You’ve seen the Super Bowl ads, been inundated with internet promotions, and made a subconscious association between IndyCar legend Danica Patrick and GoDaddy’s web hosting speed. GoDaddy is a behemoth in the world of web hosting, with over 18.5 million customers and over 9,000 employees worldwide. According to ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), GoDaddy is the largest domain name registrar in the world.
Bluehost is among the top 20 largest web hosting companies in the world, but it holds only around 1.4% of market share, as compared to GoDaddy’s 26%. Bluehost is a household name among internet marketers, bloggers, and small businesses, while GoDaddy is a household brand among non-technical layman. But the real question is who wins out when put to the test in this Bluehost vs GoDaddy head-to-head?
For most people reading this post, they will be interested in less expensive shared hosting services as they get their website up and running. So, for the remainder of this review we will focus on the least expensive shared hosting options from both Bluehost and GoDaddy.
Founded in 2003 and later acquired by Endurance International Group, a web hosting company that has grown its hosting and related business through numerous acquisitions, Bluehost is an easily recognizable name in the web hosting world, offering a broad range of web hosting services that span everything from shared web hosting to WordPress hosting to VPS hosting to dedicated hosting.
Operating its servers in-house in a 50,000 square feet facility located in Utah, Bluehost sees itself as a forward-thinking innovator with a strong desire to bring its customers the latest and greatest web hosting technologies at affordable prices. From complete novices to seasoned web hosting pros, Bluehost has something to offer to everyone, but its shared hosting is by far most popular—not just for static websites but also as a very inexpensive way how to host a WordPress website.
In fact, WordPress itself has been recommending Bluehost as a reliable web hosting company since 2005. If you already have a WordPress site, you can easily migrate it to Bluehost without any technical knowledge and, above all else, without paying any extra money. Bluehost gives all of its customers the freedom to switch to a different hosting plan at any time, so you can always start with the cheapest plan available and move up or down Bluehost’s product ladder depending on your needs.
GoDaddy is one of the oldest web hosting companies in the world. It was founded in 1997 by Bob Parsons, an American entrepreneur, billionaire, and philanthropist who still owns 28 percent of the company, making him its largest shareholder. Today, GoDaddy powers the largest cloud platform dedicated to small, independent ventures in the world, and many people who otherwise know nothing about web hosting are familiar with its name because of its aggressive advertising on TV and in the newspapers.
GoDaddy has a number of hosting options, including shared hosting, WordPress hosting, dedicated IP hosting, and premium DNS services. Their Pro packages feature cloud servers as well as virtual private servers and dedicated server options. At the time of writing this article, GoDaddy has facilities in 14 locations around the world, including California, Washington, Asia, Europe, India, and others.
Considering that GoDaddy has always targeted beginners who are just starting to establish their online presence, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that GoDaddy’s shared web hosting gets the most attention. However, you shouldn’t see GoDaddy solely as a convenient entry point in the web hosting world because there’s a lot you can accomplish even with GoDaddy’s shared hosting plans, as you’ll discover in this Bluehost vs GoDaddy comparison.
Bluehost vs GoDaddy Hosting
Features and Pricing
It’s impossible to talk about features without mentioning how much you can expect to pay for them. The good news is that both Bluehost and GoDaddy are quite upfront about their prices, except for the usual practice of advertising discounted prices that apply only to the first term of service, but that’s something virtually all web hosting companies do.
Budget Hosting Plans
Bluehost’s budget plan, called Basic, costs $2.95 a month and renews at $7.99 a month. The plan includes 1 website, 50 GB of SSD storage space, unmetered bandwidth, free SSL certificate, 1 domain, 5 parked domains, and 25 subdomains.
Bluehost defines “unmetered bandwidth” as data transfer that doesn’t have defined limitations. However, that doesn’t mean you actually get unlimited resources. If your website greatly exceeds the bandwidth of the normal operation of a website, Bluehost may send you an email asking you to reduce usage and possibly even take a corrective action.
For 99.95% of consumers, this shouldn’t be a problem, and unless you’re not planning on using the basic Bluehost shared web hosting plan to launch a download site or the next Facebook, you can be certain that you won’t receive a warning email from Bluehost.
