Comparison Review: HostGator or GoDaddy?
There are lots of hosting providers to choose from today, and HostGator and GoDaddy are two of the biggest. They have both been going strong for many years now, providing reliable and affordable hosting for various types of clients. There is no denying that their reputations are well-earned, but which provider offers a better package? And, which host is right for you?
I know that it can be challenging to separate the leading providers, but you don’t need to worry, as I have done the hard work for you. I’ve been a customer of both providers for quite some time now, enabling me to put together a comprehensive review so you can understand the pros and cons associated with both web hosts.
So, let’s get right to it…
Firstly, I’ll provide you with a little bit of background information about both web hosts so you can get a better understanding. Hostgator is based in Houston, and it provides virtual private hosting, as well as dedicated, reseller, and shared hosting. The company has offices in Austin, Texas, too.
HostGator was founded by Brent Oxley back in October of 2002. At the time, he was a student at Florida Atlantic University. The company has gone from strength-to-strength ever since. It opened its first international office in Canada in 2006, and it was then listed in the top 21 fastest growing companies in Inc. Magazine in 2008.
The company continues to add to their services. They recently launched a web hosting service in Australia and the United Kingdom. A few years ago, they also released Optimized WP, which is a range of tools for creating and maintaining WordPress sites.
GoDaddy Inc. had a little bit of a headstart on HostGator, as the company was founded in 1997. Entrepreneur Bob Parsons started the company. Back in 1994, he sold Parsons Technology, a financial software services business, to Intuit, for a tidy $65 million. However, it did not take long for him to come out of retirement! In 1997, he launched Jomax Technologies, which ended up becoming GoDaddy Group Inc.
The company is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, and it currently has more than 7,000 employees worldwide and over 20 million customers.
GoDaddy is known for making numerous acquisitions to further their position. For example, they acquired ManageWP back in 2016. Since then, they have also acquired Neustar’s domain registry service, Sellbrite, Cognate, Main Street Hub, Sucuri, and several other businesses.
GoDaddy provides a wide range of services on top of their hosting offering. For example, GoValue is a service they offer that acts as a domain appraisals tool, essentially showing the average value for any domain name. They also have their own domain marketplace, known as GoDaddy Auctions, whereby people can sell or bid on domain names.
HostGator vs GoDaddy Feature Comparison
Now that you’ve got some good background knowledge regarding both of the companies, time to check out their features and what they have to offer in this department!
Like any sort of hosting provider, the features available at GoDaddy and HostGator will depend on the sort of plan you select. Both of these hosting providers deliver a number of options, which include shared hosting, dedicated hosting, and virtual private server (VPS) hosting. They both also offer managed WordPress packages, and I will take a look at which provider is best for WordPress later in the guide.
My primary focus for this review will be the shared hosting plans, although I will touch upon the others to give you some insight. However, most people will want a shared hosting solution, so it makes sense to give the greatest insight into these plans.
Features from HostGator
There are three different levels of shared hosting packages on offer at HostGator. The Hatchling plan is the cheapest of the three. Although you have the option to host this plan on any sort of content management system (CMS), it does come with some highly useful features for WordPress users.
With this plan, you can expect the following:
- One website
- $100 Google Adwords + credits for Bing Ads (a feature of all of the HostGator plans)
- Unmetered storage
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Free cPanel/WordPress website transfer
- One-click WordPress installation via cPanel
- A free SSL certificate
- Free domain when you choose a one-year contract or longer
Features from GoDaddy
The cheapest shared hosting plan from GoDaddy is the Economy plan. A lot of the features offered in this plan are similar to those in the HostGator plan I touched upon above.
With this plan, you can expect the following:
- One website
- 100 GB storage limit
- Unmetered bandwidth
- One-click WordPress installation via the cPanel
- Free initial domain registration with a 12-month plan
Some of the key differences between the two plans
There are a few noticeable differences between the two plans. With HostGator, for example, you will get a free SSL certificate. This is not something that is included in the basic GoDaddy plan. You will have to take two steps up to the Ultimate plan to benefit from this. Also, as illustrated in the bullet point list above, there is a 100 GB storage limit on the GoDaddy Economy plan.
