HostMonster vs. GoDaddy
Today we'll be looking at GoDaddy vs. HostMonster. If you're here, you probably have narrowed your choice down to these two hosts and want to know which host is the best for your website. Well, that's what we are going to do. We'll be comparing GoDaddy and HostMonster to identify their strengths, weaknesses and everything in-between.
How will we be doing that? Easy, we bought hosting plans from both hosts so we are in the unique position of being able to compare the experiences of using both hosts accurately. And, during our testing phases, we did discover a few things that go against everything you know about both hosts. Let's just say that conventional wisdom isn't always the best.
At the end of the comparison, we'll be giving a final verdict, telling you which host we think is the best. What's important, though, is that you do not have to go with our winner. You can choose your champion since you'll have all the data to do so.
Founded in 1996 by Bob Parsons, GoDaddy is the biggest domain registrar on the internet. With over ten million sites hosted on its servers, the company is one of the biggest names in hosting today. HostMonster was also founded in 1996, making it one of the oldest hosting companies along with GoDaddy.
Founded by the founder of Bluehost, Matt Heaton, HostMonster has managed to adopt the business model of the most prominent hosts on the internet. In 2015, HostMonster was acquired by EIG, a move that many say has lowered the quality of HostMonster's hosting. Whether that is true or not, you are sure to find out soon enough.
GoDaddy and HostMonster are similar in many ways. Both hosts offer the same level of packages, target the same section of the market, and have more or less the same selling point. Both hosts offer Shared, VPS, and Dedicated server hosting.
However, GoDaddy provides a whole lot more hosting options like WordPress hosting, WP Pro, and Reseller hosting. Both hosts are also top-rated for being easy to use for new users, and for the lower prices and fantastic specs that individual plans come with. Now that we know that both hosts are really similar, the winner of this comparison won't be easy to decide. Or will it? Let's find out.
First off, we don't think that popularity is important when deciding the best host for your site. This is because many of the most popular hosting providers haven't ranked well in our reviews. In fact, popularity has more to do with the marketing department of a host than it has to do with actual hosting quality.
However, if you think that popularity does matter, you should sign up with GoDaddy immediately. The company is, by several nautical miles, the most popular web host. Is it the best, though? We'll find out soon enough.
GoDaddy vs. HostMonster Performance
We'll be measuring the performance of both hosts using two important metrics, uptime and speed.
To test uptime, we did the only reasonable thing. We bought plans from both hosts, set up dummy accounts and began testing uptime over a four-month period.
The results speak for themselves. Over our testing period, GoDaddy came in with a 99.99% average uptime, while HostMonster had an average of 99.96%. While HostMonster's uptime isn't terrible (for the period of a year, a 99.96% uptime only gets about three and a half-hour of downtime), GoDaddy's uptime is far superior. A 99.99% uptime means only about 52 minutes of downtime per year. The winner here, really, is clear.
However, we don't base our judgment of a host's uptime quality only on uptime statistics. Uptime is notoriously fickle, and hosts with excellent uptime can descend into the hell of long downtime periods at a moment's notice. What isn't changeable, though, is an uptime guarantee. This ensures that even if you get terrible uptime, you still have a path of compensation, and you aren't totally left alone.
Surprisingly, HostMonster doesn't offer an uptime guarantee. However, you do get a pro-rated refund if you cancel your plan because of excessive downtime. Although, HostMonster claims that will rarely ever happen. Why you may ask. Apparently, uptime issues may happen, but they will more often than not be fixed in fifteen minutes or less, so users don't have to worry their heads. GoDaddy, on the other side of the balance, actually has an uptime guarantee policy.
HostMonster users may not be entitled to anything if they experience excessive downtime, but GoDaddy users have no such worries, with the host providing a 99.9% uptime guarantee. If you experience uptime below 99.9%, you are entitled to 5% off your monthly hosting fee. And, to be fair, may actually add up to pennies. It isn't all rosy and straightforward with GoDaddy either. We found this little paragraph stuck away in their user agreement.
