Deciding that your business is ready for a web presence is easy; choosing the right web hosting service is not. GoDaddy, one of the world’s most popular domain name sellers, is an excellent web hosting provider that gives you to tools to quickly build a website. The service has well-rounded packages that fall below those offered by DreamHost, Hostgator, 1&1 Ionos, and other Editors’ Choice picks, but it has many attractive and useful elements that you may find worthwhile, especially if you wish to incorporate Microsoft Office 365 email and apps into your workflows.
Shared Web Hosting
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on web hosting, shared hosting is the way to go. This cheap web hosting places your website on a server with other sites. So, yes, your site literally shares server resources with others, hence the tier’s name. This means also that it’s far from the most powerful web hosting type. The sites sharing the server compete for resources, including throughput and storage space. You’ll want dedicated or virtual private server (VPS) hosting for extra hosting muscle if you expect big traffic, or if you want to insulate yourself from traffic spikes.
GoDaddy has a fine range of Linux- or Windows-based shared web servers and tosses in a free domain name if you sign up for a commitment higher than 12 months. For example, the Economy basic shared hosting package ($10.99 per month, discounted to $6.99 per month for an annual commitment) includes 100GB of storage, 512MB of RAM, the ability to host one website, unlimited monthly data transfers, and a free year of Office 365 Starter Email. Microsoft’s mail plan comes with just one email address, but you can upgrade to more accounts for a fee. See the Email Hosting section, below, for more options.
The Deluxe plan ($12.99 per month, or $9.99 per month for an 12-month plan) builds on the Economy package by adding unlimited storage and domains. The Ultimate package ($19.99 per month, or $14.99 per month for an 12-month plan) adds double the processing power, 1GB of RAM, unlimited databases, and a one-year Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate. Finally, there’s the Maximum package ($28.99 per month, or $22.99 per month for an 12-month plan) increases the memory to 2GB, server I/O speed from 1,024 KB/sec to 2,048 KB/sec, and gives you free, unlimited SSLs for every website under your plan.
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 unlimited storage and bandwidth with all plans. You can learn the differences between the server operating systems by reading Linux vs. Windows: How to Pick the Best Server OS for Your Website.
VPS Web Hosting
VPS, or virtual private server, hosting is exactly what it sounds like. You’re paying for space on a shared server, but one that does much more to isolate you from your server mates than plain old shared hosting does. 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. The company offers Linux- or Windows-based servers, as well as unlimited domains and monthly data transfers. GoDaddy’s VPS plans begin with a $7.99-per-month, Linux-only starter plan (down to $5.99 for an annual plan), with a single CPU core, 1GB of RAM, and 20GB of SSD storage. The specs top out at eight CPU cores, 32GB of RAM, 400GB of SSD storage, and a free SSL for one year for $149.99 per month. That’s good stuff, especially if you sign up for a multi-month plan.
So why does GoDaddy fall short of winning our VPS hosting Editors’ Choice award? It’s because Hostwinds simply has a wider range of VPS plans. For example, the base VPS starts at just $4.99 per month (for 1GB of RAM, 30GB of disk space, and 1TB of monthly data transfers), while the upper tier scales up to $328 per month (for 96GB of RAM, 750GB of disk space, and 9TB of monthly data transfers). 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.
Dedicated Web Hosting
Dedicated hosting is the tier you need when you operate a site that demands lots of system resources. With dedicated hosting, your site exists on a server all by itself, thus leveraging all of the server’s power. This is the hardware you need to power a site designed to handle millions of visitors per year.
GoDaddy’s dedicated servers come in many configurations. You can outfit one with the Linux or Windows operating systems, high-capacity hard drives, or blazing-fast NVMe SSD options. The starter DS-32 plan ($169.99 per month, or $149.99 per month for a 12-month plan) comes with four CPU cores, 32GB of RAM, 8TB of storage, unlimited monthly data transfers, three IP addresses, Office 365 Starter Email, and a free SSL certificate. The highest level of service available here is the DS-256 (a heavy $519.99 per month, or $469.99 for a 12-month commitment), with 16 CPU cores, 256GB of RAM, and 2TB of SSD storage. Naturally, a long-term commitment nets you big savings. There’s also a fully-managed dedicated server tier, that covers similar performance and storage options, but comes with a significant price increase. Fully-managed plans start at $274.99 per month and scale up to $624.99 per month.
GoDaddy’s dedicated servers are extremely attractive, but AccuWeb takes the Editors’ Choice crown. AccuWeb’s servers can be outfitted with up to 512GB of RAM, 8TB of storage, and 20TB of monthly data transfers. You can also select either the Linux or Windows operating systems.
