Cloudways costs about the same as GoDaddy (and it’s faster)

You might have bought your domain name at GoDaddy. That’s not wrong.

You probably overpaid a bit, but it’s not the end of the world. For your next domain, consider my recommended domain registrar which includes WHOIS privacy for free.

But now you’re thinking about web hosting. And you see that GoDaddy offers that too, and you’re wondering if it’s worth it?

You’ve probably already had a bunch of people tell you not to get your hosting from GoDaddy. They’re right. All domain registrars want to upsell you on hosting, but it’s rarely a good idea. They’re good at registering domain names, but not so great at other stuff.

GoDaddy is famous for twisting your arm with upsells. But they’re also offering their shared hosting at approximately the same price you could get cloud hosting for from Cloudways.

Guess which one is faster? (Hint: it’s the cloud hosting.)

Aaaand, Cloudways will give you less headaches.

And they won’t try to nickel-and-dime you every chance they get.

Let’s examine the details.

(Don’t forget to read the section about GoDaddy’s issues with getting hacked.)

First they hook you with an intro deal

Just like all other shared hosting providers, GoDaddy has a clever approach with their intro prices.

Let’s take a look at their basic “Economy” plan. They’re currently offering it at $5.99 per month, but sometimes they offer even lower intro deals.

The “hook”

Seems like an okay price, right?

Well, kinda. If you’re not paying attention, that is. Read on.

Now they reel you in

The first thing I notice is that you have to sign up for 3 years and pay it all in advance, in order to get that intro price. Ouch.

The next thing that jumps out is that the normal price is $10/month. You’ll have to pay almost 400 bucks when it’s time to renew. Super ouch.

And that’s for shared hosting, with a maximum of 1 website on that basic plan.

Let’s say you sign up for their “Deluxe” plan instead, because you don’t want to be limited to only 1 website. That plan starts at $7.99 per month. Not great, but not horrible.

But you gotta pay for 3 years up front in this scenario too. So like almost 300 bucks at the time of sign up.

And when it’s time for renewing, your monthly price jumps to 14 dollars, and you’ll need to fork over $500 in one lump sum. Holy crap that’s a lot.

And this is still for friggin’ shared hosting. That’s like paying Lamborghini prices for a Toyota Tercel.

Consider that Cloudways offers cloud hosting, which is a lot faster, for $11 per month. And there’s no long-term contract, and no sneaky price increases at renewal. Kind of a no-brainer, right?

Here come the upsells you don’t need

In all fairness, GoDaddy includes site backups for free — unlike other hosts which will charge extra for that. (For the record, backups are free at Cloudways too.)

But that’s where my kind words end.

True to form, they start trying to subtly tack on the add-ons that you don’t really need.

Here’s the first one, which GoDaddy just cleverly adds to your cart. It’s a free trial of Microsoft 365 Email Essentials. Do you need it? Everybody’s needs are different, but you probably don’t.

Unnecessary upsell #1

If you’re not paying attention, you might just think “Oh cool, something free!” and continue on your merry way down the signup path.

But look at that crossed out price underneath the $0.00 figure. That’s how much you’re going to pay per year after the free year. (Note that you only get 1 free year of this add-on, despite you paying up front for 3 years of hosting. Hmmmm…)

I did the math for you: it’s gonna cost you an additional $12 per month moving forward for this Email Essentials thing, whatever it is. Easy to overlook! Don’t get stung.

More add-ons, because of course

If you continue forward, then just before you pay your (now huge) bill, you’ll notice a couple more add-ons that seem important:

Dang, these seem important… right??

I mean, “Web Security Standard”, that sounds like something you want… Shouldn’t your website be secure? Maybe you should add this, you wonder.

My problem with this type of thing can best be summed up by asking a simple question: Why do you have to pay extra to have a secure website? Shouldn’t security be included, as a core feature of the product?

They’re preying on your fear of being hacked to sell you something that most people won’t need. It might have some value in particular cases, but you likely can skip this one.

And that “SSL Setup Service” for forty bucks… I mean, it’s easy as hell and it takes 15 minutes, if that. I’ll make a video showing you how to do it for free yourself on Cloudways. Piece of cake.

