Everyone’s search for a good, reliable and cheap web host starts on the internet. When you search for terms such as “reliable web host”, “cheap web host” or “best web host”, it is likely that you will be bombarded with a long list of web host providers. When you look keenly at that list, you will see that there are more than a few references to GoDaddy and HostGator. The reason for this is because these two are among the most popular web hosting providers.
What makes them the best of the best is a combination of price, features, customer support and hosting options. When it comes down to it, everyone looking for hosting wants the best hosting provider handling their sites’ needs. Therefore, we are going to be helping you choose between these acclaimed web hosting providers and help ensure that you get the best value for your money, a value that aligns tightly with your needs.
Who are HostGator and GoDaddy?
HostGator describes themselves as a leading provider of web hosting, VPS (virtual private servers) and dedicated servers. They also pride themselves in providing hosting to over nine million customers, which is quite impressive. On their website, HostGator claims that they have a team of seasoned professional standing by 24/7/365 to assist you in any and all ways.
GoDaddy, on the other hand, seems like a bigger company than HostGator. Apart from being a behemoth at web hosting, they are also one of the largest domain name registrars in the world. They have integrated tightly with the international domain name registrar. And therefore, allow for the registration of a wide range of domain extensions including new ones such as .tech and .home.
That said, we will look at both of these companies through the web hosting lens and then talk about any additional services they have to offer at the end.
Hosting plans, features, and prices
Both GoDaddy and HostGator offer shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated servers/hosting, cloud hosting as well as WordPress hosting. When it comes to shared hosting, GoDaddy’s plans start at $3.9 per month if you pay yearly. That plan is renewable at $7.99 per month with their most expensive option going for $7.99 per month renewable at $16.99 per month.
On the other hand, HostGator’s plans start at $3.95 per month if paid yearly and go up to $5.95. Keep in mind that these are first time prices and may go up on renewal.
The other interesting plan for most people is WordPress hosting. For this hosting option, GoDaddy charges between $6.99 and $13.99 while HostGator’s plans cost between $5.95 and $9.95. As you can see from these figures, HostGator is the clear winner looking at price alone, it’s cheaper. That is not the whole story, though, because, for the same plan (categorized into low, medium and high tiers among the two hosts for simplicity’s sake), GoDaddy offers additional features such as Office 365, free domain names and faster, SSD hard disks for their higher tier plans.
Looking at the features offered by both of these companies, they are pretty standard. These features include cPanel, Softaculous script installers, backups, 99.99% uptime. In addition to these features, GoDaddy offers DDoS protection and the ability to add additional resources to your hosting plans such as RAM, CPU, and space should you exceed those allocated to you at the time of signing up. This is different from just upgrading to a higher tier as some users might want something in between two tiers where the lower tier does not have enough resources, but the upper tier is a bit expensive.
HostGator on the other hand, (as many EIG companies) has more downtime. Their biggest outage started on April 16, 2014. The company said, their Utah data center was experiencing problems and thousands of customers reported problems accessing their blogs and site.
Just after one month, on May 19, 2014, the same outage occurred with the same Provo, Utah, data center. This time, the problem caused lots of frustrations with HostGator and also with its sister company Bluehost. HostGator said it was a network connectivity problem and it affected a small percentage of users. As a result, the company’s customer support and email service were under downtime for 9 hours approximately. However, a few numbers of bloggers found longer downtime as 13 hours.
Back on December 10, 2016, many customers reported a downtime with the company. That’s higher than the normal number of downtime reports.
Not every downtime is a problem
Keep in mind that a server downtime is not always a hosting problem, every server needs maintenance, update, upgrades and periodic configurations. No matter if you use a shared hosting, or a dedicated server, all the big hosting services inform their customer about any future scheduled maintenance. So, it’s better to check the forum of your hosting provider for any information.
The following screenshot is an example of a post by HostGator to announce a scheduled maintenance for one server. As a result, all the sites on that server will be down. So, in my own experience, I suggest verifying id the problem is general, or only limited to one server for maintenance.
