Making a decision on the right host for your website isn’t easy. You need to consider the features offered, the pricing, the different plans, the hosts’ performance when it comes to speed and uptime, and much more. That’s why we have put together this HostGator versus GoDaddy comparison, to give you a good understanding of what to expect from these two popular hosts, and how they stack up against each other.
In this article, we look at two entry-level hosting packages from HostGator and GoDaddy. We discuss the features on offer, the ease of set up, and the all-round user experience, of each host and package. We also use the monitoring tool Pingdom to test the speed and uptime of four websites hosted with both HostGator and GoDaddy, giving you a good insight into exactly how well these two hosts perform in real-life. Ready to get started?
HostGator vs GoDaddy: An Introduction
Both HostGator and GoDaddy are popular and reputable hosts. In many ways, these hosts offer a similar service, but with some noticeable differences that will help you make the decision on which host is a best fit for your project. But to start with, let’s introduce you to both providers…
GoDaddy boasts 18.8+ million customers worldwide, and is currently managing over 78 million domain names. Not only does GoDaddy excel in the hosting sphere, but it is also the world’s largest domain registrar, as well as selling website security, marketing, and email tools – everything you need to ensure your website is a success. But does this make Godaddy better than Hostgator?
Like GoDaddy, HostGator sells a variety of hosting packages and plans, covering shared, reseller, VPS, and dedicated hosting. HostGator prides itself in offering a wide assortment of tools to help users set up and run websites and online businesses. From top-notch security and support, to user-friendly features including the HostGator website builder and a one-click WordPress install, this feature-rich host is well worth further investigation.
Let’s find out more…
HostGator Baby Plan vs GoDaddy Deluxe Plan
For this HostGator vs GoDaddy review, we will compare two of the plans that these hosts provide – HostGator Baby plan vs GoDaddy Deluxe plan. These two plans are similarly priced, provide a range of comparable features, and are ultimately aimed at the same target market.
However, there are also some noticeable differences between them, the features they offer, and the user experience they afford. Let’s start by taking a look at the key features that each plan provides…
GoDaddy Deluxe Plan
The GoDaddy Deluxe plan provides Linux hosting, with numerous features and functionality that can all be managed via a user-friendly, industry standard cPanel. Users can access over 125 free applications, including WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, which can all be installed in just one-click. GoDaddy also guarantees 99.9% uptime and industry-leading load times.
So here are the key details of the GoDaddy Deluxe plan…
- Host Unlimited Websites
- Unlimited Subdomains
- Unlimited Storage
- Unmetered Bandwidth
- Free Domain for 12, 24, or 36 Months (dependent on the hosting plan term selected).
- Free Business Email for the First Year (get one Microsoft Office 365 email mailbox with 5 GB dedicated storage).
- 24/7 Expert Support
Pricing: The GoDaddy Deluxe plan will cost you $10.99 a month but is currently on offer at $7.99 a month.
Importantly, GoDaddy does not provide an SSL certificate with this plan, although you can purchase one through them – prices start at $63.99 a year. GoDaddy also provides a number of extra premium add-ons, including automatic daily backups of your website (from $2.99 a month) and WordPress premium support (from $49.99 a month).
HostGator Baby Plan
HostGator runs on Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, giving users access to a wide assortment of apps and software, including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, phpBB, and many more. HostGator also provides its own drag-and-drop website builder for users who are looking for a quick and easy website creation process.
Another impressive service from HostGator is the free website transfer that it offers to those on the Baby plan. HostGator will transfer one existing site to your new Baby hosting account, including website files, databases, scripts, and domain.
Let’s now take a look at the main features provided in the HostGator Baby plan…
- Host Unlimited Websites and Domains
- Unmetered Bandwidth
- Unlimited Storage
- Unlimited Subdomains and Parked Domains
- Free SSL Certificate
- Unlimited POP3 Email Accounts with SMTP
- $200 credit with Google Adwords and Bing
- 24/7 Live Support
Pricing: Hostgator comes in at a lower price than GoDaddy (see analytical Hostgator cost). Currently offering a 60% off Hostgator coupon, if you sign up on a three-year term, the Baby plan will cost you just $3.95 a month. This also comes with a 45-day money back guarantee and a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Although HostGator provides a free SSL certificate for all websites hosted with them on the Baby plan, they do not offer a free domain name (a GoDaddy feature). However, you can purchase domain names directly from HostGator, starting at $5.95 a year. Do we consider this a drawback for Hostgator? Not at all. Here’s why:
While Godaddy offers a free domain name, you do have to pay renewal fees the following year (and every year) which are almost twice as expensive compared to industry standards—you pay around $20/year for domain registration renewal fees instead of $10/year that other companies (Namecheap, NameBright, etc) charge. And as we already mentioned, Hostgator domain renewal fees are even cheaper: $5.95/year.
