How To Improve Server Response Time On GoDaddy WordPress Hosting (The Recommendation From Google PageSpeed Insights)

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Getting slow server response times on GoDaddy?

If you ran your site though Google PageSpeed Insights or Bitcatcha, your server response time should be under 200ms like Google recommends. If it’s not, I will show you how to improve it.

Here’s how to fix slow server response times on GoDaddy: upgrade to PHP 7.2, activate Cloudflare’s free CDN in Bluehost’s cPanel, and install a few speed plugins (Autoptimize, WP-Optimize, Heartbeat Control, Blackhole For Bad Bots, WP Disable, CAOS Analytics, CAOS Fonts, and ShortPixel). Don’t worry, I’ll walk you through these. You should also avoid high CPU plugins which consume server resources, and optimize images. Not only will these make response times faster, but they will also improve scores and load times in GTmetrix/Pingdom.

Disclaimer: GoDaddy is known for being cheap (not fast) which is reflected in your server response times. WordPress Hosting Facebook Group to see what real, unbiased people are saying. Most people with a serious (eg. business) website are using SiteGround, Cloudways, Kinsta, or WP Engine. I use SiteGround who was the #1 host in 25+ Facebook polls and have 200ms response times, 100% GTmetrix scores, and a .4s load times in Pingdom. As you grow, you need better hosting, and GoDaddy isn’t it. Do your research and consider someone else.

 

1. Test Server Response Times

Run your site through Bitcatcha and check your server response times:

Bitcatcha Server Speed Report

You can also use Google PageSpeed Insights:

Reduce Server Response Time

As long as you’re hosted with GoDaddy, you’re not alone. Any $3.95/month hosting plan won’t get you great response times. Follow my guide and if they’re still high, you know the problem.

Slow Godaddy

Godaddy Server Response Time

Slow Server Response Times on Godaddy

Godaddy Server Response Times

Slow Godaddy Server Response Time

Godaddy Managed WordPress Hosting Feedback

Hmmm.

 

2. Upgrade To PHP 7.2

Upgrading to a higher PHP versions makes your site significantly faster (and more secure).

WordPress PHP Benchmarks

But many WordPress users still run outdated PHP versions.

WordPress-PHP-Version-Stats

GoDaddy says:

“PHP 7 is available for cPanel customers on either Shared or Business Hosting.”

Unfortunately, if you don’t have a GoDaddy plan with cPanel, it is not available to you. Many GoDaddy customers aren’t happy about this, and it’s another drawback to using their hosting.

Step 1: Check your current PHP version using the Display PHP Version plugin.

Display-PHP

Step 2: Run the PHP Compatibility Checker plugin to make sure your plugins are compatible.

PHP-Compatibility-Checker

Step 3: Upgrade to PHP 7+ in your GoDaddy cPanel (higher versions are faster).

Godaddy PHP 7.2

Step 4: Test your website for errors. You can also revert to an earlier version if need be.

 

3. Autoptimize

GoDaddy has their own built-in caching system, and they blacklist cache plugins because of this. The problem is, cache plugins are also used to optimize code (eg. minification), and perform other functions that make your site faster, many of which are found in GTmetrix. Autoptimize will at least take care of the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code optimizations.

Autoptimize-Main-Settings

To setup a CDN (content delivery network), see the CDN section.

Autoptimize-Extra-Settings

 

4. Clean Database

Your database can accumulate junk files like spam comments, deleted comments, post revisions, trackbacks, pingbacks, expired transients, and other things you do not need.

Install the WP-Optimize plugin, select everything you don’t need, and delete them (taking a backup beforehand is always recommended). It also has an option to schedule ongoing database cleanups (once every 1-2 weeks is good, and keeps your server response times fast).

WP-Optimize Clean Database

 

5. Heartbeat

The WordPress heartbeat API consumes server resources by showing real-time plugin notifications in your dashboard, and when other users are editing a post. This is something you don’t need, and disabling (or at least limiting the heartbeat API) will save on server resources.

Install the Heartbeat Control plugin, then limit to 60 seconds, or disable it completely.

Heartbeat-Control-Plugin

Heartbeat Control

 

6. Block Spam Bots

When was the last time you checked if spam bots were hitting your site?

If you haven’t, chances are they could be consuming a LOT of unnecessary server resources. When I checked on my own site, the same 2 bots (compute.amazonaws.com and linode.com) were hitting my site constantly – about every 3 seconds. I was blowing my server resources on literally nothing! You never know if this is happening to your site, unless of course, you check.

Step 1: Install Wordfence.

