GoDaddy Web Hosting Review 2017
Is GoDaddy a good web host? Read our full GoDaddy web hosting review with pros & cons, recommended use, FAQs, coupons, & more.
|Server O/S:||Linux & Windows|
|Control Panel:||cPanel & Plesk|
|Data centers:||9 total|
A Quick Overview:
www.godaddy.com is one of the oldest domain registrars on the Internet and boasts over 63 million domain names currently registered with the company. They were actually one of the first registrars to offer domain management services in 2001 after Network Solutions. GoDaddy’s domain registration and web hosting quickly became one of the most popular services on the market, mainly for its popular Super Bowl commercials and celebrity spokespeople. GoDaddy is a good choice for new site owners who need to register a domain cheaply and sign up for web hosting all in one place. They offer Windows & Linux hosting, popular reseller packages, VPS, cloud, and dedicated server plans. While GoDaddy is constantly working to improve their large variety of web hosting services, they often implement overly restrictive service policies on accounts. Because of the high volume of client support requests on their platform, their customer service frequently includes long wait times and non-helpful, canned email responses. While they are not considered “developer friendly” or popular in the open source community, many people successfully host websites with the company over the long term. Although we would not highly recommend GoDaddy over other platform choices for web hosting in the industry, they do offer world-class data center services to customers.
Why choose GoDaddy:
- Many discounts available for registering new domain names
- Offers a wide variety of shared, VPS, and dedicated server plans
- Provides both Linux and Windows web hosting services
- Includes a free domain with yearly accounts
- Access to cPanel for Linux and Plesk for Windows
- New Pro tool helps web professionals assist their clients with hosting
- Now with improved speeds & data centers around the globe
- Supports a large number of new domain name extensions
What are the disadvantages:
- Once the promotional price is over, the renewal rate can be very high for domain names & hosting plans
- They support SOPA and have been a part of animal rights controversy, which could be a problem for some customers
- Long history of seizing domains and cancelling hosting services after complaints
- Manages a high volume of clients with generally poor customer service relations
The bottom line:
GoDaddy is a traditionally popular choice for new site owners to inexpensively register a domain, set up hosting, and build their websites on a single integrated platform. Many people first get online through the company because of the power and appeal of their advertising campaigns. Promotions like $.99 domain registration on .com, .net, .org, and new gTLDs bring a lot of customers to their hosting services. GoDaddy also has a wide base of clients who use their reseller accounts to rebrand web hosting and domain name services. They offer a ready-made ecommerce website with all of their hosting products for white label companies to resell their dedicated server, VPS, and cloud plans. GoDaddy has strong support for Microsoft Windows as a hosting platform. Their Linux plans are based on cPanel and provide all of the industry standard features. GoDaddy is an all-in-one solution that makes web hosting convenient to use for most applications like blogging, ecommerce, forums, wikis, and business information sites. Their data center will support the needs of all sectors, from independent web publishers, small businesses, and start-up companies to non-profits, education organizations, and the largest Fortune 500 corporations in enterprise.
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GoDaddy was originally known as Jomax Technologies. GoDaddy was the second company founded by Bob Parsons who had previously sold his first software start-up firm to Intuit. The original name for the registrar was supposed to be BigDaddy, but because the domain name was already taken, the founders went with GoDaddy instead. In 2011, after a failed initial IPO bid, a majority stake in GoDaddy was acquired by the private equity groups KKR, Silver Lake Partners, and Technology Crossover Ventures for $2.25 billion. Bob Parsons resigned as CEO of the company later that year. Since 2012, GoDaddy has undertaken numerous acquisitions of small companies in the software and technology sector with a focus on email marketing, SEO, and domain parking services in order to bolster their online service product lines. In 2013, GoDaddy acquired the popular web hosting company Media Temple. In 2014, GoDaddy went public and is now listed on the New York Stock Exchange with a valuation of over $6 billion. As of 2016, GoDaddy had over 63 million domains registered by customers under its management, making it the world’s largest ICANN-accredited domain registrar company.
GoDaddy is one of the few companies that currently offers both Windows and Linux web hosting services. Linux hosting is more common and often cheaper than Windows, but GoDaddy keeps the same prices for all three of its shared hosting tiers. In line with industry trends, GoDaddy has recently launched new cloud hosting and managed WordPress hosting platforms. They also have a wide range of VPS and dedicated server packages available. The reseller hosting program at GoDaddy is one of the most popular in the world, with numerous small businesses and web entrepreneurs taking advantage of the ability to rebrand “white label” products in data center services. Because of the size of their user base, web hosting prices at GoDaddy are generally positioned in the middle of the market related to comparable services. The ability to procure both Linux and Windows hardware on web hosting plans at the same reasonably low prices is one of the biggest advantages of GoDaddy, especially when combined with their discount rates on domain registrations.
Overview of GoDaddy Shared Linux Hosting Plans
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The shared Linux web hosting plans at GoDaddy are based on cPanel and CloudLinux, an optimized distribution of CentOS with improved server stability and platform security achieved through the isolation of network resources. With CloudLinux, each hosting account resides in a Lightweight Virtualized Environment (LVE) which functions similar to a VPS in partitioning customer website files independently on the servers and optimizing the allocation of RAM, CPU, & simultaneous database connections across the network. GoDaddy is currently in the process of finally supporting PHP version 5.6 on shared Linux hosting plans, and this should be an option in cPanel for website development in 2017. They do not offer support for PHP 7.0 on these plans. Their current MySQL version is 5.5.52, which may also cause compatibility issues with some scripts. All of the Linux accounts also support Perl (5.8.8), with Python (2.4) available on the Deluxe and Unlimited plans. Developers with specific platform needs should verify in advance that GoDaddy servers support the required version of the server extensions and programming languages used by CMS scripts, plugins, and module code in order to avoid any problems with compatibility.
Shared Linux Hosting – Economy: 1 website, 100 GB storage, & Unlimited bandwidth + 10 x 1 GB MySQL databases + cPanel & CloudLinux
With unlimited domain hosting available for only $1 more under introductory rates, the Economy service is over-priced at $7.99 per month for a single domain at renewal prices. We would not recommend the Economy hosting plan to most users. However, for single site owners who simply park a domain with a script and know that they will not be requiring any other resources over time, it could have some limited appeal. For most users, there are cheaper and more powerful hosting options available that are better than this plan.
