HostGator vs GoDaddy – the most popular showdown. Those are the two most popular hosting (and domain) providers, and understandably so, the most requested comparison. But, should you choose ANY of them? Read on.
A quick comparison
|Starting Price||$0.01 with a coupon||$3.99 with a coupon (applied automatically)|
|Performance/Speed||1.29s load time||1.54s load time|
|Primary Use||Shared Web Hosting||Shared Web Hosting & Domains|
- We compared the lowest (cheapest) web hosting plans of HostGator and GoDaddy
- Customer Rating data is from reviewsignal.com (real reviews from tweets ie. real data)
- Load time is tested with WebPagetest with a simple WordPress website (without any plugins)
tl;dr – both are very similar. If you have to pick one, go with HostGator. But, a much better alternative is SiteGround
We’ll go over each point from our table and explain all the differences and why it is (or should be) important.
We can’t stress “renewal” enough. HostGator offers web hosting starting at 1 cent a month. Yes, that’s “starting at $0.01 per month”. Though, if you read our web hosting guide, you would know that you should always check for the renewal price. Because, even though a cent per month may be enticing, it’s never the same price after the initial first month. So, the actual price of HostGator‘s web hosting services (even with the “$0.01 per month” promotion) is $7.99/mo at the time of writing. You should still use that deal, it’s great for beginners that like a sort of a “free trial”. If you don’t plan on using your hosting account for more than a month, then by all means, get that plan.
Much like HostGator, GoDaddy has similar promotions. where you’re starting off with one price and it changes right after the first month. The renewal price of GoDaddy’s lowest web hosting plan is $7.99/mo too. So there’s not much difference in terms of price, other than the first month.
Both hosting providers have 24/7 support via tickets, phone, and live chat. Both hosting providers have subpar support. It’s often times slow or not helpful at all. Most, if not all, reviews of both hosting providers mention their support team as one of their worst features. If you are looking for a web hosting provider with great 24/7 support, then get hosting from an alternative like SiteGround, Having 24/7 support is quite important, especially if you are a beginner.
If you check real reviews of both hosting providers, you’ll notice that they mostly get negative reviews. I say real reviews because you need to be careful of biased, affiliate commission-driven “reviews” that write positive reviews so they can get as many sales through their affiliate link as they can. Check Twitter, most of the reviews from Twitter users are real.
Not all reviews are bad, though. HostGator and GoDaddy must be doing something right because they still get (real) positive reviews. Although, hosts like SiteGround have much better reviews and customer ratings. SiteGround is rated #1 at most review sites where the reviews are submitted by actual customers.
Most of you, including us, use WordPress. For testing purposes, we used a fresh WordPress install without any plugins or custom themes. Then, we did tests via webpagetest.org. Other page speed tests sites gave similar results.
The speed results are not bad, although they can be much better if you optimize your site properly with compressed images (we use EWWW for that), caching, a CDN etc. The hosting providers have nothing to do with that – so we intentionally didn’t use any additional plugins or performance tweaks. The results showed that sites are faster at HostGator.
Don’t trust “unlimited” bandwidth web hosting plans, especially not cheap plans like the ones listed in this comparison. They are not really unlimited. If you closely read their ToS and SLAs, you’ll notice how they are not actually unlimited.
The trick here is that they won’t bother you at all, until you start getting more traffic and visitors, ie. until you start using actual bandwidth. They’ll send you an “abuse” email and they may close your account or force you to upgrade.
Most simple websites that don’t get a lot of visitors can’t use more than 2GB/mo of bandwidth – so offering “unlimited” bandwidth to users that won’t even use 2GB is expected.
HostGator is mostly used for their shared web hosting services. Primarily by beginners. GoDaddy is often used for shared web hosting too, but their main area is domains. Domains are quite similar wherever you get them from, but much like web hosting plans, you should watch out for renewal prices of domains. You can get a domain for a dollar using a promotion, but the renewal price may be more than $20. If you plan on getting a cheap domain, then get one from Namecheap. According to Namecheap reviews, they have the cheapest domains out there with free whois guard and low renewal prices. They have great 24/7 support too.
HostGator offers “Unmetered” storage – which, again, is a trick. Once you really start using your storage, you’ll get a warning or your account will be terminated. GoDaddy offers 100GB (not unmetered). This really doesn’t make any difference. Depending on your setup, you may not need anything more than 1GB of storage. Even if you do get an “unmetered storage” hosting plan, you can still safely use it if you don’t abuse it. Worth noting: when choosing a hosting plan, always pick one that’s powered by SSD. It’s much faster compared to HDD.
Both HostGator and GoDaddy will allow only one domain (website) on their cheapest web hosting plan. This isn’t much of a problem if you plan on using one domain only. Most hosting providers only allow one domain on their cheapest hosting plan. HawkHost, however, allows as many domains as you want to use. So if you have more than one domain that you would like to use on a cheap shared hosting plan, go with HawkHost, you can host as many websites as you want on their cheapest hosting plan.
Both hosting providers have similar specifications and features like the allowed number of MySQL databases, FTP accounts, email addresses etc. Most of the time, the number of accounts/databases you can create is unlimited. Which is pretty standard, until you abuse it, of course. If you want to compare any specific feature, look at their detailed plan overview (which is a bit hard to find), or just contact us or leave a comment below, we’ll gladly help you out.
Why you should NOT choose either of them
You shouldn’t go with either HostGator nor GoDaddy. There are more reasons, but here are the main ones:
- Bad 24/7 Support – slow responses, unhelpful, long wait time etc.
Full of marketing
liestricks – unlimited resources, low starting prices and high renewal prices etc.
- They will try to upsell you – meaning, they will try to sell you stuff you don’t really need. Like additional “email services”, “security services”, “WordPress optimization” and stuff like that. Beware: before you go to checkout, carefully check your shopping cart and what you’re going to purchase.
- Frequent downtime – check their status pages and see how many reported downtimes they’ve had. Do a quick twitter search for “hostgator + down” and “godaddy + down” and you’ll notice how many users experience downtime.
Why you SHOULD choose one of them
Not much reasons here, to be honest:
- They are (somewhat) cheap – although hosting providers like HawkHost are much cheaper and much better.
- They won’t go out of business anytime soon – they’ve been here for years and they are here to stay.
- They are still decent, in spite of all this hatin’ – mind you, they are decent. They are not great (arguably they are not good either), but they are decent. It won’t be the end of the world if you go with one of their hosting plans, especially when you can try HostGator for a cent. Although, you should know that there are better alternatives. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. 🙂
What are your thoughts on HostGator and GoDaddy? Have you used them?
PS: We intentionally only used affiliate links for HostGator in this comparison, as we still prefer HostGator over GoDaddy (although both are generally not preferred). We felt like using an affiliate link for “the loser” would be unfair.