If you’re starting your own blog, we highly recommend that you host your own site with a domain you own. It will allow you to have much more control over the design of your blog, as well as make your site look much more professional and easier to discuss. You don’t want to tell your friends, family, or colleagues that you have a blog, only to have to then give them an awkward URL such as “mysupercoolblog.wordpress.com.”
When you’re choosing hosting, however, the options can be overwhelming. There are lots of hosting providers out there, all of whom claim to have the best combination of price, features, speed, and customer support. How are you supposed to choose if you’re just getting started creating your website?
To help you spend less time researching hosting services and more time creating your blog, we’ve done the comparison for you. In this post, we’ll look at two of the most popular hosting options out there: Bluehost and GoDaddy. We’ll compare both based on the following metrics:
From there, we’ll then be able to give you an overall recommendation of which option to choose for your blog.
In this and subsequent sections, we’ll be looking at the cheapest, most basic hosting packages you can get for each hosting provider. While you’ll likely end up upgrading your plan as your site grows, there’s no reason to pay more than you have to when you’re getting started.
A basic hosting plan will give you everything you need to learn how to set up your website, as well as provide a foundation for growing your blog’s traffic. By the time you’re ready to upgrade to a higher plan, you’ll have the necessary knowledge to manage that transition.
With that being said, how do Bluehost and GoDaddy compare based on features?
When you choose Bluehost’s introductory plan, you get the following features:
- Hosting for one website.
- Free domain — Choose any available domain name with an extension such as “.com.”
- Free SSL — SSL is a form of encryption that makes your site secure when processing payments or handling other sensitive user data. Even if you don’t plan to handle any payment info or other private user information, adding SSL makes your site more trustworthy to search engines such as Google and Bing.
- One-click WordPress install — Install popular blogging platform WordPress on your site without having to know any coding.
- 100 MB email storage per account, with up to five email accounts allowed.
With GoDaddy, the features are quite similar, including the following:
- Hosting for one website.
- Free domain (as long as you choose the annual plan).
- One-click installations of WordPress website and other popular blogging platforms.
- Free business email for the first year — Get one Office 365 Outlook mailbox with 5 GB of dedicated storage for email, contacts, and shared online calendar free for the first year.
The main key differences, then, are that Bluehost offers free SSL, while GoDaddy offers a better introductory deal on business email. Realistically, however, business email isn’t going to be that important when you’re starting a blog, and you may not want to use Outlook, anyway. Therefore, we think that Bluehost wins in terms of features due to the inclusion of free SSL. It’s a close race, however.
When it comes to price, the difference between the most basic Bluehost and GoDaddy plans is straightforward. Bluehost currently costs $2.95 per month (billed annually) when you sign up using our special offer. After you renew your plan for another year, you’ll still only pay $7.99 per month, which is still a great deal.
You can pay this in a variety of ways, with a credit or debit card and PayPal being the most popular options. If you prefer to use a different method, however, Bluehost also allows payment via checks (U.S. only), money orders (USD only), and purchase orders.
GoDaddy, meanwhile, is currently running a special on its Economy plan, bringing the price down to $2.49 per month (billed annually). This is the price you’ll pay for the first year. After that, it’s $7.99 per month (the same as Bluehost).
Therefore, GoDaddy does win as being slightly cheaper, though the lack of free SSL could make it more expensive if you want to add on that feature. GoDaddy SSL certificates currently start at $59.99 per year for one site.
Again, if you’re not going to be processing payments, you don’t strictly need to have SSL. However, it can be a good thing in terms of making your site look more trustworthy to visitors. If you don’t have it, users of browsers such as Google Chrome may see a message that says “Not Secure” next to your URL when they visit your site.
You should also know that both hosting companies offer a 30-day money back guarantee on their products. These guarantees apply no matter which plan you choose, and they’re a good way to mitigate the risk of choosing a hosting company. With such a guarantee in place, you can try both products and see which you prefer.
