GoDaddy or SlowDaddy?
Even though GoDaddy is infamously slow, here’s how to speed up your site on their hosting.
The easiest way to speed up a slow GoDaddy website is by upgrading to PHP 8.0 and moving your DNS from GoDaddy to Cloudflare where you can make additional speed improvements. This includes tweaks like enabling their CDN, bot/hotlink protection, and early hints. They also have paid features like APO (the main one I recommend) which can significantly improve TTFB.
Forbes wrote an article titled “5 Reasons You Should Leave GoDaddy.” iThemes also called GoDaddy out for overcrowded servers and they’re slow to release new PHP versions. If you use this guide and your website/TTFB are still slow, you know what the problem is. Leave GoDaddy.
While these optimizations will help, I definitely recommend looking into better hosting. LiteSpeed Hosting if you’re on a budget or Rocket.net if you have $25/month. Ignore the mainstream hosts like SiteGround/Hostinger/Bluehost since they have an array of problems.
- Test your TTFB
- Upgrade to PHP 8
- Move to Cloudflare’s DNS
- Use Cloudflare to speed up your site
- Avoid slow plugins
- Configure a top-rated cache plugin
- Host fonts locally and preload them
- Optimize above the fold content
- Optimize images
- Optimize page builders
- Remove bloat and database junk
- Speed up your mobile site
- Leave GoDaddy
1. Test Your TTFB
KeyCDN measures TTFB in 10 global locations which indicates whether your server is slow. Google flags your TTFB if it’s over 600ms in core web vitals. TTFB affects other metrics too like LCP (largest contentful paint). The main 2 factors are hosting/CDN (ideally with Cloudflare APO).
2. Upgrade To PHP 8
Upgrading PHP versions can be done in your GoDaddy hosting account and can make your WordPress site faster (especially if you’re currently using a lower, outdated PHP version). GoDaddy isn’t great at releasing new PHP versions but when they do, make sure you upgrade.
Upgrade PHP Version On GoDaddy
- Login to your GoDaddy account
- Go to your Products Page → Manage (hosting plan) → Settings
- Upgrade to the latest stable PHP version (I recommend PHP 8.0)
- Check your site for errors which are usually due to incompatible plugins
- You can always change back to the previous version if you’re getting errors
3. Move To Cloudflare’s DNS
If you registered your domain with GoDaddy, you’re using their DNS which is slow. This increases latency which is also part of TTFB. Cloudflare’s free DNS is faster on dnsperf.com.
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 Domains → DNS → Nameservers → Change. Choose “Enter my own nameservers” and add Cloudflare’s.
3. Click “Done, check nameservers” shown in step 1.
4. Use Cloudflare To Speed Up Your Site
A few tweaks in your Cloudflare dashboard go a long way.
I added some screenshots below to help you configure a few specific settings. I would say this (and your cache plugin) are probably going to be the most high impact optimizations in this list.
- Monitor your bandwidth – in your Analytics settings → Traffic → Bandwidth, you’ll see how much bandwidth you’re offloading to Cloudflare (more is better).
- CDN – in your DNS settings, find your domain in the DNS manager and change the proxy status from DNS Only to Proxied (orange cloud). This activates Cloudflare’s CDN which is performant on cdnperf.com and is needed for other features to work.
- TLS version – in your SSL settings → Edge Certificates, set min. TLS version to 1.2.
- Firewall rules – in your Security settings → Firewall rules, create rules to block access to wp-login, XML-RPC, and even block “spammy” countries. These block unwanted requests to the server and free up resources for more important things.
- Bot protection – in your Security settings → Bots, enable bot fight mode to block spammy bots from hitting your servers. “Good bots” like Google won’t be blocked.
- Early hints – in your Speed settings → Optimization, enable early hints to cut down on server wait time. You will also find several paid features here that can significantly speed up your site such as APO, image optimizations (which almost always do a better job than plugins), and SXGs to improve LCP in core web vitals.