The most affordable plan from GoDaddy is called Economy, and it costs $2.99 a month and renews at $7.99 a month, which means it’s only marginally more expensive than Bluehost’s budget plan. Those extra 4 cents a month for the first year will give you 100 GB of storage space, unmetered bandwidth (GoDaddy’s definition of “unmetered bandwidth” is exactly the same as Bluehost’s), free business email for the first years, and free domain.
All in all, the two budget plans are more or less the same, and it doesn’t really matter which of them you choose. Both allow you to get a website up and running without making a substantial financial commitment, and that’s everything you can reasonably want from a budget web hosting plan anyway.
Best Hosting Value
In this Bluehost vs GoDaddy comparison, we’re more interested in shared web hosting plans that deliver unbeatable value. More specifically, we’re interested in the Choice Plus plan from Bluehost and the Deluxe plan from GoDaddy.
The Bluehost Choice Plus plan costs $5.45 a month and renews at $14.99 a month. The plan comes with unlimited websites, unlimited SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, free SSL certificate, unlimited domains, unlimited parked domains, unlimited subdomains, SpamExperts’ professional anti-spam email filtering technology, domain privacy, and site backup provided by CodeGuard.
The GoDaddy Deluxe plan is significantly cheaper because it costs $4.99 a month and renews at $10.99 a month. However, it doesn’t come with nearly as many bells and whistles as the Choice Plus plan from Bluehost. GoDaddy simply gives its customers unlimited websites, storage, and subdomains, and that’s it. To get at least some extras, you have to pay $5.99 a month (renews at $16.99 a month) for the Ultimate plan, which comes with free premium DNS and SSL certificate.
If there’s one conclusion we can already make in this Bluehost vs GoDaddy comparison, it’s that GoDaddy offers more barebones web hosting services and requires its customers to pay for features that many other web hosting companies, including Bluehost, offer for free.
Premium Shared Hosting Options
The beefiest shared web hosting plan from Bluehost is called Pro, and it costs $13.95 a month for the first term and $23.99 a month after that. There are two major differences between the Pro plan and all other Bluehost’s shared web hosting plans.
The first major difference is the fact that the Pro plan guarantees lower server density for better performance. Essentially, your website won’t share resources with nearly as many other websites as it would if the Basic or Choice Plus plans. The second major difference is that the Pro plan includes a dedicated IP address for your website. Anyone can use either this IP address or the domain name of your website to access it from the web, which may not seem all that important at first until you discover that search engines see a dedicated IP address as a strong site that the website is trustworthy.
GoDaddy’s premium shared hosting plan, called Maximum, starts at $12.99 a month and renews at $24.99 a month. It features twice the site traffic as GoDaddy’s less expensive shared hosting plans, which is surprising considering that even the Economy plan supposedly comes with unmetered bandwidth. Again, we can see that GoDaddy is reluctant to include extra features, which may explain why so many of its customers switch to a different provider of shared web hosting as soon as their sites gain some traction.
Bluehost vs GoDaddy Email
Email is an important feature of all web hosting services, which is why we feel the need to point out that GoDaddy doesn’t actually include email for free with its plans. The only exception is the Economy plan, which comes with one year of free business email.
If you want email with other plans, prepare to pay $1.99 per user per month for Email Essentials (renews at $4.99 per user per month), $3.99 per user per month for Email Plus (renews at $5.99 per user per month), or $9.99 per user per month for Business Premium (renews at $14.99 per user per month).
Email Essentials comes with 5 GB email storage, Email Plus with 50 GB, and Business Premium gives you access to Microsoft Office products and 50 GB of email storage. You can have up to 400 email aliases with all 3 plans and synchronize your emails across all devices.
Bluehost includes email with all of its web hosting plans, and it also offers professional email as a stand-alone service powered by Microsoft Office 365. A barebones version of the service, called Email Essentials, starts at $2.99 per user per month and renews at $4.99 per user per month. Email Essentials comes with 15 GB of email storage. A tier above it is Business Plus, which costs $5.99 per user per month for the first year and renews at $9.99 per user per month. Business Plus includes 50 GB of email storage, Outlook web access, 1 TB OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Office Online. Finally, there’s Business Pro, which starts at $9.99 per user per month and renews at $14.99 per user per month. Business Pro includes everything Business Plus does plus Microsoft Office for desktop, Access and Publisher for desktop, bookings and invoicing tools, and Outlook customer manager.
If email is all you need, GoDaddy is an easy choice because you can pay just $1.99 per user per month for the first year of service.
Below is a chart comparing the feature sets of Bluehost and GoDaddy.
