**SALE!!! 60% DISCOUNT ON ALL HOSTING!
[UNTIL SEPTEMER 30th]
HostGator is offering 3 plans with different specifications and pricing. I will try to explain the differences to you so you can make a wise decision on which plan to choose.
Let's look at the comparison chart below. Only differences are compared. Everything else is either the same or too similar. I am also showing you iPage unlimited plan for comparison.
30% off for all HostGator plans (Use Coupon Code GET30DISCOUNT). $1.99 for iPage.
|Your Own Toll Free Number||-||-||Yes||-|
|Free Dedicated IP||-||-||Yes||-|
|Free Private SSL||-||-||Yes||-|
1. Host 1 Website or Host Multiple Websites?
The first major difference is the ability to host multiple domains/sites within the same account. Hatchling is the traditional 1 domain per account type of hosting. You can only host 1 site with it. With domain names being so cheap today, you will have a very high chance of owning more than 1 domain. That's why 1 domain per account is really very limited!
That's why I would highly recommend you to pick at least the Baby plan because you are allowed to host unlimited websites under the same account. Trust me, as long as you stay long enough, you will always have more domains, especially when you can own a new domain for less than $10 a year nowadays.
So the main question should be, do you need the Business plan? Is Baby plan enough for you? The answer is quite simple. Are you trying to sell something online? Are you going to take credit card payments by yourself? If the answer is NO, you don't need the Business plan at all.
If you answer YES to the above questions, then you will need to know if you need those extra features.
2. Do you need a Toll Free number?
With a toll-free number, your customers in the US and Canada can call you without any long distance charges. The calls will be forwarded to your existing phone number, so you don't need any new phone lines or equipment. The service is provided by Voipo, which is a HostGator associated company.
You will have 100 initial minutes for free. After that, you will need to pay 4.9 cents/minute for US callers and 6.9 cents/minute for Canada callers. This service is offered to you for 'free' if you are picking the Business plan but for anyone else, they are selling this service for $4.95/month of $36/year (averaged $3/month).
That means you will get better deal if you signup just the Baby plan and then go to Voipo to subscribe the toll free service for $36/year, given that you don't need the other services discussed below.
3. Do you need a Dedicated IP Address and Private SSL Certificate?
SSL certificate is needed when you need to make secured connections. When a secure connection is made, you will see in your browser address bar, the connection protocol will change to https:// instead of http://. The 's' refer to secured HTTP connection.
In this type of connection, all data are encrypted for security purposes and this is important when you are trying to transfer sensitive information. They are most widely used in transferring credit card information.
There are 2 types of SSL certificate - the private and the public. Public certificate are also known as shared certificate because it is shared among all other HostGator customers. It is available free to all plans (Hatchling, Baby, Business and BlueHost).
Both private and public certificate are fully encrypted and secured. However, public certificate are hosted under HostGator domain and it will pop up a warning message to your customer. Even it is secure, you customer will feel very uncomfortable submitting their credit card information to you so you will be guaranteed to lose some sales!
Thus, you will need a private SSL certificate that is stored in your own domain (i.e. https://www.yourdomain.com) so it won't popup any warning message and make you more trustworthy to your customer.
A dedicated IP address (also knows as static IP address or unique IP address) is required when you need to use your own private SSL certificate. This is a technical requirement so I won't go deep into it as you probably don't need to know.
It it important to note that many ecommerce website are not using SSL certificate at all! I have been selling online for many years and I don't use it. The reason is simple, if you are charging your customer using a 3rd party checkout system such as PayPal and 2checkout, you don't need your own SSL certificate because the transaction is processed by PayPal and 2checkout and they will maitain their own SSL certificate. Almost all top eBay sellers are using PayPal to collect payments and they don't need any SSL certificate or dedicated IP address either. So, there is a high chance that you don't need it as well.
The only reason you need it is when you have your own merchant account. This is very costly to small businesses. Non US based customer will also have a hard time opening one. And if you still haven't have a merchant account, I will recommend you to simply stick with PayPal or 2CheckOut at the initial stage for cost savings and less hassle. I repeat, most of us don't need a merchant account, a private SSL certificate and a unique static IP address.
4. Do you need Anonymous FTP access?
NO, you don't need anonymous FTP access! Anonymous FTP is a silly feature. It allows anyone (ANYONE!) with an internet connection to connect to your account and upload/download files. Of course, they can only access a public folder in your account (they won't be able to touch your private files). But still, it is quite foolish to have this feature turn on because many losers out there will connect to your account and upload a bunch of files (maybe even porn and pirated software) so they can share it with others. It will cost you a lot of bandwidth and maybe even get your account suspended! So, NO, you don't want anonymous FTP access!
The Good News - FREE Upgrade Anytime
The good news is, HostGator allow you to upgrade your account anytime you want without paying any fee. You only need to pay the upgraded plan pricing on a pro-rated basis. That means at anytime, you are free to upgrade from Hatchling to Baby/Business or from Baby to Business. You can do this easily by filling up the upgrade form.
However, downgrading is not free. If you want to downgrade to a cheaper plan, you will have to pay a $10 conversion fee. This is to avoid frequent upgrade/downgrade.
Maybe because of this reason, you can even start with the traditional one-domain-per account Hatchling plan and upgrade it to Baby plan later when you want to host your second domain.
If you are paying month to month, maybe the savings from picking Hatchling plan instead of Baby plan is not significant ($1 month). But if you pay 12 month, the price difference is quite significant ($3/month!). So it might be a good strategy to initially use the Hatchling plan and then upgrade it later when needed.
**SALE!!! 60% DISCOUNT ON ALL HOSTING!
[UNTIL SEPTEMER 30th]