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Improve your Craft CMS skills

Is GoDaddy Suitable For Craft CMS Hosting?

10 min read
Andy Golpys Made By Shape Founder

Craft CMS's demanding architecture places heavy loads on hosting. Choosing an underpowered provider results in sluggish performance and headaches. This makes selecting the right hosting crucial. We’ll cover whether GoDaddy's platforms can run Craft CMS smoothly or if specialized options are better suited for the job, providing actionable insights into optimization techniques, ideal specifications, potential pitfalls, and more. You'll get the unbiased info needed to make an informed hosting decision for your Craft CMS site.

GoDaddy's entry-level shared hosting offers limited resources and configurability that can bottleneck demanding systems like Craft CMS. While affordable initially, upgrading to GoDaddy's more robust VPS and dedicated plans provides the power and flexibility Craft CMS requires for optimal performance at scale. Alternatives like specialized CMS hosts may be optimal long-term.

Understanding Craft CMS Technical Requirements

Craft CMS Architecture and System Demands

Craft CMS is built on PHP and has a demanding architecture that requires robust hosting resources to run optimally. At its core, Craft leverages a typical LAMP stack setup - Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. This means the hosting environment needs to support PHP 7.0 or greater, Apache or Nginx web servers, and MySQL 5.5+ or MariaDB 10.0+.

Specifically, Craft CMS makes use of many PHP extensions like PDO, GD, cURL, DOM, and Mbstring. The server will need to have these installed and enabled for Craft to function properly. Some of the more resource intensive addons and plugins may require additional extensions as well.

In terms of hardware resources, Craft CMS requires a decent amount of RAM and CPU to operate smoothly. A good benchmark is a minimum of 4GB RAM and 2 CPU cores. This allows Craft to handle several simultaneous requests and run tasks like search indexing without lagging. For production sites with heavy traffic, 8-16GB+ RAM and 4+ cores is recommended.

Storage is another key requirement, as assets and content will quickly consume disk space. At minimum 50GB is advised, but having 200GB+ available is ideal for growth. The storage should use a high performance SSD rather than a slow HDD.

Overall, Craft CMS places substantial demands on the underlying server infrastructure compared to many other content management systems. Choosing an optimized, CMS-ready hosting platform designed to provide ample resources is crucial for achieving the best Craft CMS performance.

Benefits of Optimization and Caching

While Craft CMS is resource intensive, there are several optimization techniques that can dramatically improve site performance. Implementing caching, minifying assets, and leveraging a content delivery network (CDN) are some of the most impactful ways to speed up page load times.

Caching involves storing rendered pages, data queries, and other app logic temporarily to avoid having to regenerate it on every request. This reduces CPU usage and database load significantly. Craft CMS supports Redis, Memcache, and File-based caching out of the box.

Asset minification condenses CSS, JavaScript, images, and other files by removing unnecessary code and whitespace without affecting functionality. This results in smaller file sizes and faster browser loading. Craft has a built-in asset revving feature to rename files with a hash for better caching.

A CDN distributes static assets globally on edge servers spread across different geographic regions. By serving assets from a nearby CDN location, website visitors get much faster download speeds no matter where they are located. Craft integrates easily with major CDNs like Cloudflare, KeyCDN, and Amazon CloudFront.

Combined, these optimization strategies can reduce page load times by 50-80%. They also allow a Craft CMS site to comfortably handle unpredictable traffic spikes from social media sharing or other events without maxing out server resources.

Hosting Environment Considerations

The hosting environment has a major influence over Craft CMS performance and stability. Choosing an optimized, CMS-specific hosting platform tailored for PHP-based systems like Craft is highly recommended. Here are some key factors to evaluate:

  • PHP Version - The hosting needs to run PHP 7.0 or newer to match Craft's requirements. PHP 7.4, 8.0 or 8.1 are ideal. Older versions of PHP like 5.6 will not be compatible.

