WP Engine vs. GoDaddy

GoDaddy is one of the most popular names in the web hosting stratosphere with services extending beyond domain registration. WP Engine, on the other hand, enacts a much narrower business model by choosing to offer WordPress specific hosting plans. But who among the two hosts offers the best service?

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Author Kevin Ngure
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With a whopping market share of 64.1%, WordPress is undoubtedly one the most popular yet powerful content management system (CMS) and website builder ever created.

As such, it’s not surprising to see that many leading web hosting providers have exclusively turned their attention and resources to create web hosting solutions that allow even the greenest of blogging newbies to set up their blogs using the world’s most popular CMS.

Among these companies are GoDaddy and WP Engine – which we’ll be comparing in this review.

GoDaddy, a well-known hosting company, is an all-rounded hosting company with services extending beyond domain registration. The company offers shared, managed WordPress, VPS, dedicated, and reseller hosting among other services.

WP Engine, on the other hand, is a premium web hosting company that offers WordPress-specific hosting plans. The company boasts excellent uptime and performance with additional features such as real-time threat detection, daily backups, and cloud platform flexibility making it one of the most reliable WordPress hosting providers.

While these two hosting companies differ in various aspects, they are both great hosts. This review intends to show you why one is premier than the other. Read on.

WP Engine vs. GoDaddy: Performance

In web hosting, one of the primary concerns that you should be worried about is the hosting server uptime or availability and the page load time. These two elements are seen as pillars of performance and they do not only affect search engine positioning and conversions but also the overall user experience. 

While web hosting providers will employ many ways to ensure better performance such as the use of a CDN (content delivery network), SSD storage, RAID technology, and even alternate mirror locations – the depth in the amount of infrastructure and effort that the provider is invested in determines how reliable their services are.

Now, in the performance realm, GoDaddy lags behind WP Engine both in terms of page load speeds and server uptime. To test page load speed, we signed up for GoDaddy’s Basic plan and WP Engine’s Startup plan. We then set up a basic WordPress website with each of the two hosts and started our testing using Pingdom tools.

From our findings, GoDaddy recorded an average of 510ms while WP Engine gave us a steady average page load of 371ms which was superbly impressive. We noticed that part of the reason why GoDaddy’s performance wasn’t impressive is that the company hasn’t put much effort into boosting speed compared to its competition.

For instance, the company only has its servers in the USA, Singapore, and the Netherlands. WP Engine, on the other hand, delivers its services via a global network of servers located in 19 locations including North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

What’s more, GoDaddy doesn’t use SSD storage as WP Engine does. Instead, it uses HDD storage and load-balanced servers.  Something else we noticed is that WP Engine throws in a couple of features and tools to enhance performance. They include:

  • Their proprietary caching technology, EverCache, includes a built-in CDN (content delivery network) for incredibly fast loading speeds. (GoDaddy also offers free Cloudflare CDN but it’s not integrated. Meaning you have to set it up yourself).
  • An add-on called GeoTarget helps optimize your website for different geographic locations.
  • A Page Performance solution that’s used for page testing helping you make some improvements.

We also went further and tested the uptime rating. From our tests, GoDaddy recorded an uptime rating of 99.97% while WP Engine achieved a perfect uptime of 99.99%. The 0.03% difference indicates that we experienced an average monthly downtime of 12 minutes with GoDaddy and an average monthly downtime of 3 minutes with WP Engine.

These performance-enhancing features together with the excellent uptime rating should automatically tell you that WP Engine is built for optimal performance compared to GoDaddy. As, such, WP Engine is the better choice in the performance category.

WP Engine vs. GoDaddy: Plans and Pricing

Web hosting is a service – and a very competitive one for that matter. As such, many hosting companies typically offer attractive (read discounted) hosting packages during signup to lure customers into their service.

However, one thing that most people do not realize is that most of these companies charge double or triple the initial cost for renewals. To avoid the “surprise bill effect “during renewal we recommend that you do some due diligence and check your hosting provider’s renewal charges for your preferred package.

With that said, it is important to note that both GoDaddy and WP Engine offer managed WordPress hosting plans to their customers at different price points. For example, GoDaddy offers four WordPress hosting plans that include Basic, Deluxe, Ultimate, and eCommerce. Each of these plan’s prices is discounted based on the subscription period. The longer the period the lower the price.

WP Engine, on the other hand, offers premium WordPress hosting and has four Managed Hosting plans. Namely: Startup, Growth, Scale, and the high-end Custom plan that’s created for high-performing websites.

The plans are offered on a monthly or annual subscription cycle. The annual cycle is the best model if you are looking to save up a few bucks.

Here a price breakdown of these two hosts.

