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GoDaddy: Still an Enemy of WordPress or a Hosting Service Reborn?

November 25, 2015

Painfully slow load times, poor customer service, ferocious upsells and plugin incompatibilities once plagued GoDaddy’s reputation as a WordPress host. Long associated primarily with negative user sentiment, the tides are slowly turning in favor of a hosting service reborn.

GoDaddy has been doggedly intentional about improving product performance, usability, and customer and product support.

More specifically, they’ve put together a major push to fully integrate WordPress into their product offerings for novices and professionals alike with a series of packages specifically aimed at the platform.

So have their efforts made any substantial impact, or is GoDaddy still an enemy of WordPress? In this article, we’ll cover the often fraught history of GoDaddy’s relationship with WordPress, their new direction, and the products and services now on offer.

GoDaddy and WordPress: Then and Now

Founded in 1997 as Jomax Technologies, Bob Parsons and his team renamed this software company GoDaddy in 1999. Its comical, yet memorable, business name reflected the company’s whimsical approach to advertising.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing with regards to WordPress however. Developers often complained of slow loading times over the years, and inconsistent answers and misappropriated blame from tech support were also frequently highlighted.

One blogger was moved to express himself in strong terms as recently as 2013:

Saying they’re ‘WordPress Friendly’ is like saying your pit bull is friendly while you’re using every ounce of strength you have trying to keep it from attacking me!!

In the past two and a half years, however, new CEO Blake Irving has attempted to dramatically change the company.

Under his leadership, GoDaddy has revamped product offerings, expanded its customer support call center, improved tech support training, and tackled the company’s representation of women. They’ve even begun sponsoring a number of WordCamp events internationally.

Seamless WordPress Account Setup

Managed WordPress hosting from GoDaddy.

Managed WordPress hosting from GoDaddy.

With GoDaddy’s Managed Hosting, the old warning of “You get what you pay for” no longer applies. Although pricing is still among the lowest in the industry (they’re currently running a promotion with basic WordPress hosting starting at $1 per month), the level of value on offer has skyrocketed.

WordPress is no longer simply one of many options at GoDaddy. Instead, they’ve made WordPress a first-class citizen in their product lineup with a set of solutions staff describe as a “tightly managed” product offering. You’ll see the difference immediately upon activating your account.

GoDaddy WordPress Hosting Highlights

The revamped WordPress offering includes a number of slick new features to enjoy. We’ve picked out some of the most notable below.

Sidekick Tutorials

If you’re new to WordPress, you’ll have access to hundreds of SIDEKICK tutorials that demonstrate how to build your website. Their videos are updated constantly and cover topics such as photo editing, page and post creation, theme selection and much more.

WordPress 101

WP101 videos come as standard.

WP101 videos come as standard.

Also updated with each new version, WordPress 101 offers video tutorials formatted for all of your devices. They cover everything from very basic instruction to more advanced concepts like SEO optimization.

Trained Support Staff

Around May 2014, GoDaddy dissolved email and trouble ticket support. It simply wasn’t working. Amongst other problems, there had been too many delays in processing customer requests and they didn’t have the tools to verify customer information if requests were sent from non-account emails.

Now however, technical support staff have been trained to troubleshoot problems exclusively for WordPress users over the phone and through live chat 24-hours a day – a massive improvement in service levels.

Heightened Website Security

According to Jeff King, GoDaddy’s General Manager of Hosting and Security, the company has been taking an increasingly proactive stance against security threats of late. Spam blockers, automatic updates, and nightly site backups with one-click reinstallation are just a few of GoDaddy’s new security features.

Plugin Compatibility

As mentioned earlier, plugin compatibility was a major issue on the GoDaddy hosting of old. They’ve taken their WordPress product improvement commitment a step further with their Hot 100 list of most used themes and plugins (and yes, you bet Total is on there).

Delivered weekly, this list ranks popular WordPress themes and plugins used by GoDaddy WordPress hosting customers. Interestingly, instead of ranking the total number of active installs, GoDaddy evaluates the net change of themes and plugins active at the time of their weekly analysis.

