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Courtesy of GoDaddy
Office 365 starter e-mail included
Free domain with hosting
Excellent 24/7 support
Affordable hosting from around $5/month
Offers both Linux and Windows hosting
Backups and security are add-on features
No cloud hosting options
Customer complaints about refunds
Slow shared hosting and frequent downtimes
Management panel glitches and overrides
E-mail incompatibility with some CMS systems
GoDaddy offers a variety of affordable web hosting plans for personal websites and blogs. However, the lower-tiered plans are slow, unreliable, and there are better values out there.
GoDaddy has been around for a long time and is best known for its cheap domains. Their web hosting packages offer a variety of features and price points depending on the tier. If you need web hosting for a personal website or blog, GoDaddy hosting will get the job done. However, if you need rock-solid hosting for your professional business website, GoDaddy is not your best option.
GoDaddy’s basic web hosting plans are shared, which means the speed and performance will vary depending on how many people are using the services at once. As you choose more options, the price goes up along with it. The basic plans come free with one domain and a starter Office 365 e-mail account.
GoDaddy also offers reseller hosting, business hosting, and VPS hosting solutions. Within each category, the pricing structure and resources are also tiered. The higher-level services are on GoDaddy’s secure servers with more built-in resources like malware, virus protection and monitoring.
Only GoDaddy’s lowest tiered hosting plan has limited storage (100 GB). This amount is fine for small websites and blogs. If you need to host multiple websites or applications with dozens of files or images, an unlimited plan makes more sense. The “Economy” plan also limits you to one website, but it is the least expensive plan in their line-up.
GoDaddy lists all their web hosting plans as unmetered. However, due to shared resources, the speed of uploading and downloading files will vary considerably at different times and days. That is just one of the drawbacks of shared web hosting. Having experienced GoDaddy hosting plans first hand for over fifteen years, we have seen a lot of slow speeds and significant downtimes.
GoDaddy’s approach of offering low prices then up-selling, leaves a bad taste in our mouth.
The registration process for purchasing web hosting with GoDaddy is quick and straightforward. You don’t even have to know your domain name ahead of time. All you need is basic login information, your name, address, and payment method. Once you have registered, you can take your time setting up your domain, e-mail, and website through the seamless account panel which guides you through the steps. However, when signing up we encountered a couple of glitches where the website locked up and said we had no new orders and then again when we went to access the cPanel. These initial first impressions could turn off some users and set the stage for a bad experience.
All shared hosting packages include one free domain (for the first year) and a starter Office 365 e-mail account. You can also transfer your own domain to GoDaddy.
Godaddy’s account management panel makes it easy to set up your first e-mail account, manage your domains, access the cPanel, and install additional products.
The standard Linux cPanel includes a site builder feature to install a variety of the top CMS systems with a few clicks. cPanel also has phpMyAdmin built-in to manage databases, a file manager for quick access to your files, and a place to set up FTP accounts. The cPanel is split into sections with icons making it easy to find precisely what you need to manage your website.
Speaking of advanced options like the GoDaddy website builder, you can install Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla, or Magento within minutes or choose from dozens of other applications and programs. These programs are easy to install, but most people will still need a web developer to help set them up correctly, configure options, and add content.
It is easy to upload or download files through an FTP client (like FileZilla), but we don’t recommend uploading large volumes of files through the built-in file manager in cPanel (size is limited, any break in the connection could result in corruption). If you need to replace one or two files, the built-in file manager works fine.
Two other great features of the built-in cPanel are the metrics section where you can monitor website traffic and the security area where you can block suspicious IPs.
The standard Linux cPanel offers novice users and web developers all the tools they need to manage a website successfully. The backend dashboard allows you to install PHP PEAR packages and Perl modules. If needed, you can also change the PHP version of your server at any time. Unfortunately, however, you do not have access to the php.ini file, but you can call support, and they can make some edits for you. You can also add your own php.ini file to the root directory to override settings. But fair warning, GoDaddy has historically limited certain PHP settings which cannot be changed. For programmers, this limitation alone will make or break their decision.
GoDaddy offers affordable, shared web hosting, but it's really only best for beginners.
The Linux cPanel makes it easy to add new users within seconds. You can even limit their e-mail account, FTP access, and file directory access.
Within the main GoDaddy account dashboard, you can see and change your payment options. There are several layers and locations to the dashboard so finding the payment options took a couple of minutes. Once we found it, we were able to add multiple payment methods and switch our default easily.
This GoDaddy workspace portal also allows you to quickly change your name, e-mail address, and other basic account information.
We feel that the free Office 365 mail account is one of the best features of GoDaddy hosting. Typically, cPanel-hosted e-mail accounts are less secure and more susceptible to spam and hacking. Office 365 e-mail is a huge benefit, but it is limited, and most users will need to pay for extra e-mail addresses.
For technical users, the ability to set up Cron jobs is another helpful resource. Using the Linux cPanel users can also install third-party SSLs to keep websites safe since the lower-tiered plans do not come with a free GoDaddy SSL.
The control panel also allows you to make a manual backup of your entire website (files and database) within a few minutes. It can even e-mail you when the backup is complete.
When setting up a website, you sometimes need to find your shared IP address or home directory information. All the website statistics and administration information are listed on the right-hand side of your cPanel for easy access and a quick review. Developers will appreciate this.
The cPanel also gives users access to GoDaddy webmail from any computer or device with an internet connection (this is if you use the built-in cPanel e-mail, not Office 365).
Although the price of the lowest tiered hosting plans is affordable, we found the up selling during the checkout process to be disturbing. Security and backups are sold as add-on features for a big jump in price. With other hosting companies, these items are often standard for the same price. GoDaddy website hosting starts around $6/month, but you have to pay in advance for all 12 months to get that price. Once you add in security and backups, the price is higher than some of the more feature-rich packages.
Even with the free domain and e-mail account, the price is just too high for such limited resources. Website developers will need higher-end services and additional resources, which means the lowest tier will never suffice. Plus, you shouldn’t have to pay extra for security and backups.
Quite a few users have complained that getting a refund from GoDaddy has been problematic so be sure you want to purchase before you click the Buy button.
Bluehost is a similar tier competitor for GoDaddy and is consistently rated in top-ten lists for high speed hosting providers with minimal downtime. Its basic plans include more features than GoDaddy’s, and they give you more built-in freebies (SSL, dedicated IP, and SEO tools) for less money. However, where GoDaddy shines is a free Office 365 e-mail account and domain for the first year. E-mail security is a big priority for some and this solid benefit might tip the scales. But at the end of the day, we think Bluehost's extra features and low downtime make it a better web hosting option.
A good option for newbies or if you want to create a pretty simple site.
For entry-level web hosting to use for personal websites and blogs, GoDaddy will suffice. In our opinion, there are options out there that offer a better value, with more robust features and a cheaper price. GoDaddy’s approach of offering low prices then up selling also leaves a bad aftertaste. All in all, if you're just getting started creating a website, it's worth trying.
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