Shared Linux Hosting – Deluxe: Unlimited websites, storage, & bandwidth + 25 x 1 GB MySQL databases + cPanel & CloudLinux
The Deluxe plan is recommended for most site owners to choose when ordering web hosting services from GoDaddy. This plan has industry standard features for unlimited domain hosting with cPanel running on CloudLinux. While the limit of all databases to 1 GB in total storage capacity is not typical of other shared Linux plans found at other companies, most website owners will not have to worry about reaching these account limits. Nevertheless, some web publishers, marketing promoters, and multi-domain portfolio managers with many projects under development may find the 25 MySQL database limit too restrictive, and be forced to upgrade to the Ultimate plan for unlimited database installations.
Shared Linux Hosting – Ultimate: Unlimited websites, storage, bandwidth, & MySQL databases + cPanel & CloudLinux
The Ultimate shared Linux hosting plan at GoDaddy is somewhat overpriced at $7.99 per month, as the only difference between the Ultimate and the Deluxe plans is the removal of the MySQL database limit. At the $16.99 renewal rates, this plan can be four times the cost of ordering the same services from other web hosting companies online. Because GoDaddy does not scale server resource allocation to provide more RAM, CPU, or simultaneous database connections on the more expensive plans, all that is being done on this account is removing the artificial account limitations that are placed on the lower priced service offerings. Consequently, we recommend the Deluxe plan over the Ultimate package to most site owners for shared Linux web hosting at GoDaddy.
All of these plans include a free domain registration if you sign up for a one year, two year, or three year term. The Ultimate plan also includes a Premium DNS service that should probably be standard anyway for all websites hosted across the platform. GoDaddy is notoriously slow for updating their server networks to support the latest web standards for development, whereas smaller, more innovative companies often excel at this to attract more demanding clients. The bottom line is many site owners are often forced to migrate away from GoDaddy’s shared Linux platform over small issues in server configuration that are not always fine-tuned to support the cutting-edge requirements of CMS script development.
Overview of GoDaddy WordPress Hosting Plans
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GoDaddy’s managed WordPress platform provides a number of integrated features that optimize individual website performance for the CMS. The main advantage of the platform is a Varnish Cache implementation which works with APC to provide faster page load speeds from compressed, archived versions of HTML & CSS. Websites are also hosted on premium hardware vs. what GoDaddy uses on their shared Linux plans. Along with this are advanced security scripts which scan WordPress sites for malware and MySQL injection hacks, automatically taking infected sites offline to be quarantined. GoDaddy has a pre-screened list of plugins that cannot be used with the service, as well as thousands of free themes that are provided with a “one click” installation process. Site owners on the advanced plans also receive a development sandbox for previewing changes on a website before going live with them.
On the downside, many of the plans are overly restrictive on the number of sites that can be hosted, the amount of traffic permitted per month, and the ability to make modifications to the WordPress installation. The only files that you can edit directly when using the service are those that reside in the /wp-content folder, plus wp-config.php, .htaccess, favicon.ico, & php.ini. GoDaddy will automatically update the WordPress core files and installed plugins for security updates, but site owners cannot run multi-site installations. The service also includes a free website migration tool which many users have complained about. A website transfer done manually by GoDaddy technicians is charged at $99 service fee. The Ultimate and Developer plans also include a SSL/TLS certificate, which GoDaddy normally charges $69.99 per year for otherwise.
WordPress Hosting – Basic: 1 website, 10GB SSD storage, 25,000 monthly visitors + Pre-installed WordPress + tools & optimization
We like the integrated Varnish Cache and optimized hardware provided on the managed WordPress platform at GoDaddy, and $3.99 per month at the introductory rates is a good deal for the additional speed and services provided on the platform even for a single website. However, the 25,000 monthly visitor limit (from unique IP addresses, not including web-bots) is a very low total that even many low traffic WordPress websites exceed regularly on shared hosting plans. If you opt into the Visitor Overage Protection Plan, your account will be billed a fixed rate for every 10,000 visitors over the plan limits. The renewal fees for this plan cost as much as the Ultimate package at introductory rates ($7.99 per month).
WordPress Hosting – Deluxe: 1 website, 15GB SSD storage, 100,000 monthly visitors + Pre-installed WordPress + sandbox, tools & optimization
For $1 extra per month, the Deluxe plan provides 50% more storage, 100,000 total monthly visitors, and a developer’s sandbox environment that is not available with the Basic plan. Unfortunately, there is no hosting of “unlimited” domains on any of GoDaddy’s managed WordPress plans. You also will not be able to use cPanel to manage server settings, file transfers, email, or other services with this platform. After the single site installation or migration of files from another web hosting company, most of the site management is simply done through the WordPress CMS options. The main advantages are advanced page caching, better website performance, and increased security.
WordPress Hosting – Ultimate: 2 websites, 30GB SSD storage, 400,000 monthly visitors + SSL + Pre-installed WordPress + sandbox, tools & optimization
The Ultimate plan costs $7.99 per month at introductory rates and $14.99 per month for only two websites. This is slightly cheaper pro-rated than the Basic plan and includes a SSL certificate for running ecommerce websites with WordPress. Most small business owners and online shops will find these costs to be reasonable for superior performance on domains. Many users do report favorable speed gains in page load times that are verified in benchmark testing. Developers, on the other hand, will generally prefer the freedom they have to manage WordPress independently over the GoDaddy WordPress platform. Consider transferring websites to these plans after development for high performance production site hosting.
WordPress Hosting – Developer: 5 websites, 50GB SSD storage, 800,000 monthly visitors + SSL + Pre-installed WordPress + sandbox, tools & optimization
The Developer plan is also cheaper on a per-site basis than the Basic plan, offering more SSD storage, greater monthly visitor limits, a SSL/TLS certificate, and the sandbox development tools. Many site owners will still likely prefer a VPS where they can host unlimited sites, develop their own custom Varnish, APC, and Nginx installations, while also having more freedom to manage WordPress settings outside of the GoDaddy restrictions. Nevertheless, many WordPress users find the entire web development process too complex and prefer a simple “plug and play” service where the company provides Platform as a Service (PaaS) plans with all of the main features for WordPress performance optimization available without further hassle or investment costs. For these users, the GoDaddy managed WordPress plans are a decent choice, though there is a lot of competition in this sector and other web hosting companies are offering the same or better services on similar plans with comparable pricing structures elsewhere.