- Browser cache TTL – in your Caching settings → Configuration, set the browser cache TTL to 1 year for static sites (my blog is mostly static so this is what I use) or 1 month for dynamic (eCommerce) sites. This is recommended by Google and can fix “serve static assets with an efficient cache policy” found in PageSpeed Insights.
- Crawler hints – in the same setting, enable crawler hints to help Google and other search engines time their crawling more efficiently to save resource consumption.
- Cache everything – in your Rules → Page Rules, you can use a page rule to cache everything (including HTML) which is one of the main ways you get your TTFB low in KeyCDN’s performance test. But instead of creating a cache everything page rule for it, I recommend using the Super Page Cache for Cloudflare plugin instead.
- Hotlink protection – in your Scape Shield settings, enable hotlink protection which stops people from copying your images and using them on their website when they’re still hosted on your server. This can save quite a bit of bandwidth.
- Cloudflare Enterprise – some hosts include Cloudflare Enterprise which is much faster than the free version of Cloudflare since it includes paid features like image optimization, WAF, prioritized routing, and Argo + Tiered Cache. If you’re open to changing hosts, I suggest Rocket.net who is faster than Cloudways/Kinsta. Or use FlyingProxy. Either of these should be faster than configuring Cloudflare yourself.
5. Avoid Slow Plugins
Let’s find your slowest plugins.
This only measures CSS/JS while other plugins run resource-hungry background tasks and increase CPU usage. You can use tools like Query Monitor and WP Hive’s Chrome Extension to find these or view my list of 75+ slow plugins. If using Query Monitor, activate the plugin and view any page on your website. Find the “Queries” tab then head to “Queries by component.”
6. Configure A Top-Rated Cache Plugin
On GoDaddy, you should really be using FlyingPress.
It’s like WP Rocket only does a better job of addressing core web vitals and optimizing for real visitors (not just “scores”). You can read my cache plugin comparison if you want to know the fine details. In a nutshell, Gijo (plugin developer) is quick to release updates to address new parts of core web vitals while WP Rocket and other cache plugins lag behind and lack features. GoDaddy blacklists most free cache plugins which do a worse job addressing web vitals anyway.
|Remove unused CSS||Inline||Separate file|
|Preload critical images||x||By number|
|Exclude above the fold images||By URL||By number|
|Lazy load background images||Inline||Helper class|
|Fetchpriority resource hint||x||✓|
|Lazy render HTML elements||x||✓|
|Self-host YouTube placeholder||x||✓|
|Host fonts locally||x||✓|
|CDN image optimization||x||✓|
|CDN image resizing for mobile||x||✓|
|Documented APO compatibility||x||✓|
7. Host Fonts Locally And Preload Them
Open your PageSpeed Insights (PSI) report and check out the “reduce impact of third-party code” recommendation. If you see fonts.gstatic.com in the report, you need to do this step.
Local fonts are hosted on your server instead of having to pull from fonts.gstatic.com. This is faster and eliminates third-party requests. Probably the easiest way to do this is in Elementor (shown in screenshot below), FlyingPress, or Perfmatters. Otherwise, you can also use OMGF.
The next step is to preload fonts which can only be done if they’re hosted locally. Elementor preloads local fonts in 1-click. Otherwise, what I would do is view your “avoid chaining critical requests” report in PSI which shows the fonts loaded with high priority. Copy these font files.
Most optimization plugins can preload fonts in the settings (screenshot below is for Perfmatters). Add the font file and select “font” as the type and enable crossorigin if there’s a setting to do these. It’s very important to test the impact of each preloaded font (i.e. in your GTmetrix Waterfall chart) since preloading too many resources can actually slow down your site.
8. Optimize Above The Fold Content
Above the fold content is the first thing people see and is a large part of LCP.
The easiest way to optimize this is by excluding above the fold images from lazy load and preloading them.
Preload critical images is the easiest setting to do this which is found in FlyingPress and Perfmatters. This automatically detects the first 3 images in the viewport (this is the number I use), preloads them, and excludes them from lazy load. Doing this manually like in other cache plugins is a pain because you would need to copy all above the fold image URLs on every single page/post, add all the URLs to exclude them, and add preload resource hints. This is way easier.
