GoDaddy is by far the most successful hosting company in North America (based on market share), largely thanks to its being one of the only hosting companies airing commercials on TV. Almost every inexperienced user goes to GoDaddy to buy their domain name. Many also host through GoDaddy without realizing there are other options.
HostGator is huge too.
GoDaddy is an excellent place to buy domains, but it’s not so great when it comes to hosting.
HostGator was one of the premium hosting brands until they were acquired by the Endurance International Group (EIG). Since the acquisition, they’ve gone downhill quickly. (FYI: You should stay away from all EIG companies).
Who wins the GoDaddy vs. HostGator battle?
No one’s a winner here! Both companies have grown far too big and have forgotten about their customers. With these companies, you’ll get lots of upsells, terrible customer support, and inadequate resources for your site.
Trust me, you don’t want to use GoDaddy or HostGator. But in case you think otherwise, I’ve written the things I love and hate about each below.
If I’ve already persuaded you to buy hosting elsewhere, check out my guide for recommendations.
GoDaddy (Grade: F)
- GoDaddy has been in the business for a long time, so you know they won’t up and disappear on you.
- They have an anytime refund policy and will reimburse you for unused days of service.
- There are millions of different packages to choose from. If your site gets too much traffic, you’ll have no issue upgrading to a new package.
- 99.98% uptime in the year I monitored their servers. The servers are fast, too!
- 100% U.S. based customer support, including chat, phone, and online support tickets.
- The sales (not technical) chat support is by far the best I’ve ever experienced.
- They have excellent phone support; no language barriers or clueless staff on the other end.
- cPanel is their standard control panel. Not only do they yse cPanel, but they also have a sleek way of integrating it with their icons and design.
- You can pay monthly or you can pay up to 10 years in advance to receive discounts.
- You know how GoDaddy keeps their servers running so quickly? They’re extremely quick to make you upgrade to a VPS. If you receive even a small amount of traffic, you’ll be asked to upgrade your account. While their shared hosting looks like a solid deal, it’s not so great if you have to upgrade once a couple of people start visiting your site.
- There are TONS of upsells during checkout. It’s overwhelming how often they try to sell you different things. It’s so bad you’ll start second-guessing your purchase decision.
- Developers frequently complain about how much of a nightmare GoDaddy is to work with because of the way their servers are built. I’m no developer, but take note if you are.
- They’re slow to reply to tickets, especially in comparison to other top companies. You’ll have to wait 12 to 24 hours to get a response. Your question will hardly ever get answered correctly because all they do is copy and paste the information from the site without any personalization.
- The excellent online chat support (mentioned above) is only for sales. If you’re already a customer then you don’t get any chat support. That’s pretty frustrating.
- While the over-the-phone customer support is good, the wait times are NOT. You’ll wait at least eight minutes before speaking to a person.
- GoDaddy is a huge company, which is part of their draw as well as their downfall. It seems that service and support are lacking because they aren’t able to accommodate customers like some of their smaller competitors can.
- GoDaddy has massive outages when they get hacked, which happens frequently. After all, if you’re a hacker, why not go after the service that’s hosting almost 5% of the Internet?
HostGator (Grade: F)
- They use cPanel for their control panel.
- They have reasonably priced dedicated and VPS hosting options. It’s good to know you have the ability to upgrade from shared hosting if you have to scale up.
- Phone support wait times are short.
- All the customer support is 100% U.S. based, so at least you’ll understand what they’re saying.
- HostGator was acquired by EIG. From that point on, they began overselling server space and experienced a significant decrease in support quality. This seems to happen with every company EIG acquires. It’s sad because HostGator was my favorite company for a long time.
- Monthly payments are not an option and you must pay for at least a full year upfront.
- The SimpleScripts script installer is not good. It takes much longer to put a CMS on your site than it should.
- The wait time for online chat support is extremely annoying. Furthermore, the support staff isn’t always helpful, especially if your problem doesn’t fit a scripted mold.
- Getting an answer for a question that doesn’t fit the mold of a “normal” sales question can be difficult. The sales representative will tell you to contact a different department instead of just forwarding the call to the right department or trying to answer the question themselves.
- HostGator has had massive outages as a result of getting hacked. This left many customers without access to their site for days. In addition, oversold server space is a major detriment when it comes to site performance and uptime.
Which host is for you?
You don’t want GoDaddy or HostGator. These hosting companies dominate the market, but they’re no longer reliable. If you have a real business, especially one that makes money, you should stay away from both.
If you’re not willing to reconsider your options and are stuck between these two, go with GoDaddy. Its fast servers give it a slight edge. But you’re still not going to be happy.
Instead of these two, I recommend you go with SiteGround. That’s where I host most of my sites. It’s not owned by EIG and probably isn’t an acquisition target because they’re not an American company.
With SiteGround you’ll get amazing customer support, great prices, fast servers, and a bunch of options for when you need to scale your site. You can read more about them here.