Hostgator vs GoDaddy: Paid SSL Dooms GoDaddy

The single biggest difference between Hostgator and GoDaddy, is that GoDaddy doesn’t have free SSL. Ever since 2018, everyone except GoDaddy offers free SSL. This single flaw renders GoDaddy impossible to use because of how expensive paid SSL is. Apart from that, GoDaddy is more expensive, while at the same time offering fewer features than Hostgator.

Summary: Hostgator is Better

Here’s a quick chart showing how Hostgator and GoDaddy compare to each other:

Backups✓ (Barely)
Malware Scanning✓ (Barely)
Data Centers
Hostgator vs GoDaddy Comparison Summary

As you can see, Hostgator beats GoDaddy at almost everything except for fewer data centers. Scroll down below for more details on each of these aspects.

Best Alternative: NameHero

NameHero is the best alternative to both Hostgator and GoDaddy. They’re a smaller web host, but you also get free backups, free SSL, free malware scanning, and the super fast LiteSpeed web server. There’s simply no comparison in terms of value. Plus, I really like their personalized customer service.

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Hostgator vs GoDaddy Pricing

Unfortunately, the glaring issue of no free SSL continues to dominate any discussion of GoDaddy and Hostgator’s pricing differences. Hostgator has free Let’s Encrypt certificates, whereas GoDaddy charges $79/year. That’s more than the cost of hosting itself!

Apart from SSL hosting, here are the price comparisons for Hostgator and GoDaddy:

Hostgator Pricing$2.64/m$3.38/m$5.08/m
GoDaddy Pricing$5.99/m$7.99/m$12.99/m
Hostgator vs GoDaddy Pricing

As you can see, Hostgator is more cost-effective than GoDaddy even before taking into consideration SSL as seen below:

GoDaddy: ★★☆☆☆2 stars
Hostgator: ★★★★☆ 4 stars

Winner: Hostgator

GoDaddy SSL Price Gouging

In today’s world, no-one should have to pay for SSL. Even though GoDaddy has a pretty sweet $1/m hosting coupon, it’s completely undercut by the fact that you have to pay a whopping $79/year for HTTPS security! Here’s a screenshot of GoDaddy’s prices:

Price of Basic SSL with GoDaddy
Price of Basic SSL with GoDaddy

In fact, you can see that they don’t offer free SSL until you purchase the expensive “Ultimate” plan, and that too only for one year!:

GoDaddy Free SSL Only for One Year on the Ultimate Plan
GoDaddy Free SSL Only for One Year on the Ultimate Plan

So this means you’ll be paying at least $5/m extra for a GoDaddy SSL, and $6/m for every year after that. So why bother when you can get an SSL on Hostgator for free! For this one reason alone, GoDaddy is inferior to Hostgator. No question about it. It’s a shame, because there are some pretty attractive GoDaddy promo codes. But without free SSL, they’re meaningless.

Why Doesn’t GoDaddy Offer SSL?

Starting in 2018, web hosting companies began offering free SSL en masse after Google announced that it would be a ranking factor (no matter how small). So it’s puzzling why GoDaddy hasn’t bothered to follow suit. I have a few theories.

First, they may be betting on not enough customers knowing what SSL is, and why it’s important. GoDaddy still commands a sizeable market share in web hosting for whatever reason, so there might be merit to this line of thinking. However, it’s little more than a scam, and price gouging at this point. Relying on the ignorance of customers to prop up your business model.

Second, they don’t really care about their web hosting business which they probably run at cost, or at a loss, and the SSL is just so good a revenue generator, that they can’t afford to give it up. This is a compelling theory because GoDaddy has an extremely weak affiliate program, which means they don’t particularly care too much about growing their web hosting base. Unlike Liquid Web however, they have chosen to retain their basic web hosting packages, so they’re clearly not aiming for the premium market. At this point, they might be just trying to ride out the cash cow for as long as it lasts.