In summary, the Varnish Cache and APC functionality on the GoDaddy managed WordPress plans is recommended and the use of SSDs with superior hardware also provides excellent performance gains over the shared Linux hosting plans available at the company. WordPress developers will likely be able to get the same performance or better on unlimited shared hosting plans using cPanel at other hosting companies where the advanced hardware options are installed on entry-level plans. Businesses or publishers who invest in a VPS hosting package and have the technical skill or web development team talent available to implement Varnish Cache, APC, Memcached, Nginx, & other solutions for WordPress will see even better performance with more flexibility for multi-domain management. In contrast, the GoDaddy managed WordPress platform is a quick and easy way to boost page load speeds and implement performance gains over shared hosting with minimal time and investment required for website owners to see results. Unfortunately, there are often too many other downsides with GoDaddy as a company to highly recommend this service over equally powerful options from competitors offering managed WordPress hosting at the same price.
Overview of GoDaddy Cloud Hosting Plans
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GoDaddy’s cloud hosting platform is built with OpenStack KVM virtualization software and runs on Intel 6-core servers clocked between 2.0 to 3.0 GHz with SSD storage facilities. Similar to a VPS account in functionality, developers and systems administrators can use snapshots to install virtual machines with different web applications through the Bitnami service. The GoDaddy cloud platform focuses on full stack management, so the operating system is installed on the virtual machine with Apache, PHP, MySQL, and the web scripts pre-loaded with optimal configurations using the snapshots. You can choose different database formats, programming languages, or CMS distributions and launch a development environment on a new server in under a minute. All of the servers use a dedicated IP address, so you can change server stack packages completely while using the IP address to test configurations. The service uses a “pay as you go” facility with a maximum monthly billing cap so it can be utilized both in development and production quite affordably overall.
Cloud Hosting – 20GB: 512MB memory, 1 core processor, 20GB SSD disk storage, & 1TB transfer
This service is slightly more powerful than the average shared hosting plan in server resource allocation, and provides a great deal of flexibility for web development. Use this framework for custom coding web and mobile applications, or installing and configuring CMS scripts. Unfortunately, you cannot scale resources on the same server, so you will have to cancel the service and transfer the website to another cloud package if the application requires more RAM, CPU processing, storage, etc. in production.
Cloud Hosting – 30GB: 1GB memory, 1 core processor, 30GB SSD disk storage, & 2TB transfer
An unlimited VPS platform with the ability to change the entire server software installation in under one minute, all for less that $10 per month. This service plan is excellent for Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, Magento, and other CMS scripts. Developers have more flexibility with Bitnami snapshots than provided under most managed VPS frameworks, and can deploy much faster than on unmanaged VPS platforms which require a lengthy installation process to configure. We highly recommend GoDaddy’s cloud servers for cutting edge web hosting, coding custom web applications, or mobile app development.
Cloud Hosting – 40GB: 2GB memory, 2 core processor, 40GB SSD disk storage, & 3TB transfer
With this plan you receive an extremely easy to deploy VPS with 2GB of RAM, 2 CPU cores, and 40 GB of data transfer for a maximum of $20 per month, even less if you bill under the maximum usage rates. This makes it more cost-effective to test web scripts under higher performance hardware than is available on shared hosting plans, but without locking into the costs of a VPS plan on a long term contract. GoDaddy has scored a major win with their cloud platform, but a lot of the credit goes to Bitnami and OpenStack for providing the virtualization hardware that makes it run so efficiently.
Cloud Hosting – 60GB: 4GB memory, 2 core processor, 60GB SSD disk storage, & 4TB transfer
The cloud servers allocated with higher RAM and data transfer limits approximate the hardware of a dedicated server with similar benefits of data security, systems customization options, and high performance. Since it is a “pay as you go” plan with a maximum monthly rate, the cost is much lower up front than a long term dedicated server plan. Over the next few years, we would expect more web hosting services to transition to these cloud server platforms as a replacement for traditional shared hosting environments.
Cloud Hosting – 80GB: 8GB memory, 4 core processor, 80GB SSD disk storage, & 8TB transfer
While GoDaddy often has maintained a bad reputation with developers over their account limitations and outdated server software installed on their shared hosting plans that was incompatible with script development requirements, these cloud server options solve those problems at the root by giving site owners the complete flexibility to install whatever stack package they prefer from a wide range of options offered by Bitnami. We would not hesitate to recommend these cloud server packages to web developers and programmers for high performance applications.
The cloud server packages at GoDaddy show the promise of cloud computing as well as the cost advantages made possible through the commodification of hardware at the largest data center companies. With less of a focus on advertising & brand identity vs. more attention on platform innovation & developer requirements, we consider this fusion of Bitnami services and OpenStack virtualization in the GoDaddy cloud servers a major win for the company, which also positions them a step ahead of competitors in the industry.
Overview of GoDaddy’s Linux VPS Hosting Plans
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After GoDaddy acquired Media Temple in 2013, they used the programming talent and data center technology of MT to relaunch their VPS platform. The GoDaddy VPS plans run on the proprietary “Parallels Containers” virtualization framework which allows them to support both Linux and Windows operating systems. The Linux platform offers the choice of CentOS 6, Fedora 20 & 22, or Ubuntu as the OS. The server hardware is based on dual six-core Intel E5-2630L v2 processing chips that are clocked at 2.40 GHz and installed with 128GB ECC DDR3 RAM. The one downside to the hardware configuration is that GoDaddy does not have SSD storage options on these VPS plans. Rather they use arrays of 6x300GB HDDs. With this you receive cPanel management, 3 dedicated IP addresses, and a free SSL/TLS certificate for one year (renews at $69.99 annually).
