An excellent service with only a few minor niggles keeping it from being perfect.
By Brad Ward – Last Updated: 27 Oct'17
Whether you’re looking to create a blog or start an online storefront, you need a website host that’s reliable, loaded with features and offers great value for money. GoDaddy is a popular website host that checks all of those boxes and is capable of meeting almost any need your website might have.
GoDaddy has a lot going for it and only has a few minor drawbacks compared to our other best web hosting providers, such as no month-to-month subscription for some lower end plans as well as a small learning curve.
That said, we recommend GoDaddy to anyone looking for a reliable host. Get started at GoDaddy for only $11.
- Free domain
- Lots of features
- Competitively priced
- Great value for money
- 24/7 customer support
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- No month-to-month plan with base hosting
- cPanel sign-up process is glitchy
GoDaddy has a lot of excellent features, including a free domain name with the purchase of a hosting plan, a site builder, a dedicated IP address for accessing records during DNS propagation and more.
A domain name would normally cost you an extra $15 on top of your hosting plan, but GoDaddy saves you some money by giving you a domain name for free for a year, a fairly unique feature when compared to other services among our web hosting reviews.
After buying your hosting package, you can also opt for GoDaddy’s own beginner-friendly site builder called GoCentral. Plans for GoCentral start at $5.99 per month, and can go all the way up to $29.99 for the “online store” plan.
The base plan lets you create a mobile-friendly website with the site builder’s suite of design tools. If you need a little more out of your site builder plan, you can upgrade for added features, such as SEO tools that should help you rank better with Google, donation tools, email marketing systems and more.
The top-end “online store” option is an ideal plan for businesses with an online storefront. You get everything the previous plans offer, but with a range of ecommerce features as well, including a built-in shopping cart for customers to add products to, payment processing and an inventory system.
If you’re considering GoDaddy’s ecommerce features, you should also be looking at their dedicated IP options to make sure your storefront is secure, as a dedicated IP addresses aren’t shared with hundreds of other potentially insecure domains. There’s countless other benefits, such as creating a secure connection for your site’s visitors.
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Shared hosting could easily be GoDaddy’s most attractive plans because of all the extra features they come with. Even the lowest shared hosting tier gives you extras like a free domain name for a year, 100GB of storage, a free email system, a file manager, file-transfer protocol (FTP) for uploading large files to your site and much more.
The only downside is GoDaddy’s base shared hosting plan might not be attractive to bloggers on a budget, as GoDaddy’s lowest tier requires you to buy three months of hosting at a time for $7.99 per month (around $24 at checkout). To buy month-to-month hosting, you have to upgrade to the next tier, which costs $10.99 per month.
All of GoDaddy’s hosting plans come with cPanel, which is a control panel for using GoDaddy’s many features, such as your email system, FTP, the file manager and a DNS editor, which can be used for adding and removing records to connect services, like a Google business email, up to your website.
GoDaddy’s Virtual Private Server hosting plans have a lot of value for money, too. You get all of the features that come with shared hosting, but on top of that, all of GoDaddy’s VPS plans are managed, which means GoDaddy will conduct backups and security patches of your server for you. If you need more support, you can add a “fully managed” service to your plan for an extra $120 per month, which gives GoDaddy the responsibility of fully managing your server.
Dedicated server plans with GoDaddy are similar to the VPS package, as you get everything shared and VPS hosting gives you, but you also have a server dedicated to your website to handle the demands of increased traffic. Similar to VPS hosting, you can choose between managed and fully managed options as well.
Last up are GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting plans, which offer more value for money than much of GoDaddy’s competition, such as Hostgator (read our HostGator review for more on this service). A WordPress hosting plan costs the same as a shared hosting plan at $7.99 per month, but GoDaddy throws in a lot of extra goodies, such as a free domain name, installing WordPress for you and giving you access to thousands of WordPress themes and plugins.
GoDaddy has a standard 30-day money-back guarantee for annual and semi-annual plans. Monthly plans are a little different, with GoDaddy only allowing refunds on these within 48 hours.
You can also buy domain names directly from GoDaddy. These normally cost around $15, but can differ depending on discounts and sales that are running when buying a new domain.
GoDaddy, like many other hosts, makes money off of add-ons, and sometimes will automatically select add-ons to be put in your cart. So, when you’re buying a domain, make sure you uncheck (as pictured above) or remove add-ons you don’t need from your cart so you aren’t charged extra.
GoDaddy has four server types to meet the feature, bandwidth and hardware needs of multiple types of websites. First, you have shared hosting, which is similar to what other web hosts in the market offer. You share a server with hundreds of other customers, which is how GoDaddy can offer these so cheaply.
GoDaddy claims its shared hosting plans have unmetered bandwidth, but that isn’t entirely true, as you have unlimited bandwidth as long as you’re within the scope of GoDaddy’s hosting agreement. If you aren’t, GoDaddy will ask you to upgrade to one of its better hosting plans, such as VPS hosting. That said, shared hosting on GoDaddy is ideal for people who want to start low traffic sites, such as a blog, an online resume or even a portfolio.