Like GoDaddy, HostGator also provides a number of premium services and tools that you can purchase to add extra functionality to your hosting plan. These include web security tool Site Lock (from $1.94 a month), the automatic backup and restore solution Code Guard (from $2 a month), and G Suite.
Evidently, both hosting plans provide an impressive range of features for entry-level hosting packages, with HostGator just outshining GoDaddy slightly in pricing and the number of extra features that are offered.
Let’s next see how the user experience and features offered by these two hosting companies compare.
HostGator vs GoDaddy: User Interface
Once you have signed up with HostGator or GoDaddy, your account, hosting plan, website info, and numerous other features can all be accessed within the hosting dashboards.
So, let’s now have a look at the user interfaces provided within these hosting dashboards…
GoDaddy User Interface
The GoDaddy dashboard is very straightforward, displaying your hosting plan details, domain info, and any other products that you may have purchased. You can then click through to manage your hosting options, upgrade your plan, alter account settings, and much more.
Usefully, GoDaddy provides a drop-down menu that displays quick links to the Domain Manager (where you can search for and purchase domains), Email and Office, WordPress hosting, SSL Certificates, and more.
HostGator User Interface
The HostGator interface has a more user-friendly feel to it, with a welcome message and a clear menu on the left-hand side of the screen to help users quickly find what they need.
Within the HostGator portal, you can manage your hosting package, browse and purchase further tools, services, or themes from the marketplace, register or transfer a domain, access billing info, and/or contact support.
HostGator vs GoDaddy: Control Panel
As well as the account dashboards, both HostGator and GoDaddy provide users with full access to their Control Panels. Let’s see how these compare…
GoDaddy Control Panel
You can launch the cPanel from within your GoDaddy dashboard, which will then open in a new window. Here you will find all of the expected functions, enabling you to manage your site’s files, databases, domains, security, email, and much more.
Within the cPanel you can also install software applications to help enhance your website’s functionality. GoDaddy provides an extensive number of apps, with categories including…
- Content Management Systems – Select from over 45 CMS applications, including WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
- Community Building – Apps for adding calendars, email, chat, forums, guestbooks, and more, to your website.
- eCommerce and Business – Access eCommerce software, as well as invoicing, advert, and support apps.
- Photos and Files – Applications to assist in managing photo and image galleries, as well as music, video, and other multimedia on your website.
HostGator Control Panel
From within the HostGator dashboard you can launch the cPanel, which will open in a new window. However, you will need to enter a second, separate, username and password to do so.
Again, the HostGator cPanel is more user-friendly than that of its GoDaddy counterpart. Not only does it display some familiar HostGator branding, it also retains the left-hand side menu, helping users to easily find functions within the control panel, as well as navigate back to other features, such as the domain shop.
A particularly useful feature located within the left-hand menu is Website Essentials. For those who haven’t had much experience using cPanel, this signposting helps people quickly identify what functions and services they might need and where to find them. Website Essential categories include…
- Site Builders and CMS – Here you can access quick links to the HostGator drag-and-drop website builder or WordPress.
- One Click Installs – The QuickInstall Tool installs a number of web applications in just one-click. However, although HostGator does provide 60+ apps to add extended functionality to your site, this amount in no way compares to the number offered by GoDaddy.
- Themes and Designs – HostGator provide a range of WordPress themes for users to browse and purchase from within the cPanel, making the website design process that bit easier.
- Professional Services – From within the cPanel you can purchase a range of premium professional services that HostGator provides for their customers. These include WordPress Theme Installation, WordPress Backup, WordPress and WooCommerce Integration, and many more.
The HostGator control panel also includes all of the usual functionality, enabling you to manage files, databases, software, security, metrics, and more.
HostGator vs GoDaddy: Hosting a New Website
Both HostGator and GoDaddy have extremely streamlined processes when it comes to setting up a new website. Let’s take a look…
Hosting a New Website with GoDaddy
Hosting a new website with GoDaddy is a relatively quick and easy process. To get started, open your GoDaddy dashboard and select the app installer Installatron, which you can find under Web Hosting > Manage > Tools.
Within Installatron, scroll down and select WordPress from the list of apps. Then click on Install this Application.
Lastly, select the domain you want to use for your new website. (Your domain must already have been purchased or transferred).
GoDaddy will now install WordPress for you. Once you have received your account name and password, you can go ahead and log into your new WordPress website.
