InMotion vs GoDaddy vs HostGator vs GreenGeeks

Best Web Hosting for Small Business

   Web Host  Price  Speed Index  Guarantee
 InMotion Hosting Business Hosting  InMotion Hosting  $3.49 – $7.49 mo.  1611  90 Days
 GreenGeeks Business Hosting  GreenGeeks  $3.96 mo.  2097  30 Days
 HostGator Business Hosting  HostGator  $5.95 mo.  1664  45 Days
 GoDaddy Business Hosting  GoDaddy  $3.99 – $7.99 mo.  1772  30 Days

Introduction

A successful website is critical for all businesses. But in the case of small business, it’s even more important to have a highly accessible, well-performing online web presence. For our comparison test here, we’ll focus on business web hosting for small to medium size businesses. These non-enterprise level web hosting packages contain many features that are specifically tailored for business web sites.

Business Web Hosting Features

Small Business Web Hosting Infographic
Beyond standard shared hosting, quality business web hosting plans should include the following:

  • Business Class Hardware
  • Multiple Data Centers
  • Proactive Security
  • Data Backup and Restore
  • Choice of Many Software Applications
  • Free Website Transfer
  • Search Engine and Social Media Advertising Credits
  • 24/7 Phone, Email, and Live Chat Support

Business Web Hosting Providers

This comparison study involves four web hosting plans that are specifically marketed as business hosting plans. The four web hosting companies we compared are GoDaddy, GreenGeeks, HostGator, and InMotion Hosting.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy
GoDaddy is probably the most well-known hosting provider, as well as the largest domain name registrar. They offer a huge selection of domain name and web hosting services—including business hosting. In fact, in recent years, there has been a definite emphasis on helping businesses of all kind succeed.

Business Hosting Features:

  • 24/7 Security Monitoring and DDoS Protection
  • 99.9% Uptime Guarantee
  • Redundant Storage Drives
  • One-click Software Installation
Pros:

  • Unlimited Bandwidth and Disk Space
  • Simplified 30 second setup process
Cons:

  • Only 30 Day Money Back Guarantee
  • Live chat support not available 24/7
  • No specifics on hardware used

GreenGeeks

GreenGeeks
GreenGeeks may be better known for their green web hosting. But their all-inclusive shared hosting plan is also suited for small business—containing many useful features.

Business Hosting Features:

  • Solid State Drives (SSDs)
  • Real Time Security Scanning
  • Automatic Brute Force Detection
  • Built-In PHP Caching
  • Free Website Migration
  • One-Click Software Installation
  • 24/7 U.S. Based Support
Pros:

  • Powered by 300% Renewable Energy
  • Unlimited Web Space and Data Transfer
  • Free Domain for the Life of Your Account
  • Free SEO and Marketing Tools
  • Choose from Multiple Data Center Locations
Cons:

  • Only 30 Day Money Back Guarantee

HostGator

HostGator
HostGator is another established web hosting company that offers many levels of hosting plans. Their top level shared hosting plan is specifically labeled as their Business Hosting plan—and contains premium features.

Business Hosting Features:

  • Unmetered Disk Space and Bandwidth
  • 99.9% Uptime Guarantee
  • Free Cloud Storage
Pros:

  • Free Dedicated IP
  • Free Private SSL
  • Free Toll Free Phone Number
  • 45 Day Money Back Guarantee
  • Free Advertising Credits (Google, Bing, and Yahoo)
Cons:

  • Slow Live Chat Response Times
  • Automated Data Backups Not Available
  • Problems with Signup Process
  • WordPress Themes Not Up To Date

InMotion Hosting

InMotion Business Hosting
InMotion Hosting has emphasized business web hosting for many years. Their hosting lineup contains three levels of business hosting plans (Launch, Power, and Pro), and all of them include premium features geared towards business websites.

Business Hosting Features:

  • Business Class Hardware
  • Solid State Drives (SSDs)
  • Max Speed Zone Technology
  • 99.99% Network Uptime
  • Free Data Backups and Restore
  • 24/7 U.S. Based Customer Support
  • Live Chat Support and Skype
  • Over 310 Free Applications
  • Safe Application Roll-Back
  • SPAM Safe Email with IMAP
  • Free Website Transfers
Pros:

  • Choose from Multiple Data Center Locations
  • Unlimited Disk Space and Data Transfer
  • Fast support response times and helpful staff.
  • Preinstallation of WordPress, Joomla, or PrestaShop
  • Free Advertising Credits (Google, Bing, and Yahoo)
  • Free Yellow Pages Business Listing
  • 90 Day Money Back Guarantee
Cons:

  • eCommerce Ready requires Power or Pro plan

Account and Website Setup

1. InMotion Hosting
2. GreenGeeks
3. GoDaddy
4. HostGator

InMotion Hosting:
The signup process and account setup is very easy and quick. The Account Management Panel (AMP) is our favorite hosting account interface—allowing you to easily locate and perform any maintenance or billing functions you need to take care of. We also like their implementation of cPanel which allows direct access to customer support. And, you can also have WordPress, Joomla, or PrestaShop pre-installed which makes getting started even easier.