GoDaddy Plans and Pricing

 Hosting Plan               Features     Price/month (36-month period)  
Basic  1 website, 30 GB storage, free 24/7 support, 1 year free domain, free SSL certificate, automatic daily malware scans, free business email for the first year, website backup with 1-click restore, 25K monthly visitors, and CDN boost.              $6.99  
Deluxe   1 website, 75 GB storage space, 100K monthly visitors, SEO optimizer, auto-daily malware scans, 1-click testing site, website backup and protection, free SSL certificate, free domain, free business email, 24/7 customer support, and CDN boost.   $9.99  
Ultimate    1 website, unlimited storage space, unlimited visitors, SEO optimizer, auto-daily malware scans, 1-click testing site, website backup and protection, unlimited removal and hack repair, free SSL certificate, free domain, free business email, 24/7 customer support, and CDN boost.    $12.99  
Ecommerce (WooCommerce)  Includes everything that comes with the Ultimate Plan and adds a few tweaks such as unlimited products, no transaction fees, appointment scheduling, real-time shipping rates.$15.99  


WP Engine Plans and Pricing

Hosting Plan               Features     Price/month  
Startup   1 website, 10 GB storage, 50 GB monthly bandwidth, 25K monthly visitors, free 24/7 chat support, automated SSL certificate, EverCache, 35+ StudioPress themes, Genesis framework, LargeFS, SSH Gateway, PHP 7.4 ready, Page Performance, and Global CDN.             $25.00  
Growth  10 websites included, 20 GB storage, 200 GB bandwidth monthly bandwidth, 100K monthly visitors, imported SSL certificate, free 24/7 phone support, and all the other features that come with the Startup plan.             $95.00  
Scale  Includes all features that come with the Growth Plan but adds a few features such as 50 GB storage, 400K monthly visits, 30 sites, and 500GB bandwidth.$241.67  
Custom  A Million Visits Per Month, 400 GB Bandwidth, 100 GB-1 TB Storage, Consultative Onboarding, Content Performance, WordPress Multisite, 1 Smart Plugin Manager License, GeoTarget, and all the lower-tier features.Custom quote  

From the above breakdown, it’s clear that WP Engine is not a cheap host. In fact, even the monthly fee on its basic plan is 3X higher than GoDaddy’s comparable plan. Be that as it may, WP Engine offers a lot of freebies worth a few hundred bucks, which GoDaddy includes as add-ons.

But as it turns out, value for money narrows down to an individual’s budget. In this particular scenario, however, WP Engine seems to be an out of reach host if your budget is on a tight leash. GoDaddy, on the other hand, appears to be the better value host in this category.

WP Engine vs. GoDaddy: Customer Support   

When sailing through the deeps of web hosting, you need to ensure that you have enough hands on deck, and a few extra lifeboats just in case you hit an iceberg.

By this I mean you need a hosting provider whose customer support is always available to fix your issue – on whatever channel – whenever a problem arises.

For example, if your website goes down all of a sudden – say at 3 a.m. You can’t seem to pinpoint the cause of the problem – and so the only option left is for you to contact customer support.

With GoDaddy, you’d have to use the phone support option because the Live Chat option is only available between 5 a.m. and 6 p.m. (PST), Monday through Friday.

WP Engine, on the other hand, offers 24/7 support both through phone and live chat. So, if you don’t want to disturb your roommates, you can choose the live chat support option.

In terms of wait times, our experience wasn’t as good as we expected. With live chat, we had to wait for approximately 5 minutes to get connected to an agent. Phone support was equally frustrating. We had to wait for half an hour to speak to an agent.

With WP Engine, however, we were able to connect to an agent in seconds. Phone support was also great compared to GoDaddy’s. It took us around 10 minutes waiting before we could speak to an agent.  

What’s more, both hosts have a rich knowledgebase, how-to guides, and video tutorials. That said, it’s clear that WP Engine’s customer support center is much more user-friendly and reliable compared to GoDaddy’s.

WP Engine vs. GoDaddy: Ease of Use

The days when web hosting and web design were considered rocket science are long gone. Today, you can easily choose your desired hosting provider, sign up for a hosting plan, click a few buttons, and have a live website in minutes that you can customize and bring your idea to life.

That said, we found both GoDaddy and WP Engine very intuitive to use. To begin with, their main sites are quite easy to navigate even for new users who want to get started with WordPress web hosting.

GoDaddy also offers its users the power to install and set up a WordPress environment in 1-click via Plesk or the new cPanel that’s configured with CageFs for content protection. Non-tech savvy users can also take advantage of the pre-built sites and use the drag & drop page editor to customize their site.

WP Engine, on the other hand, makes WordPress hosting a breeze. You can install WordPress, set up a theme, and move to staging in a single click. As a WordPress centric hosting provider, WP Engine also makes it easy and less time-consuming to manage your ever-growing blog.

