Is your WordPress site running slow on GoDaddy?
If your WordPress site is slow on GoDaddy, you can speed it up by upgrading to PHP 7.3, configuring Autoptimize, setting up Cloudflare, and making images and plugins load faster.
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 time is in your report. Google recommends a response time of <200ms. Anything over is considered slow, and you can identify GoDaddy’s slow servers as the main problem.
Benchmark your scores + load times in GTmetrix and post them in the comments! And if you need help, leave your GTmetrix report in the comments and I’ll provide you with suggestions.
When you’re done, hopefully your GTmetrix report looks more like this:
1. Check Your Server Response Time
Run your site through Google PageSpeed Insights to see if reduce server response time 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.
Indicators Your 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 using cheap, shared hosting with “unlimited bandwidth” but TOC 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 Most WordPress users run outdated PHP versions.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 Imagify or Kraken (both are free until you reach the monthly limit). While there are other completely free plugins that offer unlimited compressions, do NOT use these since they have bugs, won’t work, or will break your images.
- Install the Imagify Plugin
- You will be prompted with instructions
- Sign up for Imagify and enter your API key
- Set your compression level (normal, aggressive, ultra)… I use aggressive
- Imagif’em all (bulk compresses all images on your site)
- Once your limit is up, buy a plan or wait next month to reset your limit
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.
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
With Cloudways DigitalOcean, you would be leaving one of the slowest hosts for the fastest.
I signed up for 15+ hosting accounts to test their speed. All domains in this video are live, which means you can visit them in real-time and click through the pages, test GTmetrix, etc. gdaddyserver.com is on GoDaddy, cwdoserver.com is on Cloudways who was #1 in the tests.
Each website is identical except for it’s hosting (same Astra Starter Site, SSL, no caching, no CDN, and the same 6 plugins). I also used WP Hosting Performance Check and KeyCDN to measure the most popular options. The results align with what most people are saying in the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group which I recommend joining to get real, unbiased opinions.
I moved from SiteGround to DigitalOcean on Cloudways and the results speak for themselves. I’m also paying 1/2 of what I was. Cloudways also does free migrations which made it very easy.
I would personally skip shared hosting since cloud hosting is exponentially faster. This is especially true if you’re on GoDaddy or EIG brands (eg. Bluehost and HostGator) and for resource-intensive websites running WooCommerce, WPML, page builders, or slow plugins.
There are plenty of migration results if you check Twitter and Facebook Groups. Avoid the bloggers promoting Bluehost and WP Engine because they have the highest commissions and do your research. Hosting is the #1 factor in WordPress’ optimization guide – very important!
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
✅ Is GoDaddy slow?
GoDaddy overcrowds their servers which is why they are able to offer cheap hosting. Strictly in terms of speed, GoDaddy is one of the slowest of shared hosting providers based on numerous Facebook polls and performance tests.
✅ How do you check server response times?
Run your site through Google PageSpeed Insights to check your server response time. It should be less than 200ms.
✅ What is the easiest way to improve load times on GoDaddy?
Upgrade to PHP 7.3 in your GoDaddy account, install the Autoptimize plugin, add Cloudflare's free CDN, clean your database with WP-Optimize, and use an image optimization plugin like TinyPNG. Avoid plugins that consume lots of resources and show multiple times in your GTmetrix report.
✅ Can you use a cache plugin with GoDaddy?
No, GoDaddy uses their own built-in caching system and blacklists cache plugins. The problem with this, is that cache plugins do a lot more for your speed than just caching.
✅ Will upgrading to a higher plan help?
It is unlikely this will permanently fix speed issues. Even on GoDaddy's Managed WordPress Hosting, performance tests have shown that load times were still slow.
✅ Which speed testing tool should I use?
GTmetrix is great for finding specific images, plugins, and third party scripts that need to be optimized. Google PageSpeed Insights is mainly good for measuring server response times.
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!