Linux VPS Hosting – Economy: 1GB RAM, 40GB HDD storage, & Unlimited bandwidth + 3 dedicated IPs + SSL certificate
The Economy VPS plans are about 3x the power of a standard shared hosting account with the same ability for unlimited domain hosting. CMS websites will receive an immediate performance boost by having access to the extra RAM and CPU processing resources for database queries and PHP code processing. While the cost for these plans is a little expensive at $24.99 per month for the configuration, at least GoDaddy is not gouging customers on the renewal rates and there is a provision of all the industry standard LAMP hosting features.
Linux VPS Hosting – Value: 2GB RAM, 60GB HDD storage, & Unlimited bandwidth + 3 dedicated IPs + SSL certificate
With the pricing on GoDaddy’s VPS plans, customers have the ability to select Managed, Fully-Managed, or Self-Managed plans. With the Managed options, CentOS and cPanel are pre-installed, while the Self-Managed plans allow for the user to choose other Linux distributions for the OS. The Managed plan forms the base cost, with the Self-Managed plans discounted. The Managed plans offer patching, security, monitoring, and backup services by GoDaddy systems administrators on the platform.
Linux VPS Hosting – Deluxe: 4GB RAM, 120GB HDD storage, & Unlimited bandwidth + 3 dedicated IPs + SSL certificate
With the selection of the Fully-Managed option for the VPS plan, the cost for each of the plans will be $110 extra per month. This is a very high charge for a dedicated team of server administration experts, but includes premier support and site migrations in the cost. Most users will save the $1320 per year and put it to better use. We would not recommend the Fully-Managed VPS plan option on any of these accounts. On the other hand, you only save $10 per month by selecting the Self-Managed option.
Linux VPS Hosting – Ultimate: 8GB RAM, 240GB HDD storage, & Unlimited bandwidth + 3 dedicated IPs + SSL certificate
With the Self-Managed option, you can install Fedora or Ubuntu on the VPS instead of CentOS, but will not have access to the free cPanel license provided with the Managed VPS plans. Since this is worth more than $10 per month if purchased independently, it is a good deal either way. The GoDaddy VPS plans are not cheap, but the Parallels virtualization features are highly respected. If you prefer an OpenStack VPS platform, choose the GoDaddy cloud servers instead and use them with the provided Bitnami snapshops in development.
Many in the industry viewed the GoDaddy acquisition of Media Temple as primarily a talent acquisition, and the VPS plans are one of the main results of the fusion between the two companies after 2013. The Parallels virtualization framework is unique, and not many other web hosts in the sector run this platform for VPS. The only downside to GoDaddy’s VPS plans is that they are not yet using SSDs for storage, which puts the systems at a significant performance disadvantage to other web hosting companies that advertise up to 20x faster page load speeds and server response times using SSDs over HDDs. This aspect combined with the generally high price of GoDaddy’s VPS plans makes them a lukewarm option. The fact that there is not even a paid option to upgrade accounts to SSDs where other companies offer free SSDs on VPS plans lowers the overall value of these service offerings.
Overview of GoDaddy’s Dedicated Linux Server Plans
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GoDaddy’s dedicated server line is all based on the same hardware, rackmount units built around the quad-core Intel Xeon E3-1220-v3 processor. The servers are configured with 4GB to 32GB of ECC DDR3 RAM depending on the plan. Storage ranges from 1TB to 2TB RAID-1 HDDs in dual drive configurations. There is no option for SSDs on these plans, even as a paid upgrade. The Intel Xeon E3-1220-v3 processor scores in the middle range of benchmark tests. The quick summary is that because the SSD option is not present on these plans we would not recommend site owners locking into a long term contract on the plans. Not only are there better options available at other web hosts for dedicated servers, but also the same functionality can be found on VPS or cloud servers at a cheaper price. Even the top-of-the-line Ultimate plan is not based on an elite hardware configuration, despite being billed at $349.99 per month. Site owners can definitely find a better deal elsewhere.
Dedicated Linux Server Hosting – Economy: Xeon E3-1220-v3 (3.1 GHz/quad-core), 4GB RAM, 1TB RAID-1 HDD storage, Unlimited bandwidth, SSL, & 3 dedicated IPs
Like the VPS plans, GoDaddy’s dedicated servers have three different options that can be purchased: Managed, Self-Managed, and Fully-Managed. The pricing structure is also the same, where the Managed plans form the base cost, the Self-Managed plans are $10 cheaper per month, and the Fully-Managed option costs $110 more per month, with access to expert level technical support in the data center for problem solving and systems administration related issues. Adding the Fully-Managed option would effectively double the introductory price of the Economy plan.
Dedicated Linux Server Hosting – Value: Xeon E3-1220-v3 (3.1 GHz/quad-core), 8GB RAM, 1.5TB RAID-1 HDD storage, Unlimited bandwidth, SSL, & 3 dedicated IPs
The Value plan is powerful with 8GB of RAM at $139.99 per month, but costs $199.99 per month on renewal rates. Add another $110 for the Fully-Managed option, and this dedicated server is significantly over-priced. The Self-Managed plan provides for the option to install Ubuntu or Fedora rather than CentOS as the operating system, but you will not have access to cPanel for server management. There are not a lot of extra features or software tools that distinguish these servers from competitive offerings, and the lack of an SSD option is out of line with contemporary industry standards for hardware.
Dedicated Linux Server Hosting – Deluxe: Xeon E3-1220-v3 (3.1 GHz/quad-core), 16GB RAM, 2TB RAID-1 HDD storage, Unlimited bandwidth, SSL, & 3 dedicated IPs
Nevertheless, site owners will be able to receive strong performance from the Deluxe plan at whatever level of management services purchased in association with it. The server resources provided are approximately equivalent to 50 combined shared hosting plans with unlimited domains. So whether you host one high traffic website or a portfolio of 500 domains under cPanel, you will be able to support around 40 million page views per month at max specifications on the hardware with proper website optimizations. At a price ranging from $169.99 to $249.99 per month, any businesses with this level of traffic will be able to cover the costs easily, making it a fairly good deal overall.
