Is it time to give GoDaddy WordPress hosting another chance?

GoDaddyWPMHHosting your WordPress website on GoDaddy has been strongly discouraged by me and most of the WordPress consultants I know because GoDaddy WordPress hosting has historically crammed so many accounts on a shared server that your own website performance was mediocre in the best of conditions. But what was worse, was the variability in the page-load performance for your site. But GoDaddy has just introduced a WordPress Managed Hosting plan that may change all that.

Here’s why GoDaddy hosting has been a bad choice for WordPress sites

Since WordPress requires the server to open multiple files AND to do multiple database record lookups and retrievals for each page that is requested, your website performance at any instant in time could be very slow because of activity on the other accounts on that server. You have no control over that. The more accounts on a single server the greater the likelihood that your reader’s request will just have to get into a queue behind requests from other websites.

For any low-cost shared hosting plan like GoDaddy, Bluehost, Hostgator, Fatcow, etc. the business strategy is to cram as many accounts as you can onto a single resource until the performance problems become so great that customers start to leave. At that point you setup another server and put more accounts on that. If you get lucky and are put on the new server early on your performance will be good, but as the number of accounts grows everyone will begin to notice problems again.

Why the new WordPress Managed Hosting plan may be a great choice for a small-business WordPress site.

speedometer_fast-wallpaperAt the beginning of the year GoDaddy introduced a new hosting plan just for WordPress, they put fewer accounts on the server (how many fewer over time remains to be seen…), they also gave the server more resources, but perhaps more importantly they’ve used a new architecture for the server configuration that is optimized for WordPress. I wrote a guest post the end of last year “Why We Recommend Our Clients Switch Website Hosting To WP Engine“about the hosting service WP Engine that I use for this Hartsook Letter website.

I reviewed the new GoDaddy WordPress Managed Hosting plan when one of my clients signed up for it, and it appears that GoDaddy uses many of the same techniques that WP Engine is using to optimize performance for WordPress websites. WP Engine costs $30/month for a website, GoDaddy charges $6.29! So what’s the difference, what are the Pros and Cons?

  1. GoDaddy includes email and will also register your domain. WP Engine ONLY hosts WordPress websites, they don’t host email or domain registration which means you need to pay for other accounts somewhere else to handle those.
  2. Both GoDaddy and WP Engine have basic plans that include just a single website, and upgraded plans that allow more websites.
  3. WP Engine has a great feature, a one-button staging site that makes a copy of your website for you to experiment on. You can try out new themes, plugins, make CSS changes and if you like what you see, another single button click will replace your current production site with the staging site. GoDaddy does NOT have this feature. If you want to make a staging site you have to manually export your site and move it somewhere else to experiment on, and when you are satisfied with the changes you either have to replicate those on the production site or manually replace the production site with a copy of the staging site.
  4. Both GoDaddy and WP Engine include enhanced website security and automatic backups for your site so you don’t need to configure additional plugins for that.
  5. Both GoDaddy and WP Engine will automatically update your WordPress files when updates come out and check to make sure the update doesn’t break your site.

Why I’m going to start recommending the GoDaddy WordPress Managed Hosting plan

If first impressions count for your website, it does make a difference if your page loads in 1 second instead of 4 to 7 seconds. That was why several years ago I chose to move my website to WP Engine. Now it looks like you can get that same performance at 1/4th the cost.

Most of my clients are entrepreneurs, small-business owners, and small non-profit organizations that don’t have a IT department to help keep their website up-to-date and backed-up in case something happens. With managed hosting most of that is included in the plan. There are just fewer things to worry about and the list of site maintenance chores is much shorter.


It sounds like a winner to me… check it out, it looks so promising that I’m starting to recommend it to my clients (if you use my affiliate link to sign up for GoDaddy WordPress Managed Hosting you pay the same price, but I get a small commission that helps me keep my consulting rates lower)

Pieter Hartsook

WordPress website coaching, design, implementation, support, and training. Background in Marketing Research and Communications. See my profile at:

Reader Interactions


  1. I found this article though my Twitter feed. Firstly, may I say what a happy surprise to discover your site. I’ve read a few articles and have bookmarked for future visits. Looks like a great resource, Pieter.

    In a bleary eyed, late night, coding session, I mistakenly clicked on GD’s Managed WP Hosting Plan instead of their traditional WP setup. I agree with everything you write above and feel, for many small businesses and the technically declined,that it is well worthwhile and convenient with its largely, “Set it and forget it” features.

    That said, your readership may like to know that it does not offer users C-Panel access or even GD’s traditional control panel service. This may be a deal breaker for those with more advanced needs – It was for me – However, despite some disparaging remarks from many, I continue to use GoDaddy for most of my online needs.



  2. Before you recommend that your readers make the switch, I would certainly do some speed testing with them. That’s going to be your biggest drawback.

