So you’re looking for a company to host your new website? Or maybe you’re looking to upgrade your hosting service by moving to a different company. How do you know which company provides the best website hosting for you? In this article I compare the hosting services offered by two of the largest web hosting companies: Bluehost and GoDaddy.
While GoDaddy, with it’s greater advertising budget and Super Bowl ads featuring Danica Patrick, has greater brand recognition and market share, Bluehost (founded in 1996) has been been around longer. Nor does the Orem, Utah-based company take a back seat to many other companies when it comes to number of websites hosted. According to WebHosting.info, Bluehost is the sixth largest hosting provider in the world, with about 1.9 million total domains and 1.4% of the global market share. Bluehost has built it’s business on the strength of its shared hosting packages oriented toward customers with lower speed and bandwidth demands (the large majority of hosting customers in the market). The Bluehost model was simple: offer one basic, low-cost shared hosting plan targeting small and medium-sized businesses with smaller websites with an easy-to-use cPanel interface and good customer support. And while Bluehost has finally introduced a small selections of dedicated hosting options as of February of 2013, their bread-and-butter remains their shared hosting plans for smaller customers.
GoDaddy may not need much introduction, as it has become (arguably) the largest and (definitely) the most well-known website hosting and domain registrar in the United States based on it’s memorable (and occasionally raunchy) television ad campaigns that have catapulted it into mainstream brand awareness. What may be less well-known is just how dominant the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company has become in the world of hosted domains. According to webhosting.info, GoDaddy (and its affiliate program Wild West Domains) host nearly 35 million domains, which equates to about 26% of the world-wide market share. It is unclear; however, how many of these domain hosting clients are also web hosting clients. While GoDaddy does not release this information, it’s been estimated at around 5-6 million. In 2011 GoDaddy brought in over $1.14 billion in revenue.
As the largest internet company in the world, GoDaddy offers the most extensive range of services on the web, including hosting, email, domain, website building, SSL certificates and more. Unlike Bluehost, GoDaddy is not primarily focused on hosting websites, but at the same time it offers a greater range of dedicated hosting options and shared hosting packages.
So which hosting company is best? The real answer is that it depends on your needs. I’ve broken down Bluehost vs. GoDaddy hosting options based on several categories. Hopefully, this will help you better understand which hosting company is best for your website.
BlueHost’s offers its basic shared hosting package for $6.95 per month, “marked down” to $4.95 per month. This package includes unlimited domain hosting, unlimited hosting space, unlimited file transfer, and unlimited email accounts for no additional charge. GoDaddy offers three shared hosting packages at $5.99/month (“marked down” to $2.99), $8.99/month (“marked down” to $4.49), and $14.99/month (“marked down” to $7.49). The packages variables are in number of hosted websites allowed, amount of allowed disc space, and number of email addresses, but the comparably to Bluehost- priced “Deluxe” package ($4.95 vs. $4.49) includes unlimited disc space, no free hosted domains, unlimited bandwidth, and 500 email addresses. Both companies offer 24/7 support and website builder tools with their hosting packages.
In terms of price difference of these basic packages (Bluehost vs. GoDaddy “Deluxe”), the biggest differences may be that Bluehost offers a free shared SSL certificate with their basic hosting package, while GoDaddy customers can purchase one for $69.99 per year.
In terms of their basic shared hosting features, GoDaddy and Bluehost differ in a few key areas:
Both GoDaddy and Bluehost boast of 99.9% uptime guarantees, and both have experienced significant outages in recent years. For instance, a power failure in Provo, Utah caused Bluehost sites to be offline for several hours in May of 2010, while GoDaddy customers experienced major outages in September of 2012 because of a DNS outage. The hacker group Anonymous claimed responsibility for the DNS outage. Both companies are frequent targets of electronic attacks, with the larger and higher profile GoDaddy being the more frequently-attacked of the two.
Bluehost has three datacenters located in Utah, while GoDaddy has three major datacenters in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, along with network operating centers that monitor global operations. Additional GoDaddy data centers are located in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Virginia, with interational datacenters in Amsterdam and Singapore. GoDaddy reports that it blocks about 2.5 million brute force attacks on its servers every hour.
In terms of basic hosting server set-up, the major difference between GoDaddy and Bluehost is that GoDaddy utilizes “clustered” hosting, which means that the hosting load is shared between multiple servers to better handle traffic spikes.
Both companies offer 24/7 customer support via phone. Reviews of the quality of service (including length of time put on hold) vary, but generally both companies get positive reviews for their customer support. GoDaddy customers seem to spend a little bit more time on hold than Bluehost customers. In addition to phone support, GoDaddy offers discussion forums, numerous product support articles, and a customer support ticketing system. Bluehost offers 24/7 live chat and toll free customer support numbers.
Bluehost is relatively new to the world of dedicated hosting: they started offering it in February of 2013. They have three dedicated packages, all of which utilize CentOS 64 bit servers. They are priced at $149.99, $199.99, and $249.99 per month respectively. GoDaddy offers six different dedicated hosting packages ranging from $99/month to $299/month. GoDaddy customers can choose between CentOS, Ubuntu, Fedora, and Windows servers. At comparably priced ($249) plans, Bluehost offers a little bit more: 16 GB of storage and two extra dedicated IP addresses. Like their shared hosting package, Bluehost dedicated servers are managed via cPanel, while GoDaddy utilizes a combination of custom interface and your choice of a number of different server management control panels, including cPanel.
Although the two companies are very different in size and business model, there may not actually much difference between the two companies in the quality of the service that they provide. In terms of price, features, and reliability they are surprisingly similar. GoDaddy offers a wider range of services and plans, which are mainly relevant for customers with greater service demands. GoDaddy offers more dedicated options and a longer history in the dedicated service market, and their dedicated server and SSL support is second to none. In terms of basic shared hosting, Bluehost may be slightly better, with a simpler interface, slightly lower cost, and no additional charge for SSL or domains. Ultimately, the best choice is what company and plan best fit the needs of your company or organization. But you can’t go wrong with either GoDaddy or Bluehost.