Dedicated Linux Server Hosting – Ultimate: Xeon E3-1220-v3 (3.1 GHz/quad-core), 32GB RAM, 2TB RAID-1 HDD storage, Unlimited bandwidth, SSL, & 3 dedicated IPs
Similarly, at $209.99 to $349.99 per month costs, the Ultimate plan could support a huge amount of user traffic if running 24/7 at max specifications and fully utilized user traffic. However, such usage rates are not possible, as there are obvious peak hours for websites and less traffic depending on the time zone at night. Site owners that consistently run against the full specifications of a server like the Ultimate configuration have no ability to manage over-capacity without an installed cloud option for instance multiplication and clustering. Consequently, consider this server for applications with a maximum of around 2,000 simultaneous users per minute at peak traffic under Apache.
While GoDaddy’s dedicated server line does not provide elite hardware and has a glaring performance issue for modern website hosting with the lack of an included SSD option, profitable website owners and online businesses will be able to use them for web/mobile applications or ecommerce effectively. Since the prices are not overly expensive, any websites requiring a dedicated server will likely be able to cover the costs adequately based on the business derived from the user traffic. However, we would not recommend a long term contract on these units when there are better deals on the market, and GoDaddy’s $110 per month upgrade to Fully-Managed services is too expensive for most applications.
Overview of GoDaddy’s Shared Windows Hosting Plans
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The shared Windows hosting plans at GoDaddy are based on the same hardware configurations and pricing structure as the shared Linux plans, the main difference being the provision of a licensed copy of Windows® Server 2012 R2 on the accounts. Site owners have the option of using either MySQL or MSSQL databases for development, and there is one click installation for open source scripts including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, etc. Most users will be seeking a Windows server for ASP.net development, but with PHP and MySQL installed on the server architecture, all of the popular open source scripts will run well under Windows. The other main difference is that these plans use Plesk rather than cPanel for server configuration and domain management. While the Economy plan only supports one website, you can host unlimited domains on the Deluxe and Ultimate plans.
Shared Windows Hosting – Economy: 1 website, 100 GB storage, & Unlimited bandwidth + 10 x 1GB MySQL & 1 x 200MB MSSQL databases + Windows® Server 2012 R2
The Economy plan is cheap and affordable for almost any business application. This account is excellent for when you just need to support a single domain for ASP.net or Silverlight requirements. The only real problem with GoDaddy’s shared Windows hosting plans is the limitation of MSSQL databases to 200MB and MySQL to 1GB in total storage capacity. While you cannot expect much more for under $4 per month ($7.99 per month renewal rates), this could provide a problem for some applications.
Shared Windows Hosting – Deluxe: Unlimited websites, storage, & bandwidth + 25 x 1GB MySQL & 2 x 200MB MSSQL databases + Windows® Server 2012 R2
We recommend GoDaddy for Windows hosting and users have traditionally had better experiences with these plans over their shared Linux hosting platform. The Deluxe plan is the best deal, with the ability to host unlimited domains for less than $5 per month on Windows. The major limitations are not generally significant, as most businesses or site owners with a need for more than 25 databases will have no problem paying an extra $3 per month for unlimited database support. However, if all of the sites hosted on the plan use MSSQL databases, the limit to 2 instances on this plan will necessitate a swift upgrade to the Ultimate plan.
Shared Windows Hosting – Ultimate: Unlimited websites, storage, & bandwidth + Unlimited 1GB MySQL & 200MB MSSQL databases + Windows® Server 2012 R2
The Ultimate plan is still a good deal at $7.99 per month, cheaper than many unlimited Linux hosting plans at other companies and the Microsoft Windows license is free. With unlimited MySQL and MSSQL databases, as well as storage and bandwidth, there should not be any problem developing with ASP.net on this account. The only problem is the high renewal rate of $16.99 per month after the introductory offer. Sites that require more RAM or CPU processing power can quickly upgrade to a Windows VPS or dedicated server plan at GoDaddy with a relatively easy migration. Some businesses may keep both a shared and a VPS plan for separating website development from production site environments.
GoDaddy is recognized as one of the best Windows hosting platforms in the industry, and where many companies have given up offering service plans on Microsoft software, GoDaddy still excels at it. We like the security of an easy upgrade and migration path to VPS and dedicated with the same company. Resellers can also offer Windows hosting plans to clients on their accounts through GoDaddy’s ecommerce platform. Many professional ASP.net developers make a living programming on GoDaddy’s Windows hosting plans, and we would recommend them highly to businesses who need this service for proprietary application support. Site owners running open source scripts on PHP are better off using a Linux server.
Overview of GoDaddy’s Windows VPS Hosting Plans
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The Windows VPS plans at GoDaddy use the same hardware and virtualization software as the Linux plans, with the company taking advantage of Parallels’ specialization in Microsoft development to run both platforms simultaneously. Plesk is installed by default for server configuration and domain management, with a choice of Windows 2008/2012 offered on the plan OS installation. In the same manner as the Linux VPS and dedicated server packages, site owners have the option of choosing a Managed, Self-Managed, or Fully-Managed package with the purchase of a Windows VPS. The Fully Managed plans include premier technical support, debugging, and systems administration as well as platform security, backups, etc. There is little difference between the tools provided or the server environment between the Windows shared hosting and VPS plans, with users generally upgrading to access more RAM and CPU processing resources for high traffic websites, mobile applications, or multi-domain support requirements. The Windows VPS plans are more expensive than the Linux versions.
Windows VPS Hosting – Economy: 2GB RAM, 40GB HDD storage, & Unlimited bandwidth + 3 dedicated IPs + SSL certificate + Windows 2008/2012 & Plesk
The Economy plan will support unlimited domain hosting, web and mobile applications, or other uses like remote computing. However, at $34.99 to $39.99 per month, it is 10x expensive as the shared hosting plan for one domain while only offering about 6x the server resources. The rest of the cost is determined by the provisioning of 3 dedicated IP addresses and a SSL/TLS certificate. Most professional Windows websites and applications requiring these resources will not find it problematic to pay ~$10 per site per month for a full ecommerce plan.
