GoDaddy vs Bluehost: Which is the Best Web Host?

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One of the biggest decisions you have to make when you start a website is choosing the best web host for your business.You definitely need a web hosting service that is reliable, secure and of course, gives you the best value for money.

Bluehost and GoDaddy are two of the best known solutions.

I’ve used both services extensively. Let’s put them head-to-head.

GoDaddy vs Bluehost

As of eight years ago (the last time the figure was reported), Bluehost had over 2 million customers and was growing at 30%+ per year.

As of today, GoDaddy has 18 million customers.

Both are top 5 web hosts in terms of number of users. GoDaddy is probably better known due to their massive advertising budget — including plenty of TV spots featuring NASCAR driver, Danica Patrick.

godaddy vs bluehost danica patrick

I’ll rate these two web hosting powerhouses based on six key categories:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Customer support and peace of mind
  3. WordPress
  4. Reliability: speed and uptime
  5. Security
  6. Plan pricing

Like any buying decision, everything will still depend on personal user requirements, budget and website.

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Round 1: Ease of Use for Beginners

I think one of the most important parts of web hosting is ease of use for beginners. Web hosting can be really confusing. Nobody wants to deal with confusing features, clunky interfaces and pain-in-the-butt payment terms.

godaddy vs bluehost

GoDaddy:

    • Domain name: GoDaddy does not include a free domain name. Domain name registration with GoDaddy start as low as 99 cents! Of course, that’s for a pretty wacky domain name. If you want a “.com” URL, you will need to pay $14.99+  and $12.99+ for “.net” domains.
    • Website transfer and migration: If you are currently hosting a site with another web host, GoDaddy does allow you to migrate all your website files, database, emails, etc. They offer this service for free. Note, for some reason it takes 7-10 days to do so.
  • Navigation: GoDaddy uses what’s called a cPanel for managing your websites and domain. It has the classic cPanel look. With GoDaddy’s Fall 2013 re-brand, they officially switched over to the industry-standard cPanel, just like Bluehost. They did customize it a bit to make it more user-friendly like Bluehost. So it’s basically a tie here.

Bluehost:

    • Domain name: Bluehost includes a free domain name with a hosting plan. This is an awesome feature. The free domain registration is good for one year. 
    • Website transfer and migration: If you are currently hosting a site with another web host, Bluehost makes it super easy to migrate all your website files, database, emails, etc. They offer this service for free within 30 days of registration with them.
    • Navigation: Like HostGator and GoDaddy, Bluehost also uses the cPanel interface — again this is fairly standard for most web hosts. What makes it different is that the design is more intuitive and modern. Bluehost has a more minimalist approach. The service implemented a cleaner look mostly composed of text and almost no clunky icons or clipart can be seen. I find Bluehost has a slight edge with its cleaner design, better education and more thoughtful upsells. 
  • Others: Bluehost has the “MOJO Marketplace” as part of its options on the menu. This means there’s plenty of plugins for you to add and play around with. Bluehost’s biggest advantage though is its Support Area. Bluehost has a one step WordPress hosting setup. So if you’re using WordPress, Bluehost is the easiest choice. 

This round goes to… Bluehost

Granted, they’re fairly similar, Bluehost has a more modern and streamlined cPanel. Moreover, one-step WordPress setup and the free domain name make it a no brainer. 

Round 2: Customer Support and Peace of Mind 

GoDaddy:

  • Moneyback guarantee: GoDaddy offers a 30-day moneyback guarantee on annual hosting plans. However, if you get a monthly plan, you must cancel within 48 hours for a refund.
  • Customer support: GoDaddy’s customer support is really bad in my experience. I’ve found the phone support to be relatively slow (queues as long as an hour) and have been misled into upsells by agents and frankly, been given a lot of bad advice. I’m not alone in my disdain for their customer support. It’s quite disappointing, because aside from that it’s a totally great web host. web hosting solutions godaddy

Bluehost:

  • Moneyback guarantee: Bluehost has a 30-day moneyback guarantee on hosting plans.
  • Customer support: Bluehost also offers on-demand, 24/7 instant chat and phone support for billing, troubleshooting and WordPress. Bluehost also has some pretty helpful written content and forums, which allow you to solve most issues on your own.

This round goes to… Bluehost 

In my experience, the GoDaddy support is really bad. Bluehost has strong support, so I have to give it to them. 

Round 3: WordPress

27% of the internet is powered by WordPress.org (read here to understand the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

Because of how prolific WordPress is, it makes sense to understand which web hosts cater best to WordPress.