  • Required Extensions - All the extensions Craft relies on like PDO, Mbstring, GD need to be installed and ready to use. The server stack should be optimized for CMSes.

  • Web Server Software - Apache or Nginx are preferred. Alternative web servers like IIS may cause compatibility issues. The web server needs to be configured for top PHP performance.

  • Database Support - MySQL and MariaDB are recommended, as they are natively supported by Craft. Other databases like PostgreSQL may require additional configuration.

  • Server Resources - There needs to be sufficient RAM, fast CPUs, and high-speed SSD storage allocated to power Craft CMS effectively. Limited resources will hinder performance.

A well-configured, CMS-specific hosting environment eliminates common issues like server errors, slow load times, and downtime problems. It ensures Craft CMS can run smoothly while still having resources to spare for future growth and expansion.

Evaluating GoDaddy's Hosting Plans and Infrastructure

Overview of GoDaddy's Hosting Solutions

GoDaddy is one of the world's largest web hosting providers, offering a range of shared, VPS, and dedicated server hosting plans. They also provide managed WordPress hosting optimised specifically for WordPress sites.

Their shared hosting plans utilise a global server infrastructure across 7 datacenters in the US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Resources like CPU, memory, and bandwidth are shared between multiple customer accounts on each server. Plans start from just £2.99/month for 100GB storage and unmetered bandwidth.

This shared platform is designed to be affordable, easy to use, and suitable for smaller personal and business sites. GoDaddy emphasizes simplicity - one-click WordPress installs, automatic backups, and phone support are included. Each plan comes with a free domain name registration.

For more demanding users, GoDaddy offers virtual private servers (VPS) and dedicated hosting. These provide allocated resources that are not shared, along with full root access to the underlying server. Pricing starts at £21.99/month for a starter VPS and £79.99/month for dedicated servers.

The managed WordPress hosting provides pre-configured WordPress environments on a managed infrastructure. Prices are £7.99/month for the basic plan with one site. There are enhanced plans for higher traffic needs too.

Overall, GoDaddy aims to provide an accessible entry-point into web hosting for individuals and small businesses. Their global infrastructure offers reliability, whilst still keeping costs low.

Limitations of Entry-Level Shared Hosting

While affordable and user-friendly, GoDaddy's basic shared hosting plans do have some limitations when it comes to hosting more resource intensive CMS platforms like Craft CMS.

The main constraints revolve around limited hardware resources and little control over the hosting environment. On shared servers, CPU, memory, storage space, and bandwidth are shared between many accounts. This can lead to sluggish performance when neighbouring accounts consume substantial resources.

There is also very little ability to customize and optimize the server configuration and PHP settings. Options like PHP versions or installed extensions are standardized across the shared infrastructure. For a demanding system like Craft CMS, not having full control over the stack can cause compatibility and performance issues.

Uptime and reliability may also be inconsistent compared to managed hosting solutions designed for CMS platforms. GoDaddy's entry-level plans are hosted on dense, shared infrastructure less suited for mission-critical sites.

For small, low-traffic websites with minimal server demands, shared hosting can be adequate. But for more complex apps like Craft that require high resources and customization, the restrictions around performance and configuration are often too limiting.

VPS and Dedicated Hosting Benefits

For running intensive web apps like Craft CMS smoothly, GoDaddy's VPS and dedicated hosting services can be better options compared to basic shared plans.

With VPS hosting, users still access a virtual machine but resources like CPU, RAM, and storage are allocated specifically to their account. This guarantees high performance even during periods of heavy site traffic.

Dedicated hosting takes this a step further by providing an entire physical server maintained solely for one account. This enables complete control over the operating system, web server software, PHP version, installed extensions, and all other stack components.

Both VPS and dedicated options enable installing any additional software required. There are no restrictions around limiting or standardizing the environment, as there are with shared hosting.

The ability to fully customize and tune the hosting platform is extremely beneficial for a CMS like Craft. It ensures the server configuration precisely matches Craft's technical needs for optimal performance and stability.

