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

Have a slow WordPress site on GoDaddy?

To speed up a slow GoDaddy website, upgrade to PHP 7.3 in your GoDaddy account and configure Autoptimize or WP Rocket. Make sure images, database, plugins, and fonts are optimized to load fast. Finally, avoid using high CPU plugins on GoDaddy and use Cloudflare.

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 cache plugins and have built-in caching and a CDN that doesn’t compare to other tools.

How do you check if GoDaddy’s the problem?

Check your TTFB and server response time in PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, or KeyCDN. It should ideally by under 200ms. If it’s slow, join the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group to get unbiased hosting feedback. Most people are using Cloudways (their DigitalOcean or Vultr HF plan). They’re #1 in 10 Facebook polls and people who move almost always report faster TTFBs.

slow GoDaddy

Hopefully we can get yours even faster since this post has lots of images and comments:

GoDaddy GTmetrix

Quick Tips To Fix A Slow GoDaddy Website

  • Upgrade to PHP 7.3 inside GoDaddy
  • Install and configure WP Rocket or Autoptimize
  • Clean your database using a plugin like WP-Optimize
  • Avoid slow page builders (try Oxygen or GeneratePress)
  • Optimize Google fonts by hosting them locally and limiting them
  • Don’t use GoDaddy for your DNS or CDN (use Cloudflare instead)
  • Be careful with third-party code 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 TTFBs

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 server response time in PageSpeed Insights (over 200ms)
  • High TTFB (time to first byte) in GTmetrix Timings tab (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 7.3 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

Upgrade PHP Version GoDaddy

 

3. Use Cloudflare’s DNS And CDN

I don’t recommend using 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.

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). You can try 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

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

Enjoy the bandwidth savings.

Cloudflare-Bandwidth-Savings

 

4. Configure WP Rocket With Optimal Settings

GoDaddy blacklists most cache plugins, so you’re limited here.

The good news is that WP Rocket is the gold standard for cache plugins and isn’t blacklisted. It was rated #1 in numerous Facebook polls because it comes with more features than nearly every cache plugin. That means you 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 then use Autoptimize. You will still need install a few extra plugins (listed below) since Autoptimize doesn’t do these.

Otherwise, install WP Rocket and see my WP Rocket configuration guide.

2016 best cache plugin poll

2019 cache plugin poll

Swift vs WP Rocket

2016 cache plugin poll

Best cache plugins 2018 poll

wp rocket vs w3 totla cache

 

5. 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.

  • Load fonts from your theme, not plugins.
  • Combine multiple font files into 1 single request.
  • Host fonts locally with OMGF or use Transfonter.
  • Add font display to make fonts visible during page load.
  • Be minimal with font families, weights, characters, icons.
  • Use WOFF2 which is the most reliable and compressed format.
  • Preload fonts using WP Rocket (copy/paste font files into setting).

GTmetrix Font Files

 

6. 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

 

7. 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 user 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

 

8. Avoid Slow Loading 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 65 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.

 

9. 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 a 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 may be able to disable in Elementor:

Remove Unused Elementor CSS JavaScript

 

10. 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

 

11. Remove Or Optimize Page Builders

Honestly, 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.

Elementor-Souce-Code

Lesson learned.

 

12. Remove Junk From Your WordPress 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

 

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
  • 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. Disable High CPU Background Processes

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

  • 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

 

15. 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 find manual solutions on GitHub or use the Perfmatters plugin. To take it a step further, you should decide with you want to use cart fragments or not. Do you want users to see updated cart totals without refreshing the page, or you do you want a faster site? It’s up to you.

Perfmatters WooCommerce Settings

 

16. 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.

 

17. Block Spammy 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 Blackhold for Bad Bots plugin.

Live-Traffic-Report-Wordfence

 

18. 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

 

19. Use Faster Hosting Than GoDaddy (Cloudways)

GoDaddy is not good!

GoDaddy WordPress Hosting Feedback

Join the WordPress Hosting Facebook Group to get unbiased feedback. Most members (myself too) swear by Cloudways WordPress Hosting. Specifically DigitalOcean / Vultr High Frequency.

Do your research or look at this Facebook thread.

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).

Cloudways makes it easy to test them out and see the difference in your load times: they do free migrations, monthly pricing, a Migrator plugin, and a promo code to save money: OMM25

People who migrated to Cloudways/DigitalOcean:

Cloudways Response Times

Untitled

SiteGround vs Cloudways Migration

Changed To Cloudways

SiteGround to Cloudways Migration

Cloudways Performance

Cloudways Google PageSpeed

Cloudways DigitalOcean Page Speed

WPEngine To Cloudways

Cloudways Pingdom Load Times

Cloudways PageSpeed Scores

New Cloudways Server

DigitalOcean Pingdom Report

WP Engine To Cloudways

Cloudways Love

Cloudways vs SiteGround Post

Godaddy DigitalOcean Migration

Cloudways Facebook Review

Cloudways Shoutout

Facebook polls taken on the “best” hosting:

eCommerce Hosting Poll

Moving from SiteGround

Hosting Recommendation

Good managed WordPress host

SiteGround Alternatives

Elementor Hosting

Hosting Poll

SiteGround Alternative

Moving From WPX

Preferred Web Hosting

Favorite Web Hosting

Web Hosting France

VPS Cloud Hosting

Web hosting recommendations

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).
  • Server caching (Varnish, Redis, memcached) = faster performance.
  • You get to pick from DigitalOcean, Vultr HF, Linode, AWS, Google Cloud.
  • 4.7/5 star TrustPilot rating + 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.
  • Muhammed (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.

Get Faster TTFBs With Cloudways

 

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?

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 :)

See Also: How I Optimized My WordPress Site To Load In <1s

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

Cheers,
Tom

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