GoDaddy and Hostgator Compete on Price Alone

If you’re deciding between these two hosts, it’s a fair bet to say that price matters to you a lot. Both Hostgator and GoDaddy have basic HDD drives instead of SSD. However, Hostgator stores it databases on SSD drives, which makes up for a lot of the speed. In addition, GoDaddy has lower storage limits compared to Hostgator – the latter being essentially unlimited.

So if these two compete on price, then GoDaddy’s lack of free SSL is a death blow to its hosting plans. It’s honestly shocking to me to that they don’t offer such a basic feature that’s been a staple of the web hosting industry for years at this point.

The Best Hostgator Coupon

Here’s the complete Hostgator coupon code 2021 list, and this is the best coupon for 3 years:

Hostgator has another coupon for 12-months:

Both of these plans have free SSL, and a free domain name. So you don’t need to worry about hidden costs.

Winner: Hostgator

Hostgator Beats GoDaddy with Unlimited Storage

The basic version of GoDaddy offers 100 GB of storage. Now to be fair, that’s quite a lot. It’s hard for me to image any basic site requiring more than that. Hostgator on the other hand, offers unlimited storage right off the bat. Normally, I would explain this away by saying that GoDaddy offers SSD drives – but it doesn’t! GoDaddy uses the same HDD drives as Hostgator, and they still don’t offer unlimited storage. Also, we should keep in mind that Hostgator uses SSDs for its MySQL databases.

So even though you’ll likely have more than enough storage on GoDaddy, Hostgator has it beat.

Winner: Hostgator

Backups: Both are Bad. But GoDaddy is Worse

Neither Hostgator, nor GoDaddy have good backup solutions for free. In fact, I’ve publicly complained about Hostgator’s pathetic backup options out of the box. However, at least they make a half-promise to backup your website every week, and you can restore it after opening a customer service request. GoDaddy doesn’t even offer that. They make absolutely no promises to backup your site and if your site crashes, you’re out of luck.

Both Hostgator and GoDaddy try and push their own backup solutions. And both are bad. Hostgator has CodeGuard, and GoDaddy has their own software called “Website Backup”. However, I suggest you use none of these, and instead choose a solution like DropMySite instead.

Winner: Close tie. But Hostgator wins (barely)

Malware Scanning: Neither Has a Free Solution

Like backups, malware scanning is a paid add-on for both Hostgator and GoDaddy. For Hostgator, it’s SiteLock, and for GoDaddy, it’s called “Website Security” that will set you back $8 per month. That’s hugely expensive! Like everything else GoDaddy does, only their hosting is cheap. All their add-ons will bleed you dry.

SiteLock for Hostgator isn’t ideal. But at least the prices are cheap. Choosing the GoDaddy paid solution costs more than the website hosting – again!

Winner: Hostgator

Data Center Locations: GoDaddy is Better

Finally something that GoDaddy does better! It has 9 datacenters, out of which 7 are in the United States, 1 is in Europe (Amsterdam), and one in Singapore. Hostgator has just US datacenters, so it comes out on top.

However, if you want to host internationally, I suggest two options:

  1. NameHero for Europe hosting
  2. HostArmada for Asia and India hosting

But between the two, GoDaddy comes out on top.

Winner: Godaddy

Whatever the Reason, Hostgator Comes Out on Top

Hostgator on the other hand, shows no intention of easing up on the gas of its web hosting engine. They’re extremely active in the community, and keep having regular sales, in addition to maintaining a strong affiliate program, showing that they’re serious about their product.

Unlike GoDaddy, which aims to expand its offering into value-added services, Hostgator’s entire business model revolves around cheap and solid web hosting. So if you’re making a choice between the two, Hostgator is a no-brainer. They dedicate more resources and time to their customers and don’t try and milk them with cheap tricks like making them pay for SSL.

About Bhagwad Park

I've been writing about web hosting and WordPress tutorials since 2008. I also create tutorials on Linux server administration, and have a ton of experience with web hosting products. Contact me via e-mail!

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