Step 2: Go to Wordfence’s Tools settings and view your live traffic report. Watch your report for a solid minute or two, taking note of any bot that looks suspicious. Create a list of all the spam bots, then Google their hostnames to see if other people are reporting them as spam.

Live-Traffic-Report-Wordfence

Step 3: Go to Wordfence’s Blocking settings and add the spam bots here. Use asterisks to make sure you’re blocking all variations of that bot, otherwise this may not be effective.

Wordfence-Blocking-Rule

Step 4: Go to your Wordfence Blocking log and you will see those bots getting blocked.

Wordfence-Firewall-Blocking

You can also use the Blackhole For Bad Bots plugin which blocks most common spam bots. It has a perfect 5 star review, and works by creating a hidden rule on your site. If bots disobey that rule, they will be blocked immediately. Googlebot and the “good bots” are whitelisted.

Blackhole for Bad Bots

 

7. WP Disable

Some features of WordPress aren’t located in the dashboard, but are still active on your site. Most people don’t need them and they can consume server resources. WP Disable lets you go through these features and disable ones you don’t use. You probably don’t need most of them.

WP-Disable-Requests

WP-Disable-Tags-Settings

WP-Disable-Admin

WP-Disable-Others

 

8. Avoid External Resources

Gravatars, Google Maps, AdSense, social sharing plugins, comment plugins, and other external resources can destroy server response times. Your GTmetrix report will usually show these. While it’s best to avoid these all together, sometimes you can’t. I left common solutions below:

GTmetrix-Advertisements

 

9. Delete Unused Plugins + Themes

  • Delete unused plugins
  • Avoid robust, bloated plugins
  • Disable CPU-hungry plugin settings (eg. ongoing backups, notifications, statistics, etc)

delete-wordpress-plugins

Deleted unused themes (which can leave behind junk) in WordPress > Appearance > Themes. It’s best to use lightweight themes (eg. from StudioPress) and rely on plugins to only add the functionality you need. Otherwise, all those features can cause bloat and slow response times.

Delete Unused WordPress Themes

 

10. Avoid High CPU Plugins

*Common culprits include related post, statistic, sitemap, chat, calendar, page builders, and plugins that run ongoing scans/processes or show high CPU in GTmetrix.

  1. AddThis
  2. AdSense Click Fraud Monitoring
  3. All-In-One Event Calendar
  4. Backup Buddy
  5. Beaver Builder
  6. Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
  7. Broken Link checker (use Dr. Link Check)
  8. Constant Contact for WordPress
  9. Contact Form 7
  10. Contextual Related Posts
  11. Digi Auto Links
  12. Disqus Comment System
  13. Divi Builder
  14. Essential Grid
  15. View Full List Of 65 Slow Plugins

Pro Tip:
Use Query Monitor to find your slowest loading plugins. Install Query Monitor, then head to the “Queries By Component” tab. You can also use it to find which queries, requests, scripts, and styles are slowing down your website the most. With a little technical knowledge, you can pinpoint specific elements slowing down your website.

Query Monitor Slow Plugins

You can also use GTmetrix Waterfall to find your slowest loading plugins:

Slow WordPress Plugin

 

11. Use Lightweight Plugins

If you discover certain plugins are slowing down your site, either need to delete them, or replace them with a more lightweight plugin. Below are a few solid lightweight plugins, however you might need to do some research depending on what functionality you need.

Social Sharing – WP Rocket’s test showed Social Media Feather, MonarchSimple Share Buttons Adder, and MashShare had the least amount of requests and fastest load times.

BackupUpdraftPlus.

SlidersSoliloquy, LayerSlider, or Meteor Sliders.

CommentsDisqus Conditional Load.

PortfolioEnvira Gallery, FooGallery, or The Grid.

Analytics – Google Analytics and Search Console should be plenty. Just make sure you’re hosting Google Analytics locally (using WP Rocket, CAOS, or WP Disable).

Page BuildersWordPress Page Builder by MotoPress, but no page builder runs faster than the native WordPress Editor. Combine this with the Duplicator plugin and you shouldn’t need a page builder (including page builders built-in to WordPress themes). Unless your team absolutely refuses to learn a little HTML (the easiest coding language), avoid page builders.

StudioPress Plugins – lightweight plugins for the Genesis Framework.

 

12. CDN

A CDN (content delivery network) hosts your website files on multiple data centers around the world, reducing the geographic distance between your server and visitors. It also offloads resources to those data centers, lightening the load on your own server (which improves server response times). A CDN is also recommended in the WordPress optimization guide.

CDN-WordPress-Recommendation

Cloudflare is a free CDN with 200+ data centers and is by far the most popular CDN.