GoDaddy has also compiled a list of plugins known to interfere with the functionality of their managed WordPress hosting accounts. If activated, GoDaddy will remove these blacklisted plugins from your managed account upon detection.

Website Migration

Migration options seem to have also substantially improved. One blogger reported migrating multiple websites without a hitch. During the migration process, you can preview your websites on a separate subdomain. Furthermore, you can expect to experience a surge in your website’s page speed upon completion.

Go Pro with Your Existing Clients

GoDaddy Pro is a boon for developers.

GoDaddy Pro is a boon for developers.

GoDaddy Pro was created with developers, designers, and creative agencies in mind. It combines core components of GoDaddy’s managed WordPress hosting (as well as options for shared, cloud, VPS and dedicated servers) with clever client management tools.

You can use the website migration tool to transition existing clients to this new system, or create a whole new account for new clients. Here are just some of the standout features of this new product.

Account Management

Your clients determine your level of access, but you can conduct testing behind the scenes, check site performance, plugin functionality, code review – the whole ball of wax. You can even start building your client’s site on a temporary domain for them until they settle on a final one.

Streamlined Purchasing

Have you ever made purchases for your clients only to end up in a tangled web of figuring out how to transfer ownership of their products back to them? GoDaddy Pro addresses this issue with client shopping carts. There are two options:

  1. Fill the shopping cart, and then send it to your client for purchase.
  2. Make the purchase on your client’s behalf with the credit card they have on file.

Clients maintain ownership while you work on their account with fewer hiccups. It’s a great option to have and saves an awful lot of hassle down the line.

Dedicated Customer Support

When juggling multiple clients, it’s easy to drop the ball from time to time. GoDaddy helps to prevent that from happening by dedicating a customer support line to their Pro customers. Wait times are shorter, and you still have the option of using live chat.

An additional feature that many freelancers prefer is the option to submit a support ticket. Once an issue is resolved, you’ll receive an update. This frees you up to continue working on your clients’ accounts instead of wasting time troubleshooting technical snags behind the scenes.

Access to a WordPress Evangelist

GoDaddy is keeping their ear to the ground with the wider community through their WordPress evangelist, Mendel Kurland. Mendel travels extensively to glean insights from developers, designers and site owners throughout the world. In addition to establishing relationships within the WordPress community, Kurland relays feedback directly to GoDaddy’s development team to increase the performance and usability of GoDaddy Pro.

Is GoDaddy Good to Go?

Once a potentially painful option for WordPress users to consider as a hosting partner, GoDaddy is now a serious contender with the introduction of managed WordPress hosting. And, right now you can try it out for just a $1 a month (just click on the button to get the promo), so what to you really have to lose?

GoDaddy Managed Web Hosting

They’ve gone to great lengths to shift customer perception and prove their trustworthiness as a hosting company, in addition to adding innovative new features such as GoDaddy Pro for developers.

We’re curious to hear your thoughts. Are these WordPress-specific changes enough for you to consider hosting your next website through GoDaddy? Or are you still on the fence? Get in touch via the comments and let us know.

Article by WordCandy guest author
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  1. Amanda Rush

    In a word, no. These features all sound really nice, but unless they’ve changed their policy on domain ownership when registered through their service, that’s still a deal-breaker. Also, unless they are paying serious attention to the accessibility of their administration panels, I’m not going to jump ship. As it stands right now, WPEngine is not awesome by far at this, but none of the features you’ve mentioned would be enough to make me switch hosts for a possibly more inaccessible experience. I’ve logged in for some of my clients who are hosted on GoDaddy, and the experience in regard to accessibility was worse than that of WPEngine, and it took me way more time than it should have to get simple tasks completed. I am a seasoned screen reader user, having worked for one of the largest adaptive technology venders, and I am a seasoned WordPress user who contributes to its accessibility team and uses WordPress on a daily basis. So if I can’t use GoDaddy’s control panels without a lot of fuss, there is no way several of my clients would be able to do so, since screen readers and WordPress are not their specialties.