GreenGeeks:
Signing up and getting started is also very easy here. There is a bit of a delay after you place your order while your purchase is verified. However, you will soon get your account details along with your welcome emails—which includes a nice checklist which you can follow to get started. There is a separate checklist for new customers and those who are transferring their site. Once you log into your GreenGeeks dashboard, there is a button where you can access your cPanel.

GoDaddy:
The GoDaddy signup process is definitely easy—as is the account setup process. Interestingly though, GoDaddy advertises a 30 second setup process. And although it is fast, it does take a bit longer than 30 seconds (just under two minutes in my case). Once your account is setup, you’re taken directly to your cPanel—which is certainly one of the more customized looking cPanel implementations. We like it though.

HostGator:
There are a couple of issues with the signup process at HostGator. First, be aware that some optional services are pre-checked when you place your order and are included in your total bill. So, be sure to uncheck these if you don’t want them. Second, it was definitely a hassle trying to pay for my hosting. First, I tried PayPal; however I continued to receive error messages. I also tried to pay by credit card, but that didn’t work either. When I contacted support, I was told to try a different browser—but that didn’t work either. I had to contact support again. And this time, after more investigation, they had to manually charge my credit card. Once that was accomplished, I received my account information email immediately.

We like that HostGator includes cPanel as your interface. However, we hate that the large top section is devoted to upsells and special offers. Even worse, the left side panel contained 5 large upsell advertisements. And that’s not all; I would also periodically get pop up upsell ads while in cPanel.

Data Centers and Hardware

InMotion Data Center
1. InMotion Hosting
2. GreenGeeks
3. HostGator
4. GoDaddy

InMotion Hosting:

  • Los Angeles, CA and Ashburn, VA
  • Max Speed Zones
  • RAIDed Fault Tolerant Solid State Drives (SSDs)
  • Enterprise Dell Servers
  • BGP Route Optimizer
  • 20 GB Connectivity over 10 Gig Ethernet
  • L.A. Data Center Connected through One Wilshire and 4 Tier-1 ISPs

InMotion Hosting has data centers on both the West and East Coast. The West data center is located in downtown Los Angeles, CA, and is one of the first Green Data Center facilities. I’ve been able to visit InMotion’s west coast data center multiple times. It’s definitely an impressive operation with top of the line hardware and a first rate support staff. InMotion’s east coast data center is located in Ashburn, VA.

InMotion Hosting utilizes their Max Speed Zone Technology with both of their data centers which results in faster speeds depending on your location. In addition to including SSDs with all of their servers, they have also done some recent updates involving DDoS mitigation and fiber optic upgrades.

GreenGeeks:

  • Chicago, IL, Phoenix, AZ, and Toronto, CAN
  • Intel Xeon Processors
  • BGP4 Gig Connectivity to Fiber GigE Tier-1 Backbones
  • RAID-10 Storage Arrays
  • Solid State Drives (SSDs)

GreenGeeks also has multiple data centers that are equipped with state of the art equipment—and of course, with a name like GreenGeeks, they are environmentally friendly.

HostGator:

  • Provo, UT and Houston, TX
  • 32 Core AMD Opteron 6376
  • Intel Xeon CPU E5-2630
  • 4 RAID 1s

HostGator’s main data centers are in Provo, UT, and Houston, TX. Unfortunately, you can’t choose which data center houses your website.

GoDaddy:
GoDaddy has thousands of servers around the globe—that’s the good news. Unfortunately, they apparently aren’t interested in sharing any information on what kind of hardware they’re using for their business web hosting. Our request was met with a “there is no way to give specific specifications” response. That being the case, it’s curious as to what kind of standards (if any) they’re employing there.

For a personal website that might be acceptable. However, for business web hosting we would expect some detailed information on the hardware used.

Speed and Performance Results

To measure speed and performance, we tested identical websites with each of these web hosting companies. For an even better overall comparison, we performed tests from different parts of the U.S. Here are the results.

Location: West U.S.
1. InMotion Hosting
2. HostGator
3. GreenGeeks
4. GoDaddy

West Speed Results

Location: Central U.S.
1. HostGator
2. InMotion Hosting
3. GoDaddy
4. GreenGeeks

Central Speed Results

Location: East U.S.
1. GoDaddy
2. InMotion Hosting
3. GreenGeeks
4. HostGator

East Speed Results

Overall, InMotion Hosting was the best performer across the board with impressive times in all areas. HostGator also performed well and was a close second. GoDaddy performed well in the east, but overall placed third. GreenGeeks had the slowest times in our tests.

