Have a slow WordPress site on GoDaddy?
To speed up a slow GoDaddy website, activate the CDN and PHP 7.3 inside your GoDaddy account and configure the Autoptimize plugin. Make sure images, database, plugins, and fonts are optimized to load fast. Finally, avoid using high CPU plugins on GoDaddy’s shared hosting.
But GoDaddy is infamously slow. iThemes called them out for overcrowding servers and they are slow to release new PHP versions. Forbes wrote an article titled “5 Reasons You Should Leave GoDaddy.” They also blacklist all cache plugins and force you to use their own built-in caching system which doesn’t hold a candle to top-rated caching plugins such as WP Rocket.
How do you check if GoDaddy’s the problem?
Run your WordPress site through Google PageSpeed Insights to check if reduce server response times is in your report. Google recommends a response time of under 200ms. Anything over is considered slow, and you can identify GoDaddy’s servers as the main problem.
How to fix a slow GoDaddy site
- Check For Slow Server Response Times
- Upgrade To PHP 7.3 In GoDaddy’s cPanel
- Configure The Autoptimize Plugin
- Remove Junk From Your WordPress Database
- Add Cloudflare’s CDN
- Optimize Images
- Avoid Slow Loading Plugins
- Avoid Google Maps And AdSense
- Remove Bloat
- Lazy Load Videos
- Optimize Third Party Scripts
- Host Google Analytics Locally
- Find Your Slowest Loading Pages
- Keep WordPress Software Updated
- Leave GoDaddy For Cloudways
Hopefully we can get yours even faster since this post has lots of images and comments:
Quick Tips To Fix A Slow GoDaddy Website
- Upgrade to PHP 7.3 inside GoDaddy
- Install and configure the Autoptimize plugin
- Avoid slow page builders and use Oxygen instead
- Clean your database using a plugin like WP-Optimize
- Load fonts faster using Autoptimize or the OMGF plugin
- Use Cloudflare’s CDN to offload resources to their data centers
- Avoid huge images (shown as serve scaled image errors in GTmetrix)
- Be careful with third party scripts like Google AdSense, Maps, Fonts, GTM
A warning about GoDaddy: GoDaddy is one of the slowest hosts. I even set up an identical Astra website on gdaddyserver.com and cwdoserver.com. One is hosted on GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress Hosting, one is hosted on Cloudways DigitalOcean who was rated the #1 host in Facebook polls, conversations, or see migration results. Visit the websites and click through their pages – you will see a huge speed difference.
1. Check For Slow Server Response Times
Run your site through Google PageSpeed Insights to see if reduce server response times is in your report. Your server is obviously controlled by your hosting. To reduce it, you either need to upgrade plans on GoDaddy (managed/VPS) or of course, switch to a faster hosting company.
Google recommends your server response time should be under 200ms, but this is nearly impossible with shared hosting (GoDaddy, Bluehost, HostGator, InMotion, even SiteGround).
Indicators GoDaddy’s Hosting Is Slow
- High server response time in PageSpeed Insights (over 200ms)
- High TTFB (time to first byte) in GTmetrix Timings tab (over 200ms)
- High PageSpeed + YSlow scores in GTmetrix, but load time is still slow
- 503 service unavailable errors which means the server is being overloaded
- You’re on cheap, shared hosting with “unlimited bandwidth” but contract says otherwise
2. Upgrade To PHP 7.3 In GoDaddy’s cPanel
Upgrading to PHP 7.3 can make your GoDaddy site 2-3x faster according to Kinsta. Most WordPress users run outdated PHP versions. That’s because most hosting companies won’t upgrade you automatically since it can break your site if you’re using incompatible plugins. That’s why whenever GoDaddy releases a newer version of PHP, you should upgrade ASAP.
How To Upgrade To PHP 7.3 On GoDaddy
- Login to your GoDaddy account
- Go to your Products Page → Manage → Settings
- Upgrade to PHP 7.3
- Check your website for errors
- If you still see errors, revert to an earlier PHP version
3. Configure The Autoptimize Plugin
If you’re using Google Fonts, these can also result in GTmetrix errors:
Google Fonts can be optimized in the “Extra” settings, then select “combine and link in head”:
4. Remove Junk From Your WordPress Database
Install the WP-Optimize plugin then click ‘WP-Optimize’ (left in your dashboard). Running it deletes your trash, spam, post revisions, trackbacks, and garbage files. Since these are constantly accumulating, make sure you schedule WP-Optimize to run every 2 weeks or so.