GoDaddy:

  • Officially recommended: GoDaddy is not officially recommended by WordPress, but still has a strong solution.
  • One-click WordPress install: GoDaddy has a Quick Start wizard, which lets you choose from a library of pre-built WordPress websites, including thousands of high-quality images. You can add text, edit images and even move entire sections. While the install is not one-click, it is quite easy and WordPress hosting starts at $3.99/month — but does not include an SSL certificate (more on that later)! Interestingly, GoDaddy includes an option to hire a WordPress developer to create and set up your site from scratch.
  • WordPress speed: GoDaddy doesn’t have too much information about their WordPress site speed. They advertise “blazing fast.” I’ve never had a problem with GoDaddy site speed.

Bluehost:

  • Officially recommended: HostGator and Bluehost are officially recommended by WordPress! Bluehost has worked closely with WordPress since 2005. GoDaddy hasn’t been recommended.
  • One-click WordPress install: You can easily and instantly install WordPress with a click-of-a-button. The cPanel allows you to manage all of your installations and plugins in one location.
  • WordPress speed: Thanks to Bluehost’s “OpenStack,” your server is up and running in seconds. According to Bluehost’s information the hosting is built on a VPS platform with custom architecture engineered to deliver unprecedented performance. Frankly, I’ve never had a problem with WordPress site speed on either platform.

This round goes to… Both 

This one is a tie too. I happen to like Bluehost’s one-click WordPress hosting signup, but both offer that. My simple preference is Bluehost in this regard, just because of the clean interface and straightforward registration flow. 

Round 4: Reliability, Speed and Uptime

Web hosting service reliability means two things – the service is fast and there are no downtimes. This means your audience won’t ever visit your site and find a blank page – which does happen. Companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook have entire teams devoted to uptime and site reliability. 

Site speed is a very important component for SEO rankings and time on site. In other words, the faster your site, the more engaged and profitable your site will be. 79% of users will not buy from a site when they experience slow load time!

GoDaddy: 

    • Speed: GoDaddy’s speed is not that great. According to this source, GoDaddy is half the speed of Bluehost. And when we measured HostGator vs Bluehost, Bluehost won the speed test. Ipso facto, Bluehost wins the speed test. 
  • Uptime: According to this source, GoDaddy’s uptime is 99.95%. I’ve experience more outages with GoDaddy than other web hosts, but the facts speak!

Bluehost:

    • Speed: When it comes to testing from other servers based in the US, Bluehost did just slightly better than GoDaddy. Tests from both DomainTools and BitCatcha averaged at 37ms – just a few milliseconds faster than the competition. This, of course, is barely an advantage. What was kind of worrisome was the consistency of Bluehost’s average speeds abroad. Servers located in East Asia and Australia did fairly well – giving responses of below 200ms. It was the results from European servers that can be a cause of concern. The tests averaged roughly 400ms – not really that impressive for users located in Europe.
  • Uptime: Bluehost, like with other providers, also promises a 99.9% uptime.

This round goes to… Bluehost

Bluehost wins the speed test. They both have strong uptime. 

Round 5: Security

In today’s tech-crazed world, malicious attacks in the form of hacking, malware, viruses, and other forms of cybercrime has become prevalent.

Unfortunately, security has been one of the most overlooked aspects when choosing a web hosting provider. Website security has never been more significant than it is today. So let’s take a look at what each provider can offer.

GoDaddy:

    • Security featuresEven with its ‘Ultimate’ hosting package, GoDaddy has no built-in basic security offerings for their customers. Users still have to add a basic Website Backup package that does daily backups, malware scanning, and malware monitoring for an additional $1.49 a month per site. The price does seem fair; however, in order to clean malware, the Website Security Essential package also has to be added for an additional $4.99 a month per site.
  • Free?: SSL certificates are not free with GoDaddy. They start at $59.99 per year.

Bluehost:

    • Security: Bluehost has a more complete package in terms of security. Right off the bat, the ‘Choice Plus / Prime’ plan already comes with SpamExperts protection, CodeGuard backups, and domain privacy protection. This therefore means that for no additional cost, you already get advanced security features for your website.
  • Free?: Another advantage the Bluehost is that it also comes with free SSL certificates and offsite backups. Users can also add SiteLock to the plan for a monthly fee of $1.99 ($23.88 yearly).

This round goes to… Bluehost

Both services take security seriously, which is great. You’re just going to pay more for GoDaddy security.

Round 6: Plan Pricing

When it comes to getting the best value for money, the provider that offers the most useful features for the least price will be the best choice. And to be honest, pricing vis-à-vis features is one of the biggest considerations when it comes to choosing a web hosting provider. Because, at the end of the day, it will always be about getting what you need and saving some money in the process.

For this round, we’ll be comparing the most basic hosting plans of both GoDaddy and BlueHost – their shared web hosting packages. Let’s see what both providers offer and how well they do against each other.

GoDaddy:

GoDaddy’s shared web hosting plans have three tiers. The first one is called the ‘Economy’ plan. And like most very bottom-tier plans, it only allows hosting for one domain. While the plan does have a 100GB storage limit, it does provide one Microsoft Office 365 email inbox.  As of this writing, GoDaddy has this plan at a rate of $7.99 a month. The current promotion for a 36-month contract is $2.49 monthly; and after which, the regular rate applies upon renewal.

