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 its greater advertising budget and Super Bowl ads featuring Danica Patrick, has greater brand recognition and market share, Bluehost (founded in 1996) has been around longer. Nor does the Orem, Utah-based company take a back seat to many other companies regarding the number of hosted websites. 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 its 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, an easy-to-use cPanel interface, and good customer support. And while Bluehost has finally introduced a small selection 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 a 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 worldwide 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.
Comparing Bluehost to GoDaddy
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.
Which Hosting Company Is the Most Affordable?
Bluehost 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 the number of hosted websites allowed, the amount of allowed disc space, and the 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 the price difference between these basic packages (Bluehost vs. GoDaddy “Deluxe”), the biggest difference may be that Bluehost offers a free shared SSL certificate with their basic hosting package. At the same time, GoDaddy customers can purchase one for $69.99 annually.
GoDaddy vs. Blue Host: Shared Hosting Features
In terms of their basic shared hosting features, GoDaddy and Bluehost differ in a few key areas:
- Both GoDaddy and Bluehost offer Linux hosting, but GoDaddy also offers Windows hosting.
- GoDaddy offers three different basic shared hosting plans, while Bluehost offers one.
- All Bluehost-hosted customers use the cPanel interface to interact with their shared servers, while GoDaddy has a custom interface. cPanel is simpler and more intuitive, while GoDaddy’s interface is a bit more complicated and has more features.
- Bluehost offers unlimited POP3/IMAP email addresses and email storage along with their basic shared hosting plan. GoDaddy offers limited addresses and email storage. This storage space is insufficient for many small and medium-sized businesses, and they need to purchase a separate email plan.
- Bluehost offers free domain name registration and your hosting package, while GoDaddy does not.
Bluehost vs. GoDaddy: Reliability and Security
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. 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 data centers located in Utah, while GoDaddy has three major data centers in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area and network operating centers monitoring global operations. Additional GoDaddy data centers are located in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Virginia, with international datacenters in Amsterdam and Singapore. GoDaddy reports that it blocks about 2.5 million brute-force attacks on its servers every hour.
Regarding basic hosting server setup, 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 handle traffic spikes better.
Customer Service: GoDaddy vs. Bluehost
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.
Dedicated Hosting: Bluehost vs. GoDaddy
Bluehost is relatively new to the world of dedicated hosting: they started offering it in February 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. GoDaddy offers six different dedicated hosting packages ranging from $99/per 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.
Which is Better: GoDaddy or Bluehost
Although the two companies are very different in size and business model, there may not be much difference between them in the quality of the service they provide. They are surprisingly similar in terms of price, features, and reliability. 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 a what company and plan best fit the needs of your company or organization. But you can’t go wrong with either GoDaddy or Bluehost.