“We offer a Service uptime guarantee of 99.9% (“Service Uptime Guarantee”) of available time per month. If we fail to maintain this Service Uptime Guarantee in a particular month (as solely determined by us), you may contact us and request a credit of 5% of your monthly hosting fee for that month”.
Make of that what you will.
GoDaddy may have some sneaky things going on in the uptime guarantee department, but at least they have something going on. The result of our uptime test speaks for itself. GoDaddy has a better uptime overall than HostMonster, and that is a fact.
Time is money, and in today's 4G-5G world, people take lightning page load speed as a given. In fact, 40% of internet users say that they would not re-visit a site that had slow page load speed. That is something that you should pay attention to if you'd like to sell more or generate more traffic on your website.
Since we already have our sites set up, we put our speed testing tools to work and first tested the time to the first byte of both hosts repeatedly. We also tested from different locations to get a feel of average speed time across the world. Before testing, we made sure to disable all speed optimization plug-ins to get fair results.
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Overall, GoDaddy had an average TTFB of 515ms, while HostMonster did much worse, reaching only an average speed of 841ms. It's pretty clear who the faster host is. Although GoDaddy's speed isn't exactly excellent, it is decent. It would be tough for us to say the same about HostMonster, though. The fact that HostMonster is so slow is especially disturbing because studies have found that only a second delay can cause up to a 7% decrease in conversion rate, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction levels and an 11% decrease in page views.
Load Impact Test
To test the speed of both hosts under pressure, we sent a hundred virtual users to the site using Load Impact. Our goal was to see whether performance suffered under traffic. As we expected, speed levels suffered, with GoDaddy and HostMonster slowing down considerably.
(a diagram where both hosts have lower speed levels)
The more spread out a host's datacenters are, the quicker visitors across the world will be able to load content. HostMonster has datacenters (or datacenter?) in Utah. Like the sister company, Bluehost, information on the location of HostMonster's datacenters is seriously scarce. GoDaddy, on the other hand, though, has datacenters all over the world.
Content Delivery Systems ensure that a cached version of your site is hosted on servers around the world. This means that visitors can access your website faster than usual. GoDaddy has CDN support; however, users have to configure and set it up themselves. HostMonster also gives you access to CDN on all plans, and it is free. You do activate it from your cPanel, though.
This was pretty much easy to decide. GoDaddy has better speed levels overall than HostMonster. It does appear, that the Go in GoDaddy stands for speed and the Monster in HostMonster means, well, monstrously slow speed? GoDaddy wins this one for us.
Ease of Use
No one, at least no one we know, wants to do something the hard way when it could quickly be done the easy way. Your web host must give you the fewest amount of headaches possible. It is also important, as well, that your web host provides as much help to you as possible.
The first thing to take note of is the user interface. To this question, there are only two acceptable answers in our opinion; cPanel, and to a lesser extent, Plesk. Both interfaces are easy to use, and many other hosts use them so acclimatizing ought not to be a problem when you transfer your site from another host.
GoDaddy makes use of a clean and uncluttered version of cPanel. While it is undoubtedly a bit customized, it follows standard cPanel's layout and was quite easy for us to use. HostMonster makes use of the traditional cPanel interface also, so full marks for both companies.
Sign up process
We had absolutely no problems signing up for both hosts. In under five minutes, we were done. However, both hosts did try to sell us a lot of stuff at checkout. New users have to be really careful not to buy features that they'll eventually not need.
App Integrations, Marketplace and Installation
The shared hosting plans of both web hosts support both WordPress and other popular content management systems like Joomla, Drupal and Magneto. Both companies offer access to the MOJO marketplace where you buy all sorts of things, from themes to templates to plug-ins, to apps. Both hosts also offer one-click installation for apps, so new users do not have to worry about long installation processes.
