This one-on- one comparison is being done so you can more easily cut through the confusion and find the web hosting company that meets your needs. Let’s look at two that have been in business since the late 1990s – GoDaddy and DreamHost.
GoDaddy has nearly 13 million customers, and DreamHost has more than 1.5 million sites. Both GoDaddy and DreamHost provide shared hosting, managed WordPress, VPS, and dedicated server plans. GoDaddy offers Linux and Windows options for all plans, while DreamHost has Linux-based plans.
GoDaddy was named a Fortune 100 “Best Company to Work for” in 2012, has won numerous “best of” awards, and gained notoriety for its controversial ad campaigns. DreamHost has also won many awards – including PCMag’s “Best Business Host Award” in 2014 and 2015
GoDaddy began in 1997 as Jomax Technologies and was rebranded as Go Daddy in 1999. In 2006, the two names were combined, and the brand became GoDaddy. A private investment group owns GoDaddy. However, Bob Parsons, the founder, remains the largest individual shareholder. DreamHost was begun by four college students in 1997, and is still privately owned, with headquarters in Los Angeles, California.
Uptime and Reliability
Uptime. One of the most important things a web hosting company should provide is uptime. When servers are down, your site can’t be seen, and you lose viewers and customers. GoDaddy guarantees an uptime of at least 99.9%. If the site falls .1% or more from 99.9% in one month, you are credited 5% of that month’s hosting fee. DreamHost offers a slightly better 100% uptime guarantee, with refunds of one day of hosting for each hour of downtime, once the trouble is reported.
Performance. GoDaddy uses Core i7 processors in its shared plans, and Xeons in its VPS and dedicated plans. DreamHost uses AMD processors and SSD storage.
Testing a site hosted on GoDaddy yielded a load time of 2.91s, faster than 56% of the sites tested with Pingdom. A comparable DreamHost site loaded in 2.10s, faster than 70% of the sites tested.
Reliability. GoDaddy has a data center it owns in Phoenix, Arizona, and leases two other Arizona centers at Mesa and Scottsdale. GoDaddy has other data centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Ashburn, Virginia. International needs are met with a European center in Amsterdam and an Asian center located in Singapore. The data centers are powered and cooled with redundancy and diesel backups.
DreamHost has data centers in Los Angeles and Irvine, California, Portland, Oregon, and Ashburn, Virginia. Plans are to consolidate the California data centers into the Portland Center. Redundancy in power and cooling and 24/7 security are in place in DreamHost’s data centers.
Opinion on GoDaddy and DreamHost Performance
DreamHost has a slightly better uptime guarantee, and faster load and response times than GoDaddy in the tests.
Compare Key Features
Note: “Unlimited” or “unmetered” are popular words with web hosting companies. Unfortunately, it does not mean what you think – “all you can use.” Instead, it refers to what the hosting company “deems reasonable usage.”
Domain Registration. While both hosts are domain registrars, GoDaddy is the world’s largest registrar with over 60 million domains under management. GoDaddy offers one year of free domain registration for the initial term when the term is 12 months or longer. DreamHost also offers a free domain registration for a year.
Website Builder. GoDaddy has the drag-and- drop interface with its Website Builder, starting at a promo price of $1 per month. DreamHost does not have an integrated website builder in its plans.
Databases. Depending on the plan chosen, GoDaddy offers from 10 to unlimited MySQL databases. DreamHost has unlimited databases on all its plans.
Email Accounts. GoDaddy offers 100 to 1,000 accounts with 100 MB to 1 GB of storage, depending on your plan. DreamHost provides unlimited email accounts and email forwarding on all its plans.
WordPress Hosting. Both GoDaddy and DreamHost offer managed WordPress plans. In managed WordPress, the backups and updates on your site are done for you, which allows you to focus on the important thing – building your site’s content.
GoDaddy.GoDaddy has four WordPress plans. The basic plan, which is limited to one site, 25,000 visitors per month, and 10 GB of SSD storage. Deluxe plan, with one site, 100,000 visitors, and 15 GB storage. Ultimate plan, with two sites, 400,000 visitors, and 30 GB SSD storage. Developer plan, with up to 5 sites, 800,000 visitors, and 50 GB of SSD storage. All come with a free domain when ordering an annual term. The top two tiers also come with an SSL certificate free for one year, and the Ultimate plan includes free SiteLock.
DreamHost DreamHost offers one managed WordPress plan that features speed and value. It is hosted on VPS and includes 30 GB of SSD storage, free SSL, caching, separate hosting for the MySQL database, unlimited visitors, and no limits on plug-ins.
eCommerce Solution. GoDaddy and DreamHost both offer free shopping carts, such as Magneto, ZenCart, PrestaShop, and others, through the control panel. DreamHost also supports Café Commerce, a commercial eCommerce site builder. WordPress shop plug-ins, such as WooCommerce, are available from both hosts for WordPress sites.