However, the increased flexibility comes at a higher cost. Managed VPS solutions start around £22/month for 1GB RAM and 30GB storage. Dedicated servers begin at £80/month for 4GB RAM and 120GB storage

For users with demanding hosting needs and more complex web apps, GoDaddy's VPS and dedicated offerings provide the configurability missing from basic shared plans. The greater control and dedicated resources enable running CMS platforms like Craft CMS smoothly and reliably.

Optimizing Craft CMS Performance on GoDaddy

Recommended Specifications

When it comes to hosting Craft CMS on GoDaddy's infrastructure, using one of their more robust VPS or dedicated server offerings is highly recommended to provide sufficient resources. The entry-level shared hosting plans often have hard limitations around allocated RAM, CPU cores, storage space and bandwidth that can bottleneck performance. Craft CMS tends to consume a substantial amount of resources when rendering pages, retrieving content, and building the frontend site experience. As such, having adequate hosting specifications is crucial.

For RAM, a minimum of 4GB is required just to operate a small Craft site, but production sites expecting high traffic volumes will benefit greatly from plans with 8-16GB of RAM or even higher. The extra memory headroom allows Craft CMS to cache content effectively while still having capacity remaining to handle simultaneous requests under load without swapping memory to disk.

In terms of processing power, choosing a hosting plan with at least 2-4 CPU cores is advised. For large production sites with extensive content and complex templates, scaling up to plans with 6 or 8 CPU cores can provide the necessary processing capacity to respond smoothly even during peak traffic surges. Craft CMS is designed to leverage multiple cores fairly efficiently, so more cores directly translates to better concurrency and performance.

Storage is another area to ensure sufficient capacity, as assets and content managed within Craft CMS will quickly consume disk space. Starting with at least 50GB of SSD-based storage is recommended, but planning for 200GB or more will allow generous headroom for growth. Using high-speed solid state drives rather than traditional hard disk drives is strongly advised, as their faster input/output performance reduces the latency of reading and writing files substantially.

Lastly, when it comes to the PHP version and underlying software stack, PHP 7.4 tends to provide the best blend of performance and compatibility for Craft CMS. While earlier versions like PHP 7.0+ may technically work, newer releases like PHP 7.4 and 8.0 include optimizations and improvements that boost Craft's capabilities. So leveraging the latest stable PHP version available on the hosting plan is ideal.

With these reasonable specifications provided through a robust mid-tier VPS or dedicated server plan, Craft CMS can deliver smooth and responsive performance on GoDaddy's infrastructure for small to medium-sized sites. Larger implementations with extensive content libraries and complex workflows may require scaling resource allocations up further, to around 8-16GB+ of RAM, 6-8+ CPU cores, and 200GB+ of SSD storage for optimal results.

Potential Bottlenecks to Avoid

On the other hand, attempting to host Craft CMS on underpowered entry-level shared hosting plans can introduce various performance bottlenecks:

Firstly, the limited hardware resources - RAM, CPU cores, disk space - allocated to each shared hosting account makes it very difficult to operate a resource-intensive CMS like Craft smoothly.

Shared hosting is designed for smaller, simpler sites. When resources are capped to a few hundred megabytes of RAM and a fraction of a CPU core, it will severely throttle the ability for Craft to render pages quickly.

Secondly, many entry-level plans impose hard limits on aspects like bandwidth, monthly CPU usage, or concurrent connections as a way to ensure consistent shared resource availability.

However, this puts a strict ceiling on the site's capabilities. During traffic spikes, the usage limits can be exceeded and further requests denied or throttled, crippling site responsiveness.

Thirdly, the "noisy neighbor" effect on shared hosting servers also impairs performance consistency. When neighboring sites on the same server consume more resources, it takes away capacity for your own site leading to lag and timeouts. The lack of resource isolation makes performance highly variable.

And lastly, shared hosting often utilizes older, sub-optimal software stacks that may not fulfill Craft CMS' requirements around PHP versions, required PHP extensions, or web server software supported. The standardized stacks may work for simpler CMSes but prove incompatible with a more demanding system like Craft.

