The search for the best GoDaddy alternatives is nearly as common as the decision to choose GoDaddy as your web hosting provider or domain registrar in the first place. The well-known company makes starting an online presence extraordinarily easy and affordable for beginners, but it’s only natural to want to look for greener pastures.
Despite its global popularity, GoDaddy comes under fire for high renewal prices and less-than-stellar customer support. As you learn more about the technology and support behind your website, you can gain a better sense of what works and what doesn’t for your online venture.
As hosting enthusiasts who have housed hundreds of personal projects with dozens of hosts, we’ve put together a list of the best GoDaddy replacement options for web hosting, domain registration, email accounts, and other specialized platforms like WordPress and website builders.
Best Overall Alternatives to GoDaddy
One of the earliest hosting companies to enter the market, GoDaddy originally formed in 1997 as Jomax Technologies and began selling hosting and website builder services a year later. During the two-plus decades that followed, GoDaddy has grown to service roughly 20 million customers worldwide in 56 localized markets.
GoDaddy found lots of success behind cheap domains and bold marketing strategies that made the brand a one-stop shop for convenient web hosting that beginners could both understand and afford. But those looking for cheap domain registrations, a drag-and-drop website builder, one-click WordPress installations, and ecommerce functionality on stable and speedy hardware have hundreds of other options.
Over the years, GoDaddy’s competitors have caught up to — and, in many cases, even surpassed — the giant in terms of features, usability, support, and price. For instance, these three hosts emphasize affordability while offering more hosting tools and more responsive assistance should you run into any problems.
- Unlimited everything, from bandwidth to databases
- FREE site builder & WordPress performance upgrades
- FREE daily or weekly backups
- 90+ auto-installation scripts and custom control panel
- SSH access & SSL certificates
- Get started on Hostinger now.
- Known for performance at a low price
- Endorsed by WordPress.org team
- FREE Weebly site builder
- FREE Cloudflare CDN
- Get 63% off today (was $7.99/month)
- Get started on Bluehost now.
- $0.01 for the first month, then $5 monthly after
- NO annual contracts and NO sudden price increases
- Unlimited storage space, data transfers, and email
- New domain is $11 with 1-month plan ($1.99 otherwise)
- 99.9% uptime and price-lock guarantee
- Get started on InterServer now.
Best “Domain Registration & Hosting” Alternatives to GoDaddy
With more than 67 million domain names under management, GoDaddy is unequivocally a major force in the domain industry. The ICANN-accredited registrar began selling domains in 2001 and became the world’s largest domain registrar just four years later — a title the company still holds today.
Despite its domain hosting prowess, GoDaddy gets a lot of flack for its high-priced domain renewals. The supposed sales prices of domain names are in line with the rest of the industry, but the base price is easily $6 or so more expensive. New customers will get the standard free registration when they sign up for at least a year of web hosting, but continuing to extend your domain ownership will get increasingly expensive — customers have seen increases of 20% each year.
Thankfully, alternatives to GoDaddy are much more affordable and come with many fewer hassles. Our favorite domain registrars, listed below, offer a free domain with hosting and feature more reasonable renewals.
- FREE domain registration and transfer
- Unlimited disk space, domains, and MySQL databases
- $200 toward Google AdWords and Bing advertising
- Unlimited bandwidth and email addresses
- FREE online store and website builder
- Get started on iPage now.
- FREE domain name registration and site-building tools
- Get up to unlimited domains, emails, and bandwidth
- Up to $200 in offers with Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
- 1-click WordPress install and WordPress’s endorsement
- 24/7 customer support and online tutorials
- Get started on Bluehost now.
- FREE domain name and seamless site transfer
- Includes 1-click installer with over 310 apps
- FREE SSDs for shared business hosting plans
- Easy installs for WordPress, Joomla, and PrestaShop
- FREE data backups and complimentary SSL certificate
- Get started on InMotion Hosting now.
Best “Email Hosting” Alternatives to GoDaddy
In addition to helping customers put all those domain names to good use, GoDaddy is also a popular option for hosting custom email accounts. The company’s professional email hosting plans are a bit more expensive per inbox than most competitors, but there’s another feature that sometimes snares unsuspecting site owners.
GoDaddy is one of the few, if only, hosts to give customers one free year of a Microsoft Office 365 email inbox. The perk unlocks a ton of useful productivity tools, but it automatically renews at prices that are roughly triple what hosting plans typically cost elsewhere.
We prefer email hosting with providers that offer free unlimited accounts — instead of per-inbox pricing — along with multiple included webmail programs, marketing tools, and no storage restrictions. That’s why we think these three hosts are better bets as long-term email hosting partners:
- FREE software for webmail, newsletters, contact forms, list management, and spam filtering
- Unlimited addresses with forwarding & autoresponders
- Secure POP3, IMAP, and SMTP messaging
- Unlimited storage and transfer with FREE SSL
- Get more than 50% off today (was $7.99/month)
- Get started on A2 Hosting now.
- FREE domain and unlimited emails
- Secure email with 3 webmail solutions
- $200 in advertising credits with Google and Bing
- Google app integration available
- FREE Office 365 mailbox for your first 30 days
- Get started on Bluehost now.
- FREE site transfers and 1-year domain registration
- Unlimited domains, disk space, and email addresses
- Email forwarding, autoresponders, and webmail
- Market your site with $200 in ad credits and SEO tools
- FREE online store and site-building tools
- Get started on iPage now.
Is GoDaddy the Best?
Just like the proverb, web hosting beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. For millions of customers, GoDaddy is the best web host and domain name registrar on the planet. For millions of others, however, the company is far, far from perfect — or even adequate.
Years ago, the company was known for high-tech hardware, edgy advertising, and all-encompassing web hosting solutions. But, while the company concentrated on expanding its global footprint, scores of competitors have caught up to and surpassed GoDaddy’s technology offerings and offer their services at much more affordable rates.
