If your business is ready for a web presence, then you’ll need to choose an appropriate web hosting service. GoDaddy is a well-known name when it comes to buying website domain names and it’s also excellent for personal and commercial hosting purposes. The company has built a dependable web server infrastructure focused heavily on uptime, Linux- and Windows-based servers, stellar customer service, email hosting and other features. GoDaddy’s well-rounded packages fall just shy of those offered by DreamHost, HostGator, and Hostwinds, so it doesn’t earn our Editors’ Choice endorsement, but it’s still a strong web host worthy of your consideration.
Shared Web Hosting
GoDaddy charges a monthly fee for its Linux- or Windows-based shared web servers, but it reduces the price if you commit to a multimonth or annual package. Unfortunately, GoDaddy requires you to sign up for its pricier Deluxe or Ultimate plans (starting at $10.99 and $16.99, respectively) for the option to pay for hosting on a month-to-month basis (the basic Economy plan requires you to sign up for a minimum of three months). This may not have much impact on businesses, but a cash-strapped blogger may not appreciate GoDaddy’s lack of a single-month option in its Economy package.
GoDaddy’s Economy basic shared hosting package ($7.99 per month) includes a free domain name, 100GB of storage, the ability to host one website, unlimited monthly data transfers, and free Microsoft 365 Business email. The Deluxe plan (starting at $10.99 per month, or $5.99 per month with an annual commitment) builds on the Economy package by adding unlimited storage, and unlimited domains. The Ultimate package (starting at $16.99 per month, or $7.99 per month with an annual commitment) adds a premium DNS management tool, double the processing power (Linux-based servers only), and a one-year secure socket layer (SSL) Certificate.
GoDaddy has rich shared hosting plans, but HostGator still reigns as the PCMag Editors’ Choice for shared web hosting services. Like GoDaddy, HostGator boasts unlimited domains and monthly data transfers across the board, and a choice of Linux- or Windows-based servers, but it tops its rival by offering a VoIP number for your business and unlimited storage with all plans.
Dedicated Web Hosting
GoDaddy’s dedicated servers come in many Linux and Windows configurations. The plans start at $129 per month, and you can outfit the servers with up to 32GB of RAM, 2TB of storage, and unlimited monthly data transfers.
The 32GB RAM total is 96GB less than what’s offered by Hostwinds, the PCMag Editors’ Choice for dedicated servers. GoDaddy also loses points because its plan doesn’t include email. That’s a separate purchase.
VPS Web Hosting
Hostwinds may be the PCMag Editors’ Choice for VPS hosting, but that doesn’t mean that GoDaddy doesn’t have quality virtual private server packages. GoDaddy’s VPS plans (starting at $29.99 per month) offer Linux- or Windows-based servers, and unlimited domains, monthly data transfers, and email. The specs top out at 8GB of RAM, 240GB of storage, and a free SSL for one year. That’s good stuff.
So why does GoDaddy fall short of winning the VPS hosting Editors’ Choice award? Hostwinds has truly stacked VPS servers. For example, Tier 1 Premium VPS starts at just $13.50 per month (for 1GB of RAM, 50GB of disk space, unlimited monthly data transfers, and unlimited email), while Tier 10 scales up to $105 per month (for 15GB of RAM, 200GB of disk space, unlimited monthly data transfers, and unlimited email). The SSD Linux plan starts at $13.50 per month (for 1GB of RAM, 25GB of disk space, unlimited monthly data transfers, and unlimited email) and maxes out at $129 per month (18.5GB of RAM, 130GB of disk space, unlimited monthly data transfers, and unlimited email).
Still, GoDaddy’s VPS services are a capable option for people who want a web hosting solution that’s more powerful than shared web hosting, but don’t want to pay dedicated web hosting’s relatively expensive cost.
WordPress Web Hosting
GoDaddy gives its version of WordPress hosting the white-glove treatment with four tiers of Linux-based managed WordPress hosting. Signing up has its advantages. GoDaddy has thousands of WordPress themes and plug-ins, and it offers nightly backups and automatic WordPress software updates. Like other managed WordPress hosts, GoDaddy doesn’t require you to install the CMS, as it comes preinstalled. Once you’re logged into WordPress, you can create posts, pages, and galleries as you would with any other self-hosted WordPress site.
