How To Fix Slow WordPress Hosting On GoDaddy

Slow Godaddy website and how to fix it
Slow Godaddy website and how to fix it

Some Important Remarks Regarding Godaddy Hosting:

Optimizing the speed of our customers’ websites has been something we started as part of our agency, and it ended up with the creation of a whole new business focusing on WordPress Speed Optimization – WPSpeedFix.com.

Offering this service, has allowed us to see and optimize hundreds of Godaddy hosted sites in the last 2-3 years.

The article below is a simple, actionable guide to help you fix your slow GoDaddy site and get it lightning fast. Of course, if you get stuck you can always reach out.

And before we start with the details of what we’re going to talk about here, we want to be honest with you about some stuff considering Godaddy hosting. Even though it’s one of the most famous names in the web-hosting space and a lot of the times a primary, instant choice for website first-timers, Godaddy has continued to challenge its initial rep.

The point is – it’s actually not that great of a web hosting service provider, despite being ubiquitous on the internet. In terms of where it sits in the market it’s quality would be rated as somewhere between a low -mid range quality provider.

That said, you can still get a Godaddy site running with fairly good speed, provided you follow the steps we’ve stated below, but the site would have to be rather simple and with low traffic. We’re talking about a few hundred users or so per month.

If, however, you’re trying to make your site go as fast as possible to keep up with your growth, you’re probably better off first looking at an alternate provider.

More often than not a higher-quality WP host will cost only slightly more than what you’re paying with GoDaddy (hosting providers such as Siteground start from $4.95/month, or one that’s as devoted as Cloudways will start from $10/month), but you’ll see the difference straight away. Sign up for one of those and you’ll start seeing how the loading speed of your site improves significantly in no time.

We have a special article on the fastest WordPress hosting services that you can check out here; it also contains a complete list of WordPress hosts with the highest performances.

(BONUS: most of the hosts that are on the list will also allow you to change hosts for FREE)

What To Expect When Complaining about Your Site’s Speed to Godaddy

So, there’s a few things you should know before we move on to technical stuff.

Usually, when you contact Godaddy customer support and complain about the slow loading speed of your website, it’s highly likely they’ll inform you the problem is your website receiving too much traffic. They’ll also probably tell you how you need to get a bigger server, and then they will advise you to get signed up for a higher plan or a dedicated server.

Web-hosting service providers like Godaddy use a business model that relies on scale and their value proposition is based on low-price versus high performance – this means that they stack as many sites as they can on a server and thus run their servers to breaking point. Even on the higher tiers. So, their top priority is definitely not to be the fastest host out there. And there lies the problem of upgrading to a more expensive plan.

No matter what you upgrade too, if you’re sharing resources with hundreds of other sites you’re still going to be slow.

1. Speed Test Your Site

First and foremost you should start with speed testing your website, so you could use that as a reference point for the changes, aka speed improvements you’ll be making. We recommend using the speed testing tool Pingdom.

An ideal loading speed should be under 1 second, provided you’re in the country the site is being hosted in. The under-1-second mark is a time reference in which the site load feels instant.

However, this depends on a couple of factors. It depends on what you’ve got running on your site, as well as on the quality of the web-hosting provider, and the number of third-party tools you’ve installed certainly plays a part.

If you have a high quality, fast host, we can get the core of the site to load in 600-800ms without a problem. But, if you’ve installed a bunch of third-party tools like Facebook Ad Pixel, Hubspot, Activecampaign or other kinds of CRM tracking software like Visual Web Optimizer, Luckyorange or Hotjar, it’s very likely that it’s going to be tough to get the site loading under 1 second.

Even with a ton of marketing and tracking code most sites on high quality hosting should be able to get somewhere around a 1.5 second load time in the country they’re hosted in.

Other speed testing tools that you can check out:

There’s a wide range of speed testing tools out there -. for example, GTMetrix.com and Google Pagespeed Insights are two popular ones you could use.

We chose Pingdom primarily because we think it’s the one that’s closest to real-world speed; plus, it actually measures speed, as opposed to Google Pagespeed Insights which measures your site against a technical checklist, and then gives you a score.

We recommend doing a couple of speed tests on your site, in order to get an average time as speed will likely vary from test to test.

An Overview of a Pingdom Speed Test

A little further below you can find a screenshot of a Pingdom test that we’ve made for our WP Speed Fix website. But now let’s go over the most important elements of the test you should dedicate your attention to.

URL – or the address of your website. Here it’s important to remember to always put the primary website address. The problem is that lots of people simply omit the www part, without knowing that this actually contributes to a 1 to 2-second additional delay to the speeding test. The reason for this is that the website is trying to load by default, as it would with a www in front of its address.

“Test From” – this indicates the country from which the test is being executed. Here it’s important to consider the country where most of your website visitors come from. This means that you should expect a 0.5-1 seconds slower running time of your website in countries outside its hosting zone. The site we made the speed testing on is hosted in the US, which means that loading it from Australia, we’d expect about 1 second of loading time.

Load Time – it’s pretty obvious, but yes, this is the most important metric of the test. As we mentioned earlier, the goal is loading time under 1 second.

Page Size – this element marks the total size of the page. It’s pretty straightforward – the smaller, the better. Usually, a site rich with images will be about 1-2mb. In our case, the size was 502kb (which is half a megabyte). It’s not uncommon to see page sizes ranging from 5 to 15mb, which will definitely render it slow on a standard internet connection.

Requests –  this goes by the same rule as the page size. The lower the number of requests, the better. Most of the fast loading sites have between 50-100 requests. When you start to get over 200 requests, you’ll notice how the site starts to get slower and slower, particularly on smaller, mobile devices with a smaller amount of CPU power.

