SiteGround and GoDaddy are two very different web hosting services. On the one hand, you have SiteGround, which focuses its service on a concise lineup of plans and direct support, and on the other, you have GoDaddy, which offers almost every service a small business could need. Even so, only one made it onto our best web hosting shortlist.
To find out which, keep reading our SiteGround vs. GoDaddy comparison. We’ll throw the providers into the ring to duke it out over multiple rounds. At the end, whichever won the greatest number of rounds will be the victor.
That said, if you’re just starting, this comparison shouldn’t be the only thing you read because we’ll be comparing the providers directly. Some aspects change when compared to the entire web hosting market, so read our SiteGround review and GoDaddy review for our full thoughts on each service.
Setting Up a Fight: SiteGround vs. GoDaddy
To ensure each round is weighted equally, we’ve condensed the eight rounds normally found in our reviews to five: features, pricing, ease of use, speed and security.
We’ll still cover everything we typically cover in our reviews, but some sections will be combined with others. That not only makes the comparison more direct, it also makes it more fair. After all, a point in hosting types doesn’t hold the same weight as a point in speed.
At the beginning of each round, we’ll lay the ground rules, establishing what we’re looking for from each provider. We’ll talk about each, give our thoughts on how they compare and award a point to the winner. Whichever service has three or more points will win the match.
As with all of our comparisons, we urge you to read through each section as opposed to just scanning the winners. For example, there were multiple rounds in our HostGator vs. Bluehost matchup that could’ve gone either way. In such cases, we follow our best judgement, but that isn’t always right for everyone.
First, we’re going to look at features. Though this section can range from the LiteSpeed servers showcased at Hostinger to the proprietary control panel of Kinsta, there are a few staples that we look for (read our Hostinger review and Kinsta review). Namely, we’re looking for automated daily backups, an included website builder and a free SSL/TLS certificate.
SiteGround is such a strong web host because it includes so many features for free. Unlike HostGator, it includes them across plans, too (read our HostGator review). The essentials are accounted for, including automated daily backups, Cloudflare integration and a free SSL/TLS certificate. There’s a website builder, too, and thankfully, it’s one of the best.
Whichever plan you choose, you can use a free version of Weebly. As discussed in our Weebly review, it’s among the best website builders we’ve tested, fit with an easy to use control panel, great integrations with other platforms and many features. You get the Connect plan, which is essentially the free plan with your domain, and if you need more features, you can upgrade.
That said, SiteGround isn’t the only web host that integrates with Weebly (read our Bluehost review to learn about another one that does). What sets it apart is its WordPress features. They include WordPress staging, an in-house caching plugin called SuperCacher and managed WordPress updates.
SiteGround didn’t make our best web hosting for WordPress guide on the back of those features alone, though. As opposed to Kinsta, SiteGround offers essential managed WordPress features for no more than a standard shared plan.
As one of the largest web hosts, GoDaddy is stuffed with features. Thanks to their strange distribution, though, you’ll likely find the service lacking. Instead of segmenting its tiers based on performance, GoDaddy segments them on features, resulting in a confusing lineup that often costs more money for less performance.
The first two shared plans lack an SSL/TLS certificate, for example, and none of the shared plans offer automated backups. You can add those features to your plan, but that’s expensive. A certificate costs $7 per month and automated backup is an extra $3. For comparison, you can purchase a shared plan at SiteGround for less money than an SSL/TLS certificate at GoDaddy.
Plus, a website builder isn’t included, despite the fact that GoDaddy has its own design (read our GoDaddy GoCentral review for our thoughts). Similar to how HostGator handles its Gator website builder, GoCentral is a separate service, meaning you don’t get access unless you buy a dedicated website builder plan (read our Gator review).
Throughout GoDaddy’s website, it’s clear it’s more interested in marketing additional services to you than building a solid package out of the gate, much like Midphase (read our Midphase review). That leaves plans feeling expensive, clunky and disjointed.
Thankfully, there’s an exception. The WordPress plans are packed with features, including custom themes, a search engine optimization wizard, daily backups and more. That said, if WordPress is what you’re after, the performance-focused feature set of MDDHosting may be more appealing (read our MDDHosting review).
Round One Thoughts
GoDaddy could take down SiteGround in this round considering how many features it offers to small businesses, but everything has a price tag attached, making the basic package feel, well, basic. SiteGround includes everything you need out of the gate, making for a more straightforward and less expensive hosting experience.
Unfortunately, pricing isn’t as simple as comparing the rates when it comes to web hosting. The topic of deceptive pricing is omnipresent, despite the fact that SiteGround and GoDaddy aren’t as vague as Arvixe (read our Arvixe review). In this section, we’re going to look at how clear each service is about its rates and compare that with the rest of the web hosting market.
SiteGround isn’t as clear as 1&1 IONOS about pricing, but it’s still better than Arvixe (read our 1&1 IONOS review). SiteGround has an introductory rate that you’ll pay for the initial term, which is what’s displayed on its website and in the table above. That said, unlike most hosts, it doesn’t change the price based on the duration.
