Both SiteGround and GoDaddy are undisputed web hosting giants, with massive user bases and millions of dollars in profit. Because of their similarities, they are often pitted against each other and compared in every way imaginable.
If you’re deciding which of these two web hosting services you should choose for your website, you’ve probably read multiple SiteGround vs GoDaddy comparisons, only to find out that none of them are truly comprehensive or unbiased. This article is here to fix that.
Who is SiteGround?
SiteGround is a Bulgaria-based web hosting company that was founded in 2004 by a group of university students. Today, SiteGround is servicing nearly 2 million domain names worldwide and employing over 500 people.
The current CEO and one of the founders of SiteGround, Tenko Nikolov, has always been interested in computers, and he considers the web hosting company to be his love affair and plaything, rather than a job. “We didn’t want money,” he said in an interview. “We just wanted a server we could play with!”
That wish has certainly come true because SiteGround currently has data centers on three continents and in four countries (the United States, the Netherlands, UK, and Singapore). The company is known for being a great play for employees to work, and it has received several employer awards over the years.
To distinguish itself from the deluge of other web hosting companies offering similar services, SiteGroud focuses heavily on customer support quality. So far, this strategy has been extremely successful, and the company boasts a remarkable 99.27 percent Happy Client Rating for over 1,000 support chats. That’s a lot of extremely satisfied customers.
SiteGround also strives to bring its users innovative features, making it a great choice for those who want access to the latest and greatest web technology. Even though innovative features often come with a hefty price tag, SiteGround is actually one of the more affordable web hosting services, suitable even for small businesses and entrepreneurs who are just getting their project off the ground.
Who is GoDaddy?
GoDaddy is an American web hosting company that has around 18 million customers and over 6,000 employees around the world, making it the single largest web hosting company in the world. At the time of writing this article, the global market share of GoDaddy is around 16 percent, which is an extremely respectable number.
Considering how huge GoDaddy is, it probably won’t come as a surprise that it has been around for ages. Founded in 1997 by entrepreneur Bob Parsons, who later sold approximately 70 percent of GoDaddy to a private equity consortium and resigned his position as CEO, GoDaddy has had more than enough time to become the largest ICANN-accredited registrar in the world.
GoDaddy has 14 data centers around the world, and it manages nearly 80 million domain names. GoDaddy’s massive infrastructure and a wealth of industry experience are its two biggest advantages, and the company uses them to adapt to changing customer demands.
Of course, you can’t expect a massive multi-national company with thousands of employees to provide the same personalized customer service as a mom-and-pop web hosting service but choosing a large web hosting company has its fair share of advantages as well. For example, GoDaddy has all the tools and features you need to turn your business idea into a real website, including a website builder called GoCenter (more about it in the next chapter of this article).
SiteGround vs GoDaddy: Direct Comparison
Now that you know where SiteGround and GoDaddy come from, it’s time to look at what they offer. Needless to say, both of these two web hosting companies do a lot of things right otherwise they would never reach their present level of success. However, there are certain differences when comparing SiteGround vs GoDaddy that you should be aware of to determine which of them can best meet your needs.
Any modern web hosting service should offer all the features needed to get a website up and running in a short time and maintain it without any expert knowledge. If you already have a website hosted by some other web hosting company, you will be pleased to know that both SiteGround and GoDaddy can help you migrate your existing website to their servers.
SiteGround has an excellent WordPress migrator plugin that is designed to automate the transfer of a WordPress instance to a SiteGround hosting account. All you have to do to use the plugin is to add it on your existing WordPress installation, supply it with a transfer token from your SiteGround account, and let it do its job.
If your website is more complicated, or you would rather leave the entire migration process to seasoned professionals, you can take advantages of the professional migration service offered by SiteGround. The service includes the transfer of all your files and databases, and it’s included for free with GrowBig and higher plans. Every year, SiteGround migrates over 50,000 websites, so you can sure that they know what they’re doing.
GoDaddy has a WordPress migration tool that’s available to all customers with Basic, Deluxe, Ultimate, or Developer Managed plans. To use the tool, you simply tell GoDaddy that you would like to migrate an existing site and supply it with your current site login information and FTP credentials. The tool will establish a remote connection to your existing site and transfer all files and settings for you.
