice themes even with the free plan and unlock a selection of premium ones with the higher-tiers. Every WordPress website includes the JetPack Essential suite but there are thousands more plugins to play around with, most of which are available for free.
Building a website with GoDaddy is also pretty easy thanks to the company’s Artificial Design Intelligence system. ADI makes things easy for users by automatically generating websites based on their preferences. These websites can then be customized, though to a far less degree when compared to WordPress. Unlike WordPress, GoDaddy’s website builder isn’t free (though it does feature a 1-month trial) and will set you back anywhere between $6 and $20 per month depending on which plan you choose. You get free hosting and a few other benefits by subscribing to the site builder. However, you’re generally better off just paying for your hosting and using the domain you register with GoDaddy to build a website on WordPress.org instead.
WordPress doesn’t offer any sort of database support with any of its hosting plans. GoDaddy offers at least 1 GB of MySQL databases regardless of which plan you choose. That’s just the bare minimum but if you need more than that you can actually get unlimited databases with some of the company’s more expensive plans.
You can get custom @domain emails with both WordPress and GoDaddy. In the case of WordPress, domain emails are included with every plan except the free one. Customers who subscribe to the Blogger, Personal or Premium plans benefit from 5 emails per each of their domains while the Business and eCommerce plans allow users to create up to 100 such emails per domain.
GoDaddy also offers free domain emails with its shared hosting plans but the company does things a bit differently. You benefit from an unlimited number of emails when you sign up for any of the available plans, however, you can only use this feature for free for the first year. After that, you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription in order to continue benefiting from it.
WordPress doesn’t technically offer any backup services but you can still create backups of your site regardless. The most common and easiest way of backing up your WordPress website is by installing and setting up one of the many backup plugins currently available. Many of these plugins allow you to automatically backup your site at regular intervals but you can also do it manually by using an FTP client like Filezilla.
You can back up a GoDaddy website using similar methods, especially if the site was built with WordPress. Alternatively, you can let GoDaddy do all the work as the company offers both automatic and manual backup options. Manual backups are free but the automatic ones are only available as an optional paid service with most of the company’s hosting plans.
If you’re planning to open an online store using WordPress you’ll probably want to go for the most expensive hosting planned known as eCommerce. At $45 per month, this plan is quite expensive but does come with a wide variety of advanced eCommerce features along with marketing and monetization tools. Combine this with WordPress’ inherent flexibility and you’ve got the perfect formula for creating a successful online business.
GoDaddy doesn’t include any eCommerce-focused features with any hosting plans, however, it does allow users to add such features on top of their hosting. For $30 a month, customers can gain access to a solid selection of eCommerce tools that can be integrated into any hosting plan. This is quite a bit cheaper than WordPress but keep in mind that the online store is an optional feature that you’ll need to pay for in addition to your hosting plan.
Performance and Reliability
Any experienced webmaster knows that you’re unlikely to make it very far in the online space if your site is performing poorly. There are often a lot of things you can do to improve your website’s performance but regardless of how good you are at optimization, you can still expect downtime and slow loading speeds if you don’t sign up with a good hosting provider. So, can you rely on GoDaddy and WordPress to take care of their end and ensure that your site runs smoothly?
For the most part, these two companies do a pretty good job when it comes to performance. WordPress and GoDaddy are by no means the best in this department but they tend to be fairly reliable. Site speed can be affected by the type of hosting you're using, with shared hosting usually resulting in slower speeds. This makes GoDaddy a better choice than WordPress as the company also offers VPS and dedicated servers. But let’s take a closer look at what sort of performance you can expect on average from these two companies.
While definitely not the fastest hosting provider out there, GoDaddy can hold its own against most of its competitors. Sites hosted on GoDaddy take around 517 ms to load on average. The situation would have looked quite different a few years ago but GoDaddy has improved a lot in the meantime and is now capable of delivering very respectable page loading speeds.
Sites hosted on WordPress.com load a bit slower on average but the loading speeds here tend to fluctuate more often than with GoDaddy. The average loading speed in 2019 so far sits at around 554ms, which is certainly now bad. However, there have been long stretches of time earlier this year when the speed was as low as 300 ms. These types of fluctuations are not uncommon for any provider but even if we were to look strictly at the overall average, WordPress.com is not doing too bad in the speed department even if it is a bit slower than GoDaddy.
Having good page loading speeds is important but even the fastest websites won’t attract a whole lot of visitors if they’re experiencing a lot of downtime. Pretty much all the biggest web hosting providers out there guarantee that you will see very little downtime if you sign up with them. You would have been right to be skeptical about such promises a decade ago but nowadays a lot of providers can actually deliver.
WordPress.com websites are known to be very stable. The company doesn’t make any guarantees regarding uptime and that’s because it doesn’t have to. The uptime you can expect from WordPress is close to 100%, with the occasional downtime every now and again. The situation is very similar when it comes to GoDaddy. While downtime is a bit more frequent here, you can generally expect an average uptime of around 99.97%, which is still very good. No company can realistically offer 100% uptime for long stretches of time but WordPress and GoDaddy come pretty close.
Customer support is a key aspect that’s often ignored or forgotten by a lot of people when choosing a hosting provider. If you’re lucky, you’ll never need to reach out to customer support to help you with a problem. But if you’re not and something goes wrong with your website, you’ll quickly find out why having reliable support agents at your disposal is such an important asset.
There are a couple of differences between WordPress and GoDaddy when it comes to customer support. WordPress offers live chat and email support but doesn’t have a number you can call them at. Meanwhile, GoDaddy does offer phone support along with live chat but you can’t reach out to them via email.
An interesting thing to note about WordPress is that they are a bit selective when it comes to their customer support. While it’s understandable that the company doesn’t offer support to those who opt for the free plan, it’s a bit strange that the $3 Blogger tier only includes email support but no live chat.
For the most part, GoDaddy’s support team is seen as very professional and superior to many of its competitors, including WordPress. The good thing about WordPress, however, is that there are countless guides and tutorials out there that can help you fix pretty much any problem you encounter on the platforms without having to rely on customer support. That said, scouring the internet for solutions to a problem can get tedious and is not really a better option than simply having professional support agents you can count on.
GoDaddy vs. WordPress – Our Pick
Although there’s definitely a clear winner here, there are good reasons to check out both these companies. The one you ultimately decide to stick with depends on a number of different factors. Are you mainly interested in cheap hosting or are you prepared to pay as much as it takes as long as you get good value in return? Are you looking to create your first blog or are you already an experienced webmaster perhaps thinking about switching to a new provider?
The truth is that GoDaddy simply has more to offer pretty much across the board, but there is also a case to be made for signing up with WordPress. This is one of the few companies that hosts your site for free and you can use this opportunity to experiment with a highly-customizable platform until you get the hang of things. The free hosting plan isn’t anything to write home about but is it a good place to start if you’ve never had a website before.
If you’re looking for more than the mere essentials and have a bit of money to spend, however, GoDaddy is the best choice here. Not just because it offers more types of hosting to choose from and better performance but also because you can easily use GoDaddy hosting in conjunction with WordPress to get the best of both worlds. The final choice is of course up to you but GoDaddy is definitely a better pick than WordPress in our book.