We feel that all hosts should offer at least one free site migration for all new users. However, there are a lot of hosts who think that our opinion does not matter. GoDaddy is one of such hosts, charging $99.99 per site to be migrated. Quite expensive. In fact, so expensive that we wouldn't encourage anyone to pay that much for single-site migration.
It does get a bit better with HostMonster, though. The company offers more or less the same free site migration policy as Bluehost, $149.99 for five websites and 20 emails from a single account. If you would like to transfer your site yourself, you could make use of a File Transfer Protocol that HostMonster provides for free. We can tell you this for free, though, it probably isn't worth your time. There are other hosts like HostGator who offer the service for free. You can check how HostGator stacks up with GoDaddy here.
If we had our way, all hosts would provide a free domain (for at least a year) with all new hosting plans. But, in the case of GoDaddy and HostMonster, that would be a bit useless because both hosts provided a free domain with all plans.
If you do not plan on creating a WordPress site or using any other content management system, then you would need a website builder to help you create the right custom site. While most hosts make use of third-party solutions, GoDaddy makes use of a tool called GoCentral that helps you build your website. It works like the popular site builders, such as Wix and Weebly, and comes with a lot of templates.
GoCentral has over three hundred templates and themes with drag and drop functionality, so designing a website stops being a drag (well, you do need to drag and drop so, maybe a little drag). However, GoCentral is free only for the first month through a trial period.
HostMonster offers two website builders, and one of them is the popular Weebly website builder. Weebly is optimized for search engines and is free. However, with the free version, you only get six pages, so there's the catch. For more pages, you need to purchase a bigger plan. Like GoCentral, Weebly is also a drag and drop editor with a lot of themes and templates.
The other website builder that HostMonster offers is the Concrete5. It is an open-source content management system that makes it really easy for you to build your site in minutes. It is also search engine optimized.
For new users, there is probably no tool quite as useful as a staging environment. It allows you to make changes/configurations on a copy of your site so that you can check out the effects of your changes before it goes on your live website. While you can create a staging environment yourself on a subdomain or using a plug-in, it's better if a host has one installed on your control panel. Why? Frankly, it's way easier and involves much fewer tears than learning how to create one yourself.
GoDaddy offers staging environments on all managed WordPress hosting plans except the basic plans. All other Shared Hosting plans do not get staging environments. HostMonster doesn't offer staging sites on any shared hosting plan at all.
Believe me, we are just as surprised as you. But the data and our experience tell us that new users will generally have fewer issues using HostMonster than they would have with using GoDaddy. Additionally, $99.99 for a single site migration? That is a no from here, GoBuddy.
Money-back guarantees are useful because, you know, false advertising is a thing. It gives you an exit strategy in case the service that you're provided is terrible. Generally, in our opinion, the longer the money-back guarantee period, the better.
The standard money-back guarantee period for hosts is thirty days, and in this regard, both hosts have chosen to toe the company line, offering only a thirty-day money-back guarantee. If you're paying for any period less than a year, you only get a 48-hour money-back guarantee with GoDaddy. If you've received a free domain with the plan, the cost of the domain (about $15) will be removed from the refund. The domain will still be functional.
Both hosts offer the absolute bottom of the barrel quality when it comes to money-back guarantees. We have seen hosts like DreamHost offer as much as a 97-day money-back guarantee, so we know that hosting companies can do a whole lot better. You can check out how Dreamhost stacks up to GoDaddy if you want.
Customer Support and Reliability
Creating a website, running it, and doing everything that comes with owning a site, isn't the easiest task in the world. If you don't have the right help, it can become an actual nightmare. That's why it is vital that you have access to customer support that responds swiftly, and is able to help.
Customer Support Channels
Both companies have the same support channels. They both have a phone, live chat, and ticketing channels. As expected, these channels are open 24/7.