Overall, the severe constraints around resources, limits, consistency and software stack compatibility make basic shared hosting a poor fit for running Craft CMS smoothly at scale. The potential bottlenecks can simply be avoided by utilizing robust mid-tier VPS or dedicated hosting plans tailored for CMS platforms instead. Their isolated, dedicated resources and customizable stacks align much more closely with Craft's demanding technical requirements.

Optimization Best Practices

In addition to sufficient hosting specifications, there are also various performance optimization best practices that can help Craft CMS run faster and more efficiently on GoDaddy's infrastructure:

Implementing caching solutions like Redis or Memcached will drastically accelerate page loads by avoiding hitting the database on every request to rebuild the page and query for content. With cached data in memory, pages can be assembled much quicker. Craft CMS has native support for different caching backends.

Reducing the filesize of CSS, JavaScript, images and other assets through minification and compression will significantly speed up browser loading. Craft CMS includes built-in asset revving features that rename files with a hash for better long-term caching as well. Using a content delivery network (CDN) like Cloudflare to distribute assets globally also accelerates asset delivery.

On the database side, tuning and optimizing queries and indexes based on frontend access patterns will improve response times. Avoiding expensive queries and using cached data can also help.

Limiting bloat from excessive plugins is advised. Auditing installed plugins and removing unnecessary ones reduces overhead and keeps the CMS lean. Similarly, bundling multiple CSS and JS files via code splitting decreases HTTP requests required.

Following these optimization practices in addition to providing adequate hosting specifications will allow a GoDaddy-hosted Craft CMS site to deliver excellent frontend performance and scale smoothly as traffic grows. The key is avoiding the bottlenecks of underpowered shared hosting by leveraging robust VPS or dedicated resources, along with performance best practices fine-tuned for Craft CMS's architecture.

Key Factors When Evaluating GoDaddy for Craft CMS

Traffic and Growth Expectations

When evaluating if GoDaddy is well-suited for hosting Craft CMS, one of the most important considerations is projecting the expected traffic volumes and growth for the site(s).

For smaller sites anticipating only a few thousand visits per month, GoDaddy’s entry-level shared hosting can likely accommodate the workload. But for sites forecasting significant growth to tens or hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors, GoDaddy’s limitations around resources and scalability become more problematic.

At larger scales, the constrained resources and inconsistent performance of shared hosting will struggle. The density and noisiness of GoDaddy's shared infrastructure is less suited for mission-critical, high-traffic Craft CMS installations. More powerful VPS or dedicated plans become necessary.

So it's crucial to analyze projected traffic and growth before opting for GoDaddy. More modest implementations can leverage GoDaddy's affordability and simplicity. But large enterprise sites will likely require upgraded hosting plans or alternative providers tailored for greater scale.

Number and Complexity of Sites

In addition to traffic volumes, the number of sites to be hosted and their complexity should influence the GoDaddy evaluation.

For example, if you only need to host a single, relatively simple website on Craft CMS, entry-level shared hosting may suffice, even at higher traffic levels. But if managing 10, 20 or more complex, resource-intensive Craft sites, GoDaddy’s limitations become more apparent.

The greater number of installs and cumulative resource demands make it harder to operate within the constrained shared resources. The complexity and customizations applied to each Craft site also increase hosting requirements.

In these cases, upgrading to GoDaddy’s higher-tier VPS or dedicated offerings can better accommodate the needs. Alternately, choosing a specialized Craft CMS hosting provider may provide plans and infrastructure more tailored for multiple complex Craft workloads.

So both the quantity of sites and their individual complexity should factor into determining if GoDaddy's hosting solutions align with the requirements.

Budget Constraints

Budget and affordability are also key aspects to evaluate when reviewing hosting options. GoDaddy's prices are very affordable, especially for their entry-level shared plans starting at just £3.99/month.