Migrating a simple static website is a matter of transferring all files from the existing FTP server to a new one, and both SiteGround and GoDaddy have great tutorials that explain how to do just that.
If you don’t yet have a website, SiteGround makes it easy to create one by providing a free Weebly site builder and free WordPress installation. Weebly is aimed at entrepreneurs who would like to create an online store without hiring a web development agency and spending thousands of dollars just to end up with more or less the same store that can be created with just a few clicks using Weebly. WordPress, on the other hand, is the world’s most popular content management system, and it’s suitable for creating all kinds of websites, including magazines, blogs, and online stores.
We’ve already mentioned GoDaddy’s website builder, called GoCentral, in the previous chapter of this article, and now is time to explain what makes it so great. GoCentral comes with a whole host of professionally designed templates suitable for all kinds of websites. All you have to do to create a modern website that works just as great on desktop computers as it does on mobile devices is pick a template, customize it to your liking, and publish it with a single click.
There are templates for restaurants, bars, online stores, wellness businesses, freelancers, artists, real estate agencies, photographers, and just about everything and everyone else. GoCentral additionally includes a suite of marketing tools designed to help you reach and grow your audience without hiring an expensive marketing professional and wasting your hard-earned money on dubious third-party SEO tools.
While you can get started with GoCentral for free, you will have to purchase one of GoDaddy’s website builder plans, which start at $5.99 a month when billed annually and go up to $19.99. The cheapest plan includes on-the-go-editing, mobile-friendly site, website hosting, 24/7 customer support, and SSL security.
The most expensive plan adds PayPal button, Search Engine Optimization, email marketing, Google My Business, Yelp business listing, social media integration, online appointments, built-in shopping cart, inventory management, the ability to sell on Amazon, Etsy, and eBay, support for online payments, discount and promotion management capabilities, product reviews, social referrals, configurable shipping and tax, and abandoned cart recovery.
As you can see, GoCentral is truly a world-class website builder that can bring any idea to life, so it’s no wonder that many people choose GoDaddy just to use it. Instead of trying to beat GoDaddy at its own game, SiteGround focuses on providing the hottest web hosting speed technologies.
To start with, SiteGround relies exclusively on Solid State Drive technology, which provides a 1000x increase in input/output operations as compared to regular hard drives. Instead of choosing the more traditional Apache HTTP server, SiteGround decided for Nginx instead to accelerate content and application delivery, improve security, and facilitates availability and scalability.
Thanks to Nginx and its reverse proxy capabilities, SiteGround is able to offer a highly effective catching solution called SuperCacher for the most popular applications, including WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. SiteGround partners with Cloudflare, a U.S. company that provides content delivery network services, DDoS mitigation, Internet security, and distributed domain name server services, to ensure that websites load fast in any part of the world. All SiteGround users can active Cloudflare CDN right from cPanel and choose between the Free Cloudflare CDN Service and Cloudflare Plus.
SiteGround was among the first web hosting services to embrace PHP7, the latest version of the server scripting language that’s behind most website on the web today. With PHP 7, websites load much faster, critical errors are less likely to happen, and many important security issues have been addressed. In addition to PHP7, SiteGround also uses the newest network protocol, HTTP/2, which offers even more performance and security benefits.
Website performance has a direct impact on SEO, and its importance is only increasing as more and more users access the web from mobile devices. Choosing a web hosting service that doesn’t keep your visitors waiting should be your top priority at all times, and we’ll tell you which of these two web hosting giants is faster and more reliable in this part of our SiteGround vs GoDaddy comparison.
One way how to evaluate the performance of a web hosting service is to look at Time to First Byte (TTFB). Essentially, TTFB is a ballpark measurement that tells you how quickly a server responds to its first request. During our testing, SiteGround was significantly faster, often responding to the first request twice as fast as GoDaddy.
We’re not surprised by this result at all because SiteGround uses the latest version of PHP, while GoDaddy is still stuck with PHP version 5.3 on shared hosting. That said, we don’t think that GoDaddy’s performance issues will go away when it finally upgrades to a new version of PHP. GoDaddy is a huge web hosting company whose sheer size prevents from being as agile and fast as SiteGround.
