I wrote an article a while back comparing WP Engine vs GoDaddy standard hosting package. I think it’s a good article to start on if you haven’t read it already.
I want to talk about features, use cases, and customer service. First let me say that we use both WP Engine and GoDaddy in our day-to-day operations. For all disclaimer purposes, we do use WP Engine as our primary Managed WordPress host and we have an affiliate link in the sidebar. Having said that I have had the opportunity to spin a couple sites up on GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress hosting service and was pleasantly surprised. But I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. Let’s jump right in to some key features.
GoDaddy comes with a nifty little backup feature similar to WP Engine but it does not have on demand backups. I can’t say that I utilize that feature a ton on WP Engine but if I were to post a bunch of articles and then want to make a major update, either plugin or theme related, it would be nice to create a snapshot of the site right before I made a big change. WP Engine goes a step further and integrates this into your WordPress admin, prompting you to create a backup of your site if you haven’t already done so. WP Engine offers more here but GoDaddy’s backup service is more than adequate. (Beats the heck out of configuring all those backup plugins.)
This is probably more subjective than it should be for me, here is a great article comparing most of the major managed WordPress hosts, but honestly I have spent a lot of time updating WordPress sites on both GoDaddy and WP Engine and I can tell a difference. Where as GoDaddy works 95% of the time it will hang up every once in a while and really irritate me, I don’t notice that with WP Engine. Both are pretty darn fast and once again I would have to admit GoDaddy’s performance is more than fair.
Ease of Use
Both hosts are extremely easy to use in my opinion compared to the way it used to be. WP Engine offers a more integrated and natural feel to managing your website but GoDaddy wins hands down on ease of setting up DNS and email from a wholistic approach. (If you are using GoDaddy for those services.)
While GoDaddy offers a lot of services from within their portal, WP Engine recently added interactive tutorials. Have a question on how to add an SSL to your site? No more reading tutorials and flipping between pages. With their interactive tutorials a prompt in the actual dashboard will walk you through, step by step, whatever it is you need to accomplish. This is a great improvement from the traditional process of trying to figure it out for yourself, consulting a tutorial, calling someone and finally giving up if none of that works. Bravo WP Engine on including this great feature! (do people say “bravo” anymore?)
This is a huge consideration for me. I am by no means a hosting expert, that’s why we spend the time to research different providers to find a true partner. WP Engine has been that and so much more for us. Often times helping us over a chat in a matter of minutes. With that being said, GoDaddy has seriously stepped up their customer service game. Calling is still your best bet and yes, generally you have to wait a couple of minutes to start talking to someone but the few issues I have had they were able to resolve relatively quickly. This is a major, major improvement from experiences I have had in the past both personally and have heard about through clients. WP Engine is still the king at customer service, they are prompt, knowledgeable and kind.
One note, WP Engine has grown quite a bit in the past year and due to that I have read some horror stories about their lack of customer service. All I can say is I have not noticed any change in quality. But if you read an article about how WP Engine is the devil, it might be on account of their “growing pains”.
It is also obvious that GoDaddy has recognized how valuable small businesses are and how the conversation is changing. A representative tweeted at me, @jacoblwise, and offered me a free trial of their service. (She did ask me to write a new article, which I think was only fair.) So, there are some good things coming out of the GoDaddy camp for sure.
Just starting out, no traffic, no plan to get traffic
This is pretty straight forward, you just started your business, you have no traffic, and no plan to get more traffic. That’s okay, that’s where most people start out, but to spend $30/month on hosting might be an unnecessary expense at this point. (Sorry WP Engine.) I don’t think this is their target audience anyway. If you plan to aggressively market your site and write a good amount of blog posts, or utilize your site as your primary marketing tool, then you might have a tougher choice.
Established, some traffic, active marketing
So you already have a website up and running? You have some light traffic and are creating cool things to get people to your site? Great, you should probably weigh your options here. GoDaddy’s price is extremely attractive and their service is pretty solid. I personally think all the time I save by using WP Engine is well worth the extra cost but I am also managing a bunch of sites and utilize features like git push and staging servers.
Growing site with promising traffic
I think it’s pretty clear where this is going, WP Engine would still be my choice for a site as it gets bigger, gets more attention and has more people working on it. I didn’t mention the new git push feature with WP Engine but it’s great if you plan to make changes to a site in the future. Your developer can set this up and minimize the cost of working with you on your site.
That is my point of view. I would love to hear your stories and experiences with both WP Engine and GoDaddy’s managed WordPress hosting services.