Bluehost vs GoDaddy – Feature Set Comparison
- Storage Space
- Email Addresses
- Email Storage
- Parked Domains
- Sub Domains
- 50 GB
- 100 MB per account
- 100 GB
- 100 MB per account
One important performance indicator is Time to First Byte (TTFB), which basically tells you how quickly a web server responds to a request. Our own tests, as well as EIG’s internal data, reveal that Bluehost is faster than GoDaddy but slower than some other web hosting companies, namely SiteGround and InMotion Hosting.
With Bluehost, you can expect TTFB of around 600 ms, which is decent but not amazing. GoDaddy’s TTFB often nears 1,000 ms, and that’s too much for our liking. To give you some perspective on the two numbers, consider that premium web hosting companies like SiteGround and InMotion Hosting have a TTFB of around 200 ms.
Besides speeds, you should also pay attention to other objective performance metrics, and uptime is definitely among them. Simply put, if you choose a web hosting company with a high uptime, you can expect your website to spend most of its time online. On the other hand, if you choose a web hosting company with a poor uptime, your website will likely be inaccessible so frequently that you’ll end up losing at least some of your visitors.
Since 2017, Bluehost has maintained a flawless uptime of 100% during most months, only occasionally dipping to 99.99%. Compare that to the industry standard of 99.94%, and you should be able to see why Bluehost is known for its reliability.
GoDaddy has maintained a 99.96% uptime average over the past several months, which would be good enough if it wasn’t for the fact that there were a few months when its uptime dipped below 99.9%. Since there are 525,600 minutes in a year, an uptime of 99.9% results in over 500 minutes of downtime.
GoDaddy’s target demographic—beginners who are just starting to establish their online presence—probably don’t care all that much how much time their sites spend offline, but everyone with slightly more experience understands that high availability is essential for making it on the web.
When it comes to performance, there’s no doubt that Bluehost has the upper hand, but performance isn’t the only thing that matters, and it’s certainly not the only thing we care about in this Bluehost vs GoDaddy comparison.
The web is a dangerous place, and there are many threats lurking in the shadows and looking for poorly secured websites hosted on servers with insufficient security measures put in place. Even though both Bluehost and GoDaddy are very large web hosting companies, you shouldn’t simply assume that you’re safe with them.
Just by looking at what’s included in their shared web hosting plans, it’s clear that Bluehost is more than happy to give its customers a ton of security features for free, including site backup, domain privacy, spam protection, and SSL certificates. Many of these security essentials are offered as paid add-ons by GoDaddy, and their price can quickly add up.
For example, website backup starts at $2.99 a month with GoDaddy, and the company also charges for proactive website security. For $5.59 a month, you can have GoDaddy automatically monitor your website and remove any malware if necessary. If you’re willing to pay even more, you can enjoy WAF malware prevention, advanced DDoS mitigation, and other layers of protection against hackers and malware.
Both Bluehost and GoDaddy support two-factor authentication, adding an additional layer of security to the authentication process by making it harder for attackers to gain access to your user account. Two-factor authentication can greatly increase your security without adding too much complexity, so you should definitely use it whenever you get the chance to do so.
Ease of Use
If you have your domain registered with GoDaddy, then hosting setup is a breeze. It’s literally a few setup wizard-prompted clicks, and your shared server partition is deployed. A few moments later, and an intuitive guide navigates you through the installation of WordPress, or whichever platform you choose. GoDaddy’s management portal is very user-friendly, so changes to the system are relatively easy after the initial launch.
Bluehost’s initial setup isn’t quite as easy as GoDaddy’s, but it’s still very simple for even the most novice of users. A 1-click WordPress installer is available to all customers, allowing you to create a full-fledged WordPress site with a single click. If that’s not enough for you, there’s Blue Flash, a specialized service whose purpose is to help guide new users through the complex tools and functionality they could be utilizing with WordPress.
With Blue Flash, you get access to a team of seasoned WordPress experts who are trained to assist with everything from getting started with WordPress and installing plugins to account navigation and initial set up. The experts can even pick a suitable WordPress theme for you based on your website type as well as your personal preferences.
Once your website is set up, you can access Bluehost’s customized cPanel, an online Linux-based web hosting control panel that provides a graphical interface and automation tools to website owners, which is essentially a simplified version of the default cPanel with the offerings and options included with Bluehost hosting packages on top.