The VPS hosting plans are aimed at websites that serve thousands of customers per day. Servers with these plans start out with 1GB of RAM, 40GB of storage for website files and unmetered bandwidth (again, as long as this bandwidth is within GoDaddy’s hosting agreement) to handle thousands of site visitors per day.
These VPS plans can be scaled all the way up to 8GB of RAM, 240GB of storage and unmetered bandwidth. The primary difference between GoDaddy’s shared hosting and VPS plans is that VPS hosting offers better hardware to meet the demands of websites receiving thousands of visitors per day at a fraction of the cost of dedicated hosting plans.
VPS hosting plans also give you root access to your server, which allows you to modify and delete system files.
If your traffic outgrows what a VPS plan can handle, GoDaddy has dedicated hosting plans, which are perfect for businesses that bring in tons of traffic. All of GoDaddy’s dedicated hosting servers come with four CPU cores and a type of storage called RAID 1.
The lowest dedicated server tier comes with 4GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. You can scale this all the way up to 32GB of RAM and 2TB of storage, depending on your site’s performance needs. All of GoDaddy’s dedicated hosting tiers have unmetered bandwidth.
GoDaddy’s dedicated servers are pricier than other web hosts, read our FatCow review for one example, but the improved hardware gives better bang for your buck thanks to better site performance. This is especially important for online storefronts, as those generally see much higher traffic.
Last are GoDaddy’s managed WordPress hosting plans, which are excellent for people new to hosting their own website. As part of the WordPress plans, GoDaddy pre-installs WordPress on your site for you, conducts nightly backups of your site’s data, automatically, installs WordPress updates and gives you access to thousands of curated themes and plugins.
WordPress hosting plans, at the lowest tier, come with 10GB of storage and 25,000 monthly site visitors. You can upgrade your WordPress hosting plan if your website needs to meet higher traffic demands, all the way up to 50GB of storage and 800,000 monthly visitors.
Buying a domain and hosting plan can be confusing. Like we mentioned earlier, GoDaddy makes its money off of addons and tries to get you to buy as many as possible. That said, during the checkout process, they will put addons in your cart without your consent, and will have to be removed manually if you don’t want them.
Advertising addons isn’t a bad thing, but since GoDaddy isn’t very upfront with everything you’re buying, the checkout process can be confusing.
Another process that wasn’t very straightforward was signing up for cPanel. Normally when you sign up for a web host, they’ll send you control panel login info to your email. Instead, GoDaddy has you create a separate cPanel account when you log into your hosting dashboard. We felt this was unnecessarily confusing.
All these are small nuisances that are easily overcome. However, the frustrating part of GoDaddy was that the cPanel account creation process is glitchy. We never were able to get it working properly, as we tried to create an account not once, but three times.
Even after the third time of creating the cPanel account, GoDaddy still didn’t recognize it and wanted us to create it again. It even showed that the username we used the last three times we registered as still not taken, even though we had already claimed it.
Other than the checkout process and cPanel signup, GoDaddy is extremely user friendly. One prime example is its site builder. Building a website with it is entirely point-and-click, no technical knowledge necessary. GoDaddy also makes it easy to edit or add DNS records, get your site published on the web and more. If it weren’t for the above problems, GoDaddy would be one of the best hosts on the market as far as ease of use goes.
GoDaddy offers website security through a service called Sucuri. For $6.99 per month, Sucuri scans your website daily for malware infecting site files and notifies you of any changes to site files.
As an added bonus, Sucuri monitors your site for blacklisting, as Google can “blacklist” or remove your site from search results if it’s considered to be dangerous to site visitors. If Google blacklists your site, Sucuri identifies and resolves blacklisting issues quickly so visitors can always find your site from Google search results.
GoDaddy also offers SSL certificates for your site at $69.99 a year, which protects a site user’s data, such as payment information, from being stolen by hackers. It’s an essential layer of protection to have if you plan to offer a product for site visitors to buy.
GoDaddy offers 24/7 customer support by phone and email. They have live chat as well, but they don’t seem to offer it as a 24/7 service, as there were times where we went to use it and they were offline.
We did get eventually get in touch with them through live chat, and asked them a question: “How easy is it to install WordPress on a GoDaddy shared hosting plan versus the WordPress hosting plans?” A GoDaddy representative quickly connected to the chat, sent us a link to their walkthrough for setting up WordPress and even offered to help us get started. They were prompt and very helpful.
If you’re looking for a reliable web host with great value for money, GoDaddy is one of the top web hosts to go with. GoDaddy prices itself competitively by offering a mix of subscription-based and free features, such as the GoCentral site builder or the free domain with your hosting purchase.
Introductory rates are cheap if you can buy a year or more of web hosting at a time, as $60 will get you started with a shared hosting plan and free domain for a year.
The one drawback is that GoDaddy isn’t very friendly to cash-strapped consumers by not offering month-to-month subscriptions on its cheapest shared hosting plan.
But even then, GoDaddy is an excellent host, as it’s not expensive, offers a lot of features and has excellent customer support. If you’re looking for a reliable place for your website, GoDaddy is about as good as it gets. You can try it for yourself risk-free thanks to GoDaddy’s 30-day money-back guarantee over at GoDaddy