Website Backup and Restore

1. GreenGeeks
2. InMotion Hosting
3. HostGator
4. GoDaddy

While you should always do your own primary data backups, we would certainly expect a business web hosting plan to include some type of backup and restore service just in case of an emergency. Among the business web hosting packages we tested, there was a wide variance in the type of services offered. However, all of these web hosting plans allow you to perform your own backups and restores when needed.

GreenGeeks:
GreenGeeks performs nightly backups and the data is retained for 48 hours. They offer one free recovery per month. If you need additional restores, the cost is $25 each. You can of course perform your own backups via cPanel.

InMotion Hosting:
InMotion backups are run every 24 to 36 hours. Each backup overwrites the previous one. You can request a free restore once every four months. If you need additional restores, there is a charge of $49. You can also use cPanel to perform your own backups and restores at any time.

HostGator:
No automated or nightly backups are included. You can use cPanel to preform your data backups—which is also available with the other web hosting plans we tested. However, you can add an optional backup service from CodeGuard which costs $19.95 yr.

GoDaddy:
GoDaddy offers an addon service that provides a rolling 30 day backup which you can restore from at any time. There is an additional fee of $24 per year for this service. You can also perform your own backups via cPanel.

Customer Support

Customer Support
1. InMotion Hosting
2. GreenGeeks
3. HostGator
4. GoDaddy

Sample of Live Chat Support Response Times
InMotion Hosting – 10.1 Seconds
GreenGeeks – 59.6 Seconds
HostGator – 1 Minute 24 Seconds
GoDaddy – 2 Minutes 7 Seconds

InMotion Hosting:
InMotion Hosting features 24/7 U.S. based support via phone, email, live chat, and Skype. Their live chat support response times have consistently been among the fastest. And, the support staff is extremely professional, courteous, and able to resolve issues in a timely manner.

GreenGeeks:
GreenGeeks also provides 24/7 U.S. based support. Their live chat support response times are excellent. We’ve had nothing but positive experiences with the support staff.

HostGator:
HostGator provides 24/7 customer support via phone, email, and live chat. In the past, although we’ve found the support agents to be very helpful, the live chat support wait times have frequently been quite long. While the response times have improved, issues seem to take longer to resolve.

GoDaddy:
GoDaddy’s customer support response times have definitely improved recently. Unfortunately, their live chat support is not available 24/7. And, it can be a crap shoot when it comes to the support agents—some are very good, while others are not very helpful (and sometimes I’ve gotten some attitude).

Recommendations and Conclusions

Small Business Hosting
Reviewed by Michael James on
.
five_stars_rating
Rating: 5

InMotion Hosting
InMotion Hosting continues to be the industry standard for small business web hosting in our opinion. Having personally used InMotion for many years, it isn’t surprising to me that they performed extremely well here. And, the excellent hosting and support results from our comparison testing confirm to us that InMotion is the top choice for small business web hosting.

GreenGeeks
GreenGeeks also performed very well in many categories. We would have liked to have seen some slightly faster performance numbers. However, we definitely feel that GreenGeeks hosting is suitable for many types of websites. And, when it comes to small business hosting, they take runner up honors here.

HostGator
HostGator was the exact opposite of GreenGeeks in this comparison study. Their speed testing results were very good, but in most of the other areas of our testing (such as setup and support) they were somewhat lacking. When it comes to small business hosting, we would rank them third for this comparison study.

GoDaddy
GoDaddy’s results in our testing showed that being the biggest isn’t necessary the best—especially when it comes to business hosting. Their results were very inconsistent throughout. So while we would recommend GoDaddy for domain name management, we would look elsewhere when it comes to small business web hosting.

InMotion Hosting Business Hosting
$3.49 – $7.49 mo.
Avg. Load Time: 2.336s
Avg. Speed Index: 1611
Support Response Time: 10.1 Sec.
Guarantee: 90 Days
Visit Site:
inmotionhosting.com
GreenGeeks Business Hosting
$3.96 mo.
Avg. Load Time: 2.640s
Avg. Speed Index: 2097
Support Response Time: 59.6 Sec.
Guarantee: 30 Days
Visit Site:
greengeeks.com
HostGator Business Hosting
$5.95 mo.
Avg. Load Time: 2.335s
Avg. Speed Index: 1664
Support Response Time: 1 Min. 24 Sec.
Guarantee: 45 Days
Visit Site:
hostgator.com
GoDaddy Business Hosting
$3.99 – $7.99 mo.
Avg. Load Time: 2.418s
Avg. Speed Index: 1772
Support Response Time: 2 Min. 7 Sec.
Guarantee: 30 Days
Visit Site:
godaddy.com