9. Optimize Images
Seeing any of these in your PSI report?
- Properly size images – resize images to correct dimensions. You should do this before uploading them to WP. For example, I resize full width post blog images to 765px width.
- Specify image dimensions – most cache plugins have an option to “add missing image dimensions” which should fix this. Otherwise, you’ll need to manually add a width/height to the image’s HTML. This should improve cumulative layout shift scores in web vitals too.
- Compress images – image CDNs (Cloudflare) are ideal, otherwise a plugin like ShortPixel.
- WebP – again, image CDNs are usually best, or use your WebP/image optimization plugin.
- Adaptive Images – Cloudflare’s image resizing makes it so smaller versions are served to mobile (it can improve your mobile LCP score). Otherwise, try an adaptive images plugin.
10. Optimize Page Builders
By using Elementor or Divi, you’re already on your way to a slower WordPress site. I recently switched to GeneratePress but Blocksy/Kadence are good too (Kadence is expensive though).
Not willing to switch? There are still ways you can optimize your page builder:
- Elementor Experiments + Divi performance settings – Elementor and Divi both have built-in performance settings that can cut down on the size of CSS, JS, fonts.
- Don’t install a ton of page builder plugins – another problem with using these is they don’t come with a lot of templates, so you may end up installing a bunch of extra design-related plugins and end up like Darrel’s coverage report from step #5.
- Don’t use page builders for your header/sidebar/footer – page builders add more bloat than CSS! You can still design your main content using a page builder, but don’t use it for these areas which appear across your entire website. Hire a developer from freelancer.com or upwork.com to do this – it’s definitely worth it.
- Background images + Elementor image widgets – last time I checked, these can’t be excluded from lazy load when optimizing above the fold. Some images are treated differently, so check your documentation on how to optimize these.
11. Remove Bloat And Database Junk
Bloat can be removed with Perfmatters or Unbloater.
- Disabling WordPress Heartbeat
- Increase the autosave interval
- Limit post revisions (I suggest about 10)
- Moving the wp-login to protect it from bots
- The script manager to remove unused CSS/JS
- Disabling jQuery migrate, XML-RPC, pingbacks, etc
- Use Disable WooCommerce Bloat plugin for Woo sites
Database junk should be removed with WP-Optimize. In addition to removing basically everything most cache plugins do in their database settings, WP-Optimize lets you go through your actual plugin tables and remove junk from old plugins. Look for tables with not installed.
Chances are you installed the problem, deleted it, but it left behind junk. If you don’t plan on using that plugin again, you can remove its table.
While looking at your database, you may notice plugins (or certain plugin features) are adding lots of overhead. Well, are you using module-based plugins that let you disable their features? If yes, disable modules adding the most database bloat. I did this for several Rank math Modules.
12. Speed Up Your Mobile Site
Mobile speed is a whole tutorial itself, but here we go.
First off, most desktop optimizations carry over to mobile. So make sure your hosting/TTFB, theme, CDN, and cache plugin are in order.
Moving on to mobile-specific optimizations:
- Test your site for mobile layout shifts and fix those.
- Use responsive editors to remove heavy mobile elements.
- Use the Perfmatters script manager to disable unused mobile assets.
- Serve smaller images to mobile via CDN or an adaptive images plugin.
- Use a “load more comments” button if your blog has lots of comments.
- Know when to enable separate mobile cache in your cache plugin, or not.
13. Leave GoDaddy
I’ll just leave this here.
