- By Colin Newcomer
- March 7, 2022
When it comes to making a website, GoDaddy and WordPress are two of the biggest names that you’ll encounter. However, they’re slightly different “things”, even though there’s a lot of overlap:
- WordPress is open-source software that you can use to make a website by installing it on your own web hosting.
- GoDaddy are a service provider that offer a web hosting service (for WordPress or other software) as well as a GoDaddy Website Builder service that’s similar to tools such as Wix and Squarespace.
By the end of this comparison, my goal is that you’ll know two things:
- You’ll clearly know the difference between GoDaddy and WordPress. You’ll know where they overlap and where they’re different.
- You’ll know the best place to make your own website. For most people, I think that’s using WordPress and a dedicated web hosting service, but I’ll try to accurately cover the pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision for your own scenario.
To accomplish that, I’m going to divide this post into four different sections:
- Basic introductions
- How you can make a website with GoDaddy and WordPress
- GoDaddy Website Builder vs WordPress
- Hosting WordPress on GoDaddy vs hosting it elsewhere
If you’re a bit confused right now, the last two sections will make more sense once you’ve read the first two sections.
Does all of that sound good? Let’s dig in…
GoDaddy vs WordPress: Basic Introductions
To kick things off, let’s just begin with some basic introductions to GoDaddy and WordPress so that you have some important context and understand what’s happening.
I’m going to start with WordPress because understanding WordPress will be useful when I talk about GoDaddy.
What Is WordPress?
The WordPress.org homepage
WordPress is open-source software that you can use to build a website by adding the WordPress software to your own web hosting.
If you’re not familiar with “web hosting”, it’s essentially the underlying “computer” behind a website. Just as you install apps/software on your personal computer, you can also install software on your web hosting.
More specifically, WordPress is a content management system (CMS). This is a fancy way of saying that WordPress lets you manage your site’s content and design using a simple interface instead of needing to rely on code.
In other words, it lets you create a website even if you have no technical knowledge.
You can manage your content using a simple editor like this:
The WordPress editor where you can add content
Then, WordPress will handle displaying it on the front of your site using your chosen theme.
There are thousands of pre-made themes to choose from and you can also install plugins to add new functionality to your website. If there’s ever something you can’t find a premade extension for, you can always edit your site’s underlying code (or pay a developer to do it for you).
WordPress.com is a for-profit service that provides one way to make a website using the open-source WordPress.org software. However, we’re going to focus mainly on the WordPress software in general, which is the WordPress.org version.
If you’re still not quite sure about the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, you’re not alone. It is needlessly confusing — sorry! To more fully dig into the topic, you can read our full WordPress.com vs WordPress.org comparison.
What Are GoDaddy?
GoDaddy are a few different things because they’re a huge conglomerate in the website-building space.
First off, GoDaddy originally got their start as a domain registrar, which means they offer a service where you can purchase your own domain name (such as winningwp.com). This isn’t really relevant to the GoDaddy vs WordPress comparison, but it is a big part of what GoDaddy do so I wanted to mention it.
Second, GoDaddy are a website host. Again, this means that they provide the underlying hardware that powers people’s websites. If you want to make your own website, you can pay GoDaddy for hosting and then host your site’s files on your hosting. As part of that, you can actually install WordPress on your GoDaddy hosting.
That’s one reason why comparing GoDaddy vs WordPress can be a little tricky — they aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s totally possible to run your own WordPress site that’s powered by your GoDaddy web hosting.
However, that’s not always the case because there’s also a third thing that GoDaddy can help you with.
Instead of needing to install software such as WordPress on your web hosting, GoDaddy Website Builder is an all-in-one platform where you don’t really need to interact with the underlying software when it comes to details such as maintenance, updates, security, and so on.
Basically, it provides an even simpler way to make a website in the same vein as tools such as Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify. You just register for an account and start building — it’s super easy.
However, the downside of GoDaddy Website Builder vs WordPress is that the website builder is a lot less flexible. I’m getting ahead of myself, though, because I’m going to spend an entire section comparing the two.
How You Build a Website With GoDaddy and WordPress
Next, let’s talk about how you can build a website with GoDaddy and WordPress. I touched on this a bit above, but I want to go into a little more depth here so that you’re fully aware of your options.
