For days now I have been receiving requests about a genuine review of the top three web hosting companies namely A Small Orange, Godaddy and BlueHost. BlueHost and A Small Orange belong to the same parent company Endurance International however both are quite different in terms of hosting features, plans and a number of other parameters. Godaddy however is a completely different beast. With the largest market base and plans suitable to nearly all kinds of individuals and businesses, it is one of the most dominating companies in the present hosting scenario.
I have used all three hosting services to host both small and powerful resource consuming applications. In the meantime, I have upgraded migrated and faces a number of problems with all the three hosts. Facing hosting problems is quite common but the ease by which they get resolved determines the quality of the service provided by the company. Here is my genuine opinion for the three companies. At the end of the article, I provide hosting recommendation for each type of application and website but before that you will have to read through this article to find out why I recommend them. Let’s find out then.
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Plans and Pricing
Plans and pricing of the three companies vary quite a lot depending on the geography you are based in. The companies try to cater to the local audience in the country they are providing their service. However, Bluehost and A Small Orange plans often remain constant across most geographies. For shared hosting, Godaddy provides 4 unique plans depending on the amount of resourced required, while bluehost provides 3 variants while A Small Orange also has 4 different plans. Godaddy has the cheapest prices but the plans also come with quite a lot of restrictions. The lowest priced plan in Godaddy costs only $2.24 per month while A Small Orange provides at $35 a year. ASO doesn’t have a monthly plan for its cheapest plan. Bluehost’s cheapest shared hosting plan costs $3.95 a month but is quite powerful as compared to Godaddy.
The cheapest plans are ideal for static websites as they consume least resources. Still ASO has the best configuration and resource allocation among the three companies with all necessary features to easily setup and run a small static website. Bluehost shared plans are mainly meant for business purposes that are supposed to grow over time.
Higher plans cost more with extra resources. For resource oriented website, I would recommend Bluehost or ASO’s business shared plans. ASO provides specialized business configurations for shared hosting ideal for websites that may see high traffic in the coming months. Bluehost plans are also ideal but they do not have any special configurations for business purposes. Godaddy plans for business is a higher priced shared hosting plan that is in no way different from its common shared hosting plans.
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Performance and Reliability
In all my years of hosting and running powerful applications and websites with the hosting companies, I have come across dozens of web hosting companies both small and large. However only a few are capable for hosting resource oriented application while maintaining necessary performance benchmarks. Of the three hosting companies, Godaddy’s performance is the worst while BlueHost fares better and A Small Orange has excellent performance and reliability. For the website that I was hosting on Godaddy with its ultimate shared hosting plan, it wasn’t even able to handle multiple wordpress file uploads. Every time I tried to upload more than 3-4 files to the server, the host completely shut down claiming high resource usage. While I never face such problems on BlueHost and ASO, handling file contents on Bluehost was a bit less easy than ASO. The awesome interface and usability provided by ASO makes even the tough tasks seem easy. Therefore if you would be hosting any website that has a CMS like WordPress, Drupal or others, you should definitely go with either ASO or BlueHost.
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I have a habit of running page speed tests for every host along the moment I host a website on it. Godaddy with its servers distributed all across the globe fares better when you are browsing a website from your own country. But it fares worse than the other two if you are browsing any other website. Therefore if you are certain that your audience would be only from a single country, you should go with Godaddy. Else it’s better to go with ASO and BlueHost. Moreover, ASO supports Google recommended page speed apache module. Although there are claims of website instability due to the module usage, it is quite functional once it has been properly setup. You can also setup page speed module in BlueHost. Therefore ASO and BlueHost is ideal for you if you want optimal performance regardless of the location.
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Server Uptime and Downtime
I hosted one of my websites with Godaddy for more than 2 years even though they had numerous problems only because they had excellent server uptime. As their data is spread across multiple locations, they can easily provide higher uptime as compared to other companies which is obviously a better feature. However, BlueHost and ASO prove worthy competitors. ASO takes its server downtime at least once a month for maintenance and same is the case with Bluehost.
However, they notify by all means to each of hosting user sometimes weeks before their maintenance downtime. If you are running a high traffic website on their server and their downtime interfered with your scheduled high traffic period, this may let you face some problems. However you can always contact their customer service and expect them to help you in some ways.
Server downtime in Godaddy would be mostly because of their worst server configuration. You will notice that their website won’t be able handle more than 1000 unique visitors to their website even in their ultimate shared plan.
User Experience and Customer Service
All three hosting companies provide a pleasant UI interface for managing their cpanel or hosting plans. However ASO and Bluehost have a cleaner interface. Sometimes you will notice Godaddy links redirecting to unexpected pages while you are navigating through your account. The hosting panel is also a bit crowded as compared to the other two hosts. ASO provides the best experience of managing your website from the backend. With easy to use options and tooltips for nearly everything, they make website management easy even for beginners. BlueHost is meant mainly for a bit advanced users who have prior experience hosting their own website.
When it comes to support, ASO and BlueHost provide a live chat feature that is always at your disposal with a customer service agent on the other side. Godaddy allows you to call them for any queries but often you will be kept waiting in a queue that may last for up to hours. Thus if you are a beginner, then you would definitely need help setting up your website. Therefore ASO is the ideal option for your requirements. Bluehost has a good customer services but their after sales support is only meant for advanced users who know a little bit about hosting.
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Upgrades and Migration
All the three web hosting provide enough optios for upgrading or migrating your existing website from your existing host. However, you will be showered with discounts and numerous deals if your website is on Godady or if you are planning to move to Godaddy. Just sign up you your email, add itema to your cart and then discard them. Soon your inbox would be filled with numerous deals all trying to get you onboard. While this is not the case with ASo or Bluehost, they do have provide quality service with whatever their plans offer. Therefore you may either want a good migration or opt for a cheaper migration plan only to face numerous problems with your hosting configuration. The choice is yours.
Extra Features and Offers
Godaddy is filled with all kinds of offers and plans for all kinds of businesses. You can sign up for their newsletter and they would keep sending you discount codes and plans to buy, upgrade or migrate to their services. Although the plans the quite attractive, it often begs the question: Which one do I select? The tragedy is that all the codes and plans tend to give you the same amount of resources and features that you would have bought without opting for them in the first place. Therefore you can opt for a discount code to feel better about landing a hosting plan at half the price but would eventually pay higher the next year while renewing your plan. Therefore in my opinion, it’s better to just ignore them all and focus on the service provided by the company rather than the price at which they provide it. ASO and Bluehost stick to these principles and thus they provide the best plans right from the start without flooding the user with unnecessary but eluding discount codes. As discount codes and offers vary from region to region, it’s better for you to just sign up for their newsletter and them directly in your inbox.
Although I have hosting my website with all the three companies, I was only satisfied with the plans and services provided by ASO. Their wonderful customer support and their easy to manage web hosting dashboard makes managing your website a breeze. Therefore, I would also recommend you to either go with ASO if you are beginner or opt for Bluehost if you have enough experience with hosting your own websites.