Windows VPS Hosting – Value: 3GB RAM, 90GB HDD storage, & Unlimited bandwidth + 3 dedicated IPs + SSL certificate + Windows 2008/2012 & Plesk
The Value VPS plan has around 9x the allocated server resources as a standard shared hosting plan, but costs 10x to 12x more. This account will provide a lot of power to process single sites or web/mobile applications, as well as managing well for multi-domain portfolios. The Parallels virtualization framework is well respected for both high performance and security, making this plan suitable for ASP.net business applications that need more server resources to process user traffic requirements.
Windows VPS Hosting – Deluxe: 4GB RAM, 120GB HDD storage, & Unlimited bandwidth + 3 dedicated IPs + SSL certificate + Windows 2008/2012 & Plesk
The Deluxe VPS account is equivalent to many dedicated server plans and around 12x as powerful as a standard shared hosting account. This plan is excellent for sites with large database processing requirements and the ECC RAM on the hardware guarantees a higher level of accuracy in financial transactions. Silverlight applications with streaming media requirements can also use this plan to improve performance, though the lack of a SSD option on the VPS plans in general could be an issue for some projects.
Windows VPS Hosting – Ultimate: 8GB RAM, 240GB HDD storage, & Unlimited bandwidth + 3 dedicated IPs + SSL certificate + Windows 2008/2012 & Plesk
The Ultimate VPS plan is a very cost effective alternative to a dedicated Windows server with a similar configuration. Most business applications will not find any difference in the data security, server configuration options, or remote performance between this VPS plan and a dedicated Windows server, but the price is on average 50% less. Windows VPS plans allow businesses to take advantage of advances in cloud computing and save costs vs. leasing dedicated hardware for IT requirements.
Because Windows Server has different security requirements than Linux, and there have historically been more malicious exploits developed by hackers to target the platform, we would not recommend for business owners to go with the Self-Managed approach on these plans. GoDaddy has a well-respected Windows platform with qualified technicians and systems administrators dedicated to client data security on a daily basis. Windows servers need to be patched as soon as Microsoft releases the security updates. Failure to pay close attention to these releases or to configure the server correctly has significant risks for business applications and data security on the Windows platform. The extra $10 cost of the Managed plans is generally cheaper than paying a dedicated systems administrator on a monthly basis to manage the platform security requirements.
Overview of GoDaddy’s Dedicated Windows Server Plans
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GoDaddy prices their Windows dedicated servers at $30 per month higher cost than the comparable Linux plans for the same hardware. Businesses contemplating the lower tier plans can save around 50% by going with a VPS configured with the same server resources and receive similar performance. GoDaddy’s VPS plans are based on dual 6-core CPUs, while their dedicated server hardware is quad-core. The lack of a SSD storage option on the dedicated server plans provides a genuine reason to avoid long term contracts for the hardware. Considering that computer hardware turns over every three years and that the Intel Xeon E3-1220-v3 is a 2013 production chip, the servers offered by GoDaddy on these plans are no longer providing top-of-the-line performance. Where many web hosting companies provide a free SSD upgrade, GoDaddy does not even offer a paid upgrade option over the installed HDDs on these plans. We feel that business owners can get a better hardware configuration at the same price elsewhere and that the Windows VPS plans are better deals.
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting – Economy: Xeon E3-1220-v3 (3.1 GHz/quad-core), 4GB RAM, 1TB RAID-1 HDD storage, Unlimited bandwidth, SSL, & 3 dedicated IPs
The Economy dedicated server plan at GoDaddy competes with the Deluxe VPS plan, but with significant differences in the price. The dedicated server costs $139.99 per month under the Managed option, and $199.99 per month after the introductory price discount renews. Compared to the Deluxe VPS plan which also has 4GB of RAM allocated at $59.99 to $79.99 per month, the dedicated server has 10x the storage, but both plans are based on HDD RAID-1 arrays. Since both plans also include 3 dedicated IP addresses, there is no significant reason to pay the extra money for the Economy plan when the VPS will perform with little noticeable difference (3% of CPU speed) over the performance of the dedicated hardware.
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting – Value: Xeon E3-1220-v3 (3.1 GHz/quad-core), 8GB RAM, 1.5TB RAID-1 HDD storage, Unlimited bandwidth, SSL, & 3 dedicated IPs
The price difference between VPS plans is not as wide on the Value dedicated server configuration. Compared to the Ultimate VPS plan, which also has 8GB of RAM running on a 6-core CPU vs. the quad-core processor of the Xeon E3-1220-v3, there is only the difference between a 240GB storage allocation and a dual-drive 1.5TB RAID-1 array. Unless you need the extra storage space particularly, there is not much to justify the $169.99/$229.99 per month cost of the Value server vs. the $109.99/$149.99 cost of the Ultimate VPS plan.
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting – Deluxe: Xeon E3-1220-v3 (3.1 GHz/quad-core), 16GB RAM, 2TB RAID-1 HDD storage, Unlimited bandwidth, SSL, & 3 dedicated IPs
Business site owners with high traffic websites can get powerful results from the Deluxe dedicated server plan at GoDaddy with 16GB RAM installed with the Intel quad-core processor. However, as noted above, the server hardware offered on these plans by GoDaddy is not the latest generation of production. While capable of high performance, the Xeon E3-1220-v3 is still a quad-core CPU from 2013 with HDD storage that cannot be upgraded to a SSD option at this time. It makes no sense to lock in to a 2 to 3 year contract on the hardware with no guarantee that GoDaddy will upgrade the server. While the price is not prohibitive at $199.99 per month on introductory rates for profitable websites and businesses, the $279.99 per month renewal charges could be used to lease a higher performance unit at other companies.
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting – Ultimate: Xeon E3-1220-v3 (3.1 GHz/quad-core), 32GB RAM, 2TB RAID-1 HDD storage, Unlimited bandwidth, SSL, & 3 dedicated IPs
Because all of GoDaddy’s dedicated server plans are based on the same hardware, you are mostly paying for the RAM and storage upgrades on each account. The Ultimate plan is for power users with 32GB of installed ECC DDR3 RAM. Consider this plan to be around 100x more powerful than a standard shared hosting account, which can be used to host the same number of domains or websites. We estimate around 2,000 simultaneous users at max specifications running Apache on Windows, with potentially double that if using Nginx. Making heavy use of caching solutions for CMS websites, web masters will be able to support a high level of user traffic with this plan. Though the $239.99 monthly price at introductory rates is cost-effective, we would not recommend locking into a long term contract and the $379.99 per month renewal cost is too high for a server with these specs lacking SSDs.