GoDaddy runs a stock version of cPanel, but it offers an additional option in the form of Plesk panel, a commercial web control panel with support for both Linux and Windows servers. Since most online resources are geared toward cPanel, we don’t expect most customers to take advantage of Plesk, but the fact that GoDaddy makes it available is definitely a plus.
Overall, both Bluehost and GoDaddy are among the most user-friendly providers of web hosting services, and even complete novices shouldn’t have much trouble getting a website up and running in no time and keeping it running without a hitch.
GoDaddy offers 24/7 support, which is primarily directed to its phone staff, but offers live chat and a ticketing system as well. While the GoDaddy web hosting support staff is quite knowledgeable, they are very sales pitchy, and will often blame your lower-end package for the issues, and advice an upgrade.
While this may, in fact, be true for many cases, we have also been on many support calls for various clients where the website size, bandwidth, and traffic stats are completely within normal range of the package plan they are on, and the issue instead lies with GoDaddy’s server response time (as validated by 3rd party monitoring systems).
Bluehost offers the same 24/7 support, with a focus on their live chat functionality instead. In our experience, Bluehost’s live chat service is much faster than GoDaddy’s, while the phone response times are comparable. Bluehost, however, seems to be far less pitchy and focuses on customer retention and renewals much more than upgrade plans.
Bluehost and GoDaddy alike maintain an extensive knowledge base where you can learn more about a plethora of web hosting-related topics and things connected specifically with the two web hosting companies and their services. GoDaddy’s knowledge base is organized into the following sections: domain related, hosting and servers, online marketing, partner programs, productivity, and websites. Bluehost’s knowledge base is organized differently: FAQ, WordPress, email, domains, account, and control panel.
Personally, we find Bluehost’s knowledge base to be more intuitive, and it typically takes us far less time to find what we’re looking for. On the other hand, GoDaddy’s knowledge base has a more modern design and using it on mobile devices isn’t a problem.
While neither Bluehost nor GoDaddy provides the on-demand, personal customer support that you get from premium web hosting companies, they do stand behind their customers and do their best to answer all customer support questions as quickly as possible. Both Bluehost and GoDaddy support staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and it rarely takes more time than it should to resolve an issue.
When you purchase a hosting plan from Bluehost, you’ll automatically get a 30-day money-back guarantee during which you can decide if the plan meets your needs. If it doesn’t, simply request a full refund and get all your money back—no questions asked. Just keep in mind that the money-back guarantee doesn’t include most add-on products, such as domains, given the unique nature of their costs. So, if you decide to cancel a plan that includes a free domain, expect Bluehost to deduct a non-refundable domain fee of $15.99 from your refund. Of course, no refunds at all are available after 30 days from purchase.
Back in the day, GoDaddy used to offer a 45-day money-back guarantee, but those days are over. Today, GoDaddy allows its customers to cancel within 30 days of the date of the transaction when it comes to annual plans and within 48 hours of the date of the transaction when it comes to monthly plans. The refund policy doesn’t include certain products, which are listed here.
We believe that 30 days is more than enough to evaluate any hosting service, and we know from experience that both Bluehost and GoDaddy will happily refund all customers who are not 100% satisfied. Of course, you can expect a few sales pitches thrown your way before you get your money back, but nothing out of ordinary.
Bluehost vs GoDaddy – Overview Comparison
- $2.95 /mo*
- $3.99 /mo*
Bluehost or GoDaddy – Who Wins My Pick?
Bluehost receives our recommendation over GoDaddy for this head-to-head Bluehost vs GoDaddy comparison because it consistently delivers better value and performance. Many features that cost money with GoDaddy are available for free with Bluehost, so Bluehost can actually save you a lot of money in the long run. Should you ever outgrow Bluehost’s shared web hosting, you have plenty options where to move next, including VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, and managed WordPress hosting, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try for yourself why so many customers swear by Bluehost and its services.
That said, there are two instances where we would recommend GoDaddy over Bluehost, and those are email and domain name registration. Bluehost doesn’t offer a truly affordable stand-alone email service, which obviously won’t fly if email hosting is all you need. With GoDaddy, you can purchase professional email hosting for as low as $1.99 per user per month and say goodbye to web-based email services such as Gmail and Yahoo. Being the world’s largest domain name registrar, GoDaddy is an easy choice for anyone who wants to quickly and painlessly register a domain name at a fair price.