Whilst I imagine more people have heard of GoDaddy than SiteGround, both services have established good reputations and a strong international presence, I find that GoDaddy’s edgy marketing campaigns have worked well for them (Superbowl), and it seems to me that GoDaddy has spent more time and money advertising their service, especially with regards to domains.
But which one is better? Which service is cheaper, and which one has better features?
I’ll answer all of that and more to help you make the most informed decision so you don’t have to choose a provider with a blindfold and a dartboard.
Let’s get started by examining each provider’s pricing model.
For starters, I wanted to point out that SiteGround’s WordPress and Web hosting packages cost exactly the same because they appear to be the same service.
As we’ll shortly see in the features section, they even seem to have identical features.
Nevertheless, SiteGround does offer fair pricing at a competitive rate. Alternatively, when considering GoDaddy’s pricing model, it has a feature I think is unattractive, yet not wholly repulsive.
To entice new customers, GoDaddy offers a special discounted rate for the first 12 months. After the first 12 months are up, GoDaddy then hikes the price up a bit.
I’ve seen a small handful of other providers employ the same tactic, which I wouldn’t say is dishonest but certainly irritating.
I would rather GoDaddy charged the same flat rate. SiteGround doesn’t use this tactic, and instead charges the same price during the first year and thereafter.
In the first year of service, GoDaddy is only a little cheaper than SiteGround. When opting for GoDaddy, it’s possible to save anywhere between $1.00 and $4.00 per month.
I don’t think that saving $1.00 a month is very significant, but consider that a monthly savings of $4.00 (when comparing each services third-tier package) add up to $48.00 over the course of the year.
It’s not a lot of savings, but it’s not exactly peanuts to someone who is extremely priced sensitive either.
After the first year of service, however, GoDaddy is more expensive due to the hike in price after the first 12 months. Overall I think SiteGround has better pricing.
But if you want to save money in the short term to see how well your site performs in the first year, GoDaddy has a slight edge. Let’s quantify each provider’s packages, keeping in mind that SiteGround has the exact same pricing for its Web hosting and WordPress hosting packages.
The following outlines SiteGround’s Web Hosting and WordPress payment plans:
- StartUp Plan: $3.95 per month
- GrowBig Plan: $5.95 per month
- GoGeek Plan: $11.95 per month
The following outlines GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting:
- Basic – $3.99 per month ($8.99 per month when you renew your subscription)
- Deluxe – $4.99 per month ($12.99 per month when you renew your subscription)
- Ultimate – $7.99 per month ($19.99 per month when you renew your subscription)
- Developer – $13.99 per month ($24.99.99 per month when you renew your subscription)
The following outlines GoDaddy’s Web hosting:
- Basic – $2.49 per month ($7.99 per month when you renew your subscription)
- Deluxe – $4.99 per month ($10.99 per month when you renew your subscription)
- Ultimate – $7.99 per month ($16.99 per month when you renew your subscription)
- Maximum – $14.99 per month ($24.99 per month when you renew your subscription)
Pricing Winner = SiteGround
Free trial accounts are a great way to test out a service before committing to a subscription, but the problem is some of them are drastically watered down or encumbered, and some will automatically bill your credit card if you fail to consciously terminate your subscription before the trial period expires.
The good news, however, is that GoDaddy does offer a free trial account, and it doesn’t even require payment card data, which is rare.
Not only is it rare among hosting providers, but I’ll go one step further by claiming that it’s rare among the vast majority of digital services (cloud hosting, VPNs, you name it…), so kudos to GoDaddy. SiteGround, on the other hand, does not offer any kind of free trial account. However, they do offer a way to remove risk for new customers via a 30-day moneyback guarantee, which is pretty standard among digital services.
I should also mention that GoDaddy also offers moneyback guarantees in addition to its free trial account, though the refund period depends upon which type of billing is associated with your subscription.
If you have signed up on a monthly subscription basis, you are only eligible for a refund within 48 hours of the date of the transaction. Annual plans, however, have a much longer refund period window of 30 days.
Also, be aware that GoDaddy can take five to seven days for the refund to clear. At any rate, because it offers both a free trial account as well as moneyback guarantees, GoDaddy offers the least risk to new users who want a chance to test the waters before fully committing to a subscription.
Features and Benefits
I did find SiteGround to be a little odd with respect to their WordPress and Web hosting packages. They have decent enough features, but the services seem to be identical with regards to the features (storage space, price, SSL certificates, etc.) offered in each package. Also, each package comes with a sub-package bundle of features which grow more extensive as you move up the tiers.
GoDaddy has a more standard approach to pricing different tiers, and its Web hosting and WordPress hosting services offer different features.
I would like to start off by saying that GoDaddy has superior web hosting packages and that you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck by opting for one of those plans.
However, things get a bit trickier when considering GoDaddy’s vs SiteGround’s WordPress hosting packages.