Most businesses and website owners are going to end up with a GoDaddy dedicated server running on Windows if they are committed to the company for web hosting services and their sites scale significantly past what shared hosting or an introductory VPS plan will support. While these servers are well managed and provide everything required for ASP.net development and supporting the requirements of high traffic applications, the lack of SSD options is significant. We recommend site owners purchasing high level VPS plans over the lower level dedicated server packages, and for power users that require an upper-tier Windows server to view these plans as a transitory solution only, until GoDaddy upgrades their data center architecture. Nevertheless, any online businesses with the user traffic, ecommerce requirements, or publishing needs that require the use of these servers should still find the costs reasonable within the context of their overall budget for operations.
Overview of GoDaddy Reseller Hosting Plans
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GoDaddy currently only offers two reseller hosting accounts, the Basic plan which supports up to 25 clients, and the Pro plan which is unlimited. The main advantage of these programs is that GoDaddy provides a ready-made website with all of their products and services pre-populated on an ecommerce platform with credit card processing features included. You can change the prices to whatever you prefer to charge your clients, and GoDaddy discounts their retail product line 20% to 40% to give small businesses a profit margin to work with. You don’t need to allocate disk space or set up accounts using WHMCS, and there is no Enom license provided. Rather, you simply choose your resale price for GoDaddy’s web hosting, cloud hosting, dedicated servers, VPS plans, and domain registration services, then focus on sales, marketing, and rebranding the design of your store. This can be an interesting option for web design firms, small businesses, independent web professionals, freelancers, social media marketers, etc. to provide additional web services to clients.
Reseller Hosting – Basic: 25 customers maximum, 20% discount on products & services, white-label store, and sales reports
GoDaddy offers a Plesk and Parallels based administration panel for their reseller hosting plans, though clients who purchase a Linux account (shared, dedicated, or VPS) will still have an independent cPanel login to manage server settings. The storefront makes it easy to set up the reseller account quickly and implement design changes to the platform like adding your own company logo. Businesses with more time and resources can customize the storefront code to create new templates or integrate it into existing websites.
Reseller Hosting – Pro: Unlimited customers, 40% discount on products & services, white-label store, & sales reports
With the ability to support unlimited customers with recurring billing functionality on credit card processing, you can use GoDaddy’s reseller program either to offer a public, “white label” hosting website for new sign-up accounts or bill your clients privately using the service for the hosting and domain registration services required in web development. GoDaddy’s 40% discount on platform services means you can also bill at different rates depending on the application of the products.
In summary, these plans provide a quick and easy way to get started as a reseller, as well as the ability to offer both web hosting and domain registration services to your business clients. The storefront provided by GoDaddy with the plans is simpler to use than WHMCS and ClientExec, and you do not need to worry about credit card processing or purchasing an independent payment gateway account for ecommerce. While it is not easy to break into the web hosting industry and compete against the major companies on these reseller plans, there is room to profit on the services for web professionals with small businesses who use them for billing on regular client projects.
GoDaddy has a lot of potential services available for their customers, but still makes it very easy to access and manage all of them in one central place. The GoDaddy AMP (Account Management Panel) was freshly redesigned to make administration more efficient for customers. It consolidates all of GoDaddy’s services into one place where users can click the “manage” button to configure the main account settings for that particular service. For example, if you want to manage your domain name, click the “manage” button under domains and set the DNS server, change “Whois” records, or view billing reports. If you want to manage your web hosting, click the “manage” button under web hosting to access the cPanel, Plesk administration, or WordPress account features. This centralized interface makes it easy for customers to see an overview of all their available services and then manage the appropriate settings for each one. This also makes it an efficient way to manage multiple domain names under different hosting plans with individual settings for each account.
Review of the Control Panel
GoDaddy uses both cPanel and Plesk for their web hosting control panels. The type of control panel you get depends on the whether you choose Linux or Windows. Since Linux is most popular choice, we’ve attached a screenshot of the GoDaddy cPanel. Their cPanel has a custom color theme to match the GoDaddy look and feel. Overall, the control panel is clean and simple to manage. If you’ve used cPanel before, you’ll feel very comfortable with GoDaddy’s implementation of the software for server administration and domain management.
Note that if you sign up for a managed WordPress hosting plan with GoDaddy, you will not have access to either cPanel or Plesk for administration. Dedicated server and VPS plans use CentOS with cPanel, Plesk with Windows, and allow for the freedom to install whatever open source solution you prefer on Fedora and Ubuntu accounts. We recommend using either Virtualmin or Webmin for Self-Managed plans, though Plesk or other server administration tools can also be installed to accomplish the same functions.
Servers: GoDaddy has 9 data centers and 37,000+ live servers around the globe. As one of the largest web hosting companies in the world, they provide industry standard services on a wide variety of hardware configurations. Most of their servers are currently based on Intel quad-core and 6-core CPUs from the Xeon line. GoDaddy uses OpenStack KVM virtualization for cloud servers with Bitnami snapshots and Parallels Containers on the VPS plans. The company has not widely implemented SSD storage across the data centers in comparison with other web hosts. Nevertheless, websites hosted in GoDaddy data centers load quickly regardless of the viewer’s location through access to their Tier-1 fiber optic connections. International customers can select the location of the server closest to their target market in the USA to avoid any latency or data center syncing issues.
Network: In terms of actual performance, we’ve found GoDaddy does have fairly reliably fast network speeds. GoDaddy typically had a poor reputation in the past from many pros in the web hosting industry, especially on their shared Linux hosting plans. But today, GoDaddy has worked hard to improve their web hosting platform and now offer performance levels up to par with other popular web hosts like HostGator & Bluehost. Integration of talent and resources from Media Temple and other acquisitions has accelerated this process.
Performance: We continually test and monitor the performance of GoDaddy with Pingdom site monitoring tools to get a more technical measure of performance data. The results below are dynamically pulled from Pingdom:
Hosting Type Tested: Shared
Hosting Plan: Economy
Location Tested: North America
Description: Performance stats of the last 30 days from our GoDaddy test account.