WordPress Web Hosting
Signing up for one of GoDaddy managed WordPress hosting plans has its advantages. GoDaddy has many WordPress themes and plug-ins, and it offers nightly backups and automatic WordPress software updates. 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 plan (starting at $11.99 per month, or $6.99 per month with an annual plan) comes with 30GB of storage, site backup (for up to 90 days), and support for up to 25,000 monthly visitors. Deluxe ($17.99 per month, or $8.99 per month with an annual plan) ups the storage to 75GB, visitor number to 100,000, and includes a single-click testing site. Ultimate (starting at $24.99 per month, or $12.99 per month with an annual plan) builds on Deluxe by offering unlimited storage, unlimited visitors, and unlimited malware removal. Finally, the eCommerce plan (starting at $29.99 per month, or $19.99 per month with an annual plan) adds GoDaddy Payments support, unlimited products, appointment scheduling, and real-time shipping rates. Every plan gets a free SSL certificate and free domain if you choose a 12-month commitment or longer.
That’s a good offering, but A2 reigns as the consumer-end Editors’ Choice for WordPress hosting. A2 has plans starting as low as $7.99 per month (for unlimited storage, unlimited monthly data transfers, and free SSL certificate) and as high as $24.46 per month (which adds unlimited sites and unlimited databases). WP Engine, on the other hand, is the enterprise-class Editors’ Choice for WordPress hosting. With WP Engine, you’ll enjoy one-slick staging, DDoS protection, daily backups, free site migration, auto-rollbacks, and other goodies.
For more on the fantastically popular content management system, you should read How to Get Started With WordPress.
No Cloud Web Hosting
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 co-Editors’ Choice in that category. DreamHost’s small business-friendly 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). If you’re just dabbling in cloud hosting, DreamHost is a fine place to start.
Heavily trafficked sites will favor 1&1 Ionos . The co-Editors’ Choice has the specs (16-core CPUs, 48GB of RAM) and prorated plans that big businesses crave. In addition, 1&1 Ionos offers customizable servers that you can build from the ground up. Those, of course, cost big bucks. You should reach out to one of the company’s customer service reps for pricing information.
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 company’s 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 separate 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 free website builder is GoDaddy Websites + Marketing. It’s an excellent, responsive-design tool that delivers good-looking, functional desktop and mobile websites. GoDaddy Websites + Marketing’s drag-and-drop functionality makes page building a breeze; even novices can build a site with ease. For $29.99 per month, you can add a capable web store. Please read our review for a deep-dive into the website builder.
Naturally, you don’t need to use GoDaddy Websites + Marketing to build a website. WordPress is an option, as is uploading files by FTP.
Email Hosting and Microsoft Office 365 Features
GoDaddy is abandoning its old cPanel email hosting service in favor of accounts bundled with Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium, the Editors’ Choice for email hosting. If you want to purchase email, here’s the breakdown: Email Essentials (starting at $5.99 per month, or $1.99 per month with one-year commitment) gives you 10GB of email storage. Email Plus (starting at $6.99 per month, or $3.99 per month with a one-year commitment) ups the email capacity to 50GB. Business Premium (starting at $15.99 per month, or $8.99 per month with a one-year commitment) raises the email storage capacity to 50GB, and adds unlimited Microsoft Teams web conferencing, desktop Office apps on up to five PCs, online Office apps, and Office mobile apps. Advanced email security is $4.99 per month for any plan, and email backup is another $2.99 per month. Email is charged on a per-user basis.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 email address’ associated domain name, and entered an email handle and a password. In general, Microsoft Office 365 is fairly straightforward to configure, but GoDaddy has removed the guesswork.
GoDaddy has essentially repackaged Microsoft Office 365, so you get lots of email features for users and administrators. 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, is already present if you go with a plan directly from Microsoft.
Along with the 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 are 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 the free 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 its own Website Security, a product that includes automatic malware scanning, continuous security monitoring, Web Application Firewall (WAF), and Content Delivery Network (CDN). Website Security proactively blocks malware and malicious traffic from reaching your site. It also safeguards against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and Zero Day attacks.
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.
Although these specifications are welcome, they only apply to data residing on GoDaddy’s servers. In the case of email hosting, for example, users reading their email using a local email client, like Microsoft Outlook, still store that data on their on-premises devices where it won’t be automatically encrypted. For full security, you should still invest in local data encryption software. In addition, employees who access data from remote locations should use a virtual private network (VPN) client.
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 proved dependable in our tests.
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 our test site didn’t go down once during the observation period. You can count on GoDaddy to act as a rock-solid hosting foundation.
Excellent Customer Service
GoDaddy has 24/7 telephone support and live web chat support. We placed a call on a weekday morning and spoke to a customer service rep less than two minutes later. We asked about the different email tiers, 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 attempted to fire up GoDaddy’s customer service web chat to ask an important question: How do we import our existing WordPress.com blog? Unfortunately, the web chat button was grayed out due to the reps being too busy. We had zero issues when we tried to chat again later that day.
GoDaddy offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for annual plans, with a 48-hour refund for monthly plans. It simply 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 reliable Microsoft-based hosted email service, and quality 24/7 customer service. Note, however, that GoDaddy lacks cloud hosting plans, and has a skimpy number of default email accounts. Sadly, GoDaddy is a master of none, boasting good offerings in many categories, but falling behind the top spot every time. HostGator boasts a wider array of shared web hosting options, while A2 beats GoDaddy on price and features in WordPress hosting. Dreamhost and 1&1 Ionos, the co-Editors’ Choices for cloud hosting, are the services to turn to if those features are important to you. 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.