There’s a $14.95 setup fee for monthly accounts, but the fact that SiteGround offers a monthly plan is good enough. Most beginner-focused web hosts, such as iPage and FatCow, hide behind an inexpensive rate only to inform you that you have to purchase three years of hosting to get it (read our iPage review and FatCow review).
As for the price, SiteGround is solid when it comes to shared, WordPress and WooCommerce plans, especially compared to the overpriced Pagely (read our Pagely review). Outside of those, though, the rates are higher than we’d like. For example, dedicated plans start north of $200. If that’s what you’re after, read our WebHostingBuzz review.
If you try the service and decide you don’t like it, SiteGround gives you 30 days to get your money back.That’s only for shared hosting, though. You get 15 days for cloud hosting and there’s no refund period for dedicated hosting. Compared to the anytime money-back guarantee of A2 Hosting, SiteGround’s offering is lackluster (read our A2 Hosting review).
Deceptive pricing aside, GoDaddy is too expensive and confusing. There are around 25 types of hosting, minus the Windows variations of certain types of hosting. It doesn’t seem like there’s order to the chaos, either. Some plans include features that are more expensive than buying them a la carte and vice versa.
Regardless, the price is too high. For example, the most inexpensive shared plan renews at $8 per month, and though that’s in line with a lot of basic shared plans, GoDaddy doesn’t come close to the features of other web hosts (read our Namecheap review for one such web host). GoDaddy’s plan only includes one domain and lacks all the features mentioned in round one.
The same multi-year shenanigans we saw with JustHost are present here, too (read our JustHost review). Continuing with the most inexpensive shared plan, it runs $3 per month when you sign up and $8 per month upon renewal. That’s only if you have a multi-year contract, though. If you go for the three-month plan, it jumps to $11 per month.
Plus, going for less than a year presents issues with getting a refund. Subscriptions for one year or more get the standard 30 days, but if you opt for less time, you only get 48 hours to change your mind. Compared to InMotion Hosting’s 90-day refund window, GoDaddy’s money-back guarantee is a joke (read our InMotion Hosting review).
Round Two Thoughts
Neither SiteGround nor GoDaddy is great when it comes to pricing. That said, it’s clear that one commits far fewer errors than the other. SiteGround has a few missteps, but they’re minor. GoDaddy, on the other hand, misses the mark on almost all accounts, with a particularly offensive refund policy.
3. Ease of Use
We start judging ease of use when we land on a website. That means everything from checkout to setup to website management is fair game. In this section, we’re going to look at how easy it is to choose and purchase a plan from GoDaddy and SiteGround, as well as how intuitive each control panel is.
SiteGround makes choosing and purchasing a plan a breeze. The layout of the website is simple, with only a few tiers for each type of hosting and a brief description of the differences between them. If you’re familiar with the technical jargon, there’s a link to a detailed comparison of the tiers, too.
Checking out is similarly straightforward, with SiteGround presenting you with few options and allowing you to set your password immediately after payment is confirmed. That said, after you log in, problems start to creep up.
You’ll land in the control panel, which allows you to deal with the hosting part of your service. That means you can edit billing information, purchase additional services and contact support from there. It’s a dated implementation, though. It’s still functional, but it could use a facelift.
It’s difficult to find cPanel, too. Unlike our best web hosting with cPanel picks, which make it easy to access and use cPanel, SiteGround buries it in your account dashboard. cPanel is dated, too. Though it’s still more usable than HostPapa’s cPanel (read our HostPapa review), SiteGround hasn’t updated the look to match modern web hosts.
GoDaddy’s website is the opposite of SiteGround’s. SiteGround is calm, cool and collected, while GoDaddy seems like someone who’s taken a shot of adrenaline straight to the neck. There are so many hosting types, services and add-ons to get through that the website is a nightmare.
As with pricing, there’s no method to the madness. Some types of hosting have top menus to link you to subsections, some of which are just tabs on the same page and others of which are different sections. It seems like each piece was designed in isolation and stitched together after the fact.
Checkout isn’t any better, with GoDaddy asking you to confirm your payment before setting which domain you’re going to use. After that, you can log in, but you won’t be able to do much with your hosting package. The dashboard is straightforward, but it’s clear that GoDaddy is focused more on domain registration than hosting.
That said, cPanel is available, and it’s a modern implementation. The stock build of cPanel makes it easy to find the settings you need to manage your account, change hosting settings and monitor your website. Choosing a plan needs serious work, but managing your account is as simple as it gets.
Round Three Thoughts
GoDaddy and SiteGround have issues, but it’s hard to say which is worse. SiteGround has a streamlined website and checkout process, but the control panel, though functional, needs an update. GoDaddy, on the other hand, makes it difficult to choose a plan, but managing your account feels modern and intuitive.
