Hostgator vs GoDaddy: Paid SSL Dooms GoDaddy

The single biggest difference between Hostgator and GoDaddy, is that GoDaddy doesn’t have free SSL. I’d written about this issue in an earlier post way back in 2018, about how everyone except GoDaddy offers free SSL. I’m sorry to report that nothing has changed since then.

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.

The Best Hostgator Coupons

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.

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.

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.

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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