Backups. GoDaddy has a site backup and restore plan for a monthly fee with its shared plans, and free daily backups on WordPress, VPS, and dedicated plans. DreamHost’s policy prohibits site backups being stored on the server in its shared plans – backups must be downloaded an removed from the host server as soon as possible after they are made. Website data and databases are automatically backed up, but the backups are not guaranteed.
Hosting Security. GoDaddy does scans and proactively acts against DDoS threats, and it provides what it calls “CageFS.” CageFS allows you to set up user privileges to limit access to content. GoDaddy provides SpamAssasin, as well as BoxTrapper, for email filtering. DreamHost provides anti-spam for its email with Spamhaus and provides DDoS protection through the services of Arbor Networks.
GoDaddy provides free shared SSL for its plans, with the top tiers getting Private SSL free. DreamHost offers SSL with Let’s Encrypt on its plans.
GoDaddy offers Windows or Linux options for all its plans; DreamHost is Linux-based only.
Control Panel. GoDaddy uses cPanel, but it has done some customization, which may make it unfamiliar to regular cPanel users. DreamHost uses a proprietary control panel. It is feature-rich, but anyone with cPanel experience may find it confusing at first.
Green. DreamHost purchases Renewable Energy Credits and says its footprint is carbon neutral.
Extras. Besides hosting plans, GoDaddy also offers SEO, online marketing, and design services for additional fees. GoDaddy also has reseller plans. Both GoDaddy and DreamHost have affiliate programs. DreamHost also provides $100 ad credit to Bing/Yahoo.
Opinion on GoDaddy and DreamHost Key Features
GoDaddy may be the industry’s go-to site for domain registration, but DreamHost’s unlimited bandwidth, databases, and email feature for all its plans gives it an edge for mid-to- larger sized businesses and individuals with high traffic sites. DreamHost also simplifies managed WordPress with one plan with features equal to, or bettering, the plans from GoDaddy. GoDaddy has an edge for those who require Windows since DreamHost is Linux only.
Hosting Plans & Pricing
Note: Pricing for web hosting companies is a moving target. To remain competitive, special promotions are given throughout the year. The pricing here is what was being offered at the time of this comparison. You should note that promo prices are only good for the first term of service, so signing up for a longer term means higher savings. Usually, signing up for longer terms, regardless of ongoing promotions, means there will most likely be a price break.
Shared Web Hosting.
GoDaddy. GoDaddy offers three shared plans on both its Windows and Linux options. Economy allows one site, unlimited bandwidth, and 100 GB of storage, for $3.99. Deluxe, at $4.99 per month, and Ultimate, at $7.99 per month, offer unlimited websites, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited storage. All the plans come with a free year of domain registration on an annual plan. Email accounts are limited to 100, 500, and 1000, respectively. The Ultimate plan adds a free SSL certificate for one year.
DreamHost. DreamHost makes it simple with one shared plan. The plan comes with unlimited everything – unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited email accounts, and unlimited domains. For a three-year term, the price is $7.99 per month. A free domain registration for one year, as well as free SSL, comes with the plan. A dedicated IP is available for an additional $5.95 monthly fee.
Managed WordPress hosting
GoDaddy. GoDaddy offers four plans. The lowest two allow one website, while the next to the top allows two sites, and the top tier allows 5. GoDaddy limits visitor numbers per month based on your plan, and the amount of SSD storage varies by plan. GoDaddy prices are $3.99, $4.49, $7.99, and $13.99 per month.
DreamHost. DreamHost has one plan at $19.95 per month, so it is slightly higher than GoDaddy’s top tier. However, DreamHost’s WordPress plan comes with a dedicated IP, uses an SSD infrastructure, allows unlimited visitors per month, and is located on VPS servers. It is restricted to one site and one MySQL database.
VPS and Dedicated server hosting. GoDaddy offers more VPS plans, with five plans for Linux and five for Windows – the Windows plans cost around $10 per month more. The GoDaddy plans offer unlimited bandwidth and 40 GB to 250 GB of storage (depending on the tier). DreamHost offers four plans, priced very close to GoDaddy pricing for similar features. However, DreamHost’s plans offer unlimited bandwidth and unlimited SSD storage.
DreamHost offers one dedicated plan that can be customized for additional monthly fees. GoDaddy offers five dedicated plans for Linux and 5 for Windows. GoDaddy’s Windows plans run around $30 more than its Linux plans. GoDaddy’s plans and the plan from DreamHost all have unlimited bandwidth.
Credits. GoDaddy offers different marketing credits depending on your location. DreamHost offers free marketing with $100 credit for Bing/Yahoo. Both sell domain names, and both DreamHost and GoDaddy provide one free year of registration for new sign ups.
Money-back guarantee. GoDaddy and DreamHost offer money-back guarantees. GoDaddy offers the standard 30-day guarantee for annual and above terms. For monthly plans, GoDaddy’s full refund is limited to 48 hours, and is pro-rated after that. DreamHost has an industry leading 97-day Guarantee (on its shared plans, if purchased with a credit card). If you have the free domain registration on GoDaddy or DreamHost, they will withhold the domain registration fee from the refund, and you will keep the domain name.