There are some features that GoDaddy possesses that HostGator’s cheapest plan does not. For example, you will be able to make the most of the one-click set-up for GoDaddy registered domains and you will also get one year’s worth of an Office 365 email for free.
If you are looking to migrate your site from a different web host, it will be free of charge irrespective of whether you decide to go for GoDaddy or HostGator.
Ease of use, HostGator vs GoDaddy – Who is Best?
No one wants to choose a web host that’s difficult to use, do they? With the vast majority of web hosts, you will have a control panel where you can access all of the host’s features, including domains, email, apps, files, and so on.
With GoDaddy, you have the industry-standard cPanel, which is very easy to use. They have also uploaded a good amount of guides online should you need any assistance.
The industry-standard cPanel is also a feature of the HostGator offering. However, if you opt for one of the higher-level plans, you will have a different dashboard. For example, Plesk is available on the Windows and VPS hosting plans, and specialty and reseller plans use Web Host Manager.
As the cPanel is available for both GoDaddy and HostGator, there really isn’t much to split the two here. However, the user experience does extend beyond the cPanel; you’ve also got to consider billing and other elements.
The main dashboard on HostGator is easy to understand, with a very sleek design. The primary navigation, where you can find support, billing information, and such like, is on the left. If you want to open the phpMyAdmin or File Manager for your hosting plan, you simply need to click on Manage on the hosting page.
It is also easy to use the GoDaddy dashboard, which you can easily navigate to via the two tabs at the top of your screen. One tab incorporates your account details, whereas the other contains all of your purchased domains and hosting plans. One difference with the cPanel at GoDaddy is that it has not been customized, unlike the HostGator one. What does this mean? Well, you might have to do a little bit of digging for the WordPress installer and tools like this, but it does not make too much of a difference overall.
GoDaddy vs HostGator – Which delivers better performance?
Performance is one area whereby you simply cannot afford to cut corners! This can make or break your website, and the web host you choose plays a massive role in this. While I always advise website owners to take steps to optimize their website, there is only so much you are going to be able to do if your server is letting you down.
I have conducted extensive research on both hosts, while also carrying out my own tests on the likes of load impact and uptime.
A lot of web hosts make big claims when it comes to uptime, but they don’t always live up to it. HostGator, however, has really impressed me in this department! They’re incredibly reliable. Unfortunately, GoDaddy wasn’t as consistent, with uptime being a bit more on the erratic side.
Load Impact is such an important element to measure because it dictates how well the host is able to handle traffic surges. Both hosts were pretty good in this area, but GoDaddy was much more stable in their loading times under traffic strain.
Finally, using Pingdom Tools, I was able to test page speed times on both platforms. There was one clear winner in this category: GoDaddy! I tested speeds across three different continents, and GoDaddy was faster each time by between 0.30 and 1 seconds.
Security measures are imperative when it comes to choosing a web host. You really cannot afford to cut corners when it comes to this. After all, the last thing you want to do is suffer a data breach because of lax security. Even though your web host is to blame, the buck will still fall at your shoulders and you will deal with the consequences if data is compromised. Because of this, high levels of security are critical.
There are many different ways that data can be compromised. This includes human errors, viruses, malware, malfunctions – which tend to be mechanical, physical damage, deletion – purposeful or accidental, hardware or theft, natural disasters in all forms, power failures, and hacking. The best web hosts will put different measures in place to protect from all of these possibilities.
Security offered by HostGator
I will start by taking a look at the security measures that are in place at HostGator. The web host carries out weekly malware scans and backups. This is not sufficient, so you will have to do daily checks yourself to ensure your system is protected. Plus, if you need your backup site to be restored, you will need to pay HostGator for the privilege, so do keep this in mind.
However, I have been happy to learn about the measures that HostGator takes to make sure your data is protected, ensuring there are numerous layers of protection.