The next plan is called ‘Deluxe’ and goes for $10.99 a month ($4.99/mo. for a 36-month term). It has the usual features for most plans at this tier – unlimited domains, bandwidth, and storage – usual upgrades from basic plans.

The ‘Ultimate’ plan is offered at a monthly rate of $16.99 with a promotion of $7.99/mo. for 36-months. What separates this plan from the rest is that higher-spec servers are used for hosting. The service also comes with a free SSL certificate, if ever your site needs to collect information, and premium DNS. This plan is ideal for sites that have resource-heavy webpages.

GoDaddy Plans Comparison

EconomyDeluxeUltimate
Regular Rate$7.99/mo.$10.99/mo.$16.99/mo.
36-month Term Promo Rate$2.49/mo. for 36 months, $7.99/mo. after$4.99/mo. for 36 months, $10.99/mo. after$7.99/mo. for 36 months, $16.99/mo. after
Notable Features Can only host 1 domain

100 GB storage limit

Unlimited domains

Unlimited bandwidth

Unlimited storage

Unlimited domains  Unlimited bandwidth

Higher-spec server

Free SSL certificate

Premium DNS

.com Domain RegistrationFirst year is free, then $14.99/yr.First year is free, then $14.99/yr.First year is free, then $14.99/yr.

*All GoDaddy plans have unlimited bandwidth, a 1-year free Office 365 email address, webmail, and free initial domain registration. 

Bluehost:

BlueHost currently has three available plans for shared web hosting. The first one, the ‘Basic’ plan costs $8.99 a month and goes for a promotion rate of $2.75/mo. for 36 months. Like GoDaddy’s most basic plan, it can only host one domain. It also allots 50GB of storage and can host 5 email accounts with a limit of 100MB each.

The next BlueHost plan, ‘Plus,’ is billed at $12.99 a month. The current 36-month promotion is set at $5.95 monthly. Same with GoDaddy and any other plans at this tier, it comes with unlimited bandwidth, storage, and domain hosting. What separates it from the rest though is the inclusion of SpamExperts protection for one domain.

BlueHost’s third plan, called ‘Choice Plus’ or ‘Prime,’ is priced at a rate of $16.99 monthly with a promotion of $5.95/mo. for a 36-month contract. The best part of this plan is that it comes with SpamExperts protection for one domain, CodeGuard basic backups, and domain privacy protection for a domain of your choice.

BlueHost Plans Comparison

BasicPlusChoice Plus / Prime
Regular Rate$8.99/mo.$12.99/mo.$16.99/mo.
36-month Term Promo Rate$2.75/mo. for 36 months, $8.99/mo. after$5.95/mo. for 36 months, $12.99/mo. after$5.95/mo. for 36 months, $16.99/mo. after
Notable Features Can only host 1 domain

50 GB storage limit

5 100MB email addresses

Unlimited domains

Unlimited bandwidth

SpamExperts (1 domain)

Unlimited domains  Unlimited bandwidth

Domain Privacy Protect

SpamExperts (1 domain)

.com Domain RegistrationFirst year is free, then $11.99/yr.First year is free, then $11.99/yr.First year is free, then $11.99/yr.

*All BlueHost plans have unlimited bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, and free initial domain registration.

**There is also a ‘Pro’ plan that offers hosting on a high-performance server, with dedicated IP, and Positive SSL upgrade. It is at $25.99/mo., with a promo rate of $13.95/mo. for a 36-month term.

This round goes to… BlueHost

This round was a tooth-and-nail battle between the two providers; especially that all plans are priced identically.

We give this round to BlueHost mainly because of the inclusion of premium security features for their shared webhosting pans. While GoDaddy has a 1-year free Office 365 email address for all accounts (worth around $5.00/mo.), you can always use your domain webmail to create email accounts and integrate those with email apps like Outlook or Office 365.

On the other hand, BlueHost’s premium security features are far more useful to a wider range of users – especially nowadays when hacking, malware, phishing, and other sorts of cybercrime are rampant.

The winner?  Bluehost

Bluehost reigns supreme in this head-to-head battle. Truly, it’s not that close. As much as I had to bash services, Bluehost is far superior, despite GoDaddy’s more prolific marketing. 

I recommend Bluehost for most website builders — particularly those plunging into creating a WordPress site.

Click here to use our specially-negotiated discount for $2.95/month hosting.

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2 Comments

  • Avatar

    john o'dower

    tell me, does the fact that bluehost is advertising on your website influence your decision?
    John

    Reply
  • Avatar

    Mark Spera

    Nope! I’ve used both products (multiple times for different websites) and Bluehost is the winner by far. I’ll give it to GoDaddy, they’ve improved their support staff in recent years, but it’s still not even a contest.

    Reply

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