This can enable getting started with Craft CMS hosting for very low cost. However, the severe limitations around resources, performance and scale may hinder more demanding projects. The low monthly fees come at the cost of quality and capabilities.

That said, for small Craft CMS sites operating within the limitations of shared hosting, GoDaddy can be a cost-effective option even for the long term. Their global infrastructure provides a budget friendly starting point.

For more advanced needs, GoDaddy's VPS and dedicated offerings provide better capabilities and performance at around £20-80/month. While costlier than shared plans, they enable hosting Craft CMS reliably while still being reasonably priced.

And even on shared hosting, following Craft CMS optimization best practices around caching, asset delivery, and database tuning can help maximize the limited resources. On a budget, optimizing meticulously helps craft run smoothly.

So in summary, budget constraints play a role in evaluating GoDaddy. Their shared hosting is extremely affordable but has capability tradeoffs. Upgraded VPS/dedicated plans offer more resources for additional cost. And performance best practices can further optimize resource-constrained plans. Balancing these dynamics is key.

Alternatives to GoDaddy for Hosting Craft CMS

Specialized CMS Hosting Services

For hosting Craft CMS, one alternative to consider beyond GoDaddy are specialized CMS hosting providers that offer infrastructure and support optimized specifically for platforms like Craft.

These services like Pantheon, Kinsta, and WPENgine cater their technology stack, server configurations, and service offerings directly to popular CMSes like WordPress, Drupal and Craft CMS.

Their hosting infrastructure utilizes high-performance server hardware, fast networking, and top-tier datacenters to provide extremely fast I/O speeds ideal for dynamic CMSes. Disk storage leverages blazing fast SSDs instead of slower HDDs.

The server operating systems, web server software like Nginx, PHP versions, and installed extensions are all tuned precisely to what each CMS recommends for optimal security and performance. Required PHP extensions for Craft CMS are ensured.

In terms of support, these specialized providers have deep expertise working with CMS platforms on a daily basis. Their teams understand intricacies like caching, traffic load balancing, and scaling individual CMSes like Craft to large volumes. Support can provide CMS-specific guidance beyond generic hosting assistance.

The dedicated infrastructure and expertise allow these CMS hosting services to handle demanding CMS workloads with excellent performance, stability and scalability. However, costs are higher than generic shared hosting, with plans starting around £25+ per month.

For users wanting the best Craft CMS hosting experience, choosing a provider dedicated to optimizing for CMS platforms can be worth the premium over more generic options.

Other Popular Shared Hosting Providers

Besides specialized CMS hosting, there are a number of other well-regarded shared hosting providers like SiteGround that can make for alternatives to consider over GoDaddy.

Compared to GoDaddy's entry-level plans, hosts like SiteGround typically provide higher resource limits, faster server hardware, and better support for CMS platforms within their base shared hosting offerings.

For example, even SiteGround's starting shared plan includes up to 10GB RAM per account, far greater than GoDaddy's constraints of 1-2GB for entry-level shared. CPU and storage resources are similarly more generous.

SiteGround utilizes fewer accounts per server, reducing noisy neighbor activity. They run fewer outdated legacy systems, with modern PHP 7.4 being the standard. Required Craft CMS extensions are actively confirmed as supported.

Backups, caching, security protections, and CDNs are built-in and configured out of the box. There are also CMS-specific tools and guides provided for platforms like WordPress and Craft.

Pricing is very competitive, with plans starting around £3.99/month. While slightly above GoDaddy's basement pricing, the extra cost brings substantially improved hosting capabilities.

For users wanting shared hosting with good Craft CMS support, SiteGround and similar well-regarded providers offer an appealing middle-ground between GoDaddy and costly CMS niche hosts.

VPS and Cloud Hosting

VPS and cloud hosting services like DigitalOcean, Linode and Vultr also represent alternatives for self-managed Craft CMS deployments.

With these providers, users get allocated virtual private servers or infrastructure with dedicated resources, root access, and the ability to fully customize the server stack.

