If you’re a newbie to the world of website creation, using a beginner-friendly website builder might be your best option for getting started. These tend to be extremely easy to use, you won’t have to have any technical experience or knowledge, and usually, you can get a site online within hours.
In this HostGator vs IONOS vs GoDaddy comparison, we analyze three popular website builders to see how they stack up against each other. We’ve done the hard work, looking at their main features, prices, performance, and more so you don’t have to.
Below, we’ve looked at and compared some of the main features of these three website builders. Note, though, that each builder is suited to different users and therefore places more emphasis on certain features.
Both IONOS and GoDaddy come with a full SEO toolkit that’s designed to help you boost your search engine rankings. HostGator also offers some SEO tools, although they are quite basic, to say the least.
All three website builders allow you to build some form of online store. Unfortunately, GoDaddy’s eCommerce features are very basic, and we just can’t recommend using them. HostGator’s Gator builder comes with everything you will need for a basic eCommerce site, and it’s much cheaper than GoDaddy or IONOS. And finally, IONOS offers great eCommerce features, although they obviously don’t compare to those of industry giants like Shopify.
IONOS includes either five or ten professional email addresses with its hosting plans, depending on which one you use. GoDaddy allows you to send marketing emails through your management dashboard, although you will be limited to just 100, 500, or 25,000 sends per month with its plans. And unfortunately, HostGator doesn’t offer any sort of email marketing features or a professional email account.
All three website builders come with a selection of templates that offer a neat starting point for your new website. GoDaddy’s template library is quite small, and its designs are simple, but they are perfect for beginners who just want to develop an attractive online presence. HostGator comes with hundreds of advanced designs that are heavily categorized according to the type of website they are made for. And finally, IONOS only has 17 templates, which was quite disappointing.
We briefly tested the performance of each of these website builders to help you decide which one is best suited to your needs.
For starters, the GoDaddy builder is extremely basic, but this will be a positive for some people. It allows you to choose a template, rearrange your design slightly, and customize your written and visual content. You can choose global color schemes and font pairings, but don’t expect to be able to personalize your layout very much.
In saying that, it’s a great option for those who want to get online quickly. It’s extremely easy to use, and even those with absolutely no website building experience should have no trouble creating a new site within a couple of hours.
The IONOS editing interface is slightly more advanced, but you will still be restricted to pre-coded element positions. Like GoDaddy, it uses a block-based editor, which allows you to add and remove sections as required. However, your site’s appearance will be largely dictated by the template you choose.
Content can be customized by clicking on it and following the prompts. Global design settings including colors, fonts, and element spacing can also be modified, but don’t expect too much power.
Meanwhile, the Gator Builder’s editing interface is significantly more advanced than either GoDaddy’s or IONOS’s. It uses a drag-and-drop editing style, which allows you to place different design elements exactly where you want them.
On top of this, you will have the ability to customize every aspect of your website. Every element (think text boxes, media, buttons, and more) can be edited individually, and you won’t be restricted to global font or color settings. What’s more, HostGator’s templates are excellent, which means that, on top of everything else, you should be able to find a great design to get started with.
Overall, HostGator clearly takes the points here, although some users will like the simplicity of IONOS and GoDaddy’s editors.
IONOS’s live support services include 24/7 phone and email. Unfortunately, it has no live chat, but its knowledge base contains a selection of self-help resources that are cleverly categorized and aimed at beginners.
Meanwhile, GoDaddy offers 24/7 live chat, and phone support, although the lack of email ticketing is slightly concerning. Like IONOS, it comes with a range of tutorials and technical documentation, and there is also an active community forum and various FAQs.
And finally, HostGator also has live chat and phone support, but no email ticketing options. Its knowledge base is very impressive, and the support team really knows their stuff.
Pricing and plans
HostGator is clearly the cheapest option here. It has three website builder plans, with prices ranging from $3.84 to $9.22 for an initial subscription. The cheapest Starter plan includes a free domain name and SSL certificate, full analytics, and great customer support. Upgrading to a Premium plan will give you priority support, while the eCommerce plan allows you to sell online. There is no free trial or free forever plan, but you will benefit from a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Meanwhile, GoDaddy has a basic free forever plan and four paid plans. Its prices are quite high, ranging from $9.99 to $19.99 per month for standard website plans. The eCommerce plan costs $24.99 per month and comes with very limited tools.
And finally, IONOS has three plans. The two cheapest differ in the level of customizability you get, and both cost $5 per month. The more expensive eCommerce plan costs $20 per month. All three options are free for the first month, allowing you to test the builder and then cancel your subscription if required.
HostGator is clearly the best choice if low prices are your main focus, although the lack of a free forever plan or free trial is slightly concerning.
At the end of the day, the best website builder for you will depend on your needs. If you’re looking for a basic option that offers very simple if somewhat limited editing, GoDaddy or IONOS could be a good choice.
Overall, though, HostGator’s Gator builder is certainly the pick of the three. It’s backed by a range of advanced features, boasts a powerful editor, is very well priced, and offers excellent support services.
The bottom line: If you’re looking for a strong all-round website builder, the Gator Builder is a great option.