However, even the fastest web hosting service in the world doesn’t deserve your money if it’s not reliable. GoDaddy has a very bad reputation in this regard because it tends to overcrowd its servers to the point of breaking. Still, people on shared plans get a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee, which is better than nothing but certainly not enough for more demanding users.
SiteGround, on the other hand, has built its platform on cutting edge LXC (Linux containers) technology, which allows it to provide great stability in times of unexpected traffic spikes and achieve 99.99 percent uptime. The difference of 0.09 percent may seem insignificant, but only until you realize that it translates to 473 minutes of downtime per year, which is nearly 7.9 hours. That’s a lot of lost revenue if you’re running even a moderately successful business.
SiteGround protects the security of its users in a number of different ways. All of its servers are by default configured to use the latest PHP 7 version, which offers better security enhancements than its predecessor, PHP 5. For example, PHP 7 introduces scalar type declarations and return type declarations, and both of these feature enhancements help web developers write more bullet-proof web applications.
SiteGround is running Apache in a chrooted environment with suExec, a feature of the Apache web server that allows CGI scripts to run as the user in whose directory they are installed, rather than as the default web server user.
To protect its users against external attacks, SiteGround has implemented sophisticated IDS/IPS systems which block malicious bots and attackers. SiteGround users can also effortlessly enhance the security of their websites by activating Cloudflare and purchasing the Cloudflare Plus plan, which comes with a web application firewall.
All SiteGround accounts can issue as many free Let’s Encrypt certificates as needed, and installing them is a matter of visiting cPanel and following the simple steps described in detail in SiteGround’s Let’s Encrypt tutorial.
Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, of course, work also with GoDaddy, but the web hosting service doesn’t provide a convenient way how to generate and activate them, recommending its users to generate them through a third-party client, which is not exactly convenient.
The reason why GoDaddy doesn’t make it easier for its users to use Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates probably has a lot to do with the fact that the web hosting service makes money selling its own SSL certificates, with prices starting at $63.99 per year.
Another important feature that all SiteGround users get for free but GoDaddy users have to pay for is daily data backup. SiteGround keeps backups of customers’ Shared and Cloud hosting accounts for up to 30 and 7 days respectively, and users can make a manual backup at any time from cPanel. GoDaddy charges $2.99 per month for 5 GB or $12.99 for 100 GB of backup space.
Even though the two prices also include built-in daily malware scanning, scheduled backups, continuous security monitoring, downloads to local storage, easy one-click restore, and expert 24/7 customer support, we still think that charging customers so much money for backup space is outrageous.
Customer support matters more than many people realize or are willing to admit. Because GoDaddy is the largest web hosting company in the world, you might assume that its customer support wouldn’t be too great, but we’re very happy to say that it doesn’t leave much to be desired.
GoDaddy has a comprehensive knowledge base, where you can learn everything there is to know about account management, cPanel, SSL certificates, hosting and servers, online marketing, and other related topics. When you can’t solve a problem by yourself, it’s time to call GoDaddy’s customer support line.
The primary customer support number is available around the clock and free of charge. Of course, connection charges can vary when calling from outside United States, which is why GoDaddy has a whole host of other customer support numbers in countless other countries around the world, including Argentina, Poland, Singapore, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Germany, United Kingdom, India, Italia, Israel, New Zealand, or Japan.
SiteGround has 24/7 phone support as well, allowing its customers to easily reach its insanely fast customer support team without waiting. All SiteGround customer support employees are trained professionals with plenty of relevant industry experience, which qualifies them to answer even the most difficult questions.
In addition to phone support, SiteGround has a ticketing service and live chat. Both customer support tickets and chat messages are answered around the clock, and it takes on average 10 minutes for customer support tickets to get answered and less than a minute for live chat messages to receive a reply.
When you chat with a SiteGround customer support employee, you can see the person’s personal profile with their technical background, years of experience, specific areas of expertise, and personal interests. Not only does this make the whole interaction much more pleasant, but it also allows you to see if the person on the other site is competent to answer your question.
In this part of our SiteGround vs GoDaddy web hosting comparison, we explore how the two services differ in price. While cheaper is generally better when it comes to web hosting, you don’t want to sacrifice important features just to save a few dollars every year, let alone every month.
SiteGround has a very straight forward pricing structure, offering just three plans for web hosting, WordPress hosting, and WooCommerce hosting.
