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Bluehost and Godaddy are two of the most popular website hosting companies in the world. But which one is better? As a web designer, I’ve had the unique opportunity to host multiple websites on both of them over the years. This article is a head-to-head battle of the giants, where we’ll compare everything from pricing to speed, customer service, warranties, and more.
This hosting company has been around since 2003. Since then they have grown to host over 2 million websites. Based out of Utah, they offer some of the best features. Although Bluehost itself is not publicly traded, it is owned by a holding company that is – Endurance International Group. EIG also owns Hostgator, though the two companies are operated separately.
The number one domain registrar in the world (not the number one hosting company). They have 23 million customers and are publicly traded. They have 14 locations across the United States. It is a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.
We will compare the companies on multiple factors below. Here is an overview of Bluehost vs Godaddy:
Pricing is a tie for the starting hosting plans. Both companies start at $7.99 per month, but offer a discounted price if you sign up for an initial term. The initial term for both companies to be eligible for the pricing discount is 2 years. The basic website hosting with Bluehost is only $3.95 per month with the discount. Godaddy’s equivalent entry level hosting plan is the “economy plan” for $3.99 per month.
For the mid-tier plan, Bluehost’s plus plan is $10.99 and $6.95 per month after discount. Godaddy is $9.99 per month and $4.49 after discount. However, Bluehost includes $150 of advertising credits with Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Bing/Yahoo. It’s a great way to drive more traffic to your website.
If you need a higher-tier plan, the Bluehost’s pro plan is $23.99/mo and $14.95/mo with discount. It includes $300 in online advertising credits and unlimited email accounts. Godaddy’s Ultimate Plan is $7.99/mo with discount and normally $14.99/mo. It includes a free SSL certificate ($9.99 value approximately) and 1,000 email addresses. Both include “unlimited” websites, storage space, and bandwidth. However, despite the “unlimited” features I’ve found that they don’t actually mention how much RAM or CPU space you are getting (which affects how fast your website is). If your website had heavy traffic or a ton of storage that would slow it down. So take the “unlimited” with a grain of salt. Although it is unclear what size the server is for these plans, Bluehost has performed better in speed tests as we will discuss later.
All of the above plans include a free domain, email account(s), and unlimited bandwidth.
Both companies are constantly running sales.
How much does WordPress Hosting Cost?
If you are planning to host a WordPress website, there are special servers that are optimized to run WordPress websites faster. There is nothing more frustrating than a slow website! At first it appears that Godaddy has the best prices for a single WordPress website. However, Bluehost is the better deal, hands down for anybody that plans to host more than one website. Godaddy’s basic package only allows you to host one website, whereas Bluehost allows you to host up to 5. The equivalent “developer” package for Godaddy is the same price as Bluehost: $24.99.
While Godaddy is pretty sketchy about their server specs, Bluehost lays it all out there. Maybe they think it’s confusing to talk about the tech specs, but I appreciate knowing exactly what I’m getting. Or perhaps they just want to play down the fact that you’re getting a smaller server.
Now, I’m not sure why anybody would buy the WordPress hosting instead of the Deluxe Shared Linux hosting with Godaddy. For one thing, it’s far less expensive at only $8.99. As far as I can tell it has all the same features WITHOUT the caps. You can host unlimited websites, storage, and bandwidth. I still get automated updates, one-click WordPress installation, the whole nine yards. I guess it’s a little less “idiot proof” than the WordPress plan, but even so it would be pretty hard to mess up with the one-click install. So what’s the catch? There’s only 512GB of RAM, which means you could run into some website speed issues as your traffic scales. If you’re planning on running a few small blogs, you should be fine. They claim after 400 websites you will experience performance in the disclaimer, but I think that would happen much sooner. Eventually you will need to upgrade to something faster. Also, backups are an additional fee of $1.99/mo with this plan.
WordPress Plan Comparison
Bluehost is the official WordPress.org recommended hosting company. Here is how their WordPress plan stacks up against Godaddy.
|Feature||Bluehost WordPress Blogger||Godaddy WordPress Developer|
|# of sites||5||5|
*I called Godaddy customer support and they would not confirm or deny the memory size, though it has been reported to be 100MB by other websites. I imagine that they are discouraged from talking about it because it is a smaller amount of memory than the competition.
Types of Servers
A server is where your website lives. Bluehost and Godaddy have many different types of servers. For small to medium size websites, a shared server is most common. Here are all of the types:
This type of hosting is great because your website does not live on a single server. Being “in the cloud” means your website will remain live and can be transferred to other locations in the event of a server outage. Bluehost mirrors the website on three different locations.
This type of server is “dedicated” to you, meaning that you are the only one using it, you lucky duck. If you have a high traffic website or complicated app that is going to pull a lot of processing power, then this is the type of server you need. Otherwise, it’s a bit overkill.
With dedicated servers you get root access. It is the most secure type of server because there are no other websites or customers on it, meaning that you
With a dedicated server, you kind of need to know what you’re doing in order to partition client websites. We’ve tried setting them up and it’s a job in itself. Plus, you are more responsible for the maintenance. Even though you are not physically maintaining the server, if there is a problem from something you installed it is yours to fix. This is different than the other options in which they have pre-installed software (like WordPress, PHP, and others) for you.
