Author: Matthew Rogers
Last Updated: December 2019
Hostgator and GoDaddy are two titans in the web-hosting world, and were once considered the absolute best website hosts in the USA. While both are successful in their own right, they offer customers distinctive options when it comes to building and hosting a website. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each will help you find the best match for your website.
HostGator is the brainchild of Brent Oxley, who at the time of the company’s creation was a student at Florida Atlantic University. Headquartered in Houston and Austin, TX, HostGator became one of the fastest-growing companies in the country before Endurance International Group moved to acquire it in 2012. Today, it hosts an impressive eight million domains, with additional offices in India, Brazil, Mexico, and Canada.
GoDaddy started up in Baltimore in 1997. By the early 2000s, GoDaddy was about the same size as its competitors, before growing exponentially into the NASDAQ-traded company it is today. Currently, GoDaddy is the world’s largest web host and it has more than 62 million registered domains.
While HostGator and GoDaddy are household names in the web-hosting stratosphere, it’s essential to know which fits your website’s needs best. That is why we have created a head-to-head comparison of these two hosting giants based on four potential deal-breakers; namely, pricing, support, performance/speed, and ease of use.
Pricing – HostGator Wins
For a lot of people, price is the most influential factor when it comes to selecting a web hosting provider. In this case, both companies offer a tiered system. The price for each plan in the tier depends on the features offered, such as shared hosting, WordPress, VPS, and dedicated hosting.
We are going to focus on shared hosting, which HostGator offers for as little as $2.75 per month. That option comes with a single domain, unmetered bandwidth, and one-click installs. More advanced options are available up to $5.95, which include features like private SSL and IP, and free VoIP phone service.
GoDaddy offers four different shared options: Economy, Deluxe, Ultimate, and Maximum. The Economy starts at $1.00 per month and features one domain, 100 gigabytes of storage, and unmetered bandwidth. This option also comes with a free business email for the first twelve months of the subscription.
GoDaddy’s additional plans have features such as free SSL certificate, free premium DNS, and unlimited storage. GoDaddy has an exceptional array of options compared to HostGator, however, a greater variety is not always better offering. HostGator takes the cake in the pricing category thanks to its lower costs across the board.
Support – HostGator Wins
Both companies offer robust customer support teams to assist users with any problems or questions that might pop up. Each host has hundreds of call center experts available, 24/7, to help via online chat and a phone call. The one discernible difference is that Hostgator offers tech tickets.
If you want to take advantage of the online help, GoDaddy offers a sleek knowledge center. The section is easy to navigate, so you can find the official company documentation you need to resolve any issues. Hostgator provides a range of quick links, forums, and video tutorials, though the site looks discernibly older.
Overall, reviews of the customer support service are mixed for HostGator, which is not great… BUT GoDaddy is a bit worse according to use reviews. While their service is available around the clock, the testimonials suggest that their tech support is spotty at best. People note slow service times and a myriad of unresolved issues.
Speed – GoDaddy Wins
While Hostgator has an impressive uptime of 99.97%, their page speed can’t keep pace. On average, their response time was 900ms+. That said, HostGator has made significant strides in improving its performance speed. They have shown consistent improvement over time, especially over the last two years.
The results are more clear-cut for GoDaddy: it’s faster with an average speed of 500ms+. This speed goes along with a remarkably reliable uptime of 99.97%.
Part of the speed is attributable to GoDaddy’s data centers across the country. Currently, they have sites in Los Angeles, Chicago, Ashburn, VA, Phoenix, and Scottsdale. As part of their impressive fleet of 37,000, additional servers are in Amsterdam (great if you’re looking for web hosts for the UK) and Singapore (in case you need web hosting services for Singapore).
Ease of Use – It’s a Tie
When it comes to features, HostGator and GoDaddy are neck and neck. Both utilize cPanel, which is known for its easy installation and reliability. They also both offer unlimited disk space, though GoDaddy does provide a free domain where HostGator does not.
HostGator has positioned itself to appeal to first-time website designers, so their functionality is intuitive. They offer customizable templates in addition to features you can drag-and-drop. Even if you don’t consider yourself technically savvy, there are enough walkthroughs and tutorials for you to build a site without hiring a professional designer.
GoDaddy may not have the sexiest website builder, but it too is functional even for beginners. They offer domain management, website building, and web hosting all from one central location. Users are also offered a free email on the basic shared hosting plan for a year.
Conclusion – HostGator Wins
GoDaddy might be better known for its racy commercials and web registrar role, but this is why we have to go with HostGator for the win. While the comparison between the two is moderately close, HostGator offers stronger all-around hosting services. With outstanding uptime, free migration services, and better pricing, it is easy to see why so many people pick HostGator.
GoDaddy has its distinct strengths that may be more beneficial to you depending on circumstances. For instance, they offer more non-hosting features as well as a free domain. While GoDaddy has comparable uptime and snappy loading speeds, there are enough areas of pause that we would recommend looking to HostGator first.