Hosting a New Website with HostGator
Setting up a new website with HostGator is a slightly easier process, with HostGator walking you through each step. Firstly, under Popular Links from within the HostGator cPanel, select Build a New WordPress Site.
You will then need to choose a domain for installation. (You will need to have previously either registered a new domain with HostGator, or transferred an existing domain).
HostGator will then ask you whether you want to build your website with WordPress or the HostGator drag-and-drop website builder. Select WordPress > Install, and then HostGator will automatically install WordPress onto your chosen domain.
HostGator vs GoDaddy: WordPress Dashboards
Once WordPress has been installed by HostGator or GoDaddy, you will be able to log into your new WordPress website. Both HostGator and GoDaddy add slightly different features and functionality to WordPress dashboards, as well as proving a different user experience.
Let’s find out more…
GoDaddy WordPress Dashboard
When you log into your GoDaddy hosted website for the first time, you will be greeted by the GoDaddy Quick Start Wizard.
The Wizard is a great option for those new to WordPress as it walks you through the setup process for your website, as well as providing…
- Easily customizable free WordPress themes.
- A drag-and-drop editor (Beaver Builder Lite version).
- Image library containing 1000s of free ready-to-use images.
The Quick Start Wizard will help you quickly give your site a title and tagline, add contact details and/or social media profiles to your website, and select an appropriate theme for your site.
The themes provided are all free WordPress themes that can be easily customized and changed at any time in the future if you find a more relevant theme for your project’s needs.
Once you have selected a theme, your website will open on the live-side, within the WordPress Customizer. The Customizer will enable you to make changes in real-time on the front-end of your website, altering text, design elements, and much more.
The Quick Start Wizard talks you through some of the key aspects of the live Customizer, which is particularly useful for beginners who have not used the WordPress Customizer before.
Within the WordPress dashboard, you will find GoDaddy has added some pre-selected plugins. These differ depending on the theme you pick, but can include…
- GoDaddy Email Marketing
- Beaver Builder Lite
- Limit Login Attempts Reloaded
- Ninja Forms
- Akismet Anti-Spam
The Beaver Builder Lite plugin is a useful addition to the collection, and can be upgraded to the full solution within your WordPress dashboard. However, the free version of this drag-and-drop page builder still provides some useful features, enabling you to edit your website on the front-end, browse and change page templates, move and add content and design elements, and much more.
As you can see, GoDaddy provides some helpful startup features to ensure your website design process is smooth and supported. So how does this compare to HostGator?
HostGator WordPress Dashboard
HostGator provides a very different user-experience within the WordPress dashboard compared to GoDaddy. To start with, there is no Startup Wizard, welcome message, or helpful support messages. Therefore, users will need to be vaguely familiar with WordPress, or be prepared to read up, to help them get started with their new site.
However, HostGator does offer a few different features that are useful during the setup process and beyond. When you log into your new HostGator hosted WordPress website, you will find your WordPress installation has shipped with a number of pre-selected plugins. These include…
- Google Analytics for WordPress by Monster Insights
- Jetpack by WordPress.com
- WP Forms Lite
- Mojo Marketplace
- Akismet Anti Spam
The Mojo Marketplace plugin adds a selection of premium Mojo themes to your WordPress dashboard. These can then be browsed and if appropriate purchased, all without having to leave your WordPress dashboard.
This can greatly help speed up the website set up process, as viewing all the numerous theme shops and WordPress themes can easily escalate into days and days of browsing!
HostGator also provides a useful Coming Soon page, which is absent from the GoDaddy experience. This tool will display a pleasant Coming Soon page to anyone who visits your website, enabling you to work on your website in your own time without worrying about what your audience will see.
When your website is ready to launch, you can then disable the Coming Soon page, and present a beautiful and fully complete website to your visitors.
The other option for creating a website hosted by HostGator is to use the HostGator drag-and-drop website builder. This tool can be selected from within the HostGator cPanel.
The Website Builder allows you to create your new website within its drag-and-drop user-friendly interface. Choose from a wide assortment of customizable templates, then alter the text and images to suit your project. This is a quick and easy way to create a website, and ideal for those not sold on using WordPress.
Godaddy vs Hostgator: Coupon Codes
Both companies offers discounts and coupons for their hosting plans.
The Godaddy coupon code CJC50hst will save you 50%
The Hostgator coupon code SAVE60NOW will drop the price by 60%.