In terms of availability and staffing, they ensure that there are admin and technical personnel staff working at their data centers 24 hours a day, seven days per week, ensuring that issues can be rectified as quickly as possible. Biometric locks and CCTV monitoring are two of many physical protection layers that are used to protect and fully secure the entrances.
HostGator have also put uninterrupted power supply cooling systems in place to ensure that the servers will not overheat.
In terms of the measures HostGator takes to protect from cyber attacks, they have extensive mod security sets and a substantial custom firewall rule, which protects the servers from a wide range of attacks.
Security offered by GoDaddy
GoDaddy provides malware scans and backups on a daily basis, with the files being backed up and stored in the cloud. This protection does come at a small added expense, yet it is well worth it in my opinion. After all, you really cannot afford to take a risk or cut corners when it comes to security. After all, no one wants to have a crisis on their hands where they lose all of their files, do they?
Plus, we should not ignore the fact that hackers target these big-name web hosts, like GoDaddy. In fact, it is believed that the GoDaddy systems block 2.5 million brute force attacks per hour on average. This shows why a high level of security is simply a must when you choose a web host.
One of the reassuring things is that you get 2048-bit encryption and SHA-2 encryption with every plan, which is the most powerful protection on offer.
Of course, their security also extends to the data centers themselves. Like HostGator, they have worked hard to make sure that the power supply is uninterrupted. There are a number of different cooling systems in place to keep all of the equipment and the servers running at the right temperature. Plus, 24-hour CCTV is maintained with people monitoring the images at all times to protect from physical attacks.
As WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system, you may want to know which host is going to be best for WordPress integration.
Both web hosts offer easy WordPress integration, making the set-up process as easy as possible. One key difference between the two platforms, though, is how long it takes for the changes to take effect. At HostGator, you can have your WordPress website ready to go in a matter of minutes, whereas it can take up to 24 hours when using GoDaddy.
Unless you’re in a massive rush, this won’t make too much of a difference! But it’s important to know nonetheless.
The thing about using WordPress is that once your site has been set-up, you aren’t really going to need to interact with your host. The foundations are put in place, and you’re going to know if something is not quite right.
Both HostGator and GoDaddy have made an effort to satisfy their WordPress customers by offering a number of WordPress-specific features. Let’s take a look at some of them:
GoDaddy’s WordPress features
- Free domain
- Free Microsoft Office 365 email with the yearly plan
- One-click migration tool
- Automatic security updates for WordPress
- Free one-click restore of your website
- Daily backups
- Drag-and-drop editor
- Pre-built websites
HostGator’s WordPress features
- One-click scalability if there is a sudden spike in your traffic
- Automatic back-up of your website
- Quick load times
- Easy install using the “quick install” in the MOJO marketplace
- Free migration of WordPress websites
- WordPress-specific web hosting plans
Needless to say, price is going to come into your decision! While it is important to ensure the host is right for you from a feature standpoint, no one wants to spend a fortune, do they?
As is the case with the majority of hosting platforms, there are several different packages available at HostGator and GoDaddy, meaning you can scale up based on your needs and requirements.
Again, as you will find with most of the hosting companies out there, the rates you are charged get cheaper if you sign up for one of the longer contracts. Going for a monthly plan will be considerably more expensive, so do keep this in mind when making your decision.
There are many different plans available at GoDaddy. I will start by talking you through the shared hosting plans, of which there are four.
- Economy – The Economy plan starts from $5.99 per month for the first term. With this, you get one website, a free domain for the first year, a free business email for the first year, unmetered bandwidth, and 100 GB of storage space.
- Deluxe – The Deluxe plan starts $7.99 per month, which includes all of the features mentioned in the Economy plan, as well as unlimited subdomains, unlimited storage, and unlimited websites.
- Ultimate – The Ultimate plan is $12.99 per month. Aside from the features mentioned, you will also get unlimited databases, free premium DNS, a free SSL certificate for one year, and also twice the processing power and memory.
- Maximum – Finally, there is the maximum plan, which is $19.99 per month. On top of the previous features, you will get a free SSL certificate for the full term, twice the maximum site traffic, and twice the memory and processing power.