- The most affordable plan is called StartUp, and it costs $3.95 a month and includes 1 website, 10 GB of storage space, 10,000 monthly visits, free website builder, 24/7 customer support, free SSL certificate, free email accounts, unmetered traffic, free Cloudflare CDN, unlimited MySQL, free daily backup, and cPanel and SSH.
- A tier above it is the GrowBig plan, which costs $5.95 month and includes unlimited websites, 20 GB of storage space, 25,000 monthly visits, all essential features included in the StartUp plan plus priority technical support, SuperCacher, free backup restores, and free site transfer.
- The most expensive and feature-packed plan is called GoGeek, costing $11.95 a month. It includes unlimited websites, 30 GB of storage space, 100, monthly visits, all features included in the StartUp and GrowBig plans plus fewer accounts on server, PCI compliant servers, WordPress and Joomla staging, one-click Git repo creation, and free backups on demand.
Apart from these three plans, SiteGround offers fully managed cloud hosting with prices starting at $80 a month as well as very attractive reseller hosting plans that are perfect for web designers and developers that maintain their customers’ websites on a long-term basis. We should also mention that SiteGround is able to create a custom hosting solution based on specific customer’s business needs and fully manage it on its hosting infrastructure.
GoDaddy’s offers four shared web hosting plans:
- Economy: costs $2.99 a month for the first term and includes 1 website, 100 GB of storage space, unmetered bandwidth, free business email for the first year, and free domain.
- Deluxe: costs $4.99 a month for the first term and includes all Economy features plus unlimited websites, unlimited storage, and unlimited subdomains.
- Ultimate: costs $5.99 a month for the first term and includes all Deluxe features plus twice the processing power and memory, free SSL certificate for one year, free premium DNS, and unlimited databases.
- Maximum: costs $12.99 a month for the first term and includes all Ultimate features plus twice the processing power and memory, twice the maximum site traffic, and free SSL certificate for the full term.
To host a WordPress site with GoDaddy, it’s necessary to upgrade to a WordPress hosting plan. Again, there are four plans to choose from:
- Basic: costs $4.99 a month for the first term and includes 1 website, 10 GB of SSD storage space, 25,000 monthly visits, SFTP access, free domain with annual
- Deluxe: costs $7.99 a month for the first term and includes 1 website, 15 GB of SSD storage space, 100,000 monthly visits, SSH or SFTP access, free domain with annual plan, one-click staging site, and search engine visibility wizard.
- Ultimate: costs $9.99 a month for the first term and includes 2 websites, 30 GB of SSD storage space, 400,000 monthly visits, all the features included in the Deluxe plan plus free SSL certificate for one year and malware scan and repair.
- Pro 5+: starts at $24.99 a month for the first term and includes 5 to 50 websites, 50 to 200 GB of SSD storage space, 800,000 monthly visitors, all the features included in the Ultimate plan plus free site maintenance tools and free Gravity Forms license.
Finally, GoDaddy offers four VPS plans and four dedicated server hosting plans ($89.99/mo, $104.99/mo, $129.99/mo, $179.99/mo).
Overall, you typically get more bang for your buck with SiteGround, but GoDaddy’s prices start lower, which may be important if you’re just establishing a web presence and need to make every single dollar count as much as possible.
Conclusion After Comparing SiteGround & GoDaddy
This has been a close battle, but that’s exactly what we expected when we started writing this SiteGround vs GoDaddy comparison.
SiteGround is a technologically superior web hosting service, and it’s also the overall winner of this comparison, offering PHP 7, free WordPress migration, Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, daily backups, fantastic performance, and perhaps the best customer support service in the industry.
GoDaddy is by no means a bad web hosting service, but it’s clearly a victim of its own success because it’s built on slightly outdated technologies, making it hard to recommend to people who look beyond the price tag and understand just how critically important web hosting performance really is in the day and age of search engine optimization.
SiteGround Advantages and Disadvantages
+ State-of-the-art web hosting technology
+ Active involvement in the WordPress community
+ Fantastic customer support
+ Straightforward web hosting plans
+ Great performance and uptime
– Priced higher
– No in-house website builder
GoDaddy Advantages and Disadvantages
+ Excellent website builder
+ Largest domain registrar on the internet
– Performance issues
– No live chat customer support
– WordPress users must pay extra