5. Add Cloudflare’s CDN
Cloudflare improves both your website speed and security. It improves speed by hosting your WordPress site on multiple data centers around the world (called a CDN or content delivery network) and reduces the geographic distance between your server and visitors. Sign up for a free plan, change nameservers to Cloudflare’s, then make tweaks in the Cloudflare dashboard.
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.
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:
3. Go to Cloudflare’s speed settings (inside your Cloudflare dashboard) and copy these:
4. In Cloudflare, go to the caching settings → Purge Everything.
This is all you need to do. It can take up to 72 hours for Cloudflare nameservers to propagate.
6. Optimize Images
We’ll use GTmetrix for this. Run your site through GTmetrix and in your report, you’ll see images can be optimized 3 ways. GTmetrix only shows unoptimized images for a single page so start by optimizing images that appear on multiple pages (logo, sidebar and footer images), then run your most important pages through GTmetrix and fix individual images on those too.
There are 3 ways to optimize images in GTmetrix:
- Serve scaled images – resize large images to be smaller.
- Specify image dimensions – specify a width/height in the image’s HTML or CSS.
- Optimize Images – losslessly compress images.
Serve Scaled Images – GTmetrix tells you which images are too large and the dimensions they should be resized to. Find the image, crop or resize it, upload it to WordPress, then replace the old image with the new one. Follow your “image containers” and create a cheat sheet (below). You can manually check for large images by right clicking an image → copy image address then go to that URL where you should see if it’s too large. Never use the drag to resize feature in the visual editor since this only resizes the displayed image (not the actual image).
Sample cheat sheet:
- Logo: 150(w) x 37(h)
- Sliders: 1950(w) x 550(h)
- Sidebar Widgets: 319(w)
- Blog content body: 600(w)
- Featured images: 200(w) x 200(h)
- Carousel images: 225(h)
Specify Image Dimensions – refer to your GTmetrix report and expand these items to see which images need this. Locate each one in WordPress, then specify the dimensions (width/height) which GTmetrix will tell you. The visual editor takes care of this automatically so you usually have to do this with images that are in widgets, page builders, and other places.
Optimize Images – losslessly compress images using a plugin like TinyPNG (what I use). Some plugins say lossless but still reduce the quality of your images, so be sure to test a few images before bulk optimizing all your images. If you’re satisfied, enable “optimize images upon upload.”
When you’re done, run your pages through GTmetrix and make sure all 3 items are 100%.
7. Avoid Slow Loading Plugins
You can use the GTmetrix Waterfall tab to see your slowest plugins:
The following plugins can take a long time to load. Many of these are in GoDaddy’s list of blacklisted plugins because (especially stat and related post plugins) consume a lot of CPU.
- 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
Lightweight Plugin Alternatives
- Meta Slider – minimal slider plugin with great reviews.
- Envira Gallery – $29 lightweight gallery plugin. There’s also a free version but it doesn’t come with albums, tags, social integration, gallery templates, deeplinking, pagination, etc.
- FooGallery – lightweight gallery plugin with great reviews.
- Soliloquy Slider – fast, lightweight slider plugin.
- UpdraftPlus – most popular lightweight (1-click) backup plugin.
- Grow by Mediavine – lightweight social sharing buttons (the ones I use).
- Deactivate and delete ALL plugins you don’t use
- Diagnose slow loading plugins using GTmetrix Waterfall
- Replace slow plugins with faster, more lightweight plugins
- Disable individual plugin settings/modules you’re not using
8. Avoid Google Maps And AdSense
These kill your load times. Try to only use Maps on the contact page, or take a screenshot of the map (since a photo is quicker to load than an embedded map) and use an “Open In Maps” link.
Just like Google Maps require your site to pull resources from external websites and requests to your GTmetrix/Pingdom report, advertisements (eg. Google AdSense) are pretty much the worst thing you can do to your load times. Forget about using Google AdSense and start using affiliate links (they’re not only more profitable but they will also keep your load times down).
