How To Speed Up A Slow Website On GoDaddy’s Hosting (Leave Otherwise)

Slow godaddy website

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.

 

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).

Keycdn-performance-test

 

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in your GoDaddy hosting account and can make your WordPress site faster (especially if you’re currently using a lower, outdated PHP version).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

Godaddy php

 

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.

Godaddy dns

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 Domains → DNS → Nameservers → Change. Choose “Enter my own nameservers” and add Cloudflare’s.

Godaddy change nameservers to cloudflare

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.
Cloudflare bandwidth
Offloading bandwidth to Cloudflare can speed up your site and reduce CPU usage
Cloudflare cdn proxy
Enable their CDN by changing your website to “Proxied” in the DNS settings
Cloudflare firewall rules
Firewall rules help stop unwanted requests from hitting your server
Rocket. Net cloudflare enterprise
Some hosts/services started offering Cloudflare Enterprise (I use Rocket.net)

 

5. Avoid Slow Plugins

Let’s find your slowest plugins.

Open Chrome Dev Tools and go to the coverage report where you’ll see which plugins add the most CSS/JavaScript. The plugin name is usually found in the URL so you’ll know which ones slow down your site the most. As you can see, building sites with page builders and multiple page builder plugins is usually a recipe for disaster. But obviously it depends on your website.

Css javascript chrome dev tools
Use Chrome Dev Tools to see which plugins add the most CSS/JavaScript

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.”

Query monitor dropdown 1

Slow wordpress plugins query monitor

 

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.

Make sure you see my guide on the FlyingPress settings. The next 5 steps are related to optimizations in cache plugins and FlyingPress does the best job (along with Perfmatters).

WP Rocket FlyingPress
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 StackPath BunnyCDN
CDN PoPs 60 93
CDN Tbps 65 80
CDN geo-replication x
CDN image optimization x
CDN image resizing for mobile x
Documented APO compatibility x

Cache plugins have settings to optimize CSS/JavaScript files like delay JavaScript, remove unused CSS, and minify. 2 things they don’t do are asset unloading (disabling plugins or CSS/JS files on specific pages which you can do in Perfmatters). As well as stop yourself from using too much third-party code for tracking (do you really need Google Analytics, Tag Manager, Heatmaps, Facebook Pixel, and other tracking tools)?

Omm switches to flyingpress

 

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.

Third party google fonts

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.

Elementor host google fonts locally preload

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.

Avoid chaining critical requests

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.

Preload font perfmatters

 

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.

Above the fold images

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.

Preload critical images flyingpress

 

9. Optimize Images

Seeing any of these in your PSI report?

Image optimization pagespeed insights

  • 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).

Fastest wordpress themes
See the full test

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.
Elementor experiments
Page builders usually have built-in performance settings

 

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.

Wp optimize unused database tables

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.

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.
Omm mobile core web vitals search console
Monitor your mobile core web vitals report in Search Console (it can take time to update in PSI)

 

13. Leave GoDaddy

I’ll just leave this here.

Godaddy wordpress hosting review

Better options (the ones listed first are faster but cost more).

  • Rocket.net – look at their specs and have a conversation with Ben Gabler (that’s all it took for me). They average a <100ms global TTFB which you can measure in KeyCDN. Their free Cloudflare Enterprise is superior than Cloudways/Kinsta with full page caching, smart purging, and built their data centers in the same ones as Cloudflare (Ben was StackPath’s Chief Product Officer so that makes sense). Just to give you an idea, their plans start at $25/mo with 32 CPU cores + 128GB RAM + NVMe SSDs + Redis. No PHP worker limits because only about 10% of traffic actually hits your origin. Everything is free (no paid add-ons) and their powerful stack makes scaling affordable with plenty of resources. I asked Ben to create a coupon OMM1 to make your first month $1. Compared to Kinsta, they use about 16x more RAM, 32x more cores on staging sites, and up to 25x more monthly visits. Top performer on wphostingbenchmarks.com with a 4.9/5 TrustPilot rating too? Take 5 minutes to compare specs and see for yourself or see my Rocket.net review.
Keycdn performance test cloudflare 1
Cloudflare free (no full page caching)
Rocket. Net keycdn performance test 1
Rocket.net Cloudflare Enterprise + full page caching
Rocket. Net top tier wordpress hosting benchmarks
Top performer on wphostingbenchmarks.com by Kevin Ohashi
Rocket. Net ben gabler testimonial
Send Ben Gabler if you have any questions (I’ll bet you’ll be impressed)

Vultr High Frequency – I was previously using Cloudways Vultr HF and this was a big upgrade from SiteGround’s cloud hosting. Also uses NVMe + Redis Object Cache Pro but Cloudflare Enterprise and their Breeze plugin need some work. Can also get expensive between the CPU/RAM, add-ons, email hosting, etc. That said, here’s 30% off 3 months.

Siteground alternative 2021

Siteground alternative 2020

Siteground to cloudways shoutout

LiteSpeed – NameHero if your visitors are in the US/EU or Scala / ChemiCloud if they’re somewhere else. All have great TrustPilot ratings and include more CPU/RAM than similar hosts like Hostinger or A2, for example, if you view NameHero’s specs page. LiteSpeed is not only faster than Apache/NGINX but can handle more concurrent connections which means less chance of CPU limit issues. Plus, the LiteSpeed Cache + QUIC combination is probably the fastest/cheapest setups you’ll find for shared hosting.

