REVIEW 23 minutes

Wp Engine vs GoDaddy 2019

Last updated: Author Scott Whatley

If someone were to put to you the duel, GoDaddy vs WpEngine, which web hosting service would you go with, and why? You'd probably have some trouble deciding, and even if you did decide, you'd have trouble backing up your decision with cold, hard facts.

That's why we are going to do it for you. How do we know the better host between GoDaddy and WpEngine?

GoDaddy is known for its name and the fact that it is extremely beginner/user-friendly (we've tried GoDaddy out and this is as true as true can be), and if one discounts the value offered by other competitive web hosts, GoDaddy is quite cheap too. WpEngine, on the other hand, runs like an engine. With multiple data centers all over the globe, WpEngine is a professional WordPress host and is quite fast. They are also known for their incredible customer support infrastructure (they even helped us install themes and plugins). However, WpEngine is one of the most expensive web hosts we've reviewed. If you want excellent services, I guess you'd have to pay.

GoDaddy vs WpEngine: Overview

Founded in 1997 as Jomax technologies, they got a name change to GoDaddy in 1999. GoDaddy has the privilege to be called the largest domain registrar in the world. And it isn't mere talk either, with over 63 million domain names and 14 million customers, GoDaddy simply blows everyone else out of the water in terms of popularity.  Given the competition in the web hosting industry, this is an enviable claim indeed. Perhaps one of the reasons GoDaddy is so popular is that they are experts at meeting the needs of the largest group of web hosters; beginners.

WpEngine is relatively new to the world of web hosting and was founded in 2010. Rather than offering a broad range of services like Godaddy, WpEngine is much more specific and only targets a specific part of the web hosting market. Optimized for WordPress hosting and quite expensive (when compared to the discounted offers of GoDaddy), WpEngine has a particular kind of customer in mind when advertising their service. WpEngine only offers managed WordPress hosting, which means that you cannot upload your Windows or Linux website on their servers. This, obviously, means that they only target a section of the web hosting market. Recently, GoDaddy launched its managed WordPress Hosting, but it has a long way to come before coming close to anything that WpEngine has on offer.

So let's get down to it; which is the better web host?

GoDaddy Popularity vs WpEngine Popularity

Let us start with the least Important (perhaps not even important at all) metric. And that is, which website host is the most popular one. Thanks to GoDaddy and their fine— (we understand that the word “fine” may be questionable in this context, but we find it to be fitting) advertising during Superbowl halftime shows, we can say that they are quite easily the most popular web host on the planet. We mean, who forgets a name like GoDaddy? Not a lot of people, we can tell you that for free. WpEngine, on the other hand, is perfectly inconspicuous. It is not even a contest, GoDaddy is the most popular web host.

And we wonder why we are even telling you this in the first place because we do not care. And you shouldn't either.

WpEngine performance compared to GoDaddy

Performance stats are a big deal for us, and it should be for you too. Alongside pricing, security and customer support, it is one of those metrics that can swing a comparison entirely to the side of a web host. We're going to look at speed and Uptime and see which web host comes out on top.

Speed Comparison

The currency of today's world is time, and no one needs or thinks very highly of a website that doesn't load quickly. There are a thousand reasons for this, but perhaps this is the most important; the currency of today's world is time, and no one enjoys spending it waiting.

GoDaddy, years ago, wasn't particularly known for speed. Its strength lay elsewhere— like in Uptime and great advertising. The story is different, at least for now, though. We set up a dummy account and tested GoDaddy's speed with Pingdom. We were quite pleasantly surprised. With an average loading speed of 517ms over the past 21 months, GoDaddy exceeds expectations. However, when we did some research and discovered that GoDaddy has nine data centers all around the world in places such as Singapore and Amsterdam, we were only surprised that they were once known for mediocre speed. Whatever was the case, it appears that GoDaddy has gotten its act together, and customers can only benefit. GoDaddy doesn't make use of SSD drives on their shared hosting plans, so their speed could be much better, but they aren't quite bothered about that. We would be, and you should be too.

