GoDaddy (www.GoDaddy.com) is hailed as the top domain name registrar, yet in this review we will determine if their hosting services are just as notable as their domain enterprise.
Godaddy Hosting Features and Pricing
For the purpose of this web host review, we utilized a Linux server with their Deluxe Hosting plan (priced at $6.99/month). This provided us with 150 GB of disk space and 1,500 GB of transfer. In this review, we will focus on GoDaddy’s shared hosting plans, although it is important to note that they also offer virtual dedicated, dedicated, as well as grid hosting.
With GoDaddy, both Linux and Windows hosting is available for the same price. Just like many other popular web hosts, GoDaddy’s billing is available in increasing discounts, ranging from 5 to 15%, depending on what billing period you select. All costs and billing options are presented up front so you’re not left guessing whether or not the cheapest price comes tagged with a longer billing period as with some hosts. While GoDaddy does offer discounts for longer terms of billing, they do not require customers to enter into a long-term contract to take advantage of this.
The Economy plan can be quite affordable at $4.99/month (for the minimum three month billing cycle). The shared unlimited plan offers unlimited disk space and bandwidth and is on par with the price points of the competition, and like other hosts, this must be used legitimately and the disk space cannot exceed the space “on a single server.” Therefore this space may very well be dependent on the other accounts occupying the same server.
GoDaddy Hosting provides “Dozens of FREE Add-on Applications” through their Hosting Connection platform, yet it is worth understanding that these free add-ons are free anywhere else as well, including popular software such as WordPress and Drupal. The advantage that GoDaddy presents is that they offer automated installation of these applications, which does provide added convenience and ease of use.
Though GoDaddy does support many scripting languages, not all are included in all plans. ColdFusion support is $1.99/month extra. Ruby, Ruby on Rails, and Perl are not supported on the Linux Economy plan either, so if you have a script that requires support for one of these languages, you will need at least a Deluxe plan.
While many hosts provide unlimited databases, GoDaddy is one that does limit the number and size, yet for the average user this does not impose a problem. It is also important to understand that while many hosts offer the popular cPanel control panel (or Plesk for Windows hosting), GoDaddy provides its own proprietary control panel for Linux shared hosting.
Since GoDaddy is such a large company offering numerous services, they are able to leverage this to provide their customers with some free credits including up to $25 for Google AdWords, $50 for Microsoft adCenter, and $50 for Facebook Ads. If you plan to capitalize on your website by selling products or services, these can all be very powerful tools to reach your target audience. There are other web hosts who also provide such credits, and this is not unique to GoDaddy, though they provide an especially good value.
GoDaddy’s dedicated plans are competitively priced and offer generous disk space and a fair amount of bandwidth and memory for what they charge. The Windows dedicated server plans run between $13 and $30 more a month than the Linux ones, yet they offer the industry-standard Plesk control panel instead of the generic Simple Control Panel offered with Linux. cPanel can be added for an extra cost for Linux plans. A nice feature of GoDaddy’s virtual dedicated and dedicated hosting services is that they can both be completely customized through the individual selection of features such as operating system, control panel, disk space, bandwidth, memory, among other features. This can be advantageous to someone who wants to really customize hosting to fit their needs.
Again, like the shared hosting, GoDaddy offers some valuable ad credits ranging from $175 to $375 depending on the dedicated plan selected, and between $125 and $225 on the virtual dedicated plans. These can be very nice for marketing and present a value-added component to the hosting. It is important to note that these ad credit offerings may change at any time, but it is also likely that the offers will continue.
Terms of Service
When proceeding through the account setup process, GoDaddy will present a set of terms that are specific to their hosting services. These terms are, for the most part, the usual jargon. Yet one thing to definitely take note of is their uptime guarantee. It comes with several exceptions. They guarantee 99.9% uptime and you may request a 5% credit if you find that they have not provided this level of service. This credit may only be used towards the purchase of other products and services they offer, so it apparently does not come off of your bill.
Not only is it limited in this way, but you will also not be receiving a credit if the downtime is caused by scheduled maintenance, your own errors (fair enough), “outages that do not affect the appearance of the website but merely affect access to the web site such as FTP and email,” “causes beyond the control of Go Daddy or that are not reasonably foreseeably by Go Daddy,” and issues involving “programming environments.” Errors caused by the user and issues with programming environments are reasonably exempted, yet when one’s email and FTP are inaccessible, this can pose quite the problem.