The good news is if you are that tech savvy, you may be able to charge your clients a premium for setting them up on a dedicated server, or you could create your own custom hosting package for clients that the hosting companies wouldn’t normally offer. We generated some additional income by doing this and by bundling it with a monthly web maintenance and support retainer.
Virtual Private Servers
VPS are the same as dedicated. Having a VPS is nice because as your website grows, you can add additional resources as you need them. You don’t have to go through a whole website migration or the nightmare of your website going down if your shared server becomes overwhelmed with traffic.
This type of server has several people using it. Don’t worry, it’s partitioned (or divided) so that nobody has access to your part of the server. Think of it like a house. You’ve got access to one room, but it’s under lock and key. Whereas a dedicated server, you own the whole house. There’s a lot more room to do things. For more on the differences between shared and dedicated servers read our post: “Shared And Dedicated Web Hosting – Which One to Choose?“
Customer Service & Reputation
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Godaddy has some of the best customer service around. They call you when you buy a new product to see if you need help setting it up and they even periodically check in on you to see how things are going. They are easily available on phone or chat. However, Godaddy has received far more customer complaints than Bluehost, according to the Better Business Bureau. To be fair, Godaddy is a much larger company and that is likely why they have more complaints.
Bluehost still has some complaints, but far less than Godaddy does.
Godaddy’s reputation also has an elephant in the room. No, seriously their former CEO and founder were illegally hunting elephants in Africa for sport. Luckily they have a new CEO. If you can look past their past, their reputation has been improving.
Read the fine print: some hosting companies offer compensation for server outages. Godaddy claims a 99.9% uptime. You’ll want to setup a monitoring service so you get a notification when there is an outage. If you’re using WordPress, this can be done with Jetpack or one of the many other plugins.
It’s important to make sure your web provider backs up your site from time to time, in case you need to restore a previous version of your website (or more likely one of your clients does). This comes in handy if a client accident deletes part of the website, or installs something that shouldn’t be there. Bluehost provides daily backups included with all plans. Godaddy’s backup service is an additional $1.99 per month. Having your website crash is a scary thing, so make sure you get backups either way. I’ve had to restore backups of websites in the past, and it is almost instant.
1 Click WordPress Install
Both hosting companies make it easy to setup WordPress, which is one of the most commonly used blogging platforms. All you need to do is sign in and click setup and you will be done. WordPress.org recommends bluehost. WordPress updates are automatic for Godaddy, which is nice from a security perspective but could leave to some headaches with your clients if they are using plugins or themes that are not compatible with the latest version.
Bluehost has $150 in advertising credits from Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and Bing for their plus plan, and $300 in credits for their pro plan. Godaddy offers a free SSL with their Ultimate Plan for one year. This video does a nice job comparing the special features of the two companies:
Both companies include a free domain with your hosting. The cost of a domain is pretty negligible – you can buy a domain for $1 for the first year and $12 after that.
The companies use industry leading cPANEL for their software interface which includes things like an FTP client, server statistics, WordPress apps, and more. Bluehost has built additional tools on top of the standard cPANEL as well. You can setup individual FTP accounts for employees or clients so they have access to your website too.
Bluehost is backed by Gmail, which is arguably the easiest to use email out there. For $5 per user you get a custom email address as well as 30GB of storage. The full Google Apps suite is included, with Spreadsheets, Docs, Presentations, Calendar, and more.
GD’s email is free for the first year with Microsoft 365, but a little rough around the edges. Their old email was worse, as it did not include any of the apps and because it is not a “name brand” email the setup on your smartphone is a bit more complicated. If you need a lot of email accounts, however, Godaddy offers an unlimited amount for ever their smaller hosting plans.
Hosting Performance & Speed Tests
Bluehost basic WordPress plans provide a 2GB slice of memory. I gave Godaddy a call about their memory, but they were pretty sketchy about it. They told me it was unlimited and more resources were dedicated to the server as necessary, but I suspect they cap it at some point because they are not advertising this as a feature on their website. Users and independent speed tests report that Bluehost is faster. On the basic plans, Godaddy also caps the bandwidth at a far lower rate of 800,000 hits versus 2 million for Bluehost.
Number of Users
Godaddy has far more users than Bluehost, but bigger isn’t always better. Bluehost has 2 million customers and higher reviews.
Refunds & Warranty Policy
There is a 30-day money back guarantee with both hosting companies. Bluehost however, has a better refund policy because you can cancel any plan regardless of the term and get your money back. Godaddy does not refund for plans that were purchased less than 1 year (6 months, 9 months, etc).
When it comes to Bluehost vs Godaddy, our recommendation is Bluehost. Their performance and reputation better, which will save you headaches in the long run. If you are only hosting a small, personal website then you can save a few bucks with Godaddy. But, if you are looking for the faster hosting solution and plan on growing your website, then Bluehost is the best option. Click here to view Bluehost plans.