So now we have a good idea of the many features these two hosting providers offer, as well as the user-experience you will receive. Let’s now find out how these two hosts perform when it comes to site speed and uptime…
HostGator vs GoDaddy: Performance
Site speed and uptime are two of the most important factors to consider when choosing a hosting provider. A site that loads slowly, or suffers constantly from high levels of downtime will see poor results when it comes to conversions and revenue.
To test the site speed and uptime that HostGator and GoDaddy provide, we set up four test sites. Two were hosted with HostGator and two with GoDaddy.
On two of the websites, we installed the popular lightweight default WordPress theme, Twenty Nineteen. We named these test sites HostGator 2019 and GoDaddy 2019.
On the second two sites, we installed the WordPress theme Divi from Elegant Themes. This multi-purpose theme will give those hosting larger websites a clearer insight into how HostGator and GoDaddy perform with sites that are more substantial in size than a small blog. These two test sites were named HostGator Divi and GoDaddy Divi.
So how did they perform?
HostGator vs GoDaddy: Site Speed
To ensure the tests were fair, we installed the free WordPress plugin WP Super Cache on all four websites. Then, using the website monitoring tool Pingdom, we tested all four site’s speed every thirty minutes over a period of 7 days.
Here are the results…
Evidently, GoDaddy outperformed HostGator for website speed. When you compare the test results for the websites using the Twenty Nineteen theme, as well as those using the Divi theme, you can see that both sites hosted with GoDaddy loaded faster.
Let’s look more closely at these results…
HostGator vs GoDaddy: Twenty Nineteen WordPress Theme
The test site using the Twenty Nineteen WordPress theme that was hosted with GoDaddy had an average load time of 1.26s…
However, the Twenty Nineteen test website hosted with HostGator had a slower average load time of 1.63s…
Therefore, these tests showed that, when comparing the two sites using the lightweight theme, the website hosted with GoDaddy loaded marginally faster the HostGator hosted site.
HostGator vs GoDaddy: Divi WordPress Theme
The websites using the multipurpose theme both loaded slower than the lightweight Twenty Nineteen test sites, as you would expect. However, as you will see the test results show that the site hosted with HostGator was particularly slow.
The test results for the GoDaddy Divi website show an average load time of 1.99s…
In comparison, the HostGator Divi test site had an average load time of 3.82s…
Therefore, when testing the websites using the bulkier Divi theme, the GoDaddy hosted website loaded significantly faster than the HostGator site.
Let’s next check out how HostGator and GoDaddy performed when we tested uptime…
HostGator vs GoDaddy: Uptime
Both HostGator and GoDaddy guarantee 99.9% uptime. However, we still tracked the uptime of all four test websites via Pingdom to find out the reality of hosting a website with these hosting providers. Let’s find out what the tests showed…
As you can see, both HostGator and GoDaddy stayed well above their guaranteed 99.9 % uptime figure. However, GoDaddy yet again performed better, with 100% uptime, whereas HostGator had one period of downtime, making its uptime 99.94%.
HostGator vs GoDaddy: Load Testing
In the final test that we ran, we monitored load performance. Using the load testing tool Tricentis Flood, we checked the performance of the two Divi websites when numerous virtual users visited the sites simultaneously.
Over 5 minutes the test simulated 1 to 50 users accessing both the Divi website hosted by HostGator and the Divi site hosted by GoDaddy. So how did this increase in traffic affect the hosts’ performance?
GoDaddy Load Impact Test Results
This report shows that when up to nine users accessed the GoDaddy hosted website, the response time stayed below 2.3s. However, once the test reached 14 users response time increased to 4.2s and then went downhill from there, reaching 13s for 18 users.
HostGator Load Impact Test Results
Interestingly, HostGator outperformed GoDaddy in the load impact tests. From these results you can see that at 14 users response times were still under 1.6s. However, at 16 users the response time increased to 6s and then for 21 users the time hits 12s.
Final Thoughts on HostGator vs GoDaddy
HostGator and GoDaddy are both impressive hosting providers, offering a range of useful features and effective performance stats.
To summarize, the HostGator Baby plan offers a slightly wider range of features than the GoDaddy Deluxe package, as well as more intuitive user experience (although GoDaddy does provide a very helpful Quick Start Wizard) and a lower price point.
As the test results have shown, HostGator can also handle higher amounts of traffic than GoDaddy. However, the tests also reported that GoDaddy offers faster site speed (when not under load) and also has an edge over HostGator on uptime.
When making a decision between HostGator and GoDaddy, consider what your project needs, your budget, and which features are a must for your website and audience. (For example, if rich features and low pricing is more important for your project, then Hostgator is better than Godaddy in your case). So, which host will you choose?
Not yet convinced on either host? Then check out our HostGator vs Bluehost comparison.