Before testing, we had some biases. We didn't expect particularly great things from both hosts in terms of customer support. That's because we know that the biggest companies don't usually have the best customer service. We've only discovered one exception to that rule, and that's SiteGround. You can check out our SiteGround and GoDaddy comparison if you want.
The first thing we tried to measure was waiting time, so we attempted to connect to a live chat rep on the customer support channels of both companies. We connected with a HostMonster representative in three minutes, on average, which was terrific. Our questions were answered quickly, and the reps we spoke to were really friendly and made the whole process stress free. However, we should probably mention that HostMonster has a lengthy verification process that might be a bit annoying.
The story was different with GoDaddy. On average, we connected to a live rep in ten minutes, and on a particular occasion, we had to wait for over thirty minutes. While the reps we spoke to were friendly enough, they were only able to answer basic questions. Too often, we were left for ten minutes or more before a rep replied to us. That isn't something that exactly makes us ecstatic.
To be fair, phone support was better with both hosts, and the ticketing support was top notch.
Both hosts maintain a great knowledge base. In fact, in the case of GoDaddy, we would instead go through pages of articles and tutorials than wait for thirty minutes to connect to a live rep.
After a dismal performance showing, it appears that HostMonster is back to its very best. The customer support we reviewed from HostMonster was miles better than the on at GoDaddy.
The internet is an amazing place, but it can also be a very scary one. There are no limits to the number of malware and mischievous characters crawling all over the world wide web, trying to steal your files or hack your account. There is no site small enough to be hacked, and as you grow in traffic and sells, it gets likelier that your website will be a target for nefarious groups.
While a lot of the responsibility of security lies with the end-user, it's also good to know which host gives more coverage in terms of backups, SSL certificates, and additional security features.
Only a few hosts don't provide free SSL certificates (Let's Encrypt) with all plans, and GoDaddy is one of those hosts. If you'd like an SSL certificate (which is like, you know, super important), you'll have to pay around $48. HostMonster, on the other hand, offers a free SSL certificate on all plans.
If your account does get hacked, and all your nightmares come true, you must have backups available. Configuring your backup policy is probably among the first things you should do while setting up an account.
For GoDaddy, it is somewhat straightforward. GoDaddy runs free daily backups on all WordPress hosting sites, but for other sites, you'll have to purchase the GoDaddy Website backup tool.
HostMonster offers free backups but with a fun twist. The first thing to note is that they do not offer redundant or mirrored backups. That is, only one version of your site will be available to you at a time. The second thing is that backups are courtesy backups. This means that backup isn't guaranteed, and they are kind of doing it because they are nice guys. If they, one day, decide not to backup your site anymore, you cannot hold them responsible. For any other thing, users can get the Site Backup Pro or the Codeguard tool which allows you to get your own backups done from any point in history, and set up automatic backups too. It is up to the user to download backups if they want to keep a copy of their data, as HostMonster deletes backups older than thirty days.
Both hosts have a standard Web Application Firewall that protects against SQL injection and cross-site scripting based attacks.
SiteLock, a third-party solution that is used by most hosts, is an advanced warning and malware detection tool. Depending on the package you purchase, users also get a web application firewall that blocks harmful traffic from entering your site. HostMonster makes use of SiteLock, and users can order Sitelock for Basic at $23.88 per domain. Renewal costs $99.95 per year, though. Importantly, as a HostMonster customer, you receive up to 80% off of the retail prices of SiteLock's products. GoDaddy doesn't offer direct support for SiteLock but instead provides a proprietary solution called Website Security that performs more or less the same sort of tasks that SiteLock performs. The Website security packages are available starting from $4.99 per month.
This was a difficult one for us for all manner of reasons. In fact, it really could have gone either way. Ultimately, we could not overlook that GoDaddy does not offer a free SSL certificate.
If you're trying to decide between two services, you would have to be someone who doesn't care too much about financial responsibility to not compare prices. While many reviews only look at the host with the cheaper price tag, we'll be looking at the price tag and the value offered at the quoted price. Our winner, then, will be the host that offers more for less.