For instance, you’ll not have to worry about a potential plugin conflict, a tricky theme, WordPress core updates, WordPress security, or even a server-level issue because everything is handled in-house WP Engine’s tech team. That means that you’ll have enough time to focus on content creation and marketing.  

While WP Engine isn’t in the same caliber as GoDaddy when it comes to WordPress hosting, both hosts enjoy a significant following from their target audience. For example, WP Engine is performance-oriented has no hidden charges and add-ons in their plans like GoDaddy which makes it a favorite for most WordPress webmasters.

However, if you are a blogging greenhorn, you’ll have to put extra effort to handle WP Engine hosting. On the other hand, designers, developers, and passionate business owners will find WP Engine to be a godsend. So, in terms of ease of use, none of the two hosts wins because it all depends on your level of experience.

WP Engine vs. GoDaddy: Security

Whether you run a personal blog or an eCommerce store, website security is of utmost importance. However, most web hosting providers view security as a way of making extra money. So, instead of offering in-built security features in their plans, they instead offer these critical features as add-ons – doubling the overall cost.

That said, WP Engine does fairly well when it comes to security. For example, each of its plans includes features such as automated SSL certificates, daily malware scans, disk-write protection, disk-write limitations, and user enumeration.

Apart from that, WP Engine offers several add-ons such as Global Edge Security (GES) and the Smart Plugin Manager. GES includes a host of security features such as WAF (web application firewall), DDoS protection, and Cloudflare CDN. On the other hand, the Smart Plugin Manager automatically checks and updates your plugins to ensure that your site doesn’t break.   

Similarly, GoDaddy WordPress hosting plans come with many security features but not as adequate as those offered by WP Engine. Some of these features include website backup protection, a free SSL certificate for the hosting duration, automatic daily malware scans, hack repair & malware removal, automatic WordPress & security updates.

However, one problem with GoDaddy features is like we stated earlier. They offer most of their critical security features as add-ons. So, as far as security is concerned, WP Engine carries the day.

WP Engine vs. GoDaddy: Features

At a glance, it’s clear that WP Engine’s hosting plans are highly-priced than GoDaddy’s. But does the high priced WP Engine give you value for money? Or would you rather just go with GoDaddy’s low priced plans?

Let’s see what each of these hosts have to offer in terms of features. Here’s a breakdown.

GoDaddy Features

  • Free domain name
  • Free business email for the first year
  • Free SSL certificate for the hosting duration
  • Automatic daily malware scans
  • Website backup protection
  • Free 24/7 customer support.
  • 99% uptime guarantee
  • Free Cloudflare CDN
  • Drag and drop page builder
  • One-click migration
  • SFTP access for those signed up in (Deluxe, Ultimate, and eCommerce plans)
  • Access to free themes, plugins, and the latest PHP 7 version
  • 30-day moneyback

WPEngine Features

  • Free SSL certificate with all plans
  • Automated SSL certificates
  • Global CDN
  • LargeFS ( Allows fast transfer of data and expansion server storage onto Amazon S3)
  • Round the clock customer support
  • Genesis framework
  • SSH Gateway
  • Custom EverCache system
  • Development and staging environment
  • Daily backups and 1-click restore
  • 35+ StudioPress themes
  • Global Edge Security and smart manager plugin add-ons
  • Transferable sites
  • 60-day moneyback guarantee

As you can see, both hosts offer comparable features. However, WP Engine’s features are WordPress specific, more advanced, and most of them are available for free. WP Engine, therefore, wins this category.

WP Engine vs. GoDaddy: The Winner  

And the winner is WP Engine.

Aside from its expensive hosting plans, WP Engine is hard to beat when it comes to high-performance and reliable WordPress centric hosting. It also offers a lot of essential features as freebies.

On the other hand, novice website owners- with a minimalist hosting budget will find GoDaddy a great option. However, they’ll have to choose a long-term hosting plan to get discounted prices and also factor in the cost of security features.   

That said, here’s a recap of this GoDaddy vs. WP Engine review.

  • Performance:  WP Engine speeds are superbly impressive thanks to their proprietary caching technology, EverCache, and their global network of servers. GoDaddy servers are overloaded.
  • Plans and pricing: If you are looking for cheap hosting then GoDaddy is your best bet. However, if you are looking for premium service and are not restrained on a budget, WP Engine is the way to go.
  • Customer support: Being a managed hosting service, WP Engine lives up to its expectations. It’s reliable and prompt. GoDaddy’s customer support needs some improvement.
  • Ease-of-use: If you are a beginner, you are better off with GoDaddy. Tech-savvy users, on the other hand, will feel at home with WP Engine.
  • Features: WP Engine includes value-added features. With GoDaddy, you have to pay or advance to a higher-tier plan.

And that’s it. Our GoDaddy vs. WP Engine review. Please feel free to check out our other hosting comparisons to get more information. You can also check our list of GoDaddy alternatives.

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