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

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.

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.

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.

Reduce Server Response Times GoDaddy

 

1. Test Server Response Times

Run your site through Google PageSpeed Insights and check your server response times:

Reduce Server Response Time

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.

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 7.3

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But many WordPress users still run outdated PHP versions.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.

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

Upgrade PHP Version GoDaddy

 

3. Autoptimize

GoDaddy has their own built-in caching system and blacklists most cache plugins.

You can still use WP Rocket and Autoptimize which are the main speed plugins I recommend using on GoDaddy. WP Rocket was rated the #1 cache plugin in most Facebook polls and Autoptimize does a great job in optimizing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Autoptimize can even help you with render-blocking issues (item found in PageSpeed Insights) with defer/inline.

Autoptimize JS CSS HTML 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

 

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.

 

7. Perfmatters

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.

Script Manager Tab

Disable scripts everywhere, on the current URL, pages, posts, or use RegEx:

Perfmatters-Script-Manager

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.

perfmatters features

 

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
  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. Elementor
  15. View Full List Of 73 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 Waterfall

 

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.

 

12. CDN

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.

Cloudflare-Nameserver-Dashboard.

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

SiteGround-DNS-Records

Step 3: Create a cache everything page rule.

Cache Everything Page Rule

Step 4: Consider Cloudflare’s APO for $5/month especially if you have a slow TTFB.

Cloudflare Automatic Platform Optimization

 

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 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

 

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.

GTmetrix Image Optimizations

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.

Properly Size Images

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 tag conversion method.

Serve Images In next-gen formats wordpress

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!

Reduce-Server-Response-Time-Facebook

 

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):

Cloudways Numbers
Another Happy Cloudways Customer

Recent Facebook polls taken on “the best hosting” (click image to enlarge):

Moving from SiteGround
eCommerce Hosting Poll

I use Cloudways DigitalOcean who is #1 in most recent Facebook polls.

Cloudways Shoutout

Not saying hosting is everything, but it helps.

2021 PSI Report

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.

WordPress-Hosting-2020-Pingdom-Test

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.

Cheers,
Tom

About Tom Dupuis

Tom Dupuis 2017Tom Dupuis writes WordPress speed and SEO tutorials out of his apartment in Denver, Colorado. In his spare time, he plays Rocket League and watches murder documentaries. Read his bio to learn 50 random and disturbing things about him.

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