Anyone looking into hosting options will be familiar with the question “GoDaddy vs. Hostgator?”
HostGator and GoDaddy are the two largest hosting companies in the world. They are also owned by Newfold Digital and GoDaddy Group, the largest web services companies worldwide. I have written separate GoDaddy and HostGator reviews.
Both are “go-to” brands if you’re looking for affordable, accessible hosting. Yet, they are both different companies with different brands. You still need to choose a website host when you’re choosing one.
Current clients use and like GoDaddy hosting. This site is InMotion hosting. However, I have many projects that have been running on HostGator for many years. They’ve been great.
This comparison between HostGator and GoDaddy will show you the differences. It covers seven areas, including pricing structure, customer service, market focus, and customer service.
Let’s take a look at GoDaddy vs. HostGator.
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HostGator vs. GoDaddy Pricing
HostGator as well as GoDaddy offer many hosting options, including VPS hosting, Cloud hosting and specialized WordPress hosting. Reseller hosting is also available. We’ll be focusing on the most popular product small businesses need: shared Linux Hosting.
The “kind of Linux hosting that allows you to run WordPress and Joomla” is also known as shared Linux hosting.
HostGator and GoDaddy both offer hosting at 3 tiers. This is not a good idea.
HostGator Shared Hosting Services
|No cost domain name||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year|
* Prices per month for a 36-month subscription
GoDaddy Shared Hosting Plans
|Storage||25 GB||48 GB||100 GB||200 GB|
|No cost domain name||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year|
* Prices per month for 12-month subscription
This tier is intended for websites with small budgets. GoDaddy calls this their Economy plan, and it renews at $8.99/mo. HostGator refers to it as their Hatchling Plan and renews at $7.95/mo.
Based on the cap they use, their first tiers will be different.
HostGator has a Domain Name Cap. This means that you can have only one website on this plan, but the website is not metered. It can store huge videos, lots of storage, and many databases (e.g. Software can be installed on the same domain, and there are unlimited email accounts. You can only have one domain per account.
GoDaddy uses storage, database , and email caps. You can only connect to one website. However, you have limited the files you can store and the email accounts you can create.
HostGator offers the best deal for those who are looking for a small and affordable plan.
The most comparable tiers are in the middle. It is called the Baby plan by HostGator.
It can be renewed at $9.95/mo. GoDaddy calls this their Deluxe plan. It can be renewed at $11.99/month
They are nearly identical in all core hosting features, except for email availability and databases (a topic I’ll discuss in Features). HostGator offers a slightly better deal for a US Dollar less per month.
Because they do not limit anything, the top tiers can be less similar.
They compete on the basis of plan bonuses. GoDaddy calls this their Ultimate plan and renews at $16.99/mo. HostGator refers to it as their Business plan, and renews at $16.99/mo.
GoDaddy offers three main bonuses: a free SSL Certificate, a free Premium DNS (for spamming) and free “processing Power.”
HostGator offers a free SSL as well as a dedicated IP address. GoDaddy’s top tiers have better looking SSLs. However, the Premium DNS is more expensive and is “paid for”.
HostGator’s Baby Plan is the best option if you have a single website and need unlimited features.
Their pricing is similar enough that I would look at the differences between HostGator & GoDaddy before making a decision.
Web Hosting Features
As I have explained in my best Web Hosting, it is useful to divide web hosting features into two sets: a “core feature” set and a bonus feature set.
The core feature set is made up of the “3 Ds”, which I refer to as domains, disk space and databases.
Domains refer to the number of web properties that you can connect with your hosting account.
Disk space refers to the number of files you can keep on your account. Databases/email describes how much software you have access to manage those files.
Both of them cap one of the three core features mentioned in their pricing. However, HostGator and GoDaddy both provide the same core features…with some differences.
HostGator utilizes industry-standard software like cPanel or MySQL to “run” your core functions. These software allow for easy and familiar management.
GoDaddy uses proprietary software as their backend. They allow cPanel…but it is a dollar more per month.
However, you can see the difference between GoDaddy & HostGator when it comes to “bonus hosting features.” But you have to use them in order to make them worthwhile.
HostGator provides bonus features like marketing credits for AdWords and Bing. You can also get a free toll-free number for your business.
GoDaddy provides a free Office 365 membership. Many of their services, such as accounting and DNS, will be included in the bundle.
GoDaddy is a good choice for small businesses that don’t require/want the nitty gritty of cPanel. However, GoDaddy offers many complementary services. HostGator is a better choice if you want to try new things and have access to more advanced features.
Speed and Performance
A web host’s core task is more than simply storing and delivering files for your website visitors. Your web host should deliver files quickly.
There are many factors that affect website speed. Many times you can’t blame a slow site on a slow host. For example, an engine with a powerful engine cannot go Zero-60 mph in 5 seconds if it is pulling a huge boat.
Server speed is still important, however. Non-network engineers can’t measure the speed of servers between hosts. There are many factors to consider.
In previous web hosting reviews I have looked at Time to First Byte (TTFB). This is a measure of how fast a server responds to a browser’s request.