This is one of those rounds that could go either way. That said, given GoDaddy’s modern control panel, it’s going to take the win. Choosing a plan is difficult, but if you know what you’re looking for or can endure a 15-minute headache, the madness ends. With SiteGround, it’s an ongoing process.
4. Speed and Uptime
Perhaps the most important aspect of any web hosting service is its speed. Our testing process is simple: we launch a website using the most inexpensive shared plan, install a blank copy of WordPress and test the domain using Pingdom Speed Test and Load Impact. Between the two, we can get a single-point test and a stress test.
SiteGround is one of the fastest web hosting services we’ve tested outside of Pagely. Pingdom Speed Test awarded our website a 96 out of 100, matching A2 Hosting and Kinsta. Compared to Site5, the performance benefit is clear (read our Site5 review).
As you can see in the chart above, though, the load time was long. Unfortunately, that was because of a lengthy DNS request. Moving past that, the “wait” metric, which is what we’re most concerned with, was low. That’s likely thanks to the multiple layers of caching SuperCacher offers.
Our Load Impact test didn’t test a single point like Pingdom Speed Test. Rather, it sent 50 virtual users to the server over five minutes, measuring the number of fulfilled requests and response time throughout. SiteGround performed well, allowing all the users through and staying around the same response time, unlike GreekGeeks (read our GreenGeeks review).
Its uptime guarantee is one of the best we’ve seen, too. SiteGround guarantees your website will be live 99.9 percent of the time. If it ever falls below that threshold, you’ll be given a month of hosting for free. It doesn’t stop there, though. For each whole percentage point below that, you’ll receive an additional month of free hosting.
GoDaddy didn’t perform as well in our Pingdom Speed Test assessment. We were awarded a 90 out 100, and though that seems like a small difference, it’s not. It’s important to remember the website we test has no content on it, so each point below 100 means there’s something outside of our control getting in the way.
There are many reasons the website could be loading slower. Hosting24 shows how LiteSpeed servers can decrease server overhead, so we suspect GoDaddy is using standard Apache (read our Hosting24 review). There’s also probably little to no caching going on.
More concerning, though, were our Load Impact results. Using the same test, GoDaddy performed horribly. It didn’t have much inconsistency, but that’s because the website didn’t load for most users. Some virtual users had a 0-millisecond response time and we had a lot of HTTP errors, suggesting there weren’t enough resources to accommodate a modest load.
There’s an uptime guarantee protecting your plan, but it doesn’t guarantee much. If your site falls below 99.9 percent uptime, you’ll receive 5 percent of your monthly hosting fee. However, downtime is solely determined by GoDaddy and doesn’t included maintenance (even if it’s unscheduled), FTP outages or email outages.
Round Four Thoughts
Though the previous round was nuanced, this one is clear. SiteGround not only performed better across our tests, it offers a more generous and straightforward uptime guarantee. GoDaddy, once again, seems like it’s pinching pennies.
5. Security and Privacy
Finally, we have security and privacy. Though it may not be as obvious for web hosting as it is for our best VPNs, this section plays a vital role in keeping you and your website safe. We’re going to look at how well SiteGround and GoDaddy respect your website, its users and your personal data.
As with standard features, SiteGround is full of security features. To start, you get a free SSL/TLS certificate and automated daily backups, but SiteGround builds on that. There’s also a web application firewall protecting your server, an AI-driven anti-bot system and on-demand backups if you’re using the GrowBig plan or higher.
There are integrations with other platforms, too. Cloudflare is easy to set up on your website, as is SpamExperts on your email. The only paid security feature is SG Site Scanner, which will look in your website files for malware. It’s $20 a year, but considering similar services cost as much per month, the price is worth it.
SiteGround says it “will not… sell, rent, share or otherwise disclose personally identifiable information for commercial purposes in any way.” Unlike Endurance International Group brands, such as HostMonster (read our HostMonster review), it’s clear SiteGround respects your personal data.
There are a lot of security features with GoDaddy, many more than with SiteGround or most other web hosts. That said, none of them are free. Even basic security features, such as an SSL/TLS certificate and daily backups, will run you a fee, as will basic server features, such as a web application firewall.
Some of that depends on which plan you purchase, though. As mentioned, the WordPress plans include an impressive number of features, but they’re much more expensive than SiteGround’s.
Round Five Thoughts
Though it’s not as clear as the previous round, SiteGround still stands above GoDaddy here. In addition to offering more security features for free, SiteGround doesn’t sell your personal information, pushing it even further in the lead for this final round.
6. Final Thoughts
SiteGround earned four points throughout this comparison, but it could’ve earned five. Ease of use is a soft spot for the otherwise stellar service, but it’s not broken by any means. If you can deal with the dated interface, SiteGround is one of the best web hosting services out there.
GoDady isn’t bad, but it makes the process more difficult than it should. In what seems like a nickel and diming pursuit, GoDaddy hurts the core of its service, offering up expensive packages that are big on bloat and light on features.
Do you agree that SiteGround is the better option? Are there reasons you like GoDaddy more? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.