We'll be primarily looking at the WordPress and Shared Hosting packages of both hosts. Why? An overwhelming majority of sites on the internet are hosted on shared servers, and if you're reading this, you're probably thinking of getting a Shared Hosting plan. Let's get to it then.
Shared Hosting Plans
GoDaddy offers four tiers of regular Shared Hosting, which is great for scalability. They are the Economy, Deluxe, Ultimate and Maximum plans. HostMonster, on the other hand, has three hosting tiers which are the Basic, Plus, and Choice-Plus.
GoDaddy's basic Shared hosting plan is the Economy plan which costs $5.99 per month. Of course, $5.99 is pretty low, but it is also a promotional offer and the renewal price is actually $8.99. For such a low price, one might think that the specs of this plan would be terrible, but it is not. It comes with 24/7 support infrastructure, one website, 100GB of storage, one free domain, unlimited bandwidth and emails. No matter how you look at it, unlimited bandwidth, emails and a 100GB storage is great value for $5.99.
HostMonster's basic plan is, well, aptly called the Basic plan, and comes with one website, 50GB storage, unmetered bandwidth, one domain, 5 email accounts, and 100 MB of email storage. The plan presently costs $4.95 per month (although you can get discounts that qualify you for massive percentages off) and renews at $9.49. HostMonster's plan offers great specs: unmetered bandwidth and 50GB of storage don't usually come cheap.
Both plans are cheap and come blazing out of the gate with great specs. For us, GoDaddy is the clear winner here because of more storage.
Medium Range Plans
GoDaddy's medium-range plan is the Deluxe plan and it comes with all the features of the Economy plan and has the added advantage of unlimited websites, storage, and subdomains. It costs $7.99 per month and renewal is $11.99. HostMonster's medium-range plan is the Plus plan and it comes with ten websites, 150Gb of storage, 20 parked domains and 50 subdomains, 100 email accounts with 500mb of storage per account, and unmetered bandwidth. The plan costs $6.95 per month and renews at $12.49 per month.
While GoDaddy pulls out all the stops with the Deluxe plan, HostMonster continues to hold out on us with 150GB storage, ten websites limited email accounts and storage. The winner here is also pretty easy to see, GoDaddy takes the round yet again.
High Tier Plan
GoDaddy has two high their plans and they are the Ultimate and Maximum plans. However, these plans are highly similar, and the only difference is in the processing power. The Ultimate plan comes with all the features of the Deluxe plan and has double the processing power (of Deluxe plans), a free SSL certificate (for a single term) and unlimited databases. The plan costs $12.99 and renews at $16.99.
The Maximum plan has all the features of the Ultimate plan and adds times two the processing power and memory, times two maximum site traffic, and a free SSL certificate for the full term. The package costs $19.99 for an initial purchase and $24.99 upon renewal.
HostMonster's most expensive Shared Hosting Plan is the Choice-Plus plan and it is quite cheap, coming at the same initial price of the Plus plan, which is $6.95 (renewal costs $14.99 though). The plan comes with unlimited websites, storage, bandwidth, subdomains, parked domains, Spam protection, one domain privacy, Codeguard Basic, and one free domain. It's important to note that all HostMonster plans come with a free SSL certificate.
If you're going to be paying for a high tier plan, and plan on having a website for a long time, you should probably go with HostMonster's plan because it costs less in the long run. Also, it has extra security features that GoDaddy's plans do not have.
Unfortunately, HostMonster doesn't have a separate WordPress Hosting plan like GoDaddy. If you want to build a WordPress site with HostMonster and would like to make use of a shared server, this means that you'll have to install it on your regular shared hosting account. This shouldn't be too much trouble, though, as HostMonster has WordPress one-click installation support. Like with Shared Hosting, GoDaddy also has four WordPress hosting tiers.