WpEngine offers Content Delivery Network (CDN) hosting which tells us, right off the bat, that they've got some serious speed potential. However, CDN is only available for top tier plans. With up to nine data centers in places like London, California, Belgium, Taiwan, Hong Kong, WpEngine has no doubt invested a great lot into their tech. Let's see if it pays off. We tested their average load time over the last 21 months and they averaged 478mms. This is higher than 96% of all tested web hosts and is incredible for a relative beginner like WpEngine. However, the speed isn't so much faster than GoDaddy, but with the infrastructure WpEngine has, it can only get better.

Obviously, WpEngine is the faster host, but we've got to say that we are quite impressed by the numbers that GoDaddy managed to pull.

Uptime Comparison

Your web host doesn't only have to be fast, it has to be up too. Without a great uptime, incredible speed would be like Usain Bolt running on a spot; quite fast, but going nowhere.

GoDaddy has an uptime guarantee. That means if you can't get to your website and you ask for an explanation, all you're likely to get, at best, is some monetary compensation. We tested their uptime, and thankfully, GoDaddy can boast of an Uptime of average of 99.97%. The fact that they promise 99.99% is inconsequential, the reality is that they have great uptime, but not quite as extraordinary as they promise.

WpEngine, like GoDaddy, offers an Uptime guarantee. This means that for every time your website is down for no just cause (scheduled maintenance and the likes) you get some money/credit back. Backed up with the fact that WpEngine has barely any downtime at 99.98%, they have dwarfed GoDaddy hosting for us.

The performance results are in, and it is done on this end. The numbers show only one winner, and that winner is WpEngine

But we're not done. There are still a lot of things to consider.

GoDaddy Ease of use compared to WpEngine

Before we start, we just have to say this; GoDaddy is the best web host for beginners. The rest of this is just to show you how in case you need convincing. But we've tried both web hosts out and we can say that WpEngine is far more difficult to use for beginners than GoDaddy.

For beginners, who are often just searching for a drag and drop experience in building their website, GoDaddy has a basic in-house website builder and users have the choice of either cPanel or Plesk to operate.  With one click installations of over 125 of the most popular applications available, GoDaddy is a dream for a new user. GoDaddy also supports tools like cPanel, MySQL, CloudLinux, Python, and multiple versions of PHP. Basically, they have everything to make your experience at the helm of affairs to be a stress-free one. One thing we've noticed, though, is that while other web hosts forgo migration fees, GoDaddy indulges in no such charitable shenanigans. And does it get worse? It does. Site migration is $99.99 per site. For a service that many web hosts render for free, this is really incredible pricing. However, we do suppose that GoDaddy can get away with it because beginners rarely have a site they intend to migrate, so they do not have to pay such outlandish fees for migration.

WpEngine is great for WordPress users, simple. If you're hosting a WordPress site, while GoDaddy might have a great interface to help you along, WpEngine has a great structure to set up everything for you. With 36+ premium WordPress themes available for free, you can save up to $2000 on purchasing premium WordPress themes. You don't have to install caching plugins like W3 Total Cache when using WpEngine as an inbuilt caching system called EverCache comes with every install. WpEngine has a proprietary feature called the “one-click staging area”. This allows you to test out whatever changes you want to make on your website before going live.

WpEngine doesn't offer free site migration, but they recently launched a free migration tool. This means that if you are not willing to pay to migrate your website, you might as well do it yourself. This isn't something that we are very pleased with, seeing as many other web hosts offer at least one free migration with basic plans. But it would have to make do, we suppose.

It's difficult to see who the winner here is— on one hand, GoDaddy is great for any web site, on the other hand, WpEngine is absolutely fantastic for WordPress websites. Neither offers free migration too. We'll go with GoDaddy, though, because of the singular reason that any web site is a fit for them.

Money-back Guarantee Policy Comparison

Sometimes you might check out a new web host and decide that there are many things you'd like to do, but sticking with them isn't one.  In that case, what do you? You've already paid, so you might need to get a refund. Web hosting companies usually have a standing policy on this kind of issues.

