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Shared hosting: Comparing GoDaddy with DreamHost

Posted on Apr 6th, 2011 by
Dreamhost Godaddy

GoDaddy versus DreamHost: and the winner is...

After my debacle with GoDaddy, I moved most of my high volume blogs to a HostGator Virtual Private Server. I still had some test blogs on GoDaddy’s shared servers, but as the speed and uptime of GoDaddy went from bad to worse, I recently moved several of these blogs to a DreamHost shared server.

Here are my impressions of DreamHost versus GoDaddy shared servers:

DreamHost versus GoDaddy shared hosting speed

After two years of fighting GoDaddy’s slow speed (I mean REAL slow), it was a relief to see how fast the DreamHost shared hosting really was.

Take this test site, which I recently made for a client. While this WordPress blog is not cached (it is used for an interactive re-theming of an existing site), it is about as fast as one can get. It outperforms any heavily cached site I have on GoDaddy.

Kudos, DreamHost! – I am impressed…

DreamHost versus GoDaddy shared hosting prices

As I have several blogs and domains running on the same shared hosting account, I had a GoDaddy Deluxe hosting, which is comparable to the standard DreamHost Web Hosting features (see also the next chapter).
GoDaddy advertises Deluxe Hosting at $7.99 per month, DreamHost goes at $8.95 per month. What GoDaddy does not tell you, though, is that when you renew hosting, the price goes up drastically. GoDaddy Deluxe Hosting renewal goes at $150.96 per year. DreamHost Webhosting goes at US$119.40 per year…

By the way, GoDaddy Economy Hosting, which can only host a SINGLE domain and offers FAR fewer features/storage/databases than their Deluxe Hosting, costs $101.80/year for a renewal.

I do also have an issue with GoDaddy’s mal-advertising: there is nowhere on their website (I checked with their sales department) where you can find the cost for renewals. Nor do they mention that the cost for hosting renewal is different from the initial fee. Their sales person told me bluntly: “Yeah, but you need to understand, this is how we attract new customers.” To which I answered: “…And how you lose existing customers.”
Nothing short of cheating, if you ask me.

So DreamHost is far cheaper than GoDaddy

GoDaddy versus DreamHost shared hosting capacity features

GoDaddy Deluxe Hosting offers:

  • 150 GB storage
  • unlimited websites (domain hosting)
  • unlimited bandwidth
  • 500 Email Accounts
  • 25 MySQL Databases (of max 1 GB each)
  • 1 GB max database size to be included in backups

DreamHost Web Hosting offers:

  • unlimited storage
  • unlimited websites (domain hosting)
  • unlimited bandwidth
  • unlimited Email Accounts
  • unlimited MySQL Databases (with unlimited storage each)
  • 4 GB max database size to be included in backups

GoDaddy’s claim for “unlimited” websites hosting is bullocks, as they only support up to 25 MySQL databases. This means you can only host up to 25 blogs (assuming all blogs use MySQL databases) on one Deluxe Hosting. That to me, smell like false advertising, once more!

So once again, DreamHost beats GoDaddy.

GoDaddy versus DreamHost support

GoDaddy only offers Email and telephone support. I wrote before about my issues with GoDaddy support: Email support is almost a no-go. Most of the time I get a pre-cooked boiler plate Email answer, which looks like they did not really read my question or issue. Each exchange you have with them, you get another support person answering, who clearly does not go through the history of that particular support ticket.

GoDaddy’s telephone support is slightly better than their Email support, but it really depends on the person you get on the line. I would say 90% of the time, the person “had to check” with a 2nd line of support. And most of the time, the answer was “Yep, apparently there is a problem on the shared server your blog runs on, but they are working on it”. They have no possibility of warning you when the issue is resolved. Some issues were never solved.

DreamHost has Email and telephone support, but also feature an online chat support. This is great if you have a quick question, and saved me a lot of time at many occasions. I can’t believe GoDaddy still does not offer this service.

For all my interactions with DreamHost, I’d rate their level of support much higher than GoDaddy.

GoDaddy versus DreamHost shared hosting features

I was very surprised to find the DreamHost Web Hosting features to be more similar to a VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting, than a shared hosting:

  • On DreamHost, you can define an unlimited number of user accounts, each with their own log-in, disk space, domain, etc…: This allows you to subdivide your account for each of the blogs you host. It is also an additional security feature.
    None of that on GoDaddy: one account, one login on Deluxe Hosting
  • On DreamHost you have a full featured SSH (terminal emulation) access: Most Linux commands can be used on DreamHost. Even the “TOP” command will show you the processes that run on your account, once again resembling the features of VPS hosting.
    On GoDaddy, many Linux commands are blocked.
  • DreamHost has a more integrated control panel, giving you access to all account, domain, email and DNS functions.
    In GoDaddy, many of these functions are split off in different submenus and sub-websites are often slow, and difficult to use.
  • DreamHost allows 50 Gb of backup storage, which is configured as a separate user. This can be used to store an off-site backup of your laptop, or backups from another server.
    GoDaddy does not allow their Deluxe Hosting server to be used as backup server.
  • Both DreamHost and GoDaddy provide “One-Click” installs for the most popular public domain CMS (Content Management Systems) and blogs. I should say that I did not like the WordPress One-Click install of DreamHost: it was not a standard installation. It also includes 30-odd themes, which is just an overhead if you want to keep your site lean and mean, and easy to backup
  • Talking about backups: GoDaddy has a MySQL backup function (even though it is hidden in some obscure sub-sub-sub menu’s icon). DreamHost has a one-click backup function, for your “whole account in one”. You can only take one backup per month. I’d like to see a more robust and easier backup feature, though: an automated daily/weekly/monthly backup would be nice…
  • There are several additional features I like on DreamHost Webhosting: They support Email discussion and Email broadcast lists, one-click site imports from another host’s CPanel, and software development version control, to name a few…

GoDaddy versus DreamHost shared hosting, which is best?

DreamHost, without any doubt. Better price, far better performance, better support and more features.

And no… I am not sponsored by DreamHost!


2 Comments to “Shared hosting: Comparing GoDaddy with DreamHost”

  1. Wonderful post! My experience with DreamHost has been very positive, too. I get around the daily/weekly/monthly backup issue by using cron jobs (has an interface on the Admin panel) to run script in which I define what to backup! Another great feature with DreamHost is the Subversion code repositories to manage any development or configurations! I have been told HostGator does not have full code repository support.

  2. cesar says:

    you forget to talk about ftp.
    dreamhost doesnt give you a ftp supeuser/home acces, when you have some clients you need to give some ftp acces, dremhost only allows one user to acces a folder via ftp, that mean you lost all control over ftp files if you give your client ftp acces

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