Important Notes on Godaddy Hosting
Before we begin with this step-to-step guide on how to fix slow Godaddy, we’d like to say a few words about this host provider.
Godaddy is pretty much everywhere and a very popular choice for website novices BUT Godaddy is actually not that good of a web hosting provider in terms of quality. When it comes to its position on the market, you could say it’s somewhere between a low and a mid-range quality provider.
This being said, it’s still possible to get a Godaddy website running relatively fast using the steps below so long as you don’t have huge traffic or processing requirements.
If your goal is to get the site running as fast as humanly possible you probably want to look at a different provider.
Often a better quality web host will cost you just a little bit more than what you’re already paying with Godaddy (hosting providers such as Siteground start from $4.95/month, and ones as devoted as Cloudways start from $10/month) – and you get to see an immediate difference. You’ll see how your website’s loading speed improves in a flash.
We already have a separate article on the fastest WordPress hosting services – you can check it out here; it also has a complete list of the highest performing WordPress hosts.
(BONUS: most of the hosts on the list will also allow you to move to their hosting service for FREE)
What to Expect When You Complain about Speed to Godaddy
A few more things you should know before we begin with the actual steps on how to fix slow
When you reach Godaddy customer support and complain about slow website speed, you can expect they’ll tell you how the problem lies in your website traffic and that it requires more resources. Next thing you know, you’re told to sign up for a higher plan or a dedicated server.
The thing with Godaddy and similar web hosts is that they have a business model that relies on scale – their value proposition is based on low-price versus high performance. What this means is that they cram too many sites (as many as they can, in fact) on a server and then run the servers to a breaking point (this goes even for the ones on the higher tiers).
Being one of the fastest hosts is definitely not their top priority. And that’s why upgrading to a higher (and more expensive) plan is also problematic; because you’re still on a host that doesn’t prioritize speed or performance – it’s like the premium option at the 2 dollar store, it’s premium but it’s still the 2 dollar store!
1. Start by Speed Testing Your Site
It’s very important that you start by doing a speed test so you can determine the reference point by which you’ll guide yourself through to your site improvements. For this, we used to recommend tools.pingdom.com but we’ve recently built our own speed test tool that will provide much more detailed and specific recommendations – take a look at app.wpspeedfix.com
Now, when it comes to loading speed, ideally you should aim for under 1 second in the country that’s hosting your site – under 1 second is this magical cutoff where the site load begins to feel instant.
But, this depends on several factors – one of them is what you have running on your site and the quality of the hosting provider, as well as what number of third-party tools you’ve installed.
With higher quality, faster host, we could easily get the site’s core to load in 600-800ms. If, however, you’ve installed, the Facebook Ad Pixel, Hubspot, Activecampaign or other kinds of CRM tracking software like Visual Web Optimizer, Luckyorange or Hotjar, it’s going to get much tougher to make the site load in under 1 second.
A realistic speed is somewhere around 1.5 seconds – most sites with a good quality hosting, even ones that have tons of tracking code and marketing, should be able to reach that mark in the country that’s hosting them.
Other Speed Testing Tools You Can Try:
There are lots of speed testing tools on the internet – two popular ones that you may want to check out are GTMetrix.com and Google Pagespeed Insights.
Our recommendation is that you do several speed tests on your site – this way you can get an average time because very often speed varies from test to test. Don’t forget to save screenshots for future reference.
2. Caching is a MUST DO!
Without caching you won’t get much out of WordPress.
Caching prebuilds each page on your website, making it ready for a new visitor hit. Without it, each time a visitor hits the site, the server will have to be bothered to execute PHP code, do MySQL database lookups, and then execute some more PHP code, so in the end it can generate an HTML file and send it to the visitor of the site.
If, however, you get a good caching plugin, the HTML file will be already prebuilt and ready to be sent to the visitor, which means it will also save you lots of loading time.
Basically, there are either one or two options when considering caching:
WP Rocket – a caching plugin that’s more suitable for the DIY types, or people that aren’t that knowledgable about technical requirements. One of the easiest caching plugins, it will give your website a great performance boost – and, it’s super cheap! Just try it yourself and see the immediate difference – by installing it, you’ll notice a drop in loading time of at least a couple of seconds.
W3 Total Cache – this one is a free plugin, which is also the fastest one there is. But, unlike WP Rocket, it’s more on the technical side and rather demanding when it comes to configuration. (NOTE: If you choose this one, use only the Page and Browser Caching. The object and database caching are not for use on Godaddy.)