GoDaddy has the standard industry 30-days refund policy. That is, if you purchase an annual plan, you'd be entitled to a refund if you refuse service within the first thirty days. If you purchase anything less than an annual plan, you'd have 48 hours. While this isn't exactly stellar, it does get worse. Web hosts can have all manner of legal loopholes in the terms and conditions aspect of the user agreement, so we went through it and found something interesting. Here is what GoDaddy says about refunds; “If a Hosting Service has already been performed, then it is non-refundable (if not yet performed, eligible for a refund within 30 days of the date of the transaction)”. We are no legal luminaries, but to us this means that if any web hosting service has been offered within thirty days, then you lose the right to ask for a refund. That is singularly unhelpful, we think.

WpEngine has double that amount of time. The company offers a 60 days window where you can ask for a refund. What's more? We've heard no complaints about people not getting their refunds on time, and WpEngine has no sketchy legal clause in their fine print.

With double the industry average, WpEngine takes this bout and is our winner.

GoDaddy vs WpEngine: Customer Support and Reliability

Setting up a web host account can be tasking work, and creating your own website can be a singularly difficult task. It helps if your web host has technical support that you can contact at a moment's notice.

GoDaddy, like most web host, claims to have support available round the clock with phone and live chat. However, we know how deceptive claims like this can be, so we decided to check this round the clock claim out ourselves.

We tried repeatedly to get our hands on live chat rep but we found that impossible to do. We did eventually get connected to a live representative, and he was friendly and helpful. When we didn't respond for a few minutes, though, we were automatically logged off.

That wasn't something that we enjoyed as we had to wait a while to get connected to another live rep. This doesn't tell well on their customer support infrastructure and we weren't too impressed. The fact that GoDaddy doesn't have an email channel is also quite disturbing, as we don't see why they shouldn't have one. There are some problems that do not need to be immediately resolved and it would be helpful to have them resolved by email. However, GoDaddy has a lot of instructional materials and FAQs available, so you rarely ever have the present need to talk to a live rep.

WpEngine, for some inexplicable reason, offers only live chat support on its most basic plans. You have to pay more to get access to a telephone support structure and this is quite unlike anything we've ever seen in any web host. We've never thought that customer support was a privilege, but that is exactly what WpEngine tells us. Their live chat feature is quick and the rep we got a hold on was knowledgeable and friendly enough. One good thing that we've noticed is that support technicians of WpEngine are almost always experts on WordPress and therefore are greatly suited for WordPress specific hosting problems. This is important because problems concerning plugin compatibility issues and plugin configuration can easily be sorted and solved. These problems might not be so easily solved if the tech support available do not have WordPress expertise. One more thing we've noticed is that WpEngine doesn't offer Email support on any of its plans.

To make up for a lack of telephone contact with their basic plan, WpEngine has extensive online resources that provide most of the knowledge you'd ever need in launching your first site, making improvements to your website, and managing any problem that comes with having your own website.

We weren't impressed with either of the support infrastructure reviewed, and the winner of this duel is just less terrible than the other. WpEngine's lack of phone support for its basic plan was a deal-breaker for us. The winner, for us, is GoDaddy, despite their flaws.

Security Comparison between WpEngine and GoDaddy

Web host security is very important, especially when Google will begin to warn visitors if web sites do not have SSL certificates. It is also important to know whether backups are free (in case your web site gets hacked into or deleted) and/or whether you have to pay extra for SSL certificates.  It is also important to know whether you have extra security features enabled by your web host.

GoDaddy only offers SSL certificates on their top plans. If you're purchasing a basic or medium range plan, you would have to purchase an SSL certificate separately. That would cost you, and we say this with no exaggeration whatsoever, an arm, a leg, and possibly a kidney. At $63.99 per year for a single site initial purchase and $79.99 per year for renewal, this is a cost that will put an extra strain on your pocket. It gets better, we suppose, if this could be called better; you'll only have to pay $159.99 per year on multiple sites on the initial purchase and then $199.99 per year on subsequent renewals, and $295.99 per year for all subdomains (369.99/year renew). You must agree that these prices are quite simply extraordinary. Even backups and website security cost an extra $2.99 and $5.99 per month respectively. The fact that GoDaddy doesn't offer DDoS protection is also substantially disturbing.