How to read a Pingdom Speed Test

Pingdom Site Speed Explained

2. Consider Caching a MUST

Without caching don’t expect to get much out of WordPress.

Caching prebuilds each page on your website, making it ready and set to go when a visitor hits it. Without caching, with each website visitor the server will need to execute PHP code, then do MySQL database lookups, and then execute some more PHP code, so it can, in the end, generate a HTML file and send it to the site visitor.

But if you get a good caching plugin, the HTML file will be already prebuilt and ready to be sent to the visitor meaning you save a bunch of time.

Basically, there are either one or two options when considering caching:

WP Rocket is a caching plugin oriented more towards do-it-yourself enthusiasts, or people that are not that versed in more demanding, technical stuff. It’s an easy to use caching plugin and will definitely provide you with a superb performance boost. It’s one of the easiest plugins of its kind currently out there and it’s really, really cheap. Try it out yourself and you’ll see – if you still don’t have caching and are experiencing loading times higher than 5 seconds, by installing the plugin you’ll immediately see a drop of at least few seconds.

W3 Total Cache is a free plugin and the fastest one out there. But, it comes with a different kind of price – it’s rather technical and demanding to configure. (NOTE: If you opt for this one, use only the Page and Browser Caching. The object and database caching are not for use on Godaddy.)

Some higher quality hosts, like WPEngine, Cloudways and Siteground have their own caching plugin or have one built-in. This is one of the reasons why they provide such fast hosting services. 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, because they will be conflict. For those who don’t have much WordPress experience or more developed technical skills, we recommend getting the WP Rocket plugin.

WPRocket WordPress Caching

3. Make Sure to Use CDN and/or Cloudflare

CDN is an abbreviation for Content Delivery Network and it’s basically a network of servers that help deliver the static assets from your website to its visitors (such as CSS files and javascript, as well as image files), and it relieves the hosting server of the task of doing it.

Cloudflare.com is one such content delivery network (CDN) and will definitely help your website speed up, particularly for visitors from other countries. Cloudflare’s network spans more than 150 locations throughout the world, and all of this makes it one of the fastest and biggest CDN’s out there.

The CDN will allow site visitors that are not from the hosting country (like, for example, an Australian visitor hitting up a site hosted in the US) to get a faster loading time, because a large portion of the files are actually being loaded from local Australian servers, rather than the ones in the US.

We recommend the free Cloudflare plan for most users. If you want a more advanced image optimization, as well as firewalling, you can get the 20$/month plan, but before doing so please consider moving to a better hosting provider.

For a more comprehensive CDN option, check out KeyCDN.

4. Utilize Image Compression

Compressing your website images is another trick to improve website loading time. Most website images can be compressed without a reduction in quality. This means that a lot of the time they get 20-50% smaller than before, which proves to make a big, big difference in the loading speed, especially when it comes to slower connections.

A plugin we’d recommend for this would be Shortpixel, because it has some advanced image optimization features that most other plugins don’t. Another plus is that they have a FREE plan, as well as a tool (you can find it on their website) which will actually analyze your site and will let you know how many of your images can be compressed, and also how much space you’ll save in the process.

Wordpress Image Optimization Compression Test Tool

5. Switch to HTTPS for HTTP2 Protocol support

So, this is another valuable trick in the book – switch your website to an encrypted mode, aka HTTPS. This is important because the entire web is moving to HTTPS encryption, and also Google has explicitly and publicly stated that sites that are encrypted will rank higher than ones which are not HTTP encrypted.

HTTPS also enables web browser software to use faster and newer protocol (this is the HTTP2 protocol), so it can download files from your hosting much faster.

Keep in mind that the Godaddy server that you’re on will need to support the newer protocol (and older plans may, in fact, not be able to). The good news is that if you enable Cloudflare, it will, in turn, enable this kind of support, because Cloudflare has 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%+ Increase in Speed!

PHP is the programming language which WordPress is run on, and it comes in several versions. You’re most likely to see version 5.6 (or a lower one), and also versions 7.0, 7.1 and 7.2.

PHP 7.X is about 30% faster than v5.6 so if your site is relatively new you should be able to make the switch.

Version 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3 are all incrementally faster and will see a 10-15% increase in speed over version 7.0 so ideally you want to be running the highest version your site supports.

NOTE: Before you make the switch, though, make sure to do a compatibility test. WPEngine provides a free plugin for this and it works on any web host. It will test your theme and all your plugins in order to 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 Plugins You’re Not Using

This is rather simple. A lot of sites, in fact, most of them, actually contain plugins that aren’t used any longer. The problem with plugins is once they’re enabled, they also slow down the site, so make sure you run the plugins you really need, and they’re as few as possible.

Just go through the plugins you’ve installed and see if each is still being used – if a particular plugin isn’t, then don’t hesitate to disable it.

8. Advanced Troubleshooting

As concluding remarks, we’d like to give you a couple of more advanced troubleshooting ideas:

  • Plugins should be updated to their latest version – we often encounter sites which run plugins a couple of years old and no longer compatible with the version of WordPress that the site is running. And just by updating all the plugins to the latest versions, you’ll likely fix bugs that are making the site go slower.
  • Query Monitor pluginhttps://wordpress.org/plugins/query-monitor/ – this is a plugin which will allow you to look into each page load and tell you what’s going on. It’s great for uncovering broken code or plugins that are slowing down the site.
  • WP Optimizehttps://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-optimize/ – a plugin that will help you optimize your database queries.

Other Resources:

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