How To Fix A Slow Website On GoDaddy’s WordPress Hosting

Have a slow WordPress site on GoDaddy?

To speed up your website on GoDaddy, upgrade to PHP 7.4 in your GoDaddy cPanel and use Cloudflare’s free DNS which is faster than GoDaddy’s. Configure both a top-rated caching plugin as well as Autoptimize. Make sure your images, database, and fonts are optimized. And finally, avoid heavy page builders and high CPU plugins when using GoDaddy’s shared hosting.

But GoDaddy is infamously slow.

iThemes called them out for overcrowding servers and they’re slow to release new PHP versions. Forbes wrote an article titled “5 Reasons You Should Leave GoDaddy.” They also blacklist most cache plugins and use built-in caching and a CDN which aren’t very fast at all.

How do you check if GoDaddy’s the problem?

Check your server response time in PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, or KeyCDN. PageSpeed Insights flags a response time of 600ms or more but they recommend under 200ms. It’s not surprising if you fail this test since GoDaddy is rated poorly in Facebook Groups. I suggest joining the WordPress Hosting Group to get unbiased hosting feedback. Most members are using Cloudways who was the #1 host in 16 Facebook polls and who I recommend moving to.

slow GoDaddy

Quick Tips To Fix A Slow GoDaddy Website

  • Upgrade to PHP 7.4.
  • Move your DNS from GoDaddy to Cloudflare.
  • Configure the WP Rocket and Autoptimize plugin.
  • Clean your database using a plugin like WP-Optimize.
  • Avoid slow page builders (specifically Elementor and Divi).
  • Optimize fonts by hosting them locally, limiting them, and adding font-display:swap.
  • Reduce or optimize third-party code like Google AdSense, Maps, Fonts, Tag Manager.
  • Check your GTmetrix Waterfall report to see what is slowing down your site the most.
  • Move away; GoDaddy’s is known for being one of the slowest hosts in Facebook Groups.

 

1. Check Your TTFB

Run your site through Google PageSpeed Insights to check for slow server response times. You can also use GTmetrix or KeyCDN’s Performance Test to measure TTFB. Servers are controlled by your hosting, obviously. There are very few things to reduce TTFB when your hosting is slow.

Google recommends this should be under 200ms.

Reduce Server Response Time

Indicators GoDaddy’s Hosting Is Slow

  • High TTFB (time to first byte) in GTmetrix (over 200ms)
  • High TTFB in KeyCDN’s Performance Test (over 200ms)
  • High server response time in PageSpeed Insights (over 200ms)
  • 503 service unavailable errors which means the server is being overloaded
  • You’re on shared hosting with “unlimited bandwidth” but contract says otherwise

Slow GoDaddy Site

 

2. Upgrade To PHP 7.4 In GoDaddy’s cPanel

GoDaddy currently supports PHP 7.4 but it’s been reported GoDaddy doesn’t let you upgrade unless you buy a new hosting plan. Follow the instructions below and check for yourself. GoDaddy is slow to release new PHP versions while Cloudways and A2 Hosting have already released PHP 8.0 which isn’t available on GoDaddy. Either way, keep that PHP version updated.

How To Upgrade To PHP 7.4 On GoDaddy

  • Login to your GoDaddy account
  • Go to your Products Page → Manage → Settings
  • Upgrade to PHP 7.4
  • Check your site for errors (usually due to incompatible plugins)
  • If you see errors, revert to an earlier PHP version or remove incompatible plugins

Upgrade PHP Version GoDaddy

 

3. Use Cloudflare’s DNS And CDN

I don’t recommend GoDaddy’s DNS or CDN. Use Cloudflare instead (it’s free and faster).

Moving your DNS to Cloudflare should result in much lower DNS latency. Even if you don’t use Cloudflare for anything else, it’s free and you can at least use them for the DNS. They have an article on changing nameservers from GoDaddy to Cloudflare which should help you with this.

1. Sign up for Cloudflare’s free plan, add your website, and run the scan. Cloudflare will walk you through a set of pages until you reach a page where Cloudflare assigns you 2 nameservers.