Meanwhile, bad publicity and a handful of controversies have further tainted the GoDaddy brand and turned customers away. From 2006 to 2011, GoDaddy offended and lost thousands of animal rights activists, feminists, and online privacy advocates, leading to the resignation of company Founder and then-CEO Bob Parsons.
To be fair, GoDaddy has made a definite turnaround in the years since. The company changed leaders, revamped its infrastructure, and has added several powerful hosting services. The company has refocused its marketing and technology platforms around the small business owners that make up a large share of its customers and is starting to regain traction and momentum, recapturing the positive energy that originally made it so popular.
Who Are GoDaddy’s Competitors?
By multiple measurements, and by a rather clear margin, GoDaddy is the largest web hosting company in the world. As such, GoDaddy competes with a who’s who of companies in the hosting industry. Given GoDaddy’s wide range of services, from ultra-simple website building and design to premium managed WordPress hosting, VPS, and dedicated servers, the company competes with the full spectrum of providers.
While the crowded shared hosting market space tends to garner most of the attention and competition for GoDaddy, overall hosting market share hinges with how the company competes with top-tier cloud services and managed hosting experts. Some rivals specialize in a particular service, like the hosted site builder platforms Squarespace and Wix, or cloud service providers Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. Other mainstream, full-service hosting providers that compete with GoDaddy include:
As you can tell, the list of GoDaddy’s closest rivals changes depending on the niche you’re looking at. Namecheap and Network Solutions are longtime GoDaddy competitors in the domain registration business, while Bluehost and HostGator are the other well-known brands fighting for shared hosting customers and WordPress site owners.
Is GoDaddy Free?
Although many of GoDaddy’s prices are a bit higher than those of competitors, given what the company offers, you can still find a few deals and free perks. For starters, we’ve been able to secure a special deal for HostingAdvice readers that charges them just $1.00 per month for the first year of web hosting.
Customers can enjoy unlimited storage and bandwidth with hosting, along with a free year of domain registration and Office 365 email. Depending on the web hosting plan you choose, site owners also have access to a free SSL certificate, premium DNS, and unlimited databases. (To be fair, though, many of these features are available at no cost on many competitors’ standard hosting plans, rather than being reserved for the first year of GoDaddy’s higher-end packages.)
A free perk more worth exploring, however, is the one-month free trial of the GoDaddy website builder. Aspiring site owners don’t even need to supply any credit card information to play with the drag-and-drop design platform or online store creator.
Did GoDaddy Prices Go Up?
Although GoDaddy says it has not increased the prices of its regular hosting plans, customers are often shocked by the high cost of renewals. The company’s introductory and promotional prices are no doubt attractive, but the long-term cost can be 10 times more expensive — to say nothing of the additional costs after the first year of free add-on services expires.
For instance, let’s take a look at that $1.00-per-month hosting plan. That free domain name registration will renew at $17.99 per year. The free Office 365 email inbox will cost just shy of $10 per month. Any security protections you added will be more expensive the second year, and the free SSL certificate and premium DNS will add more than $100 per year to your hosting bill.
To be fair, this bait-and-switch model is completely standard across the web hosting industry. But GoDaddy’s high base price and packed-in features make the second-year rate jump a lot more jarring and expensive.
Is GoDaddy Reliable?
As with seemingly every other host on the planet, GoDaddy promises its servers will be operational at least 99.9% of the time. Should the company miss the mark, GoDaddy’s uptime guarantee says customers are eligible to receive an account credit of 5% of their monthly hosting fee.
Following GoDaddy’s dark days in the late 2000s, company leadership focused on returning GoDaddy’s performance and reliability to the levels customers expected. According to Senior Vice President of Hosting Jeff King, GoDaddy’s customer base had grown much faster than the company’s ability to scale its infrastructure, leading to inconsistent page load times and clunky backend systems.
Over several months, the team closely monitored services and collected performance data to identify and fix problems; among the discoveries the company made was imbalanced storage usage that sometimes required more capacity. GoDaddy also commissioned performance analyst firm Cloud Spectator to provide neutral, third-party comparisons of hosting providers’ performance.
Since the extra effort, GoDaddy now has strong page load times and reliability, frequently ranking among the top hosts in a variety of categories. For all the gripes about support and pricing, the company performs admirably well from a speed and reliability perspective.
Other GoDaddy Options for WordPress and Website Builders
We’ve highlighted a range of the best GoDaddy competitors when it comes to generic web hosting, domain registration, and email accounts, but the list is by no means comprehensive. For all the other types of hosting you may be interested in, here are more considerations as we close out our article.
- For WordPress: GoDaddy has a decent WordPress offering, but any serious user of the world’s most popular content management system will likely prefer a more optimized platform. We prefer InMotion Hosting, our top-ranked host for its high-performance SSDs and specialized BoldGrid site builder.
- For website builders: GoDaddy’s site builder free trial is by no means a rarity in the space. Many reviewers find the company’s solution too limited, so give a well-known and fully featured platform like Wix a try instead.
- For VPS and the cloud: With GoDaddy’s business focused so closely around helping small businesses scale, you’d think the company’s VPS offerings would be more helpful. The company doesn’t even offer cloud servers anymore. We suggest Hostwinds for its supreme scalability, performance, and support.
- For dedicated servers: For those making the hefty investment into a dedicated server, you won’t want to settle for anything but the best. For that, we recommend bypassing GoDaddy in favor of Liquid Web, with its premium infrastructure, white-glove managed services, and incredibly helpful support teams.
As you can tell, tons of options abound when looking for alternatives to GoDaddy. If GoDaddy is the prototypical first hosting provider for site owners, who will be your second?