WpEngine has an advanced security system that covers your website, no matter what plan you're on. With daily malware/virus scans in partnership with Sucuri, WpEngine invests a lot into security infrastructure. However, WpEngine doesn't offer free SL certificates and you can purchase your own certificate at $49.99 a year. If you're on a professional plan or higher, you can use a third-party SSL certificate for your site. WpEngine also offers free daily backups for all their plans. There is also a one-click restore option available in case your website gets hacked. It ensures that you can get your website back in the case of an attack. WpEngine, with their recently launched Global Edge Security For WordPress with Cloudflare, unlike GoDaddy, has sufficient protection against DDoS attacks.

WpEngine wins this one for us because of their extra security features.

Pricing Comparison

For some people, this is perhaps the most important thing to consider when choosing a web host. People don't just want a cheap web host, they want one that has great value for a relatively low price. So while it might be easier to say, this or that web host is cheaper than this or that, it is important to know and understand the value on offer.

It is going to be quite difficult to compare prices between these two web hosts because in the first place they offer different services. GoDaddy offers the traditional web hosting package, which includes the popular shared hosting plans and supports any kind of website. WpEngine, on the other hand, only provides managed WordPress hosting, that is all. Since the products being sold are different, we will focus less on the price and more on the value being provided at the price quoted.

GoDaddy's shared hosting plans start from the economy plan which is $2.99. The plan comes with 24/7 support infrastructure, 100GB of storage, unlimited bandwidth, free emails, and free domains. This sounds quite cheap, except of course when you discover that web hosts are up to their regular tricks of deceptive pricing here— the renewal for this plan costs  $7.99, more than two times the original purchase price.

The next plan is the Deluxe plan which can be initially purchased at $4.99 (however, you have to pay $10.99 to renew). It comes with all the features of the Economy plan and has the added advantage of unlimited websites, storage, and subdomains. The next plan is the ultimate plan which can be purchased at $5.99 (The renewal fee is $16.99). It has all the features of the deluxe plan, and in addition, has double the processing power, a free SSL certificate (for a single term) and unlimited databases. The maximum plan, which is the most expensive shared hosting plan that GoDaddy has to offer is $12.99 for an initial purchase and $24.99 upon renewal. It comes with the Ultimate plan features and ×2 the processing power and memory, ×2 maximum site traffic and a free SSL certificate for the full term.

Since WpEngine specializes in WordPress hosting, we don't think this comparison would be complete without talking about the prices of  GoDaddy's WordPress optimized plan. While WordPress will definitely work with any of GoDaddy's hosting plans, having a WordPress dedicated service ensures that you have fewer problems with things such as plugins as they would come pre-installed. GoDaddy's basic WordPress plan is the basic plan which comes with one website, 10gb worth of space, and maximum traffic of 25,000 visitors per month. The price of the initial price is $4.99. All GoDaddy's WordPress hosting plans include;

  • a free domain (when you sign up for an annual plan)
  • free daily backups (these aren't offered on their shared hosting plans)
  • malware scans,
  • And sign up forms that are built-in for capturing client data.

The price for basic plan renewal, though, is $9.99 per month. The next plan, which is the Deluxe plan, comes at an initial $7.99. You have 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. However, the renewal fee is $14.99. The ultimate plan can be purchased for $9.99 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 cost of renewal stands at $19.99. The next plan called the Pro 5+ plan, 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. The renewal price is the same as the price of the initial purchase.

GoDaddy's plans, ordinarily, aren't very expensive— however, the fact that you sometimes have to purchase things like backups, website security, and SSL plans separately is a huge issue for us.

Compared to Godaddy, WpEngine has a very straightforward plan. Since they only provide managed WordPress hosting, they have only three plans. The first, which is the startup plan, comes with 25k visits per month, 10GB of storage, 50Gb of bandwidth per month and one website. It is priced at $35 per month. The next plan, which is the Growth plan, allows for up to a hundred thousand visitors per month, 20GB of storage, 200GB of bandwidth per month, and five sites. The Growth plan requires a monthly subscription of $115. The most expensive plan, which is the scale plan, can be purchased for a whopping $290 per month. It can support up to 400 thousand visitors per month. With local storage of 30GB, 400GB of bandwidth per month and 15 websites, it could be argued that this plan packs some serious muscle. It would be difficult, though, to justify the price tag.