Cloudflare-GoDaddy-Nameservers

2. Login to your GoDaddy account and in your product list go to Domain → Manage DNS → Nameservers → Change. Click “custom nameservers” and add the ones Cloudflare gave you:

GoDaddy-Change-Nameservers

3. Create a page rule to cache everything (this enables page caching). For eCommerce and dynamic sites, you’ll need to use the WP Cloudflare Super Page Cache plugin to use page cache.

Cache Everything Page Rule

4. Make a few tweaks in your Cloudflare dashboard. For the most part, leave everything as-is. The only things I would change is enabling hotlink protection and setting browser cache TTL to the amount of time you update content (so if you post every week, set it for 7 days). Setting the browser cache TTL for 6 months can also fix item #15 in this guide. You can try Cloudflare Railgun and Rocket Loader but Rocket Loader is hit or miss and can frequently break some sites.

5. In Cloudflare, go to the caching settingsPurge Everything.

Cloudflare Purge

6. Consider Cloudflare’s APO for $5/month which caches dynamic content and can improve TTFBs. However, if you’re going to pay for a CDN, I recommend BunnyCDN which is highly recommended in Facebook threads and is what I use. Their setup instructions make this easy.

Cloudflare Automatic Platform Optimization

This is all you need to do. It can take up to 72 hours for Cloudflare nameservers to propagate.

After setting up Cloudflare, you can monitor bandwidth savings in their dashboard. Since Cloudflare helps offload resources to their 200+ data centers, this should lighten the load on your server and help reduce CPU consumption and load times. TLDR; it’s good for your website.

Cloudflare-Bandwidth-Savings

 

4. Configure A Top-Rated Cache Plugin

GoDaddy blacklists most cache plugins.

The good news is that WP Rocket is the gold standard for cache plugins and isn’t blacklisted. It was rated #1 in Facebook polls since it comes with more features than nearly every cache plugin. You’ll get more optimizations yet less plugins needed on your site. If you don’t want to pay for WP Rocket, use GoDaddy’s built-in caching with Autoptimize. You’ll still need a few extra plugins (below) since Autoptimize doesn’t do these. Otherwise, see my WP Rocket guide.

WP Rocket is #1 in most Facebook polls (click on image to enlarge):

WP Rocket settings (click on image to enlarge):

 

5. Eliminate Render-Blocking Resources

This especially applies if you have render-blocking resources in PageSpeed Insights, but I would use Autoptimize regardless.

Some cache plugins like WP Rocket have options to defer JavaScript and Optimize CSS Delivery which should help. However, I found Autoptimize does a much better job when trying to fix these issues. Install it and copy my settings to optimize and aggregate JavaScript and CSS code.

Autoptimize Eliminate Render-Blocking

 

6. Optimize Fonts

Open your GTmetrix Waterfall report and view the fonts tab. It tells you how many fonts are loading on your site and their load times. There are quite a few ways to make fonts to load fast.

GTmetrix Font Files

  • Load fonts from your theme, not plugins.
  • Combine multiple font files into 1 single request.
  • Host fonts locally using OMGF or use Transfonter.
  • Be minimal with font families, weights, characters, icons.
  • Use WOFF2 which is the most reliable and compressed format.
  • Preload fonts files from GTmetrix Waterfall (can be done in WP Rocket).
  • Add font-display:swap to ensure text remains visible during webfont load (shown below).

font-display swap

 

7. Optimize Images

Similar to fonts, there are many ways to optimize images.

  • Properly size images – resize large images to be smaller.
  • Specify image dimensions – specify a width/height in the image’s HTML or CSS.
  • Compress images – losslessly compress images (I use TinyPNG but ShortPixel is good).
  • Disable hotlinking – prevents other websites from embedding your images on their site which sucks up your bandwidth (done in WP Rocket or use Cloudflare hotlink protection).
  • Lazy Load Images – delays loading images until users actually see them (use WP Rocket or Optimole is good). Do not lazy load images that appear above the fold (exclude them).
  • Use WebP – fixes the serve images in next-gen format item in Lighthouse (use a plugin).
  • Use Adaptive Images – serve smaller images to mobile (use an adaptive images plugin).

Most of these are found in GTmetrix/Lighthouse (properly size images, defer offscreen images (lazy load), efficiently encode images (compress), and serve images in next-gen format (WebP). Lighthouse only shows errors for the single page you test, so test your most important pages.

