Web hosting is a funny thing. There are over 1,000 suppliers of what is essentially the same product. This same product that has no visible performance indication.
I can’t think of many other things you would buy without knowing more information. Imagine renting a room in a flat with other people.
Now imagine that you don’t know how many people you are sharing with, how much stuff they have or what kind of business they are in.
This is an in-depth comparison of GoDaddy and Hostgator, I host hundreds of sites for various clients across all sorts of different hosting companies, it’s becoming a nightmare to manage and it’s about time I consolidated everything into one place to save money and effort.
Before making the plunge and choosing a provider I need to compare some of the big guns.
Both have been around long enough that they should have well established support systems, and community’s behind them who are very familiar with their products and pitfalls.
My answer to this sentiment is two-fold: firstly, if I’m moving all my sites onto one platform it’s a onetime deal, I don’t want to be undertaking this again anytime soon so I need a company that will stick around in the long term.
Secondly, I want consistency, lots of smaller companies are amazing to start with only to slow down over time.
You can skip rest of details and see conclusion here.
Let’s dive into HostGator vs. Godaddy…
What do we need to consider when choosing the best between HostGator vs GoDaddy?
GoDaddy vs HostGator – Features Comparison with Price
Now down to business, it’s time to compare what features both providers offer on their bread and butter product.
I’m comparing the mid-range plan for each supplier, in my mind these should both be suitable for a small business website or a small WordPress blog.
GoDaddy vs HostGator Price Comparison Table:
|Monthly Renewal Cost||$7.99||$6.95|
|Free Email Addresses||1||Unlimited|
|Spam Free Protection||Yes||Yes|
|$100 Google Adwords||–||Yes|
|$100 Bing Ads Credit||–||Yes|
|Money Back Guarantee||30 days||45 days|
As you can see both are offering what appears to be a very similar product, of course no details at all of what kind of performance to expect.
Both products include 24/7 support, 99.9% Uptime, Google AdWords Credit, Software installers (for things like WordPress) and cPanel access.
GoDaddy’s offer includes DDOS protection (Millage may vary) and one free domain. They offer backups and extra resources at a cost. It’s worth noting they limit MySQL Databases to 1 (25GB) and only include 1 email mailbox with a max storage size of 5GB.
Hostgator offers SSH access, audio / video streaming, DDOS protection, unlimited mailboxes and no limit on the size or number of MySQL Databases.
I want to talk more about the MySQL limitation, it might not seem like a big deal, but to me it is. If I have multiple WordPress sites on the same hosting but for different clients then I really do want to keep them separate, as much for ease as for security.
With GoDaddy I would have to sign up for multiple hosting accounts or keep them all in one big database.
For me (and hopefully for you) backups are a big deal. A MASSIVE deal. As the old adage says “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”.
Never forget this. It’s so easy to accidentally delete parts of or your whole site, break something or become compromised. The fact that Hostgator included backups at no extra cost is a plus. A massive plus.
GoDaddy vs HostGator – Data Comparison
It’s time to crunch the numbers. I’ve ran three tests to show the average response times for each company. I installed a sample site on both GoDaddy and Hostgator (on the plans we compared above) and ran speed, response and benchmarking tests.
When I talk about speed I’m really talking about initial page load time. This is super important, slow pages equals high bounce rate.
Most people won’t wait longer than 6 seconds for a page to load before leaving, some won’t even wait a whole second.
Test website hosted on GoDaddy
As important as that first load time is, I also need to get an idea for how responsive the site is overall, i.e. how long it takes to load each page once you are on the site. I ran a test over a period of 30 days.
Test website response time at HostGator
Test website response time at GoDaddy
HostGator is clearly won over Godaddy.
I think we can agree a pattern is emerging here. TWICE as quick, again! This test holds even more weight with me, it was running over a 30-day period so the odd slow day won’t impact the results too much.
When I was playing with Hostgator myself to my eye it looked more responsive and these tests have really confirmed that to me.
3. The Benchmark
I used GTMetrix to measure the sites, it measures various performance indicators and gives a load time in seconds. I wouldn’t expect this to give us anything different from the past two results but does give us a chance to re-affirm the scores.
Hostgator – 0.7 Seconds
GoDaddy – 1.8 Seconds
So slightly different numbers but the order of magnitude Is the same.
Summery of the Data
I’m comfortable with the reliability of these performance tests. They are all server side which avoids any issues of slowness on individual client machines.
I have also used a mix of different tests from different sources.
This data points one way and one way only, GoDaddy can’t compete with Hostgator on hosting performance.
GoDaddy vs HostGator – Support
I’ve talked a little bit about the support that both companies give, I thought it would be useful to show a black and white comparison of what this looked like by contacting both via their live chat features, with the same questions.
Hopefully what you can see here is that once I did get through to Hostgator both support teams were lightning fast, responding within the minute in both cases.
GoDaddy vs HostGator – Targeted Audience
There’s no doubt about it GoDaddy is the biggest name when it comes to Domain names, this has led to them becoming the de facto place to go for all things websites, they have a huge range of products at affordable prices.
From my point of view GoDaddy main aim is to appeal to non-IT users i.e. small business owners, they appear to focus on making life easier and user-friendliness over raw performance.
Hostgator offers a streamlined selection of Products and in my opinion although their offering is just as user friendly as GoDaddy’s they seem to be aiming at a more technical user base, favour performance and quality of hosting.
GoDaddy vs HostGator – Upgraded Dedicated Server Platform
While comparing the two companies I’ve read lots of other people’s comparisons and reviews, something that came up time and time again was that the performance of all Hostgator’s hosting products had been improving over time.
This is rare.
Why is this rare? Typically, when a hosting company starts out it must purchase some kind of servers. At this very moment, at the start of the hosting companies’ life is likely the best performance you will ever get on shared web hosting.
As time goes on, the company gets more and more clients, they buy more servers and everyone is happy. At some point the company realises that they could probably squeeze a few more sites on the server to make a bit more money. Performance will suffer.
As evidenced by the below link, it’s clear to me that this isn’t happening at Hostgator, they are actively upgrading their servers to avoid this exact problem. I couldn’t find anything similar happening at GoDaddy.
GoDaddy vs HostGator – Hands on Experience
My experience with Hostgator is probably exactly how you would expect, they use cPanel, which I know exactly how to use.
Everything worked the first time, hosting setup, WordPress install etc… Their customer support was incredibly helpful, no hold time, they just got straight down to fixing my problem.
My experience with GoDaddy wasn’t bad: it wasn’t great either though. Now I thought that GoDaddy used cPanel, but in reality, they use some kind of custom version of cPanel, it has most of the same features, some stuff was done differently, some stuff was in different places.
This was a pain for me to be honest, I’m just so used to cPanel.
Now I should confess I have used GoDaddy a lot. I really mean a lot. My previous company used it to for hosting and SSL certificates for around 100 clients (they were cheap for what we wanted).
In my experience the GoDaddy user interface is horrendous. Thankfully they have good support as when something doesn’t work through the UI (and this happens a lot) you have to call support to get it sorted.
HostGator vs. GoDaddy Conclusion
So which one is better: Hostgator vs. Godaddy? Well, they are both solid web hosting companies and your choice depends on what you value more.
And if you are just starting with your first website, I would suggest you checkout my WordPress Setup Guide useful.