If you are intending to host a WordPress website with GoDaddy, you will need to choose one of their WordPress hosting plans. Again, there are four options here, so let’s take a look at them:
- Basic – The Basic plan costs $4.99 per month. On this plan, you will get one website included, as well as a free domain with the annual plan, SFTP access, and 10 GB of SSD storage space, with this being suitable for sites with 25,000 monthly visits.
- Deluxe – Next, we have the Deluxe plan, which will set you back $7.99 per month. On this plan, you will get one website included, as well as a free domain with the annual plan, SFTP or SSH access, search engine visibility wizard, one-click staging site, and 15 GB of SSD storage space, with this being suitable for sites with 100,000 monthly visits.
- Ultimate – Next, we have the Ultimate plan, which will set you back $9.99 per month. On this plan, you will get two websites included. As well as the features in the former plans, you will get malware scan and repair, and a free SSL certificate for one year, with this being suitable for sites with 400,000 monthly visits.
- Pro 5+ – The final option when it comes to WordPress websites is the Pro 5+ plan. This plan includes between five and 50 websites, with prices starting from $24.99 per month. This is suitable for sites with 800,000 monthly visitors. You will get all of the features in the other plans, as well as a free Gravity Forms license, free site maintenance tools, and between 50 and 200 GB of SSD storage space.
Finally, there are also four VPS plans and four dedicated server hosting plans available if you need something more comprehensive.
Now, let’s take a look at HostGator’s pricing. Again, we will start with the shared hosting packages, of which there are three.
All of the three packages include the following features: Unlimited MySQL Databases, a 99.9% Uptime Guarantee, 24/7/365 Server Monitoring, Unlimited FTP Users, One Click Installs, 24/7/365 Support, Unmetered Bandwidth, cPanel Control Panel, and free migration.
So, what are the three shared plans that you can choose from?
- Hatchling – Prices start from $2.75 per month. This plan is for one domain, offering unlimited emails and one-click installations.
- Baby – Prices start from $3.95 per month. This plan is for unlimited domains, offering unlimited emails and one-click installations.
- Business – Prices start from $5.95 per month. This plan is for unlimited domains, offering unlimited emails and one-click installations. You will also get a free VoIP phone service, a dedicated IP, and private SSL.
There are also three plans for those who are interested in WordPress hosting. These plans are as follows:
- Starter – Prices start from $5.95 per month. This plan is for one site, offering 50 GB of storage and 1 GB of backups. It’s suitable for sites with 25,000 visits per month.
- Standard – Prices start from $7.95 per month. This plan is for two sites, offering 150 GB of storage and 2 GB of backups. It’s suitable for sites with 200,000 visits per month.
- Business – Prices start from $9.95 per month. This plan is for three sites, offering unlimited storage and 3 GB of backups. It’s suitable for sites with 300,000 visits per month.
In addition to shared hosting and WordPress hosting, other plans available include dedicated, VPS, and cloud hosting.
Both web hosts provide a similar level of customer service. Both provide a knowledge center, 24/7 phone support, and 24/7 live chat support. HostGator also provides a ticketing system; GoDaddy does not provide this.
Both platforms have lots of useful resources on their website, with the knowledge centers being easy to navigate and clearly presented.
In a day and age whereby customer support can be a bugbear for a lot of customers, it is great to see that this is something that GoDaddy and HostGator have dedicated a lot of resources to, ensuring we’re never left in the dark when we need a bit of help!
Conclusion: HostGator or GoDaddy
After using both web hosts for a considerable period of time, and delving deeper into the services they offer, it was a close battle, but I think HostGator just edges it. The range of features and affordable prices make HostGator an attractive option for many.
This is not to say that GoDaddy is not without its benefits. There are some circumstances whereby I would recommend using GoDaddy over HostGator. This includes the following scenarios:
- You already have a domain name that is registered at GoDaddy.
- Page speed and performance are the most important factors to you when choosing a host.