Getting slow server response times on GoDaddy?
GoDaddy’s slow server response times are a by-product of it’s cheap shared hosting which lacks server resources. You can improve TTFB by using PHP 7.3 and a CDN in GoDaddy’s cPanel. Try installing plugins like Autoptimize, Heartbeat Control, and WP-Optimize to reduce CPU and fix GTmetrix items. Be minimal with plugins and avoid known resource hungry plugins.
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 Cloudways who is also who I use and were rated #1 in multiple Facebook polls and have a great GTmetrix scores especially for such a large 2.56MB page size and 89 requests. As you grow, you need better hosting, and GoDaddy isn’t it. Do your unbiased research in Facebook Groups and consider someone else.
How to improve GoDaddy's slow server response times
- Test Server Response Times
- Upgrade To PHP 7.3
- Clean Database
- Heartbeat Control
- Block Spam Bots
- Avoid External Resources
- Delete Unused Plugins + Themes
- Avoid High CPU Plugins
- Use Lightweight Plugins
- Local Google Fonts
- Local Google Analytics
- Image Optimization
- Retest Your Server Response Time
- GoDaddy Sucks: Get Better Hosting
1. Test Server Response Times
Run your site through Google PageSpeed Insights and check your server response times:
As long as you’re hosted with GoDaddy, you’re not alone. Any $6.99/month hosting plan won’t get you great response times. Follow my guide and if they’re still high, you know the problem.
2. Upgrade To PHP 7.3
Upgrading to a higher PHP versions makes your site significantly faster (and more secure).
But many WordPress users still run outdated PHP versions.
“PHP 7 is available for cPanel customers on either Shared or Business Hosting.”
Upgrade to PHP 7+ in your GoDaddy cPanel (higher versions are faster).
GoDaddy has their own built-in caching system and blacklists most cache plugins.
To setup a CDN (content delivery network), see the CDN section.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Step 4: Go to your Wordfence Blocking log and you will see those bots getting blocked.
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.
Some WordPress features aren’t found in the dashboard but are still active on your site. Most people don’t need them and they can consume resources. Perfmatters lets you disable features you don’t use, even on per post/page basis (asset loading). You likely don’t need most of them.
- Disable emojis, embeds, and dashicons
- Remove query strings
- Disable or limit post revisions
- Disable and tweak heartbeat API
- Selectively disable plugins on specific pages/posts
Go through your Perfmatters settings and disable everything you don’t need. There’s quite a few other speed features in there. Once you’re done, enable the script manager in the settings, go to a page or post, then click Script Manager.
Disable scripts everywhere, on the current URL, pages, posts, or use RegEx:
Perfmatters has other speed optimizations only these (in my opinion) are much more helpful and robust than Asset CleanUp. It can help you limit post revisions, disable autosaves, host Google Analytics locally, disable WordPress heartbeat, and more. It basically takes care of the “last 10% of speed optimization.” Perfmatters was developed by Kinsta, so you know it’s good.
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:
- Gravatars – use WP User Avatar, Harrys Gravatar Cache, FV Gravatar Cache, Optimum Gravatar Cache. You can also disable Gravatars completely, or break comments and enable nested comment in your WordPress Discussion settings.
- Comment plugins – use the Disqus Conditional Load plugin.
- Social Sharing plugins – best to use a lightweight plugin for this.
- Google Maps – only use this on pages you absolutely need a Google Maps.
- Google AdSense – use Cloudflare Rocket Loader which helps with dynamic content.
9. Delete Unused Plugins + Themes
- Delete unused plugins
- Avoid robust, bloated plugins
- Disable CPU-hungry plugin settings (eg. ongoing backups, notifications, statistics, etc)
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.
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.
- AdSense Click Fraud Monitoring
- All-In-One Event Calendar
- Backup Buddy
- Beaver Builder
- Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
- Broken Link Checker
- Constant Contact for WordPress
- Contact Form 7
- Contextual Related Posts
- Digi Auto Links
- Disqus Comment System
- Divi Builder
- View Full List Of 73 Slow Plugins
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.
You can also use GTmetrix Waterfall to find your slowest loading plugins:
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, Monarch, Simple Share Buttons Adder, and MashShare had the least amount of requests and fastest load times.
- Backup – UpdraftPlus.
- Sliders – Soliloquy, LayerSlider, or Meteor Sliders.
- Comments – Disqus Conditional Load.
- Portfolio – Envira 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 Perfmatters).