The custom plan, which offers support of millions of visitors per month, 100GB-1TB of storage, 400GB of bandwidth and 25 sites doesn't have a price, as you would need to contact a WpEngine specialist for that.

We've looked at both relevant prices of the two web hosts, and it was as complex and as difficult to compare as we thought. However, one theme stuck with us; WpEngine is terribly expensive while GoDaddy, for all its shady dealings with price, is less expensive.

It could be understood, though, that this is a result of the fact that WpEngine is optimized for WordPress hosting and would give a much better performance than GoDaddy. However, the quoted prices give us pause. Strictly speaking in terms of value for money, we think that GoDaddy takes this round, but only just. If great and flawless WordPress hosting is what you're looking for, though, and you have a pocket that is deep enough, we would advise that you go with WpEngine. If you don't, GoDaddy is probably your best choice.

Wp Engine vs GoDaddy Extra Features and Freebies

There are a lot of extra features that web hosts offer that are not necessarily covered in the sections above. It would be unfair to finish comparing them without seeing the extra things that each web host throws in for its customers. For example, GoDaddy offers marketing and administrative tools that are of great help to small businesses. The 1-click installation of over 125 free application is also of great help to beginners and veterans alike— after all, no one is interested in wasting time in doing what can be done with one click. GoDaddy's website builder, a proprietary tool called GoCentral, is also one of the easiest to use amongst the website builders that we've reviewed. In fact, using GoCentral, we were able to setup an account in about ten minutes, having only to deal with five pages of setup. It really is that easy. GoCentral has a lot of templates for you to choose from and from the perspective of a beginner, that is simply fantastic news. That isn't all. The WordPress Quick Start web builder offered by GoDaddy ensures that you do not need to know a single thing about WordPress before hosting a website. The fact that GoDaddy's plans come with a free domain is also an important extra feature.

GoDaddy, not one given to random gestures of magnanimity (as we saw with their refusal to include free SSL certificates in their basic plans), pleasantly surprised us by offering a limited number of free advertising credits to new users. So if you're a beginner, it's easier for you to get your name out there.

Unfortunately though, as all things cannot be rosy, GoDaddy also has some extra issues that we must name. For example, GoDaddy doesn't make use of CDN (Content Delivery Network). This ensures that speed might never truly rise above average with GoDaddy, as CDNs help speed up servers.

WpEngine can also boast of some really impressive extra features. For example, they do not leave you to manage your web site yourself. They regularly give advice and monitor plugins to determine the safe ones and the ones likely to bring up trouble during installation. Their 60 days Money-back guarantee isn't something that one often sees in this line of work, and is exactly double the industry average. WpEngine's staging feature is also of great importance to all kinds of website owners from wisened veterans to the greenest beginner. The staging feature, as explained earlier, allows you to first test run whatever changes you want to implement on your account and see the results. This allows very limited mistakes as you already know what will happen before implementing the changes you have in mind.  StudioPress was acquired by WpEngine in 2018 and this means that WpEngine customers now have complete access to the Genesis framework and 37 WordPress themes at zero extra costs— GoDaddy has only eight. WpEngine also ensures that your web site software is always up to date, and they take the trouble of testing any update before applying it to your website to make sure you have no problems. Combined with automatic WordPress backups, there is no doubt that WpEngine is the best web host for WordPress websites. It doesn't end there, though. WpEngine has a Geotarget tool that allows you to customize the content that your visitors see based on their geographical location. This can be very helpful for targeted advertising.

This is a difficult one to decide, as both web hosts have amazing features. So we're going to let this one go— decide yourself.

Wp Engine vs GoDaddy: Our Pick

As far as Apples to Oranges comparison goes, this wasn't so terrible. Except for one or two cases, like GoDaddy's speed and WpEngine's lack of telephone support on its basic plans, we weren't too surprised by the results reached. WpEngine performs better than GoDaddy in performance stats, customer support and security infrastructure. However, GoDaddy has more competitive pricing and is easier to use for beginners. Our conclusion is that if you want to host a WordPress website, WpEngine is the best choice for you, while GoDaddy is far much better at other hosting services.

What this means is that, despite their absolutely outrageous pricing, WpEngine wins this duel for us.

So GoDaddy Vs WpEngine? WpEngine for sure.

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