    • AJ Clarke

      Hi Amanda,

      Thanks for the input. We actually use a premium WPEngine account and we love them, never ever had an issue. So I wouldn’t blame you, if you already have WPEngine I wouldn’t ever recommend switching to Godaddy. I do think their new improved managed WordPress hosting admin is pretty good especially compared to it’s initial release (do you remember version 1?). That said, I don’t have much experience with web accessibility so I can not speak in those regards.

      Hey what do you mean about their domain policy?

  2. vij

    I am godaddy client for long time. There is no development as you said. This seems just an article by affiliate .

    • AJ Clarke

      This post is specifically talking about the managed WordPress hosting plans on Godaddy which we have owned a test account for since the very beginning. Are you actually using the managed WordPress hosting?

  3. snogards

    Thank you for writing an article on GoDaddy’s rebirth.

    I’ve used GoDaddy Pro Managed WordPress for several clients and its performance and features have been just as good as other managed WordPress hosts. Combine this with the no-wait phone support and the crazy low price – I doubt I will go to any other host for some time to come.

  4. John Hughes

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for reading! 🙂

    I’m glad you’ve had such a pleasant experience with GoDaddy. Thanks for sharing that with us!



  5. nick6352683

    Godaddy is the worst Hosting Company ever ! They are stupid,unprofessional, and their support is horrible. Just today,without any authorization from me, and without any warning they moved one of my Windows server to their “latest” servers, where MS Access is no longer supported. For a year now, during their unsolicited sales phone calls, I have explained to them that I need Access database as I have some clients of mine that run Classic ASP for their businesses. So,without warning or anything, they rendered all the scripts useless.

    2 years ago, I had a Windows based VPS, and was paying extra for them to do automated backups. They told me the hard disk had died and all the backups were on the crushed hard disk. Who does this?

    Since I’m pretty much done with ASP, I’m moving to Digital Ocean and sticking to WordPress, which are 100’s of times better than the Godaddy losers. Through the years, I found out that a janitor can give better technical support than the useless idiots they have answering their phones.

    I just can’t wait for their next unsolicited phone call, they are going to hear the longest tirade you can imagine…

    $%@# Godaddy !!!

    • John Hughes

      Hi Nick,

      Wow… I’d be pretty upset too if that happened to me. :/
      I hope Digital Ocean works better for you. Good luck!



  6. nick6352683

    Thanks John,

    I was really upset with them that day, but I’m calmer now. Godaddy is not as bad as I sounded that day, but they should have notified me of the changes – I’m still dealing with angry customers, who do not believe Godaddy did something unprofessional like that.

    And you are correct, Godaddy is much better in terms of speed from just a few years ago. I have no experience with their managed WordPress hosting, or even VPS. But, with a good cache plugin, at least with low traffic sites, their shared hosting is adequate for a WordPress installation. Their support and sympathy towards their paying customers are completely different issues though.

    In terms of servers, and price, Digital Ocean seems perfect, at least for now, so I’m using both, depending on my customer needs and budgets.

    Thanks for a great post!

  7. John Hughes

    There’s no “one size fits all” solution, and everyone is entitled to an opinion. What matters is that you found a solution that suits you.

    Thank you for reading!

  8. boe dillard

    So do they support w3 and other caching plugins now?

  9. Nancy kramer

    Have a customer moving to Godaddy. It is a nightmare. His site does not display correctly on their server which has newer versions of PHP and WordPress than mine. He thinks I should update everything on my server so he can solve his Godaddy migration problem. He talks of long hold times for tech support and how they migrated his site for him but he does not know exactly what they did, Bottom line it does not work properly. This has been going on for over a week. He set his DNS back to the old server where it works properly. STAY AWAY!

  10. Always Waiting

    Site cannot be reached. Site is unavailable. Constant outages on the WP staging site, with abysmal speed. Live server is barely better.

    My latest client signed up with these clowns before consulting me.

    GoDady sucked 5 years ago and they still do. Do yourself a favor and stay away. How can anyone find this acceptable in 2020?

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