Basic WordPress Hosting Plan
GoDaddy's Basic plan, the Basic plan, comes with one website, 10 GB worth of space, and maximum traffic of 25,000 visitors per month. The cost of the initial price is $6.99. The price for the Basic Plan renewal, though, is $9.99 per month.
Medium Range WordPress Hosting Plan
The medium-range plan is the Deluxe plan which comes at an initial cost of $9.99. (renewal is $14.99). It comes with one website, maximum of 100k visitors per month, 15GB of space, support of free daily backups, malware scans, built-in sign-up forms, and a free domain.
High Tier Plan
GoDaddy's most expensive plans are the Ultimate and Pro+ plans. The Ultimate costs $12.99 (Renewal is $19.99) per month and offers 2 websites, 30GB of storage, a free SSL certificate for the first year, a maximum of 400k visitors, and all the features of the Deluxe plan.
The next plan is the Pro 5+ plan and it offers 5-50 websites, support of up to 800k monthly visitors, a free SSL certificate per site, 50-200GB of storage and all the other features of the Ultimate plan before it. It costs $15.99 and renews at $24.99.
Generally, GoDaddy's managed WordPress plans cost more (correct that to a lot more) than their Shared Hosting plan.
While both hosts offer cheap plans, they are not anything like the more expensive hosts such as WP Engine. You can check how GoDaddy goes against WP Engine if you want. Ultimately, this was not the easiest choice to make, but the lack of scalability of HostMonster did it for us. If you would like to purchase the highest Shared Hosting plan, HostMonster is the more cost-effective option. For any other thing, though, GoDaddy offers the best prices and the best specs.
GoDaddy has the following extra features:
- GoDaddy offers a free domain name for the first term for every created website.
- An extensive knowledge base that ensures that you do not have a lot of reasons to contact live support.
- All hosting plans have access to a free to start website builder.
- Access to over 125 apps with one-click installs. This includes the more popular applications like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
- $100 worth ad credits for every $25 spent. The credits also include $50 in Bing and Facebook ads.
HostMonster has the following extra features:
- Instant provisioning is enabled, so if you plan to go for VPS hosting or Dedicated hosting, they promise instant provisioning of their servers. That's important if you want to get your site online in minutes. You won't have to go through the stress of lengthy verification processes with HostMonster.
- Unfortunately, HostMonster doesn't offer monthly hosting.
- All hosting plans come with a limit of 1000 total database tables, 3GB total database size, and 200,000 inodes.
- The host offers hotlink protection, Secure Shell (SSH) access, AllowOverride .htaccess support, Server Side Includes (SSI).
- Dual Quad Processor Performance servers.
- You have access to developer features such as FTP access, SSH access, MySQL databases, custom Cron jobs and CGI-Bin.
This section is often a draw because of the apples to oranges sort of structure that it comes with. On the rare occasion that a host emerges winner, it is because of an extra standout feature like green hosting or an additional customer service feature. Neither hosts have any of these standout features, so it is a draw for us.
- GoDaddy has better performance in terms of uptime and speed than HostMonster.
- GoDaddy has global datacenters, while HostMonster only has Datacenters in the United States.
- GoDaddy is an independent host, while HostMonster is owned by EIG (Endurance International Group).
- HostMonster has better customer support overall than GoDaddy.
- HostMonster has better security options than GoDaddy.
- GoDaddy, generally, offers more for less price-wise.
HostMonster vs. GoDaddy: Our Pick
This is perhaps one of the most challenging comparisons we've done in a while and is quite close to a draw. Ultimately, GoDaddy's superior performance and pricing model convinced us. We believe that this is one of those contests that could have gone either way. While neither host had standout performances like A2 Hosting, they both had decent stats.
So, our final words on GoDaddy vs. HostMonster? Well, GoDaddy defeats the monster this time with some extra features, a better pricing model and overall higher performance for your websites.