GTmetrix Image Optimizations

 

8. Optimize Third-Party Code

Third-party code is anything that loads from an external website. Common examples are Google Fonts, AdSense, Tag Manager, Maps, Analytics, embedded YouTube videos, or even social sharing buttons (plugins) on your blog. You can find your third-party code in Lighthouse.

If using WP Rocket, Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel can be hosted locally in the add-ons tab. Google Fonts can be optimized by serving them locally using Transfonter or OMGF. Videos should be lazy loaded and the iframe replaced with a preview image. Google Maps can be lazy loaded (or just take a photo of the map and link it to driving directions). Gravatars can be hosted locally with WP User Avatar. AdSense can be lazy loaded or deferred (but affiliate marketing is better). Be careful with adding too much third-party code; it can slow down your GoDaddy site.

Third-Party-Usage

To take it a step further, prefetch all third-party code. You can do this with WP Rocket, Perfmatters, or Pre* Party Resource Hints. Copy the external hostnames from your report (here’s a list of common domains to prefetch) then prefetch them with a plugin, or manually.

Prefetch DNS Requests

 

9. Avoid Slow Plugins

You can use Query Monitor or GTmetrix Waterfall to find your slowest loading plugins. GTmetrix Waterfall only shows plugins loaded on the front-end, so it’s best to use Query Monitor. Install the plugin, view a page on your site, then click the Queries tab in the admin menu > Queries by components. This will show you the slowest loading plugins on your site.

Query Monitor Slow Plugins

Many plugins are infamous for loading slow: page builders, page builder plugins, contact forms, chat plugins, comment plugin, social sharing plugins, statistic plugins, and others. Many of these are already in GoDaddy’s list of blacklisted plugins since they consume a lot of server resources.

  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

Lightweight Plugin Alternatives

Plugin Tips

  • Deactivate and delete all plugins you don’t use.
  • Diagnose slow loading plugins using Query Monitor.
  • Replace slow plugins with faster, lightweight plugins.
  • Disable individual plugin settings/modules you’re not using.

 

10. Unload Unused Assets

CSS, JavaScript, and plugins often load site-wide when they’re only being used in certain areas of your site. Unloading assets means to selectively disable them when they’re not being used. The main benefit is to reduce the amount of CSS and JavaScript loading on your GoDaddy site.

Asset CleanUp and Perfmatters are your best options. Asset CleanUp is free and includes a test mode (so you don’t break anything) but the UI/UX isn’t so great. Perfmatters is a premium plugin which is more user-friendly and lets you disable assets “everywhere but posts.” Both have bloat removal options. I wrote an Asset CleanUp vs. Perfmatters comparison, I use Perfmatters.

Choose one of those plugins. If using Asset CleanUp, enable test mode (until you’re ready to implement changes) and edit any page/post to view the script manager. If using Perfmatters, enable the script manager in the settings, view a page, then select the script manager option.

Examples:

  • Disable contact form everywhere but contact page
  • Disable social sharing plugin everywhere but posts
  • Disable table plugin everywhere but content with tables
  • Disable rich snippet plugin everywhere but content with rich snippets
  • Disable fonts everywhere except certain areas (if you use multiple fonts)
  • Disable WooCommerce scripts/styles except on non-eCommerce pages

Here’s an example of assets you might disable in Elementor:

Remove Unused Elementor CSS JavaScript

 

11. Improve Cumulative Layout Shift

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) is a primary metric in PageSpeed Insights.

It means exactly what it says: some elements on your site are shifting while the page is loading. Use Chrome Dev Tools to load your site on a slow 3G connection so you can see (in slow motion) exactly what is shifting on your site. Fonts, AdSense, videos, and iframes are common.

Chrome Dev Tools CLS

  • Font CLS – same thing as “ensure text remains visible during webfont load” in PSI. To fix this, edit your stylesheet, then simply replace font-display:auto with font-display:swap
  • Images CLSspecify image dimensions (also an option in WP Rocket’s Media Settings).
  • Iframes CLS – when embedding iframes or videos, add a width and height attribute.
  • AdSense CLS – reserve space for ads using div wrappers (learn more about that here).