The following outlines the features and benefits of SiteGround’s Web Hosting and WordPress packages:
- StartUp – one website, 10GB storage, suitable for approximately 10,000 monthly visitors, and all essential features
- GrowBig – multiple websites, 20GB storage, suitable for approximately 25,000 monthly visitors, and all essential and premium features
- GoGeek – multiple websites, 30GB storage, suitable for approximately 100,000 monthly visitors, and all essential, premium, and geeky advanced features
Essential features, which are available in all three packages, include the following:
- Free website builder
- SSL & HTTPS Included
- Complimentary email accounts and Cloudflare CDN
- Unlimited traffic and MySQL
- Free daily backup
- cPanel and SSH
Premium features, which are available in all three packages, include the following:
- Free site transfer
- Priority technical support
- Free backup restores
Geeky Advanced features, which are available in all three packages, include the following:
- PCI compliant servers
- WordPress and Joomla staging
- One-click Git Repository creation
- Free backups on demand
In contrast, GoDaddy has two very different sets of features between its Web and WordPress hosting packages. I also found it interesting that GoDaddy chooses to include a fourth service tier, which appeals more to customers who need the best of the best and doesn’t mind paying for the huge increase in hardware and performance.
Furthermore, GoDaddy clearly offers drastically more storage with its Web hosting packages. With regards to GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting packages, the amount of storage isn’t significantly increased.
More or less, it offers approximately the same amount of storage, though it does have a fourth tier that allows up to 50GB of storage.
Again, I don’t think such a nominal increase in storage is enough to sway a potential subscriber one way or the other.
But if you want to engage in online transactions, I see value in SiteGround’s GoGeek package due to PCI compliance.
Plenty of websites and WordPress plugins for that matter provide for the ability to conduct online transactions. But PCI compliance is a massive benefit.
The following outlines GoDaddy’s Web hosting:
- Basic – 1 website, 100GB storage, unlimited bandwidth, 1-year free business email, and a free domain
- Deluxe – 1 CPU, 512MB RAM, unlimited websites, unlimited storage, unlimited subdomains, a free SSL certificate for one year, free premium DNS, and unlimited databases
- Ultimate – 2 CPUs, 1GB RAM, unlimited websites, unlimited storage, and unlimited
- Maximum – twice the power and memory of the Ultimate plan, twice the maximum site traffic, and a free SSL certificate for the duration of your subscription
The following outlines GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting:
- Basic – 1 website, 10GB storage, sFTP, and suitability for approximately 25,000 monthly visitors
- Deluxe – 1 website, 15GB storage, sFTP and SSH access, suitability for approximately 100,000 monthly visitors, search engine visibility wizard tool, and site staging for testing
- Ultimate – 2 websites, 30GB storage, sFTP and SSH access, suitability for approximately 400,000 monthly visitors, search engine visibility wizard tool, site staging for testing, anti-malware, and a free SSL certificate for the first year
- Developer – 5 websites, 50GB storage, sFTP and SSH access, suitability for approximately 800,000 monthly visitors, free domain with an annual plan, and one-click site staging
If you need Web hosting, I think GoDaddy is the way to go, plain and simple. I see too much value in the unlimited storage, subdomains, and websites permitted by only the second tier package, which is far more valuable than the scant amounts of storage offered by SiteGround (which ranges from 10-30GB).
In my opinion, the largest advantage that SiteGround has over GoDaddy is its backup features. Even the Basic plan comes with free daily backups, so if your site is compromised by a hacking attack, malware, or you need to revert to an earlier point in time, you don’t lose more than a day of your work.
The mid-tier package comes with free backup restores, and the premium-tier package even comes with free backups on demand.
I don’t see this as a crucial feature for a hosting service to provide. Why is that, you ask? Well, there are a million and one free WordPress plugins whose primary function is to backup your site.
There are a multitude of subscription-based backup plugins for WordPress, but the point is you can get this functionality for free. I must admit, it is handy having a backup plan included in your hosting package, but again, I don’t see it as being a necessity.
Furthermore, I think that GoDaddy offers better features with its WordPress hosting packages. The only thing I don’t like about GoDaddy’s WordPress hosting is the hike in price after the first year.
If you foresee running your website for more than a year (I think most people do), realize that opting for SiteGround is going to save you money in the long run.
Having said that, however, overall, I did like GoDaddy’s features more. I think that since GoDaddy is a larger a more mature company, it has more resources, be they hardware or financial, to hone their service and offer customers more features.
Features Winner = GoDaddy
Security, Privacy, and Company Headquarters
For everyone who is concerned with privacy and security, it’s time to discuss where each company chooses to locate their respective headquarters.
Although, for those of you who don’t know why this is a concerning factor, I wanted to take a moment to reveal why many consumers of digital services prefer to use digital services based outside the United States.