In terms of pricing, GoDaddy is cost-effective, the customer gets what he pays for with extra features.
With HostGator, you get unlimited disk space and also unlimited bandwidth. So, there is nothing better than that for a beginner who just started or even for advanced webmasters who need extra resources. But please carefully.
I create a screenshot of the HostGator terms of service for the disk space usage and the bandwidth. The disk space is only allowed for website files and not for large media files for videos. So, keep it simple and never use your hosting account for other things than your site files. That way, you’ll avoid account termination and the problem. Also, here is an article to compress and optimize WordPress images.
On the other side, GoDaddy limits the disk space for their first shared plan. For the other advanced plans, there are no limitations on monthly bandwidth, but, the same thing applies to any service. You need to keep your account safe without exceeding the limits, or you can upgrade for higher resources. This is what GoDaddy says about website bandwidth:
If you host a blog, a web store or any kind of website and you don’t allow spam or usage of your images, both companies work. They’re professional and you don’t have to worry about the account limitations. I recommend enabling spam protection and also disable hotlinking. That way, you stop spammers from using your server bandwidth with images.
Web hosting and managing your web hosting account can be messy business: websites go down, get hacked and customers usually have questions concerning certain aspects of their hosting accounts. When these needs arise, the best way to get your questions answered and fears allayed is to talk to a customer support representative.
At HostGator, the chat is easy to initiate, but users have often complained that they have had to wait for up to 15 minutes just to talk to someone. These wait times can be attributed to HostGator’s large customer base. In contrast, users attest that getting through to GoDaddy is often quicker with an average wait time of about 5 minutes.
That said, HostGator is seen to care more about the issues presented to them and go deeper into helping users than GoDaddy does so those wait times might be worth it after all.
When you have to decide between two hosting providers such as HostGator and GoDaddy, pricing and features can only go so far. Some people need that extra push to make up their mind. If you are one of these people, then looking at what you get in addition to good hosting and adequate support could help tilt the scales one way or the other.
GoDaddy beats HostGator hands down when it comes to additional features. First of all, you can buy a separate domain hosting and email hosting on GoDaddy without purchasing a hosting account. That is not possible on HostGator.
When you buy hosting from GoDaddy, you do get a free domain name, DDoS protection, a free office 365 account as well as a custom Linux hosting system. That provides features such as CloudLinux for a balanced server and CageFS for a virtualized file system for blazing fast website speeds.
Although both of these providers let you transfer your website from another hosting provider into their server and accounts, HostGator provides better services for this than GoDaddy.
Lastly, GoDaddy blows HostGator out of the water with Pro ManageWP, a relatively new service that lets you manage all your WordPress websites using just one dashboard. HostGator does offer WordPress hosting, but it does not give users a way to manage all of their hosted WordPress websites in one place.
In addition to Pro ManageWP, GoDaddy also offers an account that lets freelancers and other service providers manage their clients’ accounts, domains, websites and more from one dashboard.
All in all, it’s true that HostGator was better than GoDaddy in the last years. However, things changed now with the GoDaddy’s new SSD upgrade and optimization. My personal advice if you go with this hosting is to contact the customer support if you notice a slow website loading time.
The reason for that is their caching system, I tried their managed WordPress hosting and my site looked slower than the normal. So, I thought I should move away and contacted their support for cancellation, but they suggested fixing the problem and they did it professionally.
Things happen in the web hosting industry and no company is perfect. So, expect some issues with any company and never treat it like the ideal service.
In conclusion: GoDaddy or HostGator?
Strictly comparing that they offer in the hosting sphere, both of these companies are pretty much the same with small differences in pricing and resource allocation. It is not until you look under the hood that you realize that GoDaddy has gone out of their way to provide an ecosystem that makes managing one or multiple accounts, domains and websites easy for you or your clients.
As I said earlier, there is no ideal service for web hosting, both companies offer what you need to start a blog or website. Even, they offer payment options and lots of features. Just choose the one that your budget support and you need.