Cloudflare Data Centers

Step 1: Sign up for Cloudflare (the free plan is fine), add your website, then Cloudflare will run their scan. You will go through a set of pages until you see your 2 Cloudflare name servers.

Cloudflare-Nameserver-Dashboard.

Step 2: Change your name servers to the ones Cloudflare assigned you.

SiteGround-DNS-Records

Multiple CDNs – more CDNs = more data centers, and more data centers = faster content delivery (and more offloading of resources). I use both Cloudflare and StackPath’s CDN on my website.

StackPath-Data-Centers

Step 1: Sign up for StackPath (30-day trial, then $10/month).

Step 2: In the dashboard, click the CDN tab, then create a StackPath CDN Site.

StackPath-CDN-Tab

StackPath-CDN-Domain

StackPath-Server-IP-Address

StackPath will generate a CDN URL:

StackPath-CDN-URL-Autoptimize

Step 3: Copy your StackPath CDN URL and paste it into Autoptimize in the “Main” settings.

Step 4: In StackPath go to CDN → Cache Settings, then click Purge Everything

StackPath-Purge-Cache

Step 5: Run your site in GTmetrix and “content delivery network” should be green in YSlow.

CDN GTmetrix YSlow

If you expand items in GTmetrix and are related to your CDN, contact StackPath’s support who should be able to help you fix these. They did this for me and have outstanding support.

Cookie Free Domains MaxCDN

GTmetrix YSlow Without StackPath
GTmetrix YSlow Without MaxCDN
GTmetrix YSlow With StackPath
GTmetrix YSlow With MaxCDN

Troubleshooting StackPath

Step 6: Whitelist StackPath’s IPs in your hosting account (you may need to contact your host).

StackPath-IP-Addresses

 

13. Local Google Fonts

If you’re using Google Fonts and have font-related errors in GTmetrix, you need to host fonts locally. This can be done using the Self-Hosted Google Fonts plugin which automatically downloads all Google Fonts you’re using, and adds them to the CSS. No configuration required.

Google-Fonts-GTmetrix

Self-Hosted-Google-Fonts-Plugin

You can also try the CAOS Fonts:

CAOS-Fonts

 

14. Local Google Analytics

Just like the previous step, you also want to host your Google Analytics tracking code locally using the CAOS Analytics plugin. Again, this is automatic and no configuration is required.

Leverage-Brower-Caching-Google-Analytics

CAOS-Analytics

 

15. Image Optimization

There are 3 primary ways to optimize images in GTmetrix, however I recommend checking out my full tutorial on optimizing images in WordPress – because there are over 20 different ways.

image-optimization

Serve scaled images – means you need to resize large images to be smaller. GTmetrix will show you which images are too large and the correct dimensions they should be resized to. Simply locate the image on your website, resize it to the correct dimensions, upload it, and replace the old image with the new one. I recommend creating a cheat sheet of your most common images (sliders, widgets, footer, fullwidth blog images) so you can crop/resize them to the correct dimensions before uploading it. Start with images that appear on multiple pages.

serve-scaled-images

Specify images dimensions – means you need to add a width/height in the image’s HTML or CSS. To do this, locate the image, view it’s HTML, and add the width/height (which GTmetrix will provide you with). The HTML is very easy and you don’t need to know code (see below):

Specifying-Image-Dimensions

Optimize images – means you need to losslessly compress them (I use ShortPixel). Once installed, configure the plugin settings and set the compression level to lossless. Next, grab your API key from the ShortPixel website and enter it into the plugin. Head to your Media section and optimize a few images. If you’re happy with the quality, you can start optimizing images in your media library, or they have an option to bulk optimize all images on your site.

 

16. Retest Response Times

Well, we covered everything, and then some. Retest those server response times!

Reduce-Server-Response-Time-Facebook

 

17. GoDaddy Sucks: Get Better Hosting

Except, GoDaddy sucks and you still might have slow response times. Do your research!

SiteGround-vs.-Godaddy-Load-Time-Improvement

Godaddy To SiteGround

Godaddy To SiteGround Migration

Godaddy To SiteGround Faster

Godaddy To SiteGround Faster Site

I use SiteGround and have 200ms response times with 100% GTmetrix scores and .4s Pingdom load times. Do a hosting check, run your own tests, or click through my fast loading pages. They were rated the #1 host in 26 Facebook polls and are worlds better than EIG (Bluehost, HostGator), GoDaddy, and other hosts who pack too many people on the same server. There have been plenty of people who migrated and posted results on Facebook and Twitter. Tweet after tweet, post after post, poll after poll after poll, faster hosting will fix slow response times. They’re recommended by WordPress, do free migrations, and I use their semi-dedicated plan.