The Basic $7.99-per-month plan comes with one domain, 10GB of SSD storage, and 25,000 monthly visitors. Deluxe ($9.99 per month) ups the storage and monthly visitors to 15GB and 100,000, respectively. It also adds site staging and an SEO plug-in. The $14.99 per month Ultimate plan builds on Deluxe by offering 30GB of storage, 400,000 monthly visitors, malware scanning and removal, and the ability to host two sites. Developer ($24.99 per month) serves up 50GB of storage, 800,000 monthly visitors, and the ability to host five sites.
Still, TMDHosting remains the Editors’ Choice for WordPress hosting. The top dog gives you three tiers of WordPress hosting, as well as the option for Linux- or Windows-based servers. The packages start at $8.95 per month (for unlimited storage and monthly data transfers) and scale up to $16.95 per month (for all that plus unlimited site hosting). Its pre-built environment comes with many WordPress-friendly features, including live malware protection and curated plug-ins that are designed to enhance your experience.
No Cloud Web Hosting
Unfortunately, GoDaddy lacks cloud hosting, an alternative to traditional hosting that draws resources from multiple servers. If you want to get into cloud hosting, which lets you expand server resources with ease, we suggest taking a look at DreamHost, our top pick in that category.
DreamHost’s packages start at $4.50 per month (for 512MB of RAM, 100GB of storage, and unlimited monthly data transfers) and top out at $48 per month (for four CPU cores, 8GB of RAM, 100GB of storage, and unlimited monthly data transfers).
Reseller Web Hosting
If you’re looking to get into the web hosting business, but you don’t want to deal with infrastructure matters, check out GoDaddy’s reseller hosting packages. The two plans, the $8.99 per month Basic and the $14.99 per month Pro, offer sales and commission reports and credit card processing. The servers have the same RAM and storage amounts as those that Hostwinds supplies directly, which is not always the case.
Unfortunately, GoDaddy’s reseller packages don’t come with email; you’d need to sign up for seperate email plans for electronic mail. On the upside, GoDaddy lets you apply your own branding to the servers you rent, and it also supplies 24/7 tech support.
Still, Hostwinds goes the extra mile with more generous specs in a variety of server categories. As a result, Hostwinds is the Editors’ Choice for reseller hosting.
Setting Up a GoDaddy-Hosted Site
GoDaddy’s new free Website Builder is called GoCentral. It’s a completely responsive-design tool, which means you get a good-looking and functional mobile website alongside the desktop website you build. For $29.99 per month, you can add a capable web store. But, in general, the new GoCentral service so far lacks much of what you find in the site-building competition, such as a gallery of third-party widgets, a blogging tool, and any kind of image editing.
One of the better aspects of GoDaddy is that it is gradually abandoning its old cPanel email service for accounts bundled with Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium, the Editors’ Choice for email hosting. GoDaddy tosses in hosted email accounts with each shared hosting plan, but not with its dedicated hosting plans.
If you want to purchase email, here’s the breakdown: Email Essentials (starting at $4.99 per month or $3.99 per month with a two- or three-year commitment) gives you 5GB of email storage. Online Essentials (starting at $9.99 per month or $7.99 per month with a two- or three-year commitment) ups the email capacity to 50GB and adds 1TB of cloud storage. Business Premium (starting at $14.99 per month or $9.99 per month with a two- or three-year commitment) raises the email storage capacity to 50GB and adds unlimited web conferencing and access to online Microsoft Word and Excel. Premium Security (starting at $24.97 per month or $14.99 per month with a two- or three-year commitment) tosses in encryption and Microsoft Office mobile applications.
We found it a simple endeavor to set up our GoDaddy email, as the web host prompted us to create one during the sign-up process. We simply selected the domain to which the email address would be associated, and then entered an email handle and a password. In general, Microsoft Office 365 is fairly straightforward to configure, but GoDaddy has really taken the guesswork out.
Since GoDaddy has essentially repackaged Microsoft Office 365, you get a lot of bang for your buck in terms of email features, both on the user side and from an administrator’s perspective. Assuming you go with the Business Premium feature set as we did, you’ll get the full Microsoft Office Suite along with its business collaboration tools. This means the usual productivity apps, such as Microsoft Access, Excel, Outlook, and Word, but it also gives you additional team collaboration, online conferencing, and even VoIP phone calling via Microsoft Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. However, we are a little disappointed in the pricing structure, as some of what GoDaddy sells as extra-cost add-ons, such as encryption, are already present if you go with a plan directly from Microsoft.
