Dreamhost vs GoDaddy: Which is Better?
Both DreamHost and GoDaddy are solid hosts that have been around since the dot-com boom.
But old is good, because it means they've been around awhile, and will probably still be here in 10 years.
GoDaddy was once known for SuperBowl commercials and being everywhere, now they've more shifted into being an overall small business solution. DreamHost, well, they've kind just always been there. And their name sounds…dreamy.
Well let's sort out which one you should actually go with based on your needs.
DreamHost vs GoDaddy Pricing
Price is very important if you're starting out.
But here's a secret – it shouldn't be your only deciding feature.
Using web hosting services can get pretty pricey depending on the features you want, so it’s crucial that you know how much it’s going to be before you get started. In that regard, both of these sites are set up differently, so if you like options, then GoDaddy has several ways to get your site up and running, while DreamHost has a single shared hosting plan. Here is how they stack up.
- Economy Plan: $1 per month to start, $7.99 afterward
- Deluxe: $5.99 a month to start, then $10.99 after
- Ultimate: $9.99 a month, then moves to $16.99
- View GoDaddy pricing and activate coupon here
- Shared Hosting Plan: $10.95 per month
- One Year Subscription: $9.95 per month (billed in one shot)
- Three-Year Subscription: $7.95 per month (billed at once)
- View DreamHost pricing and see special offers
As you can see, GoDaddy has some pretty competitive pricing, but as we will see later on, the value rests squarely on DreamHost regarding what you get for your money. As it stands, however, the initial prices look much sweeter from GoDaddy.
The Winner: GoDaddy
Money Back Guarantee
One way to determine how well a hosting site believes in its own hype is whether or not they offer a guarantee that you will enjoy their services.
After all, setting up a website and making sure that you get all of the tools you need takes time, so you won’t know how well a host will work for you until at least a couple of weeks of playing around with all of the tools.
So, in that regard, DreamHost comes with a tremendous 97-day money back guarantee, while GoDaddy has a somewhat more standard 30-day option. In both cases, this refund applies to basic services bought within that time frame, not anything extra that you may have purchased as well.
The Winner: Dreamhost
As we briefly mentioned, while price can be a limiting factor for some people, value is what you should be paying attention to the most, as a low introductory offer does not mean that you get a lot of what you need to get started. One such value factor is customer service, as you will inevitably need to call upon someone to help you fix a problem somewhere down the line, and it will matter how easy it is to contact support as well as how well they can help you. So, with that in mind, let’s break down the most common methods of utilizing these services.
Although most people prefer to communicate through text these days, calling a technician is still one of the best ways to make sure that you’re getting the answers you need to figure out what’s wrong with your system. In this case, GoDaddy has a phone line that you can call 24/7, which is a huge benefit since you might be working on your website at all hours of the night. Dreamhost also has a support line, but you have to pay extra for it, which seems unfair when you really think about it. The fee is relatively small, but that also means that you can’t include this in the overall value of your monthly subscription cost either.
The Winner: GoDaddy
If waiting on the phone to talk to a person seems like it will be a waste of time or you don’t want to do that to yourself, the next best option is to start a live chat. This way, you're still on hand with a technician so you can still get your problem fixed in real time without any awkward pauses in the conversation. Both sites offer this service, but again Dreamhost charges extra (it’s included in the same fee) whereas GoDaddy has it included. One thing to note, however, is that the service can sometimes be disabled on GoDaddy’s page, so don’t expect it to work all of the time.
The Winner: Technically GoDaddy is the better option because it’s free, but if you don’t mind paying extra, then Dreamhost has better reliability.
Both of these sites have an email system where you open up a ticket and wait for a response. For the most part, both of them also get back to you promptly, regardless of the time of day or night. In the end, each site is similar concerning email support.
The Winner: a tie
For those of you who like to research and solve problems yourself, looking at online discussion boards and forums can be the quickest and easiest way to do that without needing to rely on a technician for assistance. Both hosts have extensive information online that can help you figure out the best way to solve your issue without having to contact support directly. Each host also makes it super easy to access this information.