- Page Builders – WordPress 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.
Cloudflare (especially with their APO) or BunnyCDN are generally who I recommend. These are also who most people recommend in Facebook Groups. BunnyCDN is more consistently performant than Cloudflare, but it depends whether you’re willing to pay for a premium CDN.
Cloudflare’s DNS is also significantly faster than GoDaddy’s and will reduce DNS lookup times. Even if you don’t use Cloudflare for anything else, use them for your DNS! Once you sign up for the free plan and change nameservers, there are a few things you should do in the dashboard.
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.
Step 2: Change your nameservers to the ones Cloudflare assigned you.
Step 3: Create a cache everything page rule.
Step 4: Consider Cloudflare’s APO for $5/month especially if you have a slow TTFB.
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.
You can also try 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.
15. Image Optimization
There are 5 primary ways to optimize images in GTmetrix, however I recommend checking out my full tutorial on optimizing images in WordPress – because there are over 15 different ways.
Properly size images – means you need to resize large images to be smaller. GTmetrix/PSI shows you which images are too large. Locate the image on your site, resize it to the correct dimensions, and replace the old image with the new one. Create 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.
Defer offscreen images – lazy load them (built-in to WordPress 5.5 and above).
Serve images in next-gen formats – use a WebP plugin like ShortPixel or WebP Converter For Media to convert JPEGs and PNGs to WebP format, often by using the
Efficiently encode images – losslessly compress them (I use ShortPixel). Configure the settings and set the compression level to lossless. Go to your Media section and start optimizing them.
16. Retest Your Server Response Times
Well, we covered everything and then some. Retest those server response times!
17. GoDaddy Sucks: Get Better Hosting
Most hosting recommendations are honestly garbage.
Join the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group to get unbiased feedback from knowledgeable people who’ve been around the block. I won’t tell you to switch hosts if you don’t need to, so run your website through Lighthouse and check for slow server response times (TTFB) over 600ms.
If your TTTFB is slow, many people in Facebook groups (including myself) use Cloudways WordPress Hosting. Specifically their DigitalOcean or Vultr High Frequency plan. Sure, it’s $10-$13/month, but we’re talking about speed, TTFB, and core web vitals – not being cheap.
Take a look at conversations, migration results, and polls posted in some of these Facebook groups. Or look at Backlinko’s PageSpeed Test where he found SiteGround has a slow TTFB. You already know GoDaddy and EIG brands (Bluehost and HostGator) are obviously not good. Hosting affects TTFB, LCP, and other web vitals which will be a ranking factor as of May, 2021.
Here are 22 people who moved to Cloudways and posted their results (click image to enlarge):
Recent Facebook polls taken on “the best hosting” (click image to enlarge):
I use Cloudways DigitalOcean who is #1 in most recent Facebook polls.
Not saying hosting is everything, but it helps.
This is a simple Pingdom test to measure TTFB + load times of 16 WordPress hosts. I installed the same Astra Starter Site on 16 hosting accounts (using separate domains) while measuring Pingdom load times for 1 week at 30 minute check intervals, as well as TTFB in various tools. No caching or CDN (with same plugins) are being used since I’m strictly comparing the server. Some domains are still live (cwdoserver.com is hosted on a $10/month Cloudways DO plan and stgrndserver.com is on SiteGround GrowBig). I cancelled most accounts since it got expensive. Even when browsing through those 2 sites or running your own tests, you’ll see the difference.
I use Cloudways because:
- My TTFB is consistently under 200ms.
- Free migration service made it easy to try them.
- They continuously update their speed technology.
- Multiple caching levels (Redis, memcached, Varnish).
- Support is great as reflected in their Trustpilot reviews.
- Free SSL, staging, bot protection, cron job management.
- Monthly pricing with no long-term contracts or high renewals.
- They have a Cloudways Users Facebook Group to ask questions.
- Choice of 5 cloud providers: DO, Vultr, AWS, Google Cloud, Linode.
- Their community manager answered my questions when signing up.
- Launching a server yourself and using their migrator plugin is also easy.
- Ain’t nobody got time for shared hosting when trying to pass web vitals.
Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for Cloudways using my affiliate link, I seriously appreciate it. I try to support my recommendations with real, unbiased evidence. I also make donations ($6,000 to GoFundMe so far) and your support would help. It’s easy to request a free migration and promo code OMM25 gets you 25% off the first 2 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is GoDaddy 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. Cloudways is 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.