Some of the better quality hosts, like WPEngine, Siteground, and Cloudways have their own caching plugin or have one that’s built-in. This also makes up one of the reasons why they’re considered such good and fast hosting providers. These companies have strong engineering teams that are able to build out caching features that smoke their plugin equivalents.
NOTE: Never try to install two caching plugins, they will certainly conflict. For those who don’t have much WordPress experience or more developed technical skills, we recommend you get the WP Rocket plugin.
3. Use CDN and/or Cloudflare
Cloudflare.com is such a content delivery network (CDN) and will help your website become faster, particularly for visitors outside its hosting zone. Cloudflare’s network spreads over more than 150 locations throughout the world, making it one of the fastest and biggest CDN’s out there.
The CDN will allow site visitors from another country (like, for example, an Australian visitor hitting up a site hosted in the US) to experience a faster loading time because a lot of the files are being loaded from local Australian servers, rather than ones located in the US.
We recommend getting the free Cloudflare plan for most users. But, if you’d like more advanced image optimization, as well as firewalling, you can also get the 20$/month plan. Just remember, if you get this plan, also consider moving to a better hosting provider.
For a more comprehensive CDN option, check out KeyCDN.
4. Utilize Image Compression
Compressing the images on your website is also very helpful when it comes to improving website loading time. You’ll find that most of the images can be compressed without losing any of its quality. Often, they get 20-50% smaller, which has proved to make a great difference when it comes to loading speed, particularly for slower connections.
Shortpixel is a plugin we’d recommend for this – it has features for advanced image optimization that a lot of other plugins out there don’t. Plus, they have a FREE plan, and also a tool (which you can find on their website) that will analyze your site and let you know how many of your images are compressible, and also how much space you’ll manage to save in the process.
5. Switch to HTTPS for HTTP2 Protocol support
Another great trick you can use is switching your website to encrypted mode, aka HTTPS. The whole web is actually moving to HTTPS encryption, and Google has even publicly stated that encrypted sites will rank higher than ones that are not HTTP encrypted.
HTTPS also enables the web browser software to utilize newer and faster protocol (HTTP2 protocol), in order to download files from your hosting much faster.
Remember that the Godaddy server your website is being hosted on will have to support newer protocol (and often older plans aren’t able to do this). But, if you enable Cloudflare, it will also enable the support for newer protocol, because Cloudflare has a built-in http2 functionality.
For speed comparison between HTTP 1.1 and HTTP v2, you can check out the short video below.
6. Use PHP7 and You’ll See a 30% Speed Increase!
PHP is the programming language WordPress runs on, and it comes in several versions. Most likely you’ll see version 5.6 (or a lower one), and also versions 7.0, 7.1 and 7.2.
PHP 7.0 is about 30% faster than v5.6, so if your site is rather new, it shouldn’t be a problem for you to make the switch.
Version 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3 are all cumulatively faster and will cause a 10-15% speed increase over version 7.0; ideally, you should opt for running the highest version your site is able to support.
NOTE: Before you make the switch, do a compatibility test. WPEngine provides a free plugin for this and it works on all web hosts. It will test your theme, as well as all your plugins so it can confirm that your site is compatible with PHP 7 or 7.1/7.2/7.3
The video below demonstrates how to change the PHP version in Godaddy:
7. Disable the Plugins You’re Not Using
A lot of sites (actually, most of them) contain lots of plugins that they don’t use anymore. The problem with this is that once the plugins are enabled, they make the site go slower. This is why you should make sure you run the plugins you really need, leaving as few as possible.
Go through the plugins you’ve got installed and check if each of them is still in use – the ones that aren’t, well, don’t think twice to disable them.
8. Advanced Troubleshooting
In the end, we’d like to share a few more advanced troubleshooting ideas:
- Update plugins to latest version – we often see sites that run years-old plugins, which aren’t compatible anymore with the version of WordPress that the site is running. By updating you’ll also most likely fix bugs that are slowing down the site.
- Query Monitor plugin – https://wordpress.org/plugins/query-monitor/ – a plugin which will give you a glance into each page load and tell you what’s going on. Perfect for uncovering broken code or plugins that are making the site slower.
- WP Optimize – https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-optimize/ – a plugin that will help you optimize your database queries.
- The FAST WordPress Hosting Companies – an article on the fastest WP hosts on the web right now