Along with the slew of desktop apps, you also get access to Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA), a sleek and modern web adaptation of the Outlook email client. It offers a familiar layout for calendars, contacts, and tasks, and a new “focused inbox”—all available in your browser. What Microsoft means by a “focused inbox” is that, rather than just being a dumping ground for all incoming email, it defaults to a dynamic view that’s constantly being updated. This tech is based on a machine learning (ML) algorithm that attempts to figure out which email is most important to you; everything else goes to the regular inbox. As you sort emails between the focused inbox and the regular inbox, the algorithm gradually gets better, helping you to concentrate on email that matters most. You’ll also be able to use mentions. When creating a new email, if you prepend someone’s name with the @ sign, then it will automatically Cc that individual. You can also apply a filter that will show you emails in which you were directly mentioned.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that GoDaddy defaults to the same email management portal that admins would get by purchasing Office 365 directly from Microsoft. The one caveat is that some of the panes have been replaced with links back to the GoDaddy website. This applies particularly to user and license management. Many of the advanced configuration options remain intact, however. Because of this, you’ll be able to take advantage of Exchange Online Protection for spam filtering, though you’ll have to dig a little more to get to the Security and Compliance panel.
GoDaddy has ditched its old Quick Shopping Cart e-commerce software in favor of a new $29.99 per month GoDaddy Online Store. The new offering boasts many features, including secure checkout, SEO tools, store themes, and unlimited product listings.
Setting up shop with the new tool is straightforward and easy. You select a theme, add products, pricing, and images, and pick your preferred payment and shipping methods. If you plan on using your website to sell products, GoDaddy Online Store is an excellent choice.
GoDaddy offers Sucuri (starting at $6.99 per month), a service that provides a site-verification certificate, app scanning, and spam and malware monitoring. Depending on the package that you select, Sucuri scans your website’s sub-pages to find network vulnerabilities and remove malware.
You can also purchase Secure Sockets Layer certificates (starting at $69.99 per year), the software that’s represented by a green padlock in your web browser when you visit, say, a financial institution’s website. If you plan to sell products via your website, consider an SSL certificate an essential purchase, as it safeguards the data exchange between a customer and your servers.
In terms of security for its hosted email services, you’ll find this is all hosted in Microsoft’s data centers. That means you’ll have all the same security benefits as those provided to other Microsoft Office 365 users. Your email data will be encrypted in transit and at rest using SSL and Bitlocker technology. Per Microsoft’s publicly available terms of service, Microsoft employees only have highly limited access to your data and only under specific, audited circumstances.
Website uptime is one of the most important aspects of a hosting service. If your site is down, clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services. You do not want that. Fortunately, GoDaddy is quite dependable.
We use a website monitoring tool to track our test sites’ uptime over a two-week period. Every 15 minutes, the tool pings our websites and sends an email if it is unable to contact any sites for at least one minute. The data revealed that GoDaddy didn’t go down once during the testing period. In other words, GoDaddy is remarkably stable.
If you’re mainly interested in email services, then traditionally, GoDaddy hasn’t had an uptime policy for its older CPanel email. But since the company has transitioned to Microsoft Office 365 for its email services, it’s now able to enjoy Microsoft’s 99.9% uptime guarantee. However, be aware that GoDaddy has replaced the Office 365 health services dashboard with its own internally branded version. It shows the same kinds of information including when the last issue was, and whether or not it’s been resolved.
Top-Notch Customer Service
GoDaddy has 24/7 telephone support and live web chat support. We placed a call on a weekday afternoon and spoke to a customer service rep less than two minutes later. We asked about the differences between the Linux and Windows operating system, and once again experienced the best customer support of any of the web hosting services we’ve tested so far. The rep was friendly and knowledgeable.
A few hours later, we fired up GoDaddy’s customer service web chat and asked an important question: How do we import our existing WordPress.com blog? A few seconds later, a GoDaddy rep appeared in the chat and pasted a link that answered our question. GoDaddy’s prompt and helpful customer service is very impressive.
GoDaddy offers a 45-day money-back guarantee. That’s lengthier than the standard 30-day refund window, but doesn’t compete with DreamHost’s generous 97-day money-back guarantee.
Who’s Your (Go) Daddy?
GoDaddy has many business- and consumer-friendly options, a far more reliable Microsoft-based hosted email service, and also offers quality 24/7 customer service. On the other hand, you get a skimpy amount of email storage with its cheapest plan, and there are no month-to-month plans across the board. Still, if you’re looking to quickly set up a website, GoDaddy has the tools you’ll need for a successful launch.
For more on getting started online, read our tips on how to create a website. You might also want to check out our story on how to register a domain name for your website.