Price and features are important to consider when choosing a hosting provider, but both of those are meaningless if your site isn’t fast and reliable. How do Bluehost and GoDaddy stack up when it comes to things like page load time and the potential for downtime?
To understand how we made this evaluation, you need to understand a couple key terms. The first is page speed. This is a measure of how long it takes for a given page on your site to load.
It’s essential to have a fast site. Not only does it affect the experience users have when they visit, but it also factors into your ranking in search engines like Google or Bing. If you have a slow site, then users will likely click back to search results when they visit. Search engines take note of this, and over time, it can drop the ranking of your site.
The second term is uptime. This refers to the percentage of time that your site is live. If your site is down, then it means that visitors to your site can’t access your content. There are a variety of things that could cause your site to go down, some of which are in your control. For instance, incorrectly editing a file in your site’s code could cause it to be unavailable.
What we’re concerned with, however, are problems that occur on your site’s server. For example, if one of Bluehost or GoDaddy’s servers crashes or has another technical problem, it could lead to visitors receiving an error message when they visit your site. Once again, this not only leads to a poor user experience, but it can also hurt your search engine rankings.
According to data from Down.com, which tests factors such as page speed and reliability for various web hosting providers, GoDaddy and Bluehost are comparable overall. Here’s a comparison of the average web page load times for both platforms:
And here’s a comparison of uptimes:
GoDaddy is the winner in both of the above, but only by a small margin.
In practice, it’s not something that will be that noticeable, though the faster average page load times of GoDaddy is something to take seriously given how important page speed is for search engine rankings.
It’s also worth noting that GoDaddy has a 99.9% uptime guarantee for all its sites, showing the company has confidence in the reliability that Down.com has reported.
For our final point of comparison, let’s look at the support that Bluehost and GoDaddy offer when you have a question or things go wrong. If you have a customer support issue, the first thing you should do is see if you can find an answer to your question in your webhost’s help center. Both companies have help centers that are pretty easy to use.
Bluehost, for instance, has a Help Center where you can search for answers based on keywords or whole questions. You can also browse the Help Center to view tutorials related to the following topics:
- Control Panel
If you do need support, then Bluehost offers customers 24/7 support via phone, live chat, and email. There are different options available for prospective customers, new customers, enterprise level clients, and more.
If you’re trying to figure out which hosting plan is best for you, then calling their general sales line at +1 (855) 803-8158 would be a good place to start.
GoDaddy’s offerings are similar. They have a Help Center with answers to common questions about the following topics:
- Linux Hosting
- Windows Hosting
- SSL Certificates
- Office 365 from GoDaddy
- Account Management
In notable contrast to Bluehost, GoDaddy does not offer email support. They do have 24/7 phone and live chat support available, however. Support team members are available to speak a variety of language in dozens of different countries, helping you get support no matter where in the world you might be. For customers in the United States, call (480) 505-8877 to get started speaking with a support representative.
What’s the actual experience of dealing with customer support like? To find out, we looked at hosting reviews from Web Hosting Geeks, a site where users can describe their experience with web hosting platforms.
GoDaddy did not perform well with regards to customer service. The average rating of its support was 1.5 out of 5 stars, based on 993 reviews:
Bluehost only slightly better, earning 2 out of 5 stars for its customer support, based on 778 reviews:
Overall, then Bluehost and GoDaddy are equal when it comes to customer support. Unfortunately, it appears they are equally bad. That being said, your individual experience will vary.
GoDaddy vs Bluehost: Overall Assessment
In the end, which hosting platform is better for your needs as a blogger and small business owner? In terms of features, the only real difference between GoDaddy and Bluehost is the inclusion of a free SSL certificate with Bluehost sites. GoDaddy narrowly wins on base price, as well as speed and reliability. And both platforms are almost equal when it comes to their customer support, with Bluehost being a bit better on average.
In sum, then, the two platforms are effectively equal. Particularly when you’re starting out, the platform you choose for hosting doesn’t matter all that much. It’s far more important to get your site live to begin with. You can worry about other details later, and you can always transfer your site to a different host if you want.