 

12. Remove Bloat

Asset CleanUp and Perfmatters also have bloat removal options to disable trackbacks and pingbacks, limit post revisions, disable the WordPress heartbeat API, limit the autosave interval, and remove junk from your GoDaddy site. See my guide on the Perfmatters settings.

Tips On Configuring Perfmatters

  • Disable the heartbeat API.
  • Disable pingbacks and trackbacks.
  • Increase the autosave interval (I set mine to 5 minutes).
  • Disable jQuery Migrate if your plugins/themes don’t use it.
  • Change the login URL to improve security and block spam bots.
  • Set post revisions to 3-5 so you have backups, but you don’t need hundreds.
  • Disable options in WordPress core which you don’t need (usually all of them).
  • Host Google Analytics tracking code locally (found in the Google Analytics tab).
  • Disable WooCommerce script/styles on non-eCommerce pages (can help a lot)!

Perfmatters-General-Settings

 

13. Speed Up Your Mobile Site

Most desktop optimizations carry over to mobile, so always fix those first.

Maybe your Lighthouse scores are bad on mobile but you have a fast load time (who cares what your mobile scores are then)? Once you’re done taking care of desktop optimizations, there are a few mobile-specific optimizations that will speed your GoDaddy websites on mobile devices.

  • Avoid hamburger menus
  • Hard code menu/header/footer in CSS
  • Enable mobile caching (usually done through cache plugin)
  • Use an adaptive images plugin to serve smaller images to mobile
  • Use mobile responsive design (do testing even if your theme is responsive)

 

14. Be Careful With Page Builders

Page builders suck for speed.

The new GTmetrix update (Lighthouse) punishes websites using page builders since they add extra CSS, JavaScript, and countless div wrappers. This can flag multiple items like removing unused CSS and JavaScript. There are a few ways to optimize Elementor and Divi, but it’s best to replace them with Gutenberg blocks or something lightweight like Oxygen/GeneratePress.

I hired WP Johnny to remove Elementor and replace it with Gutenberg blocks. Just by hardcoding my header, footer, menu, and blog sidebar, I saw an enormous difference in speed.

Elementor-Souce-Code

Page builder migrations and Facebook polls on fast themes (click on image to enlarge):

 

15. Disable Background Processes

Background processes are just things running in the background. Even if they don’t appear as errors in speed testing tools, they are still consuming resources and slowing down your website.

  • Heartbeat API
  • Ongoing scans triggered by plugins
  • Hosting services (email, FTP, DNS if not using it)
  • Plugins that collect data (analytics, usage tracking)
  • WP-cron jobs to check for updates or schedule posts
  • Backup plugins especially if they run during peak hours

 

16. Remove Junk From Your Database

Many cache plugins have database cleanup options, otherwise use WP-Optimize. This deletes your trash, spam, post revisions, trackbacks, and garbage files. Since these are constantly accumulating, make sure you schedule a cleanup every week or so (I run a cleanup weekly).

WP-Optimize Clean Database

To go a step further in WP-Optimize, view your database tables and look for old plugins that were once installed, but are no longer used (labeled as not installed). When you delete plugins, they often leave behind tables with pre-configured settings and other data. If you don’t plan on using a plugin again, consider deleting the table. Take a backup beforehand (this is permanent).

WP-Optimize-Tables

 

17. Disable WooCommerce Scripts And Styles

Similar to unloading assets, WooCommerce adds scripts and styles that are loaded site-wide. Disabling them on non-eCommerce pages can make your home and other pages/posts faster.

You can do this using Perfmatters or the Disable WooCommerce Bloat plugin. To take it a step further, you should decide whether you want to use cart fragments or not. Do you want users to see updated cart totals without refreshing the page, or do you want a faster website? Up to you.

Perfmatters WooCommerce Settings

 

18. Serve Static Assets With An Efficient Cache Policy

If you see this item in PageSpeed Insights, it means you need to change your cache expiration to 180 days (or 6 months) which is the recommended time period by Google. Typically, PageSpeed Insights will flag fonts, images, and possibly other resources if they have a low cache expiration.

  • If using WP Rocket, edit your .htaccess file (you can use Htaccess File Editor) and change the cache expiration to 180 days for the files that are being flagged (image shown below).
  • If using Cloudflare, set browser cache TTL for 6 months.
  • If using another CDN, set browser cache expiration for 6 months.
  • Some hosts also have a cache expiration such as NGINX and Apache.