How to Build a Website With WordPress
There are two main avenues to build a website with WordPress.
The first method, and also the most common method, is to host the WordPress software on your own web hosting. This is also known as self-hosted WordPress or just WordPress.org (again, WordPress.org is where you can download the open-source WordPress software).
Over 43% of all the websites on the internet use WordPress, and most of them use this self-hosted approach.
It works like this:
- Purchase web hosting. GoDaddy are one option, but there are lots of other quality WordPress hosting providers.
- Install the WordPress software. Most hosts offer special tools that let you do this with just a few clicks, so it’s a lot simpler than it sounds.
- Configure your site. WordPress comes with a non-technical dashboard to control your site’s design, add content, customize settings, add new features, manage users, and more.
The second method is to use the WordPress.com service. Again, WordPress.com is one specific option to make a WordPress site that simplifies the process in exchange for sacrificing some flexibility.
Again, you can read our WordPress.com vs WordPress.org comparison for more details. Or, check out our WordPress.com Business plan review if you’re interested in what it has to offer.
How to Build a Website With GoDaddy
There are two main ways to build a website with GoDaddy:
- Purchase hosting and install the WordPress software. GoDaddy also offer dedicated WordPress hosting plans that come with WordPress pre-installed.
- Use the GoDaddy Website Builder, which does not rely on WordPress.
How to Make a Website With WordPress on GoDaddy
If you want to host the WordPress software on web hosting from GoDaddy, GoDaddy offer a few different services depending on your needs:
In terms of basic WordPress functionality, there’s no difference between installing WordPress on GoDaddy hosting and other website hosting (though there can be differences when it comes to site speed, customer service, reliability, etc.).
How to Make a Website With the GoDaddy Website Builder
The second “main” option for making a website with GoDaddy is to use the GoDaddy Website Builder. With a website builder, you can just sign up for an account and start building your site right away — there’s no need to install software or mess around with hosting.
GoDaddy Website Builder setup wizard
Then, GoDaddy will create your site for you based on your inputs, including choosing a starting template. You can then use the interface to change the design, edit/add content, and more:
GoDaddy Website Builder main interface
I’ll cover what it’s like to use GoDaddy Website Builder vs WordPress in the next section.
You can try GoDaddy Website Builder for free. However, you’ll need to pay to make your site live.
At full price, pricing plans start at $9.99/month and range up to $24.99/month for eCommerce support. You can also get a special discount for your first year, which are the prices you see in the screenshot below:
GoDaddy Website Builder pricing
If GoDaddy Website Builder is superior to WordPress, that would be a pretty big reason to choose GoDaddy over WordPress, right?
Well, spoiler alert — I don’t think that’s the situation. That is, I think that WordPress is a better option than GoDaddy Website Builder for most people. And even in situations where you might prefer a website builder to WordPress, I think that there are better options than GoDaddy Website Builder.
With that being said, let’s take a look at how they compare. I’ll skip the basic setup because I already touched on that in the previous section.
With GoDaddy Website Builder, you can choose from different themes to control the high-level look of your site. However, you currently only have ~24 different options at the time that I’m writing this, which is a lot less than WordPress.
From there, you can use GoDaddy Website Builder to customize the design of each page in the “look”. The editor uses a section-based approach. You can choose different prebuilt layouts and put them together like Lego blocks to create a complete page.
Within each layout, you can customize the content, colors, and typography, but you can’t move around each individual element in the design so you don’t have 100% control:
Adding sections in GoDaddy Website Builder
With WordPress, you can primarily control the design of your site using your theme. You can choose from thousands of different WordPress themes and even within a single theme you can typically get a lot of variety.
What’s more, each theme comes with tons of code-free customization options.
If you want more control, you can also install a type of plugin called a page builder to access a visual, drag-and-drop editing experience. Popular options are Elementor, Divi, Beaver Builder, and many others.
For example, with Elementor, you get a visual design experience that’s even more powerful than what you get with GoDaddy Website Builder. Elementor lets you manipulate individual content elements, whereas GoDaddy Website Builder only lets you choose high-level layouts.
Overall, WordPress gives you a lot more flexibility than GoDaddy Website Builder when it comes to customizing your site design.
Adding Content/Blog Posts
To add blog posts, GoDaddy Website Builder gives you a separate text editor. You can add text just by typing and you can insert images or videos by clicking the plus icon.
However, that’s pretty much all you can do. There’s no option to add formatting, buttons, and so on. The WordPress editor is much more powerful, as you’ll see in a second:
The GoDaddy Website Builder text editor
To add text, you can just click and type like you’re working in Word. To add media content such as images or videos, you can add a block with just a couple of clicks.
It’s also easy to use blocks to set up basic formatting, such as a multi-column layout, quotes, spacing, dividers, and more.
The WordPress editor where you can add content
Both GoDaddy Website Builder and WordPress come with built-in features for all the core functionality you need in a website. However, you might have specific needs and want to add more features than you get at the beginning.
With GoDaddy Website Builder, you’re limited to the features that are built into the platform, whereas WordPress lets you install your own plugins to add new features.
GoDaddy Website Builder does have some nice features built in, so it’s not like you don’t get anything. For example, there’s an appointment booking tool, eCommerce functionality, email marketing tools, social media integrations, live chat, and more. You can also give users the option to register for accounts to create a membership site.
However, WordPress is just plain stronger here because of its library of 60,000+ plugins.
The basic fact is that WordPress is the most flexible tool for non-technical users to build websites, which is why it powers over 43% of all the websites on the internet.
With GoDaddy Website Builder, the eCommerce functionality is built in (as long as you’re on the highest tier plan).
With WordPress, you can add eCommerce functionality by installing the WooCommerce plugin. By the numbers, WooCommerce is the most popular way to build an eCommerce store and it gives you all of the key features that you need. You can also extend WooCommerce with plugins, which gives you a lot more flexibility than GoDaddy Website Builder.
WordPress Hosted on GoDaddy vs WordPress Hosted Somewhere Else
Here, I think there’s really no need for debate:
There are a number of WordPress hosts that offer higher quality products than GoDaddy at the same or lower prices. If you want to make a WordPress website, I would highly recommend choosing one of these options instead.
If you’re on a budget, check out our collection of the best cheap WordPress hosting for a good starting point. These days, my personal recommendation is GreenGeeks, but that post covers a lot of other good options.
GoDaddy also offer a pricier WordPress hosting product called managed WordPress hosting. This type of hosting costs more money, but it generally offers faster performance, more features, and better support. If you’re willing to pay more for this type of concierge product, you can browse our collection of the best managed WordPress hosting providers. My personal recommendations are Kinsta (our review), WP Engine (our review), and Flywheel (our review).
Or, another option is to use the WordPress.com Business or eCommerce plans, as I mentioned above. Again, these plans aren’t quite the same as self-hosting WordPress on your own hosting, but they do get you most of the benefits because you can still install your own themes and plugins.
If you’re willing to pay a slight premium for a simpler, more hands-off WordPress experience, I think the WordPress.com Business or eCommerce plans are great options in 2022 and beyond. Check out these posts to learn more:
Should You Use GoDaddy or WordPress?
- WordPress is open-source software that you can install on your own web hosting to make a website.
- GoDaddy are a service provider with multiple offerings to build a website. You can purchase web hosting from them, which you could use to run the WordPress software. Or, you can use GoDaddy Website Builder to build a website without needing to purchase your own hosting or install your own software.
That means GoDaddy and WordPress are not always different things.
You can actually purchase hosting from GoDaddy upon which you install WordPress. In fact, GoDaddy even offer dedicated WordPress hosting plans.
With that being said, there are better options when it comes to WordPress hosting, so I would recommend considering those before purchasing GoDaddy’s hosting plans. Check out our collections of the best cheap WordPress hosting and the best managed WordPress hosting to find some great options.
If you don’t like the idea of using WordPress and would prefer a website builder, I still wouldn’t recommend GoDaddy Website Builder, to be honest. There are better website builders out there, such as Squarespace for creatives, Wix for more general-purpose sites, Shopify for eCommerce stores, and Webflow for web designers.
I would rank all of those website builders above GoDaddy Website Builder, so I think you should start your search there if you feel like WordPress isn’t the right choice for your needs. To help you learn more about them, we have some comparison posts that compare them to WordPress:
Have questions about WordPress or GoDaddy? Thoughts?