Opinion on Hosting Plans Pricing
For shared hosting, DreamHost has the edge with its unlimited features, and the simplicity of just having one plan – though if you want fewer features for lower prices, GoDaddy gives you that option. DreamHost is best suited for small-to- mid-sized businesses.
Ease of Use
Control Panel. GoDaddy and DreamHost use different control panels. GoDaddy uses cPanel but modifies the interface somewhat. cPanel’s user-friendly graphical interface is the industry standard, and it has most of the features needed to administer your website through easily identified icons. GoDaddy uses the industry standard Plesk for Windows plans. DreamHost’s proprietary control panel is user-friendly and powerful once you get used to it. It can be confusing for someone coming from cPanel, however.
One-click Installer. GoDaddy provides one-click app installation to hundreds of apps through its control panel. DreamHost provides one-click installation of some apps through its control panel. Both have a one-click installation of WordPress.
Website Navigation. Both GoDaddy’s and DreamHost’s sites provide plenty of information if you can find it. GoDaddy offers more products in addition to hosting, so it’s slightly more confusing to navigate, and its pages involve a lot of scrolling. DreamHost makes it difficult to find some information without resorting to Google or reading through wikis.
Opinion on Ease of Use
DreamHost makes choosing a shared hosting plan as easy as it gets – there’s only one plan. GoDaddy, however, gives you lower priced (though lesser featured) options. GoDaddy’s control panel is based on the industry standard cPanel, and it offers more apps for one-click installation.
Technical and Customer Support
GoDaddy would have to be considered no better than average, based on customer reviews. DreamHost customers rate their customer service highly. Both have support personnel that is considered friendly and knowledgeable.
GoDaddy has a phone, email, and live chat 24/7, as well as an extensive knowledge base with tutorials and videos. GoDaddy provides informative articles in addition to its blog in the “GoDaddy Garage.” DreamHost has a contact page where you can email questions. There are more support options from DreamHost once you have purchased from them, but a phone is not one of them. DreamHost has a unique wiki that is updated as needed and has lots of information, much like a knowledge base. DreamHost has a forum and blog.
Opinion on User Support
GoDaddy offers more methods of contact, including phone, so getting help is easy. GoDaddy support is rated average by the majority of customers who comment, while DreamHost customers speak of better than average support. The lack of phone or live chat (unless logged onto an account) for DreamHost gives GoDaddy an edge here.
Note: Though reviews should never be the sole determining factor in choosing a host when something is consistently brought up in customer reviews, it may need to be considered.
Reviewers are the passionate customer, so most reviews have strong negative or strong positive leanings.
Negative Reviews for GoDaddy and DreamHost
GoDaddy. Most negative reviews of GoDaddy deal with poor customer support, the strict restrictions placed on some plans, and downtime.
DreamHost. A common complaint is the lack of phone support and spotty chat support. Also, for a company having such a strong uptime guarantee, there are a surprising number of downtime complaints.
Positive Reviews for GoDaddy and DreamHost
GoDaddy. Positive reviews from customers of GoDaddy comment on its domain registration services, and its pricing.
DreamHost. The majority of the reviews for customer support are positive. DreamHost receives raves for its nearly “unlimited everything” for such a low price.
Opinion on User Reviews
Reviews tend to indicate that GoDaddy concentrates on being a domain registrar, and hosting is an afterthought. Overall, there are more positive reviews from DreamHost customers.
Which hosting is best for you?
Each one of these hosting companies has its pros and cons.
Reasons to choose DreamHost over GoDaddy:
- Simplicity in choosing a plan
- More unlimited features in plans
- Longer money-back guarantee
- 100% guaranteed uptime
Reasons to choose GoDaddy over DreamHost:
- Sells multiple web products in addition to hosting
- Linux and Windows options for all plans
- More tiers for more options in plans
- Industry standard cPanel (though modified)
- Free phone and chat 24/7
GoDaddy might be best suited for beginners, since everything web-related, from domain name to SSL, marketing, and SEO services, and online bookkeeping, can be obtained from one site.
DreamHost is attractive to those who only want an “unlimited everything” site without wading through options in shared hosting. It may not be suited for the beginner since there is no website builder and no phone support. Small businesses will find the unlimited bandwidth and storage appealing. Companies that require VPS or dedicated servers will find DreamHost an attractive choice, as well.
An alternative to investigating when shopping for a web host is InMotion Hosting. While InMotion’s money-back guarantee is less than that of DreamHost, it still offers one of the best in the industry – a 90-day money back guarantee, compared to the 30-day guarantee of GoDaddy. For those that don’t mind spending just a little more than budget hosting to get premium features and fast loading and response times, SiteGround is a hosting company you might want to consider.
Do you have any questions about GoDaddy or DreamHost? What have been your experiences with web hosting? Leave your comments and let us know.