The US web hosting giant GoDaddy was founded by entrepreneur Bob Parsons in 1997 when he decided to come out of retirement to launch Jomax Technologies. The company later became GoDaddy during a company brainstorming session in which one of its employees suggested the name Big Daddy. However, it was Parsons who came up with the web host’s now iconic name and decided to keep it because it made people smile and was easy to remember.
Today GoDaddy has over 63 million domains under its management and more than 14 million customers worldwide.
So let’s take a closer look at the company’s plans, pricing and features to see if GoDaddy is the right web host for your site.
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Although GoDaddy offers several different kinds of hosting plans including web hosting, business hosting, reseller hosting and WordPress hosting, in this review we’ll be taking a closer look at its shared web hosting plans as they’ll likely appeal to both first-time and experienced users.
The company’s baseline ‘Economy (opens in new tab)’ plan starts at $5.99 per month and provides basic resources for starter sites. These include one website, 100 GB of storage, unmetered bandwidth and 24/7 support. If you choose to sign up for an annual plan, you’ll also get a free domain.
GoDaddy’s ‘Deluxe (opens in new tab)’ plan for $7.99 per month gives you all of the features of the Economy plan plus unlimited websites, storage and subdomains.
Next up we have the ‘Ultimate (opens in new tab)’ plan for $12.99 per month that includes everything from the Deluxe plan as well as two times faster processing power and memory, a free SSL certificate, free premium DNS and unlimited databases.
Finally we have GoDaddy’s ‘Maximum (opens in new tab)’ plan for $19.99 a month that includes everything from the Ultimate plan plus two times more power and memory, two times maximum site traffic and a free SSL certificate for the full term.
After you pick out a hosting package, GoDaddy gives you the option of four term lengths: one or three months, 12 months, 24 months or 36 months. If you do end up choosing a longer term contract, you’ll effectively lower the monthly cost of whichever plan you choose although not by very much.
GoDaddy’s signup page also shows you a starter list of add-ons ranging from site backup and restore to automated daily malware scans. If the plan you’ve chosen includes any free trial products, they’ll be pre-selected for you at checkout but you can also remove them from your cart if you prefer.
Once payment is complete, GoDaddy walks you through the rest of the setup process. This means entering a new domain name or using one you already own, choosing the data center where your site will be hosted and creating a cPanel login. If you’re not sure about any of these options at first, don’t worry as all of these settings can be changed later on.
Creating a site
GoDaddy’s regular Linux hosting allows you to manage your site through a standard cPanel-based frontend. This approach may not be the most beginner-friendly but the time you spend learning cPanel won’t be wasted as many other web hosts use it to manage their sites.
Unlike many of its competitors which bundle a website builder with their plans, GoDaddy’s core hosting accounts don’t include a website builder and to gain access to one you’ll have to pay an extra $6 per month. The company’s preview sites are a bit on the simple side but they’re still quite professional. If you need to create a site quickly and without a lot of fuss, GoDaddy’s website builder just might justify its cost.
Alternatively, you can use cPanel and Installatron to add a blogging platform such as WordPress, content management or a number of other web apps to your site. We tried installing WordPress and were presented with a lengthy list of technical options. While this can be confusing for first-time users, we recommend ignoring the options you don’t understand and hitting install. This will give you access to your WordPress console in just a few seconds.
Making your first website with GoDaddy isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do but once you’ve done it, you’ll have access to plenty of settings and options to customize your site further to get it to look exactly how you want.
The first thing we do when evaluating a web host’s performance is to look at the support options on hand because even the most experienced users will run into problems from time to time. Thankfully GoDaddy offers three levels of support: a searchable web knowledgebase, a customer forum and an official 24/7 phone support number.
The knowledgebase begins with some very limited FAQs but from there you can search for other articles on any issues you might be experiencing. There are plenty of helpful technical articles available as well but first you’ll have to come up with the relevant search keywords to find them.
GoDaddy’s customer forum could also be a useful resource for those in need of support. Unlike its knowledgebase though, these questions are asked and answered by the company’s customers. This means it might take a bit longer to get an answer to your question if you happen to get one at all.
We also gave GoDaddy’s support phone number a try as well. We found navigating the phone system to be a bit of a hassle (enter customer ID, enter phone PIN, choose the type of service you need, choose the question area) but we were eventually give a predicted wait time of 11 minutes. 14 minutes later and we were speaking to a helpful agent who was able to answer our questions quickly and explain everything else we needed to know.
Finally we used Bitcatcha’s Speed Checker to test out the performance of our GoDaddy site. We received a speedy B rating (where A is great and E is bad) and the WebPageTest averaged just 0.4 seconds for its ‘first byte’. There is no guarantee that you’ll get the same results as there are too many variables at play but overall we were pleased with the performance from GoDaddy’s most basic hosting account.
Verdict and Conclusion
GoDaddy has earned its place among the biggest web hosting companies for providing a wide range of plans and features to suit both first-time and experienced users. However, we would still like to see the company bundle a website builder with its plans instead of making customers pay extra for one.
- Want to see the competition? Check out our guide to the best web hosting