The flexibility allows configuring the perfect environment for Craft CMS - from the operating system and web server software to PHP versions and installed extensions.

Resources can be scaled up smoothly to add more RAM, CPU cores or SSD storage as site traffic grows. High-end VPS configurations rival or even exceed dedicated servers at lower cost.

However, without managed support, the responsibility of securing, optimizing, and maintaining the VPS or cloud infrastructure falls upon the user. Strong technical expertise is required. VPS hosting is not a beginner-friendly option.

But for developers wanting maximal control and scalability for Craft CMS, VPS and cloud hosting provide an alternative to consider beyond shared providers like GoDaddy.

Getting the Most Out of GoDaddy for Craft CMS

Tips for Optimizing GoDaddy Hosting

If choosing to host Craft CMS on GoDaddy's infrastructure, there are a few tips to optimize performance:

  • Start with a mid-tier VPS or dedicated plan instead of bare minimum shared hosting to access more resources and avoid limitations.

  • Actively monitor site traffic, memory usage, load times and other metrics to identify needs for scaling or optimization.

  • Take advantage of all available caching methods - Redis, Memcached, database caching, etc. to reduce server strain. Implement asset minification and a CDN.

  • Tune the database by optimizing indexes, queries, and structure based on Craft CMS access patterns. Avoid expensive queries on the frontend.

  • Limit bloat from excessive plugins/modules. Regularly audit and remove unnecessary plugins contributing overhead.

  • Bundle multiple CSS and JS files to limit HTTP requests. Enable Craft's code splitting features.

  • Use an optimized web server like Nginx instead of Apache for increased performance.

  • Consider upgrading to a GoDaddy VPS or dedicated plan before resource limits are reached. Proactively scale up hosting as site growth demands.

Following these tips will help maximize Craft CMS performance on GoDaddy shared hosting. But upgrading plans may still be required at larger scales.

When GoDaddy Can Still be a Good Option

While GoDaddy's entry-level shared hosting has its limitations for demanding apps like Craft CMS, there are still scenarios where it can be a good option:

For small personal sites that expect very little traffic, the limited resources may not pose an issue, especially if actively optimized. The affordability can outweigh drawbacks.

For testing out a Craft CMS site before launch, shared hosting provides an extremely low-cost way to experiment before migrating to more robust production hosting.

If all that’s needed is a simple brochure-like informational Craft site with minimal dynamic content and traffic, shared hosting may suffice.

For these types of use cases where the hosting requirements are modest, utilizing GoDaddy's most basic plans in a cost-effective manner can make sense for Craft CMS users with strict budget limitations.

Scaling Up and Migrating Away

As a Craft CMS site grows beyond the limited resources and capabilities of entry-level GoDaddy shared hosting, there are a couple options to consider:

Upgrading to a GoDaddy VPS or dedicated server plan can provide the additional resources and configurability needed to run Craft CMS smoothly at larger scales. Their mid and upper tier plans offer an incremental upgrade path.

Alternatively, for users wanting specialized Craft CMS optimization, migrating to an alternative hosting provider with plans built specifically for CMS platforms could be preferable. Their infrastructure and expertise can better support large complex Craft implementations.

When outgrowing shared hosting limitations, assess whether GoDaddy’s upgraded plans can suffice, or if moving to a niche CMS host is the best long-term option.

In terms of migration, use Craft's built-in tools or a plugin like Craft Sync to transfer over all Craft sites, databases, and assets to the new hosting destination with minimal downtime or interruptions.

For smaller implementations, configuring a staging environment on the new host prior to cutover can enable finely tuning and testing the new production environment.

With some careful planning, the migration process can be straightforward even for large and complex Craft CMS sites that have outgrown their initial GoDaddy shared hosting environment.

Shape April 2022 HR 202
Andy Golpys
- Author

Andy has scaled multiple businesses and is a big believer in Craft CMS as a tool that benefits both Designer, Developer and Client. 

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