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 Bitcatcha and check your server response times:
You can also use Google PageSpeed Insights:
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But many WordPress users still run outdated PHP versions.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.”
Step 1: Check your current PHP version using the Display PHP Version plugin.
Step 2: Run the PHP Compatibility Checker plugin to make sure your plugins are compatible.
Step 3: Upgrade to PHP 7+ in your GoDaddy cPanel (higher versions are faster).
Step 4: Test your website for errors. You can also revert to an earlier version if need be.
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 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. Perfmatters lets you go through these features and disable ones you don’t use, even on per post/page basis. You probably don’t need most of them:
- Disable emojis, embeds, and dashicons
- Remove query strings
- Disable or limit post revisions
- Disable and tweak heartbeat API
- Even disable plugins
To use this plugin, first install the plugin, go to a page or post, and click Script Manager.
Choose to disable the plugin everywhere, on the current URL, 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 65 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.
Backup – UpdraftPlus.
Comments – Disqus Conditional Load.
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.
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.
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 name servers to the ones Cloudflare assigned you.
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 will generate a CDN URL:
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…
Step 5: Run your site in GTmetrix and “content delivery network” should be green in 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.
- WP Rocket CDN tutorials
- Excluding Your CDN On Pages With SSL
- How To Setup WP Rocket With StackPath
- How To Setup WP Fastest Cache With StackPath
- How To Setup W3 Total Cache With StackPath
- How To Setup WP Super Cache With StackPath
Step 6: Whitelist StackPath’s IPs in your hosting account (you may need to contact your host).
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 the 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 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.
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.
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):
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 Your Server Response Times
Well, we covered everything and then some. Retest those server response times!
17. GoDaddy Sucks: Get Better Hosting
Except, GoDaddy sucks and you still might have slow response times. Do your research!
Hosting recommendations are usually garbage.
Yes, it’s a little more expensive at $10-$13/month, but we’re talking about speed here – not being cheap. With Cloudways, you have a choice of using DigitalOcean, Vultr High Frequency, Google Cloud, AWS, or Linode. These are worlds faster than shared hosting and can handle resource-intensive tasks much better (Elementor, Beaver, Divi, WooCommerce, AdSense, etc).
What happened when I moved from SiteGround:
GTmetrix tests are always different, but even posts with a huge 2.70MB page size and 96 requests can often load in under 2s. I’ll also take a 148ms time to first byte any day of the week. That post has 70+ images, 500 comments (showing Gravatars), Font Awesome, and Elementor.
The evidence is there:
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. 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 these 2 sites or running your own tests, you’ll see the difference.
Hosting Companies You Should Avoid
- SiteGround – they have gone completely downhill in recent years.
- Bluehost – slow servers, owned by EIG, bad support, rated poorly in FB Groups.
- HostGator – also owned by EIG with slow servers, bad support, CPU limit issues.
- GoDaddy – top malware hosting network worldwide, rated poorly in FB groups.
- Hostinger – they write fake reviews and vote for themselves in Facebook polls.
- WP Engine – also not what it used to be, expensive and not even fast anymore.
- *A2 Hosting – if you can’t afford Cloudways, A2 is still fast and uses LiteSpeed.
I use Cloudways because:
- Even posts with a 2.70MB page size can load in under 2s.
- DigitalOcean and Vultr HF are miles faster than shared hosting.
- It’s $10-$13/month (no yearly contracts or high renewal prices).
- Server caching (Varnish, Redis, memcached) = faster performance.
- You get to pick from DigitalOcean, Vultr HF, Linode, AWS, Google Cloud.
- 4.7/5 star TrustPilot rating + highly recommended in Facebook Groups.
- They have 25+ data centers between all their cloud hosting providers.
- No CPU issues like on SiteGround, Bluehost, and other shared hosting.
- SSL, staging, and backups are all very easy in the Cloudways dashboard.
- Support used to be average, but is now really good as reflected on TrustPilot.
- They offer a free migration but their Migrator plugin will also do the trick.
- Adding a server, migrating your site, and the dashboard is actually very easy.
- Muhammed (their community manager) gave me peace of mind when moving.
- Only complaint is they need to add LiteSpeed servers to their list of providers.
Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for Cloudways using my affiliate link, I would seriously appreciate it. I don’t recommend bad hosting like many other affiliates. I also donate quite a bit to charity ($6,000 to GoFundMe so far) and your support would really help. I try to base my reviews not only from my experience, but real evidence from the overwhelming feedback in numerous Facebook Groups. It would mean a lot.
Do your research or look at this Facebook thread.
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. 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.