Which shared-server speed is worse? GoDaddy or Bluehost?

WordPress Mobile Speed

Updated: April 2019

There are no affiliate links on PagePipe.

“Worst Web Hosting Companies” yields 16 million Google search results. Ironically, review sites not only tell you who they think are the worst – but then advertise acclaimed best hosting with affiliate links.

Those affiliate links pay kickbacks up to $100 – if a sale is made. Sweet! Let’s all put affiliate links on our sites – and get rich.

Maybe not.

Affiliate links often use link cloaking. Read more about that ploy (and speed) here. We think link cloaking is deceptive. It masks or hides where users are taken when selecting links.

There are no affiliate links on PagePipe. Hallelujah!

Be aware, any blog post recommending hosting – and free critiques – almost always makes affiliate money. So they’re biased or manipulative.

So what?

Despite the low credibility of review sites, we’re confident the negative reports of bad, lame hosts is mostly true. There’s commonality in the results. The worst-ranked hosts vary in list placement – but it’s usually the same hosts. Two are widely dispised and claimed to be THE worst: GoDaddy and Bluehost.

It doesn’t matter about technical reality. Being perceived as the worst  by many is sufficient judgement. [Note – We don’t think they’re that bad.]

Because we do NOT follow the herd, we deliberately selected GoDaddy for PagePipe’s hosting. Our goal is proving  origin-optimization efficiency. You can achieve fast speeds even on the worst cheap, shared hosting. Use discipline and care in your site design. We teach you how on PagePipe.

Economy hosts take in the unwashed masses. They appeal to some of the worst-case, non-technical users – the ones with no money and no training. And so these cheap hosts get bad reviews. That hasn’t slowed down their growth one iota.

We abhor their marketing ploys and lies to maximize profits. But this article isn’t about up-selling, bait-and-switch, or duping uneducated victims. We write about speed – not recommendations for hosting companies.

GoDaddy Inc. is a web-hosting company headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. GoDaddy has around 8.5 million customers. Their annual net income is around 2 BILLION dollars. They clear 6-percent profit on those sales ($140 million approximately). They’re the biggest web host.

Bluehost is a web-hosting company owned by Endurance International Group. It’s one of the 20 largest web hosts. Bluehost hosts 1,248,507 websites on economy, shared servers. The company operates its servers in Provo, Utah, USA.

Why are we mentioning Bluehost since PagePipe is hosted on GoDaddy?

PayPal changed how it interacts with Easy Digital Downloads ecommerce plugin. This forced us to use HTTPS/SSL certification on our site store. Not for Google ranking – rather for the requirements of successful PayPal transactions. PayPal changed it’s rules in July 2018. I took us a while to figure out why automated ebook deliveries were failing. We got our money but customers didn’t get their ebooks for awhile. SSL compliance fixed the failures.

SSL adds 500 milliseconds of server handshaking to every page and post of your website. That’s 25 percent of our performance budget.

We use a 2-second performance budget. Adding SSL ruined our page load times. We use a speed trick of “offloading” the store using a separate GoDaddy domain on the same server. That domain name was secure-pagepipe-store.com. (Yeah. That domain tidbit is important later in our horror story.)

Originally, we tried GoDaddy’s expensive SSL certificate.

Next, we got a GoDaddy SSL refund and switched to Let’s Encrypt’s free SSL certificate.

This hassle wasn’t fun. But we were determined to figure things out. And we did it – eventually. Because of our curiosity, we ended up reloading and rebuilding our site several times. Why would we inflict so much pain on ourselves when SSL is free at other hosts?

We’re determined to stick with GoDaddy. The pain.

It’s notorious. GoDaddy cheap, shared hosting proves our point. You can get fast speeds even under the worst conditions. But not if you injudiciously throw SSL on your site. You must use speed strategy – or spend money.

Bad news. SSL overhead can’t be cached. We choose not spending money – and using creativity for speed instead. In this case, it meant dividing the site.