NameHero’s Turbo Cloud plan and FastComet’s FastCloud Extra are both lightyears ahead of GoDaddy and usually cheaper. Both use LiteSpeed servers which means you’ll use LiteSpeed Cache + QUIC.cloud CDN (arguably the fastest setup on a budget). NameHero uses NVMe/Redis (faster than SATA SSDs/Memcached), but their data centers are only in US + EU. If your visitors aren’t close to there, use QUIC.cloud’s paid plan which uses 80 PoPs + full page caching, or use FastCloud who has more data centers. The LiteSpeed Cache plugin is free and much faster than even most premium cache plugins (see my guide), and QUIC.cloud was also build for LiteSpeed.
|GoDaddy Managed WP Deluxe||NameHero Turbo Cloud||FastComet FastCloud Extra||Cloudways Vultr HF (2GB)||Rocket.net Starter|
|Visits/mo (est.)||Not listed||50,000||100,000||2TB bandwidth||50GB bandwidth|
|Server||Apache + Nginx||LiteSpeed||LiteSpeed||Apache + Nginx||Apache + Nginx|
|Cores/RAM||2 cores/1GB||3 cores/3GB||6 cores/6GB||1 core/2GB||32 cores/128GB|
|Storage||60GB / SATA||Unlimited NVMe||35GB / SATA||64GB / NVMe||10GB / NVMe|
|Object cache||Memcached||Redis||Memcached||Redis Pro||Redis|
|PHP processor||Not listed||LiteSpeed||LiteSpeed||FPM||LiteSpeed|
|PHP workers||CPU limits common||Efficient with LiteSpeed||Efficient with LiteSpeed||No limit||No limit|
|DNS||Internal (slow on dnsperf.com)||Use QUIC||Use QUIC||DNS Made Easy ($5/mo)||Cloudflare|
|CDN||GoDaddy CDN||QUIC.cloud||QUIC.cloud||Cloudflare Enterprise||Cloudflare Enterprise|
|CDN PoPs||Not listed||80||80||285||285|
|CDN Tbps||Not listed||Not listed||Not listed||192||192|
|Full page caching||x||✓||✓||x||✓|
|Image optimization||x||via QUIC||via QUIC||Mirage/Polish||Mirage/Polish|
|Image resizing||x||x||x||via Cloudflare||via Cloudflare|
|Cache plugin||x||LiteSpeed Cache||LiteSpeed Cache||Breeze||x|
|Major incidents||Breach almost every year||2011 2-day node outage||2022 DDoS attack on 3 data centers||None||None|
|Migrations||Paid||1 free||3 free||1 free + $25/site||Unlimited free|
|CDN price||Included||$.02 – .08/GB||$.02 – .08/GB||$5/mo||Included|
|Intro price||$18.99/mo||$9.98/mo||$5.49/mo||$30/mo||$25/mo when paying yearly|
Cloudways with their Cloudflare Enterprise is a big step up from shared hosting and who I previously used (before SiteGround), but they’re getting expensive with price increases and add-ons. If you want a <100ms global TTFB which you can test in KeyCDN, use Rocket.net with their Cloudflare Enterprise. They’re by far the fastest host I’ve used. If your TTFB is slow, you need to rethink your hosting/CDN since those are 2 main TTFB factors. Another solid tool to test hosting performance is the WP Hosting Benchmark plugin. TTFB is also 40% of your LCP score.
Do your research in unbiased Facebook Groups like WP Speed Matters:
Is GoDaddy slow?
GoDaddy is slow because they overcrowd servers and give you limited resources on shared hosting. If you exceed these limits, GoDaddy will throttle bandwidth which results in a slower website. They're also slow to release new PHP versions with outdated technology.
Why is my TTFB slow on GoDaddy?
A slow TTFB is common on shared hosting and is directly related to GoDaddy's servers which you have little control over. CDNs improve TTFB especially with full page caching.
How do I speed up a slow website on GoDaddy?
Upgrading to PHP 8.0 and moving your DNS from GoDaddy to Cloudflare are 2 easy ways to speed up a slow GoDaddy website. Cloudflare has free and paid features that can also help.
Why is my WordPress admin slow on GoDaddy?
Underpowered servers can also lead to a slow WordPress admin. While there are other ways to speed it up like reducing the load on your server, hosting is one of the top factors.
Is GoDaddy's DNS slow?
GoDaddy's DNS has below average performance on dnsperf.com which can result in latency. It should be noted that latency is also part of TTFB and LCP in core web vitals.
I spent way more time on this than I thought I was going to. Hope it helped :)