I imagine the majority of the public has heard of Edward Snowden and the heinous invasion of privacy known as PRISM, which was the United States NSA’s (National Security Agency) domestic wiretapping program used to spy on domestic communications for the purposes of identifying and preventing acts of terrorism.
The NSA purported that it had the right to spy on communications that were one end domestic and one end foreign.
However, it turns out that the NSA had coerced domestic services and big brands (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Skype, AOL, Apple, Facebook, etc.) into creating backdoors into their digital services, thereby allowing the NSA to spy on communications (emails, phone conversations, phone and computer data, etc.) that were domestic.
Essentially, since Edward Snowden blew the whistle years ago, some people still prefer to avoid firms and services based in the US.
I don’t personally think that hosting companies have been compromised by the NSA, but some people take the viewpoint that it just simply isn’t worth the risk.
To compound problems even further, some people extend their distrust to services based in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the UK due to the FiveEyes intelligence sharing agreement.
If you harbor this level of distrust for digital services based in these countries, be aware that one provider is based in the US, and the other is European.
GoDaddy is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, which may turn some people off to their service, despite its long list of great features and popularity.
On the other hand, SiteGround is based in Bulgaria, which is the only viable option between these services if you refuse to tolerate the risk, however slight, of a domestic US service being compromised in an Orwellian manner.
Security & Privacy Winner = SiteGround
Customer Sevice Comparison Siteground vs GoDaddy
I was reasonably impressed with both SiteGround’s and GoDaddy’s customer service, but I think one has a slight competitive advantage.
In addition to classic customer support via a phone call, both providers offer alternative means to contact a support representative and ancillary content in the form of knowledge base articles and troubleshooting guides. Let’s start by more closely analyzing SiteGround’s support features.
SiteGround offers three main channels of communication with the support department: live chat, phone calls, and a ticketing system.
Naturally, the phone operator is automated, and when I called, it first separates callers into four different triage queues: sales, customer service, billing, and miscellaneous.
Personally, I much prefer live chat because responses are much quicker. Be aware, however, than when you use live chat, you may not be interacting with a real human being.
Many live chat systems are automated with bots, which is fine by me because their AI software has become sophisticated enough to answer trivial details in a short amount of time.
Some live chatbots will perform a handoff to a real human being behind the scenes, so you don’t always know if they’re a real person or not.
Regardless, live chat is my favorite way to get fast answers for simple questions, and it saves a lot of time and painful headaches that would be incurred after waiting and waiting in the phone queue.
You do have the option of opening a ticket as well, which is the best option if you want to get the ball rolling but don’t have time in the immediate present to work with the support department or navigate the phone queue.
I should also point out that SiteGround has a total of four support departments around the world based in the US, Bulgaria, Spain, and the UK.
I love it when companies take the effort and resources to accommodate different languages and regions of the globe instead of having one centralized global support department.
SiteGround also provides free access to a wealth of ancillary material like WordPress, Joomla, Magento, and Drupal tutorials to help website novitiates get started as quickly as possible.
The knowledgebase is expansive and organized, and cleanly organized into the following main topics: hosting, cPanel, Applications, Billing, and miscellaneous. Each category is then further subdivided into its constituent subtopics. For example, the Hosting section of the knowledge base is further divided into topics like domain & DNS, email, FTP, SSL certificates, and more.
Altogether, I think SiteGround has terrific customer support features, but I do think that GoDaddy has a slight edge.
Though GoDaddy doesn’t provide the option to create a ticket on your own, you still have contact methods via phone call or live chat.
While customer support is a 24/7 feature, the sales team, which is tasked with aiding customers with things like answering questions regarding product features and pricing, if only available from 5am-6pm PT.
But here’s where I think GoDaddy’s support department has a slight competitive advantage over SiteGround.
GoDaddy has a specific customer support department for just about every corner of the world. In total, there are 52 different regional support departments to accommodate people who speak diverse languages.
Not only will you most likely to be able to speak to someone in your native tongue, with exception to some smaller countries, you will also be able to speak to someone who keeps the same hours as you.
Naturally, some of the support departments are larger than others. For instance, the United States customer support needs to support more people than a department based in a smaller country, such as Switzerland.
For that reason, it seems that GoDaddy has strategically set the hours of different support departments. All of the mainstream locations offer 24/7 support, but some of the smaller departments keep their own hours, typically from 9am-7pm.
So altogether, I think GoDaddy has superior customer support, but only by a little. SiteGround offers great support as well, I was just a little more impressed regarding how extensive GoDaddy’s support is.
Customer Support Winner = GoDaddy
Conclusion and Editor’s Opinion
To recap, I didn’t like how GoDaddy hikes its price up after the first year of service, and I didn’t like that it’s based in the US either.
I think GoDaddy will suffice for some people, bloggers, etc, however, for price, customer support and website speed, SiteGround is the clear choice for most.
Overall Winner = SiteGround