GoDaddy gets hacked a lot, and it’s weird

You know what’s especially rich about GoDaddy trying to sell you on security packages and SSL?

They’ve gotten hacked a lot. Like a helluva lot. By the same hacker group every time. And GoDaddy doesn’t seem to be able to fix the issue or protect their customers.

GoDaddy got hacked in 2019, but they didn’t find out about it until six months later in 2020. WTF!

Then they got hacked again in 2020. And again in 2021. And again in 2022. Their customers were subjected to all sorts of nasty activity including hijacked websites and compromised login credentials.

Get this: it was the same hacker group every time, and they’ve had access to GoDaddy’s systems for many years. GoDaddy themselves admit it!

“Based on our investigation, we believe these incidents are part of a multi-year campaign by a sophisticated threat actor group that, among other things, installed malware on our systems and obtained pieces of code related to some services within GoDaddy,”

GoDaddy, via SEC filing

There’s a full history of everything that has happened, summarized in this article at Ars Technica if you’re curious. But there’s a strong sentiment among experts that (1) GoDaddy should have known about these breaches faster, and (2) should have notified their users more quickly.

Even if you ignore all the other valid points on this page about the shortcomings of GoDaddy, don’t ignore this section. Repeated, successful, large-scale, and potentially on-going hacks should be an absolute deal-breaker.

For the love of God. Please pick literally any other host, even if it’s not the one I recommend. Just not GoDaddy.

Warnings from GoDaddy customers

In addition to pushing their upsells and add-ons, and getting hacked, GoDaddy just isn’t very good as a web host in general.

Why? Because they’re primarily a domain registrar. That’s what they’re good at, even if they’re over-priced.

They’d love to take your money for hosting too, and a lot of customers buy their hosting, because it seems easy. But they’re not great at it. GoDaddy hosting speeds suck, and their customer service is horrible.

But you don’t have to take my word for it — there are plenty of bitter GoDaddy customers that are happy to share their nightmare stories.

Here’s a sampling that I found in about 5 minutes from the expert Facebook groups and subreddits that I’m a part of:

Negative GoDaddy hosting feedback
Negative GoDaddy hosting feedback
Negative GoDaddy hosting feedback
Negative GoDaddy hosting feedback
Negative GoDaddy hosting feedback
Negative GoDaddy hosting feedback
Negative GoDaddy hosting feedback
Negative GoDaddy hosting feedback
Negative GoDaddy hosting feedback
Negative GoDaddy hosting feedback
Negative GoDaddy hosting feedback
Negative GoDaddy hosting feedback
Negative GoDaddy hosting feedback
Negative GoDaddy hosting feedback
Negative GoDaddy hosting feedback

Then why are so many people using GoDaddy for hosting?

Well, first of all, I would say that not many people are using GoDaddy’s hosting service. Not the smart ones at least.

And you’re not going to find really anyone claiming that GoDaddy is the best host, and neither will they be able to prove it. Their performance numbers simply can’t stack up.

I think the only reason they are moderately successful at hosting is due to:

  1. Being part of a famous domain registrar company
  2. The marketing budget that comes as a result of #1
  3. It’s just so easy for people who are registering domains already

Especially #3 — a lot of folks are just always going to pick the instant/quick option that is presented to them. If you’re new to the internet and registering your first domain name at GoDaddy (instead of the registrar I recommend), then it’s just too easy to also get your hosting from GoDaddy.

Not because it’s fast or good, mind you! It’s not.

Just cause it’s easy.

Cloudways costs the same, and it’s way faster

Look, instead of paying $10 or $14 per month (plus add-ons) to GoDaddy for shared hosting, why not pay $11 per month to Cloudways and get cloud hosting?

It didn’t use to be possible, but it is now, thanks to Cloudways’ model. I encourage you to take advantage of it, like most other people are doing.

Think about it this way. If you had a choice between a Toyota Tercel and a Lamborghini, and they cost the same amount, wouldn’t you pick the latter?

Especially if it’s going to be much, much faster. Because speed kills in a good way when it comes to web hosting. It’s the most important factor when choosing your host.

And choosing Cloudways is not going to make you pull your hair out like GoDaddy will. Trust me (and the experts above) on this one.