The Winner: a tie
When it comes to determining the best value for your money, you can debate the list of features that you get (which we will do shortly), but in the end, your page loading speed and uptime are far more important. It won’t matter how good your site looks if it takes forever to load for your customers. Overall, people don’t want to wait for content, meaning that if your page speed is lagging, they will bounce faster than a rabbit at a trampoline factory. Here’s how both sites performed. To get an accurate measurement, we used the site hostbenchmarker.com.
- Average Speed:13 seconds
- Best Speed:31 seconds
- Worst Speed: 97 seconds
- Average Speed: 10 seconds
- Best Speed:24 seconds
- Worst Speed: 73 seconds
As you can see, DreamHost has the better numbers overall, although its quickest load time was still miles behind GoDaddy. However, we can’t base our assessment on the top measurement, as we need to look at overall reliability. In this case, Dreamhost seems to be the better option.
The Winner: DreamHost
Along with loading times, you also have to make sure that your page will stay up all of the time without crashing for any reason. This is also known as uptime, and many web hosts will offer a guarantee to ensure that you don’t experience any delays or shutdowns of your page on a regular basis. In fact, 99% uptime is fairly standard in the industry as no one wants to lose their audience because of a network glitch. Thus, we again compared these two hosts to see what kind of results they offer. In this case, Dreamhost provides a 100% uptime guarantee, while GoDaddy doesn’t offer anything.
- Average Uptime:96%
- Best Uptime: 100%
- Worst Uptime:72%
- Average Uptime:98%
- Best Uptime: 100%
- Worst Uptime:93%
As you can see, the differences are negligible, so don’t think that there is much of a noticeable change between the two. That being said, looking at the numbers alone it seems that Dreamhost as the better averages overall, which is why they have a guarantee and GoDaddy doesn’t.
The Winner: Dreamhost
Now let’s get into the nitty gritty of these different hosts.
We’ve seen what they can offer as far as support and reliability, but now is the time to compare them with regards to what features and benefits you receive with your monthly subscription. In this case, we will be comparing shared hosting only, since that is the most common option that people choose. However, do be aware that both companies also offer VPS networks, Dedicated Servers, and Cloud Servers as well.
GoDaddy Shared Hosting
- Economy Plan: one website, 100GB storage, unmetered bandwidth, free domain
- Deluxe Plan: unlimited websites, unmetered storage, unmetered bandwidth, free domain
- Ultimate Plan: unlimited websites, unmetered storage, unmetered bandwidth, free domain, premium DNS, one year of SSL certification
You’ll notice the use of the word unmetered instead of unlimited. This term refers to the fact that the site doesn’t track your usage, meaning that it’s technically unlimited because they don’t know how much you’re using and thus won’t be able to control your usage over time. Unlimited plans usually know what you’re utilizing on a regular basis and can throttle you if you’re going too high too frequently.
Dreamhost Shared Hosting
- Happy Hosting Plan: unlimited disk space, unlimited websites, unlimited email accounts, free domain for the first year
The Winner: Dreamhost, as you get unlimited everything with the same plan. This means that you don’t have to upgrade when your site gets bigger like you would with GoDaddy. Overall, you get the same kinds of features as the Deluxe or Ultimate Plans, meaning that the price is similar when comparing overall value.
This is another feature that comes with all hosting sites, and it’s important to note because it will be the program that you use the most when building your website. The more user-friendly a control panel is, the better off you will be in the long run. GoDaddy uses the standard cPanel system, which is shared by many hosting sites and is remarkably well liked and regarded. Dreamhost, on the other hand, has a proprietary system that takes a little getting used to, but once you master it, it’s just as easy as cPanel, if not more so.
The Winner: GoDaddy
The Overall Winner:
When looking at the different features and value, it seems that Dreamhost is the better option for most users. The reason for this is that you get a high-quality hosting plan for one low price that comes with unlimited everything to start. While GoDaddy may look cheaper and more appealing initially, you have to realize that you will invariably need to upgrade your services if your site gets bigger and more traffic, so you will wind up paying comparable prices in the end.
The only major downside to Dreamhost is the added fee for basic customer service options, but otherwise, this host has better features and better reliability than GoDaddy.
To see how DreamHost holds up against other hosting services check out our DreamHost vs. WP Engine post.