Litespeed vs nginx vs apache
Credit: LiteSpeed

 

Get Help From My WordPress Speed Optimizer

Still need help?

I’ve been working with Pronaya for 10+ years now. While I write about it, he’s the one that gets things done. This ranges from configuring cache plugins to CDNs and core web vitals. He even helped me develop my new website. You can hire him on freelancer.com or send him an email: bdkamol@gmail.com. Please don’t expect perfect 100% scores and follow my WordPress speed guide. He lives in Bangladesh (so there’s a time change), but he’s excellent with communication.

Pronaya wordpress speed optimizer

 

FAQs

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 :)

Cheers,
Tom

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80 thoughts on “How To Speed Up A Slow Website On GoDaddy’s Hosting (Leave Otherwise)”

  1. Have you noticed that it runs extremely slow, while other WordPress websites you’ve seen are so much faster?

    Reply
  2. I used to hate Godaddy until I was proven otherwise by Reviewsignal. ReviewSignal has rated Godaddy as one of their top tier WordPress hosting during 2019 and 2020. I host few of my clients at Godaddy.

    Make sure that you are using their WordPress managed hosting(Not basic) and you keep their CDN off and use third party CDNs. I would suggest using bunnyCDN for that matter.

    Since few of my clients rejected the idea of using Cloudflare CDN, I almost always go with Namecheap Premium DNS + Godaddy WordPress Managed hosting/Nestify + bunnyCDN.

    If their website is image heavy, you should be using a third party image optimization service.

    Reply
    • Why did you say “…not basic”? I can’t see anything in the plan specs that suggests it runs slower than the higher tier plans. Do you know for certain this is the case because we’re prepared to upgrade from Basic if so. Thanks

      Reply
  3. I think Godaddy needs to burn their cash to revamp their infrastructure rather than on advertising. They try to entice novice customers by marketing not quality service.
    But what about regular customers?

    Reply
  4. Really useful insight. I am workin with a customer who has Godaddy and I am already noticing all you pointed out… :/ Also with this managed hosting thing… How do you even set up cloudflare here? I think it is also very restrictive and not very intuitive on settings.

    Reply
  5. Please help, This website i made received a 87 on google speed test and a 95 on mobile. Yet it still runs extremely slow. Its on the cheapest godaddy plan, Is this the issue?

    hellomontys.com

    Reply
  6. Tom, I have to thank you. You have saved my life and countless hours of trying to make a client site fast on godaddy. I couldn’t believe her dashboard said her site was 100% perfect on performance when I was getting very terrible scores on several platforms. From now on, I’m going to show this to all my godaddy customers. You have given us all so much free and very useful information that saved alot of us developers so much time. I will be back several times to refernce this and might even create a blog post to link back to you from my site when I can figure out what I want to write about. Damn! I just wrote a post on wp engine too and now I’m thinking of leaving siteground for cloudways. You’re a lifesaver.

    Reply
    • Thanks Heather! Really appreciate that and that’s my job. Honestly, the entire hosting world is so deceptive. Hosts say slow TTFBs aren’t their fault, affiliates try to get you to sign up for hosting via aff links (sigh, yes, even me). But that’s why I encourage people to join some Facebook Groups like the WordPress Hosting group. It’s one of the few places to get solid feedback on hosting companies, and I try to borrow that info to show that GoDaddy, SiteGround, WP Engine, and many other hosts are (usually) not great choices especially in terms of speed. Anyway, glad it was helpful and let me know if there’s anything else I can do.

      Reply
  7. Hi, thanks for the article. I really just use Godaddy because of the emails they provide. Sending mails via the Office servers is great for me. But my Physical Memory Usage and I/O Usage always goes to 100% if I visit 1 webpage. And thenafter my website is too slow to be true. Haven’t seen such a bad host in my entire life. How can such a company exist? Also they don’t give Let’s Encrypt certificates so you need to have a third party for it. Have to renew it every 90 days. With other hosts you do not need to do so… it’s possible to have email at Godaddy right? And for the rest somewhere else?

    Reply
  8. My GTMetrix results attached…W3 Total Cache and Cloudflare are both in play.
    I did try Autoptimize – the site crashed shortly afterward due to resources on GoDaddy server (Dedicated IP) being maxed out (i.e. CPU, I/O, Physical Memory Usage). I since deactivated Autoptimize but still seeing frequent CPU, I/O, RAM spikes.

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing Aaron, so GoDaddy let you install W3 Total Cache? Thought they blacklisted all cache plugins. GTmetrix report looks pretty good but yeah, with that load time it looks like a server problem.

      Reply
        • Anytime, be sure to configure their SG Optimizer plugin and activate Cloudflare in their dashboard. Keep me updated about the results if you don’t mind. Their a little more expensive but also use Google Cloud platform.

          Reply
          • successfully migrated to SiteGround and followed your guide to configure SG Optimizer. got the load time down to 2.8s and overall, the site is performing a lot better now.

          • Nice! I have to update that SG Optimizer tutorial. Thanks so much for sharing this and glad your site is faster.

  9. Thank you for Sharing. The language of the article is very easy and understandable. I was struggling with speed optimization. Now I fix it successfully.

    Reply

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