WP Rocket Cache Policy

 

19. Lazy Load Videos

A single video usually adds 2-3 seconds to your page load time. The WP YouTube Lyte plugin makes it so videos are only loaded once readers scroll down the page and click the play button.

 

20. Block Spam Bots

Spam bots are notorious for hitting websites with no benefit.

Googlebot and others are obviously OK, but other (spam) bots may be consuming resources while hitting your site with no benefit. They need to be blocked.

You can find spam bots using Wordfence. Open your live traffic report, monitor it for a few minutes, and watch for any bots that look spammy. If you have doubt, do a Google search for their hostname to see if other people are reporting them as spam. If they’re indeed spam, you can block them in Wordfence, Cloudflare Firewall Rules, or the Blackhole for Bad Bots plugin.

Live-Traffic-Report-Wordfence

 

21. Keep WordPress Software Updated

A few things you should keep updated:

  • WordPress core
  • WordPress theme
  • WordPress plugins
  • WordPress framework
  • PHP version
  • MySQL or MariaDB version

WordPress Updates

 

22. Leave GoDaddy (I Recommend Cloudways)

GoDaddy is bottom of the barrel and gives you slow TTFBs.

GoDaddy WordPress Hosting Feedback

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.

 

Get Help From My WordPress Speed Optimizer

Pronaya is a WordPress developer I found on freelancer.com who lives in Bangladesh and specializes in WordPress speed (yes, he’s better than me). I have worked with him for over 5 years and he optimized my site including multiple client sites to load 500% faster. He’s $40/hour with a perfect 5 star review on his freelancer profile. I have worked with over 20 overseas freelancers and he’s the one I always turn to for WordPress speed and development.

How to hire Pronaya – sign up for a Freelancer account and search for user BDkamol. Make sure the “online users” option is turned off, or email him at bdkamol@gmail.com. Serious inquiries only, and please do not tell him you expect a 100% score when you’re using slow hosting, bloated WordPress themes, and tons of plugins. Please review my WordPress speed guide and make sure you’re on good hosting and minimize plugins at the least (thank you!!!).

Pronaya-Kumar-S-Reviews

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is GoDaddy slow?

GoDaddy is slow because they overcrowd their servers and enforce CPU limits on shared hosting. If you exceed these limits, GoDaddy will throttle your bandwidth which results in a slower website. GoDaddy is also slow to release new PHP versions and speed technology.

How do I reduce CPU on GoDaddy?

Eliminate high CPU plugins found in Query Monitor, disable bloat and WordPress heartbeat, and offload resources to a CDN. Heavy page builders like Divi and Elementor can also increase CPU.

Why is my TTFB slow on GoDaddy?

A slow TTFB is common on shared hosting and happens when the server isn't powerful enough to accommodate your site, theme, and plugins. You can reduce TTFB by upgrading to PHP 7.4 in your GoDaddy account, using Cloudflare, or upgrading to a powerful server.

How do you speed up a slow website on GoDaddy?

Upgrade to PHP 7.3 in your GoDaddy account, configure WP Rocket and Autoptimize, use Cloudflare, clean your database, avoid slow plugins, and use an image optimization plugin to compress images.

Is GoDaddy fast?

No, GoDaddy is not fast and their overcrowded servers are constantly complained about in Facebook Groups.

Why is the WordPress admin slow on GoDaddy?

The admin is likely slow because it lacks server resources. You can try removing admin bloat using Perfmatters, Disable WooCommerce Bloat. or the Widget Disable plugin.

Is GoDaddy's DNS slow?

Yes, GoDaddy's DNS is generally very slow and you should avoid using it for your website(s). Cloudflare's DNS is free and is a much faster alternative than GoDaddy.

So…. did it work?
Let me know your new Pingdom/GTmetrix scores in the comments! Or if you need help fixing GoDaddy’s slow WordPress hosting, leave a comment and I’ll be glad to help with whatever I can. If it’s related to a plugin/tool I mentioned, keep in mind they also have their own support :)

See Also: My full WordPress Speed Guide

Please share if you liked this tutorial – I’d appreciate it!

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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