    • Brad,

      I did do some speed testing, at least on this single account. As I mentioned in the original post the page-load times dropped from about 5 seconds to about 1 second. Yesterday I set up a new client on GoDaddy WordPress Managed Hosting with a new site and the initial home page load time is 1 second. I’m in the middle of another more complex site migration and will have some comparative performance times later today that I will share.

  3. I’ve just help migrate a more complex site from a typical shared hosting ( to GoDaddy WordPress Managed Hosting. At the original host the homepage started loading at 3 seconds and finished at 4.25 seconds. Not too bad, but after the move to GoDaddy the same page started loading at 1 second and finished at 2 seconds! In other words the page performance doubled. Nothing else was different, just moved the site to a new host.

    Here are the Network waterfalls for both:
    -> MEA on
    -> MEA on GoDaddy

  4. You might also want to check out Managed WordPress Hosting Showdown – Performance Benchmarks Comparison which has a very detailed performance comparison that includes the new GoDaddy WordPress Managed Hosting plan. His conclusion about this plan

    GoDaddy surprised me, and in a good way. They have a pretty bad reputation in the web community and it shows on this site where their overall score is below 50%. Yet, their WordPress hosting kept up or led the pack in some of the performance tests. In both load tests, out-of-the-box, GoDaddy had the highest number of successful requests, the highest number of concurrent users, and either 1st or 2nd in average response time. (WebSynthesis’s performance did beat them when their support investigated connection resets) There were some weird performance bumps during the load tests, but nothing major. The biggest blot in terms of performance was on their uptime. They had the most downtime (28 minutes) of any of the companies tracked in UptimeRobot’s monitoring (which ran longer than my second Uptime monitoring setup). But it was still 99.8% uptime, not a huge knock.

    Overall, I would say GoDaddy delivered on their claim, performance wise. They appear to be in the top tier of specialized WordPress hosting companies. Given their price, I think they have the potential to push down pricing on most of their competitors who charge 3-4 times what GoDaddy charges. If we take a more holistic view, beyond performance, they still don’t have all the tools to cater to the different niches that the specialized companies are competing for (although there were some hints dropped that things like Git, Staging Environments and more were coming soon). And then there is a branding problem they are trying to overcome. But GoDaddy is definitely doing some things very right and should make the managed WordPress hosting space very interesting.

  5. ANYONE is a fool to recommend GoDaddy for ANYTHING other than domain name purchases.
    DEV’s hate GoDaddy and for good reason, let’s start with proprietary files for one!
    GoDaddy is a pain on all respects! Backups, large sites,and thing that doesn’t fit “neatly into THEIR plan!
    Shame on you!

    • Stefanie,

      If you read through my posts on Godaddy’s new WordPress Managed Hosting plan you’d see that I agreed with you about using WordPress on their previous shared hosting plans. But in my experience with about a dozen clients over the last six months, this new service and the folks that are managing it are sincerely interested changing not only the perception, but the actual customer experience. And in my opinion as an experienced WordPress developer and consultant (I’ve been building sites on this platform for the last 7 years), they are succeeding.

      I’ve spent some time on the phone with guy who is now the product manager for the Managed WordPress Hosting at Godaddy. He was previously at MediaTemple which Godaddy acquired, and is in the process of adding MediaTemple’s superior WordPress hosting functionality to Godaddy.

      The only proprietary files I see on these sites is a custom plugin to facilitate the admin management. This is EXACTLY THE SAME approach that WP Engine uses, I know because I have client sites there too. Are you railing against WP Engine for the use of proprietary files too? If you want the benefits of a managed hosting environment, security, simplicity, performance you have to accept certain restrictions. For example you can’t use your own backup plugins because they pose an unnecessary security risk, unnecessary because Godaddy backups you site’s files and database for you automatically on a daily basis.

      The point of my posts was that just because a vendor provided an inferior product in the past doesn’t mean they can’t change – and in this case, IMHO, they have.

      I specialize in WordPress sites, and this new plan at Godaddy does too. Maybe Godaddy is not so good for Joomla sites, you’d probably know more about that than I. But before you call someone a fool for not listening to what “DEV’s hate”, or relying on old out-of-date information, maybe you should try out copying a WordPress site over to the new Godaddy plan (after all it’s on sale now for $12 for a year of hosting, and they throw in a domain registration too, so it’s a low-risk proposition) and test it out to see for yourself. You might be surprised at what you find. I have graduate degrees in Library Science and worked a couple of decades doing primary market research, and have found that there is nothing quite like real quantitative data to dispel ignorance.

  6. As a matter of fact, since I started recommending that my clients choose Godaddy Managed WordPress Hosting for their sites back in February 2014, I have earned the princely sum of $67.57 from that affiliate link in this post (that’s $8.44/month)! Of course since the minimum payment from CJ Affiliates that run the program is $100, I haven’t actually received any money yet…

    The main benefit I get from referring my clients is faster performance, better security, and happier clients with less work for me. And while the Godaddy sale is still on they are getting a GREAT deal on a managed hosting plan.

    I’m biased by measurable results and a history of interaction with the company with multiple clients. The $8.44/month added income doesn’t move the needle much for me.

    • Yes you can get a free domain if you register it at the time you sign up for your hosting service. Email hosting is not free. But you do get free email forwarding from your domain to another email address, like your gmail account.

  7. I’ve been on WP Engine for almost a year. My blog is only just a year old and I’m on the $30/m hosting plan. I was thinking of making the switch to Godaddy since they seem to have been making new improvements for the better. WP Engine is great, but at $30/m its expensive. Would you recommend that I move my site over to Godaddy Managed WP? They seem to have the same speeds and security of WP Engine, but at a much lower cost.

    • I’ve been putting most of my clients on Godaddy Managed WordPress Hosting plan for the last 6 months. I think it’s a great deal for a small business. For a really big multi-national company with a complex site the WPEngine one-click staging site feature is worth it. Also WPEngine supports WordPress Multisite installs and Godaddy Managed WordPress Hosting does not (at least at this point in time).

      I’d suggest you risk the $12 for a year of hosting and migrate a copy of your site and try it out. Pretty minimal risk…

      • Im just a bit nervous to make the jump. My tech blog is starting to outgrow the basic WPE plan. I may have to sign up for GD Managed WordPress. Now that we are in 2015 do you still recommend I give them a try? Are the speeds and security comparable?

        • Speeds and security seem comparable. Godaddy just raised the “sale price” for the Starter plan from $1/mo for 1 year to $4/mo for up to 5 years. So it’s not quite as spectacular, you now pay $36 more for the first year, but it’s still a bargain. The Godaddy plan still does not include a one-click staging site, or ad hoc backups, but otherwise it’s pretty comparable to WPEngine at $30/month.

  8. I would never recommend anyone to use GoDaddy wordpress hosting. Right now, at the time of writing this comment, i am using GoDaddy’s managed hosting plan for my wordpress blog and believe it i am feeling so bad why i bought this plan. The page load time is so slow, even i am getting problems in writing and moderating my posts and comments. First i thought that is only issue with my installation and optimizing would help me get out of these problems, but i was wrong. So in the end i’ll say that don’t go to godaddy’s cheap web hosting, instead go and find other web hosting providers. Right now i am surfing internet for a decent and FAST web hosting provider, so i am not able to recommend any other web hosting provider. GODADDY THUMBS DOWN.

    • I haven’t seen the problems you’ve encountered, and it’s surprising since you have just a simple blog website, but I notice you’ve moved to Huricane Electric for hosting and your site seems to be loading quickly now. My clients are usually small businesses or non-profits that unlike you do not have a “Engineering degree in Electronics and Communication”, and so I’m willing to sacrifice some raw hosting performance for them for the convenience of managed hosting specifically tailored for WordPress, especially for $4/month instead of $30/month.

  9. I started my site using GoDaddy Managed WordPress. It was okay service wise, until the last month (about 4 months in). Service is unreliable, takes forever to reach customer service and then all they tell you is “they are aware of an issue and are working through it” with no indication of when it will be resolved. I’ve had this issue about once a month, until the last two weeks, when it’s been every 2-3 days. So painful – evaluating options to move as we speak. Not a good choice if you plan to grow.

    • Wow, that’s the polar opposite of my experience with a dozen clients over the last six months. It has been the exception that I’ve found one of the managed hosting techs to be non-responsive or unknowledgeable. If you’re willing to pay the $30/month, WP Engine is top-of-the-line for WordPress managed hosting. They have a money back trial, you could make a copy of your site there and see if it’s any better.

      I do notice that today, a month and a half after your comment, your site is still at Godaddy, so maybe they did resolve your issue?

  10. I have been using GoDaddy for several years and am now using Godaddy Managed WordPress. It is convenient… However, the option to create a staging environment for development and then pushing it back to production doesn’t work properly. Currently my site is useless because it got stuck somewhere in the process. After three attempts including one attempt by GoDaddy Support, it is still stuck and my site is horrible. No menus or slider… When I click on a link it takes me back to the staging environment… The support person knew nothing about Managed WordPress and kept telling me it was problem. This is huge and I will not recommend GoDaddy even tho I am currently a GoDaddy reseller.

    • Looks like the Godaddy WordPress Managed Hosting Starter Plan is back on sale for $1/month for a year. Hard to beat that price for that level of service. You can always move the site at a future date if you don’t like it. I’ve been happy with their service and support so far.

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