NOTE ABOUT TEST STATS: The above data may not be fully 100% representative of all the websites hosted on GoDaddy. There are too many factors that influence performance stats. Read our notes here on this.
Helpful FAQs About GoDaddy
Here are some frequently asked questions you may have about GoDaddy:
Just go to www.godaddy.com and click the “Hosting” tab at the top of the screen. Click the type of hosting you want to purchase (shared, VPS or dedicated), and then choose a plan. Before you check out, GoDaddy prompts you for your free domain registration if you don’t have one. You can skip this step if you already have a domain. Once you choose a plan and domain, you proceed to checkout, enter your credit card information, and complete the sale.
Payment methods vary by country, but GoDaddy offers numerous payment methods including all credit cards, PayPal and Skrill and ISC gift cards. They do not accept BitCoin or other virtual currencies. See Payment Methods GoDaddy Accepts for Purchases.
To cancel products you no longer need, log into your Account Manager profile, go to Payments, select Product Billing, and cancel the items. See Canceling Products for details.
Some Things to Consider Before You Purchase…
As with any web host, there are some things that could be improved. We’ve discussed many of the pros for GoDaddy, but here’s a further explanation of the cons:
Controversies: GoDaddy went through a management change when its CEO sold the company. It became known as a poor customer service option. It also started supporting SOPA, which is the Stop Online Piracy Act that gives the government more control to block sites accused of copyright infringement. A boycott was proposed and names such as Wikipedia and Cheezburger threatened to leave GoDaddy. Imgur moved their hosting altogether. The company then rescinded its support of SOPA. In 2011, PETA discontinued its hosting contract with GoDaddy after Parsons posted an image of himself killing an elephant on his personal blog. This caused uproar with animal rights activists, and Parsons later released a statement that it was a request by tribal authorities. The persistence of sexism in STEM fields has also caused some to criticize the “GoDaddy Girls” marketing campaigns.
Expensive Renewal Rates: Everyone understands a promotional rate, but customers who purchase domain names and certain web hosting plans should be aware that their renewal fee will be much higher than what they originally paid for when they first signed up. Since GoDaddy auto-charges your account, you might be surprised when you have a bill on your credit card for several hundred (even thousands) of dollars. This does depend on which plan or service you originally purchased from GoDaddy, but it can be hard to dispute and reverse the charges if there is any confusion over billing issues.
Domain Cancellation: Since GoDaddy is a domain registrar, they can seize domain names from their customers and resell them on their auction service. They have even been known to cancel valid domain ownership due to incorrect WHOIS information. They may also seize domains that are considered too controversial, despite their own history of company public relations problems. Although this is rare and we have not experienced the problems, there are many complaints that you can find online about such occurrences.
Account Limitations: We have found that GoDaddy lags in implementing platform upgrades to programming languages and other server extensions used in LAMP development on a consistent basis, especially on their shared hosting plans but also with other services. Their database size limitations are something not found with other web hosts. Similarly, the monthly user traffic limits on their managed WordPress plans are too low vs. what the CMS normally supports. This is a fundamental reason that developers experience compatibility problems with some scripts, plugins, and modules on the GoDaddy service plans.
Poor Customer Support: Because of the size of GoDaddy’s customer base, their technical support services are very impersonal with long delays and many excuses given as to why they cannot help solve platform related development problems. Unless it is a billing issue or you are paying for the technical support, you cannot expect very much assistance from GoDaddy’s customer service to solve the problems in web development that occur on their service. Nevertheless, they do provide a lot of good information in faq sheets, wikis, forums, and videos that can answer common questions or help beginners learn about the services.
DID YOU KNOW? GoDaddy is the largest domain registrar in the world with over 63 million domain names under its management!
Additional Features Worth Mentioning
Although Bob Parsons owns 28% of GoDaddy, making him the company’s largest shareholder, and he still maintains a seat on the corporate management board, his removal from the CEO position after the acquisition by KKR, Silver Lake Partners, and Technology Crossover Ventures has led to considerable improvement in the level of services provided in data center operations. The Media Temple acquisition in 2013 had the greatest impact where it allowed the two companies to share technical expertise in platform innovation. The company’s recent acquisitions of Outright, Locu, Canary, Mad Mimi, Elto, Marchex, FreedomVoice, and other start-ups has also brought an infusion of employee talent and new software code to GoDaddy’s web hosting product lines. Although the company has frequently lagged in implementing updated support for evolving web standards important to developers and programmers, new Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings like the cloud servers and managed WordPress hosting plans show that the company has renewed efforts to innovate in the data center and are not simply milking their large user base of domain registration customers for corporate profit while providing sub-standard retail services.
Client Access & Team Shopping: This service allows web designers & developers to login to their client’s accounts with their own access code so that the root user does not have to share the original master password. This tool also allows team members to fill a shopping cart with needed items and send it directly to the account owner.
Managed WordPress Hosting: This plan provides servers built and optimized for WordPress, with expandable resources ready to support traffic spikes. The service implements load-balancing for WordPress through efficient caching on redundant SSD-backed file and database servers to ensure fast page loads and high scalability for traffic spikes. This service also includes built-in protection for common WordPress security issues (comment spam, brute force login attempts, & DDoS attacks).
Launch of GoDaddy India: GoDaddy has recently launched services for the India market on the in.godaddy.com subdomian with the same core hosting services priced in dollars available from the Singapore data center. This is part of a new marketing effort targeting 14 Asian regions.
Web Design Services: GoDaddy offers a site builder, proprietary ecommerce platform, and paid web design services where you can contract experts at the company to build your website for you. The GoDaddy Pro Connect program will also match you with local WordPress freelance developers who can be hired to build a custom website.
Conclusion – To Host or Not to Host?
As we reach the conclusion of our GoDaddy review, we sincerely hope that it helped you decide whether or not you should host your site with them. Every site is different and you’ll need to determine if this web host best suits your needs. For further information about GoDaddy, visit their website at www.godaddy.com. If you found this review helpful, please like and share it!
Let Us Know Your Thoughts
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