So these provisions are telling that if you’re interested in mission critical operation, the accessibility of email communications, and the ability to make changes to your site, there may be interruptions which GoDaddy has made themselves non-liable for and therefore they might not be the best choice for you in that case. Since their uptime is at their discretion you might not always be able to argue the 5% credit out of them. Many other hosts provide better money-back promises, including some that provide an entire month credit applied to your account.
There is another side to the uptime issue and that is realistic scenarios as opposed to the legal stipulations. When I called support and asked about a money-back guarantee I was informed that their cancellation policy is quite liberal and that GoDaddy will refund a customer for unused portions of their bill. So although they may hold themselves explicitly non-liable for many instances of downtime, it is apparently possible to cancel and receive a pro-rated refund. The support representative also mentioned that downtime is rare and they don’t really have issues with it, though this of course has to be taken at face value.
cPanel is the industry-standard control panel for Linux web hosting. Yet GoDaddy Hosting provides its own control panel. The functionality is very similar, and GoDaddy can pass the savings on to the customer through their use of their proprietary control panel. With GoDaddy’s virtual dedicated or dedicated services, if you are used to using cPanel and would like to utilize it, the option is there for an additional charge, while Plesk is available by default for those services.
The installation of an application through Hosting Connection is not quite one-click, yet it is a very guided process that walks you step-by-step through the necessary information. This can make such things as a blog or forum something that can be setup within minutes with little technical ability. Although the process is simple, it still presents you with valuable options to customize the installation.
I wanted to place WordPress on my site. The latest version was available through their system. Through a simple search I was able to find it, along with useful information like a description, rating, and reviews by other users. The page informed me that my hosting plan was compatible with the software; I assume that if it wasn’t that it would instruct me what I needed to make it compatible, whether it be an upgrade or a settings change. I clicked “Install Now!” and was then presented with a disclaimer informing me that GoDaddy was not liable for any third-party applications, very understandably. I then preceded to a four step setup process where I began by selecting my domain name. If my hosting was not compatible, I would have been presented with the second step of purchasing new hosting. I was then required to enter a database description and password, as the username was automatically generated. I then specified the directory into which I wanted it installed, and was then presented with some WordPress specific options for my admin username and password. In those few steps, I had my WordPress installation setup.
I then had to wait afterwards for the request to process with such status items as “Creating database.” Normally database creation is a near-instant process with many hosts, but not with GoDaddy. It took a good five minutes or so to create that one database and then it proceeded to the status of “Installing Application.” At this point it appears that these requests must be going into some giant queue for actions to be performed on them. It should be a fairly quick process for the server as it is simply creating a database and putting some customized files in place. It ended up taking about ten minutes for the two-step installation process to take place. Yet in the end, there it was, my shiny WordPress blog, with little effort on my part besides thirty seconds of entering data into a simple form and some patience for the server to process the request. For the ease of use, the small wait is no doubt worth it, especially since this process is free of charge and simply included as part of the hosting.
When creating databases in general it appears that with shared hosting that the database name must not only be unique to the one hosting account, but unique to the entire system. I therefore had to throw some numbers on the end of my database name to make it unique. It seems as if GoDaddy is really capitalizing on their size by scaling servers to accommodate specific needs. They may very well have a large database cluster to handle many customers. It then sat “Pending Setup” and after 10-15 minutes, it was finally setup. With our shared account it was not possible to setup more than one user for use with the database. For most individuals this likely is not an issue, but for some with specific needs it could be.
Godaddy Customer Support
If an issue would be better handled in writing they do have an easy to use browser-based email form on their site that allows for questions to be submitted. Unlike other hosts that may offer a myriad of support options via channels such as live chat, ticketing, forums, instant messenger, among others, GoDaddy provides their phone and email options. Since customer service is seemingly quick to respond, these seem to be very suitable mediums for support.
GoDaddy provides a wide range of shared hosting services at competitive price points with some value-added services and features. Their customer service is easily accessible, quick to respond, and helpful. The one downfall noticed here is that the servers are slow to process requests made on the hosting account including the “quick-install” of applications and database setup. The services are quite easy to use, yet some patience can be required at times.
For those looking for turn-key solutions who don’t mind that they might not have total control over every element of configuring their services, and that they may have to wait at times for services to take effect, GoDaddy is a great solution at a reasonable price.