HostGator is offering 3 different shared hosting plans – Hatchling, Baby & Business.
Let’s look at the comparison chart below. I am only showing you the differences. Everything else that is the same or too similar will be ignored here because I have already discussed them in my HostGator review page.
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|Live Chat Script||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free Standard SSL||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free “Premium” SSL||–||–||Yes|
|Free Dedicated IP||–||–||Yes|
Surprise surprise! There are actually not many differences between the plans!
So the most important question is:-
Do you want to host just 1 website or multiple websites?
Hatchling is the traditional 1 domain per account type of hosting. You can only host 1 website with it.
I would highly recommend you to pick the Baby plan because you are can then host unlimited websites under the same account. As long as you stay long enough, you will always end up with more domains, especially when you can own a new domain for less than $10 a year nowadays (It started at $35/year with a minimum 2 years registration!).
So the second question is:-
Do you need to even consider the Business plan?
The answer today is that 99.9% chance you don’t need it anymore. It may be obsolete by now and it is there only for legacy reason, ahem, to continue to rip off charge existing customer who had signed up for this plan for higher price.
There used to be way more bell and whistles from the Business plan but some of the features have gone irrelevant and so got taken down while some ‘premium’ features has been passed down to the Hatchling and Baby plans.
What have been taken down? “Your Own Toll Free Number”. Every business seems to be using Live Chat now so this feature is no longer provided. You can install “Live Helper Chat” with their auto installer free of charge to either Hatchling, Baby or Business plan to provide Live Chat to your visitors.
Gone too is the Chilisoft ASP. ASP is a windows hosting feature. Most people are using PHP nowadays and if they really need ASP, they might as well choose a Windows Hosting plan.
Do you need a Dedicated IP Address and a “Premium” SSL Certificate?
SSL certificate is needed when you need to make secured connections. When a secure connection is made, you can see it in your browser address bar. The connection protