When you start a blog, you begin with an idea, passion, or drive to create. To have a successful blog, however, you need not only passion, but the right foundations and technical support. That’s where hosting services come in.
Choosing the right hosting company can make a real difference. A good web host ensures that your blog is always online and secure, which leaves you free to focus on creating and promoting your content. The great news is that you don’t always have to pay a premium to ensure great service and a stress-free experience.
In this article we’ll be taking a look at two popular web hosting companies, Hostgator and Godaddy, to find out which you should choose when starting a blog. This hosting comparison should help you make the right choice.[toc]
What Is a Web Hosting Company?
Every blog needs to be hosted somewhere to be viewable by others across the internet. If you’re starting a hobby blog or dipping your toe in the water, you might have chosen to start with a service like WordPress.com or Blogger.com. For a professional blog, however, you’ll want to be “self hosted,” which means you have your own domain name and web hosting.
With web hosting, a company like Hostgator or GoDaddy will store your website files on one of their servers. Think of it as your website’s home. You then connect your domain name to your hosting through DNS (a bit like a signpost pointing towards your home) and from there it’s easily accessible to anyone who finds your blog.
We tend to excel at either the creative side or the technical side of blogging, so if the technical side isn’t your strongest, GoDaddy has created an easy-to-understand guide on what web hosting is.
Why It’s Important to Have a Good Host
When choosing your web host or hosting company, there are a lot of different factors to consider. You might be price conscious or security may be especially important to you.
Here are some of the main reasons why having a good host is important:
They Keep Your Content Safe and Secure
While we’d love for the internet to be one big, friendly place, hacking and security issues can hit bloggers and online businesses. Many hosting companies are clued in when it comes to security, and can even recommend WordPress plugins or security solutions if that’s of particular concern to you.
You Want Your Blog Online, Not Offline
If you choose a host with a really high uptime (the time during which your website is operational and online), you will not suffer with very many issues relating to website uptime. Some hosting companies also offer an “uptime guarantee” where you’ll be credited for any downtime or server issues if their service falls below 99 percent.
Easy to Access Support
In blogging, things go wrong. You might experience a plugin issue that’s caused you to lose access to your WordPress admin panel, or maybe there’s a billing concern you’d like to talk through. Having easily available, skilled, and helpful support staff can be essential in times of need — something a good host will make available to you.
It Makes Blogging Easier
Having to worry about downtime, security issues, or negotiating renewal costs down can get in the way of what’s really important — creating great content. Choose a hosting company that’s efficient, effective, and highly regarded to remove some of that worry. If the technical side of blogging isn’t for you, you could even consider a managed solution where the host will take care of updates and security for you.
So Who Should You Choose as a Hosting Provider?
With so many choices available it can be hard to make a decision. We wanted to make this decision-making easier for you by comparing two popular hosting companies — Hostgator and GoDaddy.
Performance and Reliability
One of the major reasons for choosing one web host over another is performance and reliability. For your blog to be of use to you it needs to be online, so website uptime is critical, as is reliability. If someone visits your blog several times and it’s unavailable or slow to load each time, will they return?
As of July 2018, both Hostgator and GoDaddy both offer a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee. This means both hosting companies recognize the importance of keeping your blog online and the inconvenience that downtime can cause.
Thanks to data shared online by bloggers, we can see that the average uptime to date for Hostgator and GoDaddy is both 99.9 percent — meeting their guarantee and offering you peace of mind that your blog will stay online.
Server Response Time and Page Speed
Another technical aspect of hosting that becomes important is server response time (the time it takes for the server to respond to you requesting the content). Along with page speed (the time it takes to display the content on your page), these metrics are important not only for user experience but for search engine optimization (SEO) too.
Based on tests run by web hosting experts, Hostgator wins on both server response time and page speed — the blog hosted by Hostgator loaded twice as fast.
Security and Backups
Hostgator and GoDaddy both take security and spam protection seriously, with different options highlighted within their shared hosting plans. Hostgator offers the opportunity to block IP addresses, and GoDaddy highlights their fraud, virus, and spam protection as standard on all plans.
Both Hostgator and GoDaddy complete regular backups and malware scans of websites hosted with them, with Hostgator offering this weekly and GoDaddy doing daily backups. You also have the opportunity to create your own backups as often as you wish with both web hosts through your control panel, or through a WordPress plugin.
When it comes to physical protection of data centers, both hosting companies are very security focused with layers of security, uninterrupted power supplies, and constant monitoring as standard. This ensures that your data and content is kept secure from both unwanted physical and digital attention.
Our Verdict: Hostgator
Who wins the GoDaddy vs. Hostgator battle in performance and reliability?
With faster response times, better speed test results, and a great uptime score, our vote here is Hostgator.
Plans and pricing
Next, let’s take a look at some of the different hosting plans available from the two companies. Both Hostgator and GoDaddy offer a range of plans to suit different needs — from inexpensive shared hosting solutions to managed WordPress hosting, dedicated servers, and beyond.
Hostgator and GoDaddy both have plans at different price points, starting at some very affordable monthly rates. With both companies you can start your blog for under $3 per month, which is great for new bloggers or testing a new blog in a different niche. For multi-site hosting, both companies currently offer a package with unlimited websites. Hostgator charges $3.95 per month and GoDaddy charges $4.99 per month.
For bloggers with more advanced needs or heavy traffic requirements, both hosting companies also offer Virtual Private Servers (known as VPS hosting) for under $30 per month or dedicated server hosting for under $120 per month. Both web hosting services offer Windows and Linux hosting.
Both Hostgator and GoDaddy often have sales or promotions running, which makes starting a blog really affordable. Pricing can increase on renewal, so keep an eye out for your renewal date and get in touch with their support team to negotiate if you want to.
Price is an important starting point for any blog hosting decision, especially if you’re on a budget or your blog is a hobby or passion project. Another important factor to consider is a plan’s features as they can vary significantly, although both Hostgator and GoDaddy offer very similar plans at similar price points.
For the affordable or starter hosting plans, you can expect to find it covers one website, with a certain amount of storage and bandwidth included. It’s with these starter shared hosting plans that Hostgator takes the edge, offering unlimited storage and bandwidth as well as free SSL included.
For a similar plan with SSL included at GoDaddy the monthly cost is much higher, although it can be purchased separately. If you want to bundle in your business email and need to buy a domain name, you might want to opt for GoDaddy — this is currently included for the first year with their starter plan.
If you’re just starting your blogging journey, you might not have a domain name chosen and purchased already. That’s not a problem, as Hostgator and GoDaddy also offer domain names available to buy at a competitive price.
If you already have a domain name, you can often transfer your domain name over to your hosting provider. It can be better to leave them separate if you are planning to change your hosting provider in the future.
Our Verdict: GoDaddy
So who wins from a plans and pricing perspective in Hostgator vs. GoDaddy?
Our vote here is GoDaddy — they are slightly more affordable thanks to a current promotion and have a free domain included. They offer a full service aspect that can be really attractive if you’re starting a blog.
After finding the right plan for you, another area to consider is the experience you’ll receive as a customer. In this section we take a look at how your customer experience might differ between Hostgator and GoDaddy.
Customer Support and FAQs
Good customer service and technical support is essential if you’re running your blog as a business, or even if it’s an important hobby to you. We rely on our hosting companies to be technically-minded and have support staff ready to help you when you need it — even if that’s at 3 a.m.
Hostgator and GoDaddy both offer around-the-clock support. They also offer support in a number of different ways, including live chat, email, phone support, and in-depth knowledge bases. This makes it easy to find the support option which is right for you, saving you time and giving you peace of mind.
When evaluating customer experience with support teams, it can be useful to look for people’s real experiences on review websites like Trustpilot. Both Hostgator and GoDaddy currently score low on Trustpilot —Hostgator has an average one-star rating out of over 360 reviews and GoDaddy has two stars out of over 3,000 reviews.
It’s worth keeping in mind that people are more likely to review a bad experience than a good one, and to look at number of reviews compared to the size of their customer base. Still, you can find their reviews below:
Sometimes you make a decision and find out it’s not the right choice for you. The same can be true with your blog and web hosting.
The great news here is that Hostgator offers a 45-day money back guarantee in case youdecide the service isn’t right for you.. As of July 2018, details of a money-back guarantee for GoDaddy aren’t available, with refund requests being directed to contact customer support for resolution.
Setting up your blog can be challenging, especially if it’s something you’ve never done before. The great news is that both Hostgator and GoDaddy make this easy for you, thanks to a popular control panel system called cPanel. This allows you to manage your website in a user-friendly way, including installing WordPress for the first time or accessing your website via FTP (File Transfer Protocol — a way of uploading and downloading files to and from your website).
If you do experience any difficulties in navigating your website’s control panel or user interface, both hosting companies have easy-to-follow instructions and advice in their FAQs and help guides.
Our Verdict: Hostgator
Hostgator vs. GoDaddy — who wins from a customer experience standpoint?
Our vote here goes to Hostgator. Their help guides and customer support services are helpful and detailed, and the money back guarantee is similarly customer-focused. Both companies have a low score when it comes to online reviews, and you’ll often find happy and disappointed customers with both, making it hard to objectively compare customer satisfaction.
Your Ideal Web Host
As bloggers we all have unique needs, and what may be important to a food blogger may be different to a business blogger. In some of our comparisons the differences between Hostgator and GoDaddy are small, but in others (for example performance and reliability) there is a clear winner.
So who wins in a battle of Hostgator vs. GoDaddy? Based on our findings, we’d recommend Hostgator for your blog hosting needs. It beats out the competition in key areas like customer experience and reliability.
Looking for an Alternative Host?
If you’ve decided that Hostgator and GoDaddy aren’t for you, try Siteground or Bluehost as an alternative. Bluehost and Siteground in particular are popular with e-commerce bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, or bloggers who run a business, like coaches and marketing experts.