GoDaddy Website Builder
& Web Hosting Services -
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

In this article, I break down GoDaddy’s two major website services – GoDaddy Website Builder and their general hosting services.

Before you spend time reading this, if you are an e-commerce business or need an online shop, GoDaddy is not for you. I am not going to cover GoDaddy e-commerce options, except to say they are not an area GoDaddy has put a lot of effort into, the platform is clunky and in my opinion is an option for a web store. If you are looking for e-commerce, this article is not for you!

That said, let’s begin with a look at the first of the two services, the GoDaddy Website Builder.

When you choose the do-it-yourself option of the GoDaddy Website Builder, you are building with what is essentially a very advanced template editor. You have a choice of pre-built templates and many pre-defined sections (About Us, Services, Contact Us). Throughout the process you add content, photos and other information using a simple sidebar menu. If you are not tech-savvy, it is incredibly simple to do and once all your content is added, you can preview the site and publish instantly.

From an ease of use standpoint, the builder is a great choice. It is inexpensive, includes hosting and the SSL certificate, and unlike other site builder platforms, there are not a ton of costly add-ons. Most builder platforms have a low entry rate, but hit you with charges for needed or important features. As a worst-case example, one pet-based platform (unbelievably) has crawling permissions turned off, so the site you just paid a small fortune for cannot be found by any search engine. When you learn you are an internet ghost and contact the company, you discover the fee for that 'option'. It is one thing to charge for optimization, but to charge for letting a site get crawled is dirty. End of rant.

Back to GoDaddy. There are a lot of limitations on font, styling, and page customization, and for the most part those are in place to keep you within best practices for the web. Many fonts are not ‘web-friendly’ and if a visitor's browser does not have a font used on your site, the text will default to a web font and could hurt the user experience and layout. GoDaddy is limiting you to web friendly fonts, and limiting customizations that could make the site hard to navigate or hard to see on various browsers. The downside is a lot of websites are easily identifiable as ‘generic’ GoDaddy sites, so use unique images and branding assets that set your site apart from others. You can certainly make a nice looking site, but you do have to stay within the limits of the builder.

A very positive feature of GoDaddy Website Builder is the mobile responsiveness of the site you create. Google now indexes mobile first, then desktop, so your mobile site needs to look and function properly. This is done automatically with Website Builder.

Website security is another positive with Website Builder. The packages include the required SSL certificate, and the nature of the software used for the builder is not prone to hacks, at least not on a large scale.

A drawback is search engine optimization. The tools are limited, and the SEO wizard just basic keyword generation. You will have to install code for Google Webmaster Tools and research your keywords, meta-tags and meta-descriptions. Adding code and other records is not easily done with GoDaddy websites, and in some cases, you cannot add the code at all. You also have no access to any website files, which means that you cannot take your site and move it to any other host. The site builder software is proprietary and specific to GoDaddy only, and no one else can host it.

Depending on your business size and type, GoDaddy can be a great option. If you are a service business and simply want to share information, allow for visitors to contact you and showcase features and benefits, the tools are there. For me, the lack of search engine friendliness is a dealbreaker. The most attractive website in the world is only a costly digital brochure if no one can find it.

In addition to the Website Builder option, GoDaddy also offers general hosting packages. Most small and mid-sized businesses, along with a lot of large ones, have third-party hosting. Managing a server is complicated, and like all hosting providers, GoDaddy does (almost) all of that for you.

That said, GoDaddy is the LAST place you should host a website not created with the Website Builder system.

What makes GoDaddy hosting a poor choice are the multiple package options and their drastic limitations, and the costs you are hit with when you outgrow one. WordPress is a good example. At its core, WordPress is an open source CMS website platform using a coding language called PHP, which allows you to create almost unlimited designs and functions without knowing code. Plus, it is very search engine friendly.

Let's say you hire a designer to create a WordPress site, and you decide to host with GoDaddy. On the surface, base fees are reasonable, but it's extra for an SSL certificate, which is an annual cost. There are several more nickel and dime add-ons, most of which are free from other hosting providers. Smaller packages have no Control Panel access, where a developer or designer manages things like DNS records, which are added to websites for various reasons, a common one being third-party email services like Outlook or Gmail, plus a mass of other functions.

All the packages have degrees of limitations, and GoDaddy has some underhanded ways of forcing you into an upgrade -

1. They limit bandwidth on cheaper packages. Bandwidth is used when your site is visited and as you get more web traffic, it goes fast. When you hit the limit, you will have to upgrade.

2. They cap the software versions needed to run your site. WordPress is constantly updated with new features or bug fixes and currently at version 5.6. PHP is updated regularly and at version 7.4. If PHP is outdated, WordPress cannot update, and will stop functioning. Cheaper GoDaddy packages stop updating PHP at certain versions. When WordPress tries to update, it can’t. GoDaddy SUPPORT techs are trained to sell you the next package AND charge you $99 to migrate the site that is already on a GoDaddy server to another GoDaddy server. Most hosts would never charge for updates that do not cost anything anyway, and $99 to migrate a site is about 99% profit.

I could go into the extra costs for security and other basics, but as I have already gone off on some tangents, I will simply summarize by saying that you should never use GoDaddy hosting. Never.

A last note on both GoDaddy options pertains to email -

Did you know that with most hosts, you can have as many email addresses as you want with your website domain (like yourname@yourwebsite.com) and it costs nothing? Literally, nothing. GoDaddy has a partnership with Microsoft and to use business email you pay for a subscription to Microsoft 365. This is the case with both Website Builder and web hosting. If you want business email through GoDaddy, you are going to pay for it.

Again, Website Builder and traditional hosting are two separate options. Website Builder has pros and cons, while GoDaddy hosting has no pros whatsoever.