9. Remove Bloat
The Perfmatters plugin by Kinsta takes care of what I like to call miscellaneous optimizations: disabling trackbacks/pingbacks, limiting post revisions, disabling the WordPress heartbeat API, limiting the autosave interval, and things reduce the load of your server and speed up your site.
Tips On Configuring Perfmatters
- Disable heartbeat API
- Disable pingbacks and trackbacks
- Increase the autosave interval (I have mine a 5 minutes)
- Change the login URL to improve security and stop 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)
- Prefetch/preconnect third party scripts like Google Fonts in the “Extra” tab
Disable Plugins On Specific Pages/Posts – one of the most valuable things about Perfmatters (which can also be done by the free Asset CleanUp plugin), is the Script Manager. This lets you disable plugins on specific pages/posts. A common example is disabling contact forms on all pages but the Contact page. You can do this with other plugins/scripts too (eg. social sharing buttons on your blog). Use Perfmatters or Asset CleanUp to only load plugins when necessary.
10. 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.
11. Optimize Third Party Scripts
Third Party Scripts are Google Fonts, AdSense, Tag Manager, embedded YouTube videos, or even social sharing buttons on your blog. You can find all third party scripts loading on your site in your PageSpeed Insights report (and the Reduce DNS Lookups section in GTmetrix YSlow).
Some third party scripts are easier to optimize than others; Google Fonts can be optimized using the OMGF plugin. Google Analytics can be optimized with Flying Analytics. The Flying Scripts plugin can delay loading of Gravatars and comments if you have a lot of those on your blog. AdSense and Tag Manager are GTmetrix killers, and embedded videos can be optimized with WP YouTube Lyte. Be careful with scripts since they can slow down your GoDaddy site.
12. Host Google Analytics Locally
Flying Scripts fixes the “leverage browser caching” issue you’ll often see in GTmetrix and other speed testing tools. Just install the plugin, enter your Tracking-ID and the plugin does the rest.
13. Find Your Slowest Loading Pages
Login to Google Analytics and on the left, go to Behavior → Site Speed → Speed Suggestions. Click “Page Speed Suggestions” to see recommendations, however the ones in GTmetrix are usually better. Most WordPress speed issues are related to your infrastructure (hosting, theme, page builder, plugins, etc) and not so much related to individual content (eg. optimizing images).
14. Keep WordPress Software Updated
Keep your software updated! WordPress, theme, plugins, etc.
15. Leave GoDaddy For Cloudways
GoDaddy is not good!
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).
Here’s what happened when I moved:
GTmetrix tests are always different, but even posts with a huge page 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, 480 comments (showing Gravatars), Font Awesome, and Elementor.
The evidence is there:
This was a simple Pingdom test to measure load times of 16 WordPress hosts. I signed up for popular hosting companies then installed the same Astra Starter Site on each of them while measuring load times in Pingdom for 1 week at 30 minute check intervals. Some domains are still live (cwdoserver.com is hosted on a $10/month Cloudways DO plan and stgrndserver.com is hosted on SiteGround GrowBig). I cancelled most of them because it was getting expensive. Even when browsing through their pages or running your own tests, you can 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).
- Varnish, Redis, and memcached are all built-in for higher performance.
- You get to pick from DigitalOcean, Vultr HF, Linode, AWS, Google Cloud.
- 4.8/5 star TrustPilot rating and 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.
- Mustasaam (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.
Just do your research and look at this Facebook thread.
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 email@example.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!!!).
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?
You can reduce CPu on GoDaddy by finding and eliminating high CPU plugins, disabling WordPress heartbeat, and offloading resources to a CDN.
✅ Why is my server response time slow on GoDaddy?
A slow server response time is common on shared hosting and happens when the server isn't powerful enough to accomodate your website, theme and plugins. You can reduce server response times by upgrading to PHP 7.3 in your GoDaddy account, using Cloudflare, or upgrading servers.
✅ How do you speed up a slow website on GoDaddy?
Upgrade to PHP 7.3 in your GoDaddy account, configure the Autoptimize plugin, use Cloudflare's CDN, 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.
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 :)
Please share if you liked this tutorial – I’d appreciate it!