OMM-On-SiteGround

Bitcatcha Server Speed Report

2019-GTmetrix-Report

2019-Pingdom-Report

People usually migrate because their speed technology can improve server response times by multiple seconds. Here are a few people who migrated to SiteGround and posted their results.

Switching To SiteGround

SiteGround Load Time Migration

Bluehost to SiteGround GTmetrix

HostGator To SiteGround

SiteGround GTmetrix

SiteGround Google PageSpeed Insights

100 Perfect Score On SiteGround

SiteGround Genesis

Speed Delivered By SiteGround

SiteGround GTmetrix Report

Reduced Load Times With SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Times

HostGator To SiteGround Migration

SiteGround Response Times On Joomla

Switched To SiteGround Hosting

SiteGround Rocket Imagify Combo

Joomla GTmetrix On SiteGround

SiteGround PageSpeed Insights

SiteGround On Joomla

SiteGround Reduced Load Times

SiteGround Speedy Hosting

New Pingdom Results On SiteGround

New SiteGround Response Time

SiteGround Response Time Improvement

2019 Hosting Poll
View Poll

 

SiteGround has 3 plans:

SiteGround Hosting Plans

Higher plans include more server resources (#1 factor in the WordPress optimization guide). Here’s the full comparison chart, but GrowBig gives you about 2x more server resources than StartUp, and GoGeek is semi-dedicated hosting which gives you even more. GrowBig and up comes with a free migration, staging, advanced caching, and ability to host multiple websites. GoGeek comes with priority support. Their cloud hosting is quite the price jump at $80/month.

You can see this on the features page

SiteGround-Server-Resources-Comparison

I use SiteGround because:

  1. My GTmetrixPingdom reports speak for themselves
  2. My pages load instantly (click through them if you want)
  3. Fast speed technology (PHP 7.3, NGINX, SG Optimizer, Cloudflare)
  4. Recommended by Yoast, WordPress, Ivica from WordPress Speed Up
  5. SiteGround’s servers are very fast and not overcrowded like GoDaddy
  6. Live chat is instant and tickets are answered much faster than GoDaddy
  7. They protect your website from hackers/malware, while GoDaddy does not
  8. My blog has never gone down from random errors people get with GoDaddy
  9. Upgrading to PHP 7.2 is free (unlike GoDaddy) and they don’t blacklist plugins
  10. GrowBig comes with staging, more storage, and more server resources (scroll down to “we allocate the resources you need” and hover over the server tab)
  11. GoGeek comes with even more server resources, storage, priority support
  12. Free migrations, migrator plugin, and a 30-day money back guarantee
  13. Lots of praise on Reddit, Facebook conversations, Twitter, TrustPilot
  14. More praise on Facebook: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7#8, #9, #10#11
  15. GoDaddy customers who moved to SiteGround: #1, #2#3, #4, #5, #6#7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18, #19, #20, #21, #22, #23, #24

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for SiteGround using my affiliate link I will donate a good chunk at no cost to you. Each year I donate $3,000 to GoFundMe campaigns (2018 was to feed the hungry in Denver, 2017 was to Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey). Your support helps and I genuinely appreciate it. Either way, I would avoid GoDaddy – join some Facebook groups and see the conversations, polls, tweets, and people who migrated from GoDaddy to SiteGround. I refuse to recommend GoDaddy to anyone – their servers are overcrowded, malware-infested, and they have a SOPA-supporting + elephant-hunting founder. Do your research and look at who Yoast is currently using.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ Why are GoDaddy's servers slow?

GoDaddy is infamous for overcrowding their servers which is well-known in Facebook Groups. Optimizing your site helps, but there is little you can do to make your server faster when it's overcrowded.

✅ How can I improve server response time on GoDaddy?

Upgrading PHP versions, adding Cloudflare's free CDN, avoiding resource-hungry plugins, and using speed optimization plugins to fix items in GTmetrix should help.

✅ Will upgrading my GoDaddy server help?

It might, but GoDaddy is also known for taking advantage of customers and having them upgrade plans when the problem lies within GoDaddy itself. Before upgrading your plan, explore other hosting options.

✅ Are there faster hosts out there?

100% yes. SiteGround and Cloudways are much faster than GoDaddy and your site should load much faster. Look at people who migrated away from GoDaddy and posted their new load times on Twitter and Facebook. The evidence is clear.

✅ How can I get close to 100% GTmetrix scores?

A lot of factors go into speed and GTmetrix, but you can start with getting faster hosting, configuring a cache plugin, optimizing images, consolidating plugins, and optimizing Google Fonts (fast hosting is still the #1 factor in the WordPress optimization guide).

I hope this was helpful. If you have questions, drop me a comment.

Cheers,
Tom

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