These are my latest test results.
GoDaddy is a little behind, but they’re close enough to the average that their times should be equal.
Normally, data from internal operations is not made public. EIG is a publicly traded company, with all the associated public reports. Here are their internal data taken from the Investor’s Day Report –
You can see that even Endurance’s biased internal data shows HostGator to be faster than it is. This is not what I have seen in my own tests.
The main message is that they both speed up enough to allow you to focus on all other variables you can control and impact website speed.
One exception is uptime and consistency.
In the last few years, both GoDaddy and HostGator have experienced well-publicized downtime. Also, YouTube and Amazon both experienced downtime in recent years.
It’s important to not be dismissive of downtime. It’s important to understand the importance of downtime. It’s also important to consider what caused the downtime – and what if another similar incident occurred.
Because of their resources and size, I believe that the downtime risk for GoDaddy and HostGator is about the same.
Tie: Hostgator and GoDaddy
Usability and Onboarding
If you don’t know how to use it, even the best product can quickly go bad. This is especially true for web hosts.
It is difficult to understand the product’s name, especially when compared to all-in one website builders such as Wix and Weebly.
HostGator as well as GoDaddy offer a simple onboarding process and easy usability. GoDaddy has a proprietary setup, in addition to and cPanel. Both companies maintain identical account portals, and both send out the same onboarding emails.
Both make it easy to install web apps such as WordPress.
Both offer upsells in a similar way. GoDaddy has a good reputation. However, HostGator can be annoying. Here is their checkout process.
However, complimentary services are the catch. GoDaddy is both a domain registrar, and a “business services” provider. A company may have an email address and a domain before they have a website . GoDaddy makes product integration easy in this case.
Pointing your domain to HostGator will not be a problem if you already have one with GoDaddy. If you use GoDaddy’s email or other services, you will have a simpler setup.
Overall, GoDaddy is the best in user-friendliness and onboarding. While it’s not decisive, it speaks to the customer type they are seeking. We’ll discuss this shortly.
Many problems can be solved by usability and onboarding. But not all issues can be solved. Customer service is where it all comes in.
Customer service is a tricky subject because it’s only anecdotal. This comparison cannot definitively determine if a company offers “good” or “bad” customer service.
It’s impossible to know whether your customer service representative just started yesterday (vs. their seasoned professional) or was having an awful/awesome day. Or if it’s a sign of deeper company culture.
Instead, I look for indicators that show whether a company views customer service as a cost or a sales opportunity, or an investment.
EIG’s Investor’s Day Report revealed that they are obsessed with their net promoter score (NPS). This is simply a measure of how likely customers are to recommend your company.
They show a clear correlation between customer services – NPS-$$$
HostGator considers customer service an investment that will lead to more sales. GoDaddy also views it in the same way.
This is a great thing for you, the customer, but there’s a catch. That’s the upsell part. HostGator or GoDaddy will likely provide satisfactory customer service if you are willing to accept the upsells.
There are two main differences: technical skills and phone access.
GoDaddy offers phone support, while HostGator doesn’t.
According to EIG’s investor reports and my personal experience, HostGator is more technical at the front end. HostGator’s technical support team is more likely than GoDaddy to help you.
GoDaddy makes it more likely that you are referred to a “technical expert” or a new upsell product (ie “WordPress Hosting”) by a GoDaddy representative.
GoDaddy is the best choice for phone support. HostGator is the best choice if you don’t require phone support but just need quick answers.
*If customer service is a primary concern for you, be sure to review InMotion Hosting. They are an independent company, and not owned by EIG. Their focus is on customer service.
Newfold Digital acquires HostGator.
They actively invest in other brands such as Bluehost and JustHost.
Why? They likely view them as complementary brands that suit different customer types – much like Coke and Pepsi.
Here is their chart for investors regarding their “brand positioning”.
This chart is in perfect agreement with my experience with HostGator customer service and usability.
HostGator targets website owners first , and business owners later.
GoDaddy is a company that aims to empower small business owners.
It is logical and important to know what future products and improvements each brand might make.
HostGator will likely continue to invest in technical improvements and pricing. GoDaddy will continue to invest in usability and other complementary products for business (such as accounting software).
Here are some other factors to be aware of:
- HostGator offers a longer money back guarantee (45 days) that GoDaddy (30 days).
- They are owned by the same giant corporation, for better or worse. You can also look at InMotion, Web Hosting Hub, or SiteGround (review), if you don’t want to be associated with Newfold Digital.
- HostGator offers a Cloud hosting plan that is both affordable and flexible if you’re based in other countries.
GoDaddy vs. HostGator Conclusion
What is the difference between HostGator and GoDaddy? Both are fine hosts, but there are some differences.
HostGator is the best choice if you’re more technical or need better performance.
is the best choice if you need phone support or an all-in-one experience with GoDaddy.
If you prefer to work with an independent company that focuses more on customer service, I recommend InMotion Hosting (Review).
If you’re still confused, you might find my website setup guide or my shared web hosting quiz helpful.