You may wonder if site-splitting is self-defeating behavior. In this case, it’s not. The assumption is you lose caching speed benefits when you switch users to the sister store site. One secure and one unsecure (insecure?) site. But BONUS, we can’t use caching with Easy Digital Download ecommerce pages anyway. Caching and minification mess up the EDD plugin functions.

PagePipe has very few store pages compared to many blog posts. Most people enter our site from organic search via the blog posts. They then wander the site reading other content – and ultimately visiting the store. The store is rarely the landing pages.

This division into two sites meant we successfully maintained minification and caching plug complications on the biggest site. And it’s at our front door (our blog) where speed expectation is highest. By the time someone enters the store, they’re curiosity is often high enough to endure a longer wait. In this new case, no waiting was required.

We stupidly wondered, “What would happen if we let our SSL certificate expire?”

We decided, “Let the 90-day period run out.”

Bad choice.

It was a nightmare. The needed GoDaddy server changes in the Cpanel SSL settings were obscure at best. The store was down during prime time: a Friday night and Saturday morning because of our repeated fumbling.

We got our “Welcome to Bluehost” email at 4:33 pm Pacific time Friday. They immediately started email spamming us to buy more web stuff.

At 4:51 pm Friday, Bluehost billing department deactivated our account. Suspended forever.

Why? They didn’t like the word “Secure” in the domain name. It was too “spammy.” They said we had to provide approved proof of government identification to restore the site.

Hmm? GoDaddy never cared about our domain name of “secure-pagepipe-store.com.” Why did Bluehost care? Different standards – we guess.

Undeterred, we setup a new Bluehost account for another $59 with the domain name “PagePipe-ebooks.com” We’re getting good at this now – no spam judgement call – and got the store working again in short order. Wonderfully, we never touched the blog with all this buffoonery.

We migrated the store one more time. It’s working now and with free SSL. Whew.

And now we don’t have to worry about 90-day expiration or renewals any more.

Bluehost over charged us about 72 dollars on secure-store-pagepipe.com during registration. We’re working to get the money back plus the $59 hosting fee. We’ll see if we just ate $136 dollars learning from an unfortunate web experiment (mistake?). The cost of our education! We deselected all those silly Bluehost registration options and still got billed for them anyway. You know, those ridiculous opt-out features including:

Codeguard Basic – $35.88 annually.
SiteLock Security – $23.88 annually.
Domain Privacy Protection -$11.88 (secure-store-pagepipe.com) annually.
Tax – $4.66
PagePipe was billed: $135.70 total. Bluehost notified us the next Wednesday by email the hosting plan was cancelled and a refund issued. But to allow 7 to 10 days for processing.

So why in the world are we leaving our store on Bluehost? To prove we can take a ruthless beating. And still produce a fast site on cruddy hosting even after being treated like garbage.

Why did we use Bluehost when we could have bought a 1-year certificate from GoDaddy for $70 dollars? Well. It’s the value of speed. We’d die for good speed. It’s all about speed achievement in unconventional ways. We want to learn why things work the way they do – and then find a better alternative.

So today, the new PagePipe-store with SSL loads times are:

International Load Times, No CDN

PagePipe Blog start-here page
424.6k page weight, 25 requests

Pingdom to San Francisco
1.43 seconds
load time

Pingdom to Frankfurt
3.27 second
load time

Pingdom to London

1.93 second load time

Pingdom to Sao Paulo, Brazil
2.06 second load time

Pingdom to Tokyo
2.07 second load time

Pingdom to Sydney
2.28 second load time

PagePipe homepage

No CDN, no minification, no caching. BlueHost
421.8k page weight, 35 requests

Pingdom to San Francisco
1.32 seconds
load time

Pingdom to Frankfurt
1.75 seconds
load time

Pingdom to London

1.79 seconds load time

Pingdom to Sao Paulo, Brazil
2.44 seconds load time

Pingdom to Tokyo
2.51 seconds load time

Pingdom to Sydney
2.95 seconds load time


Steve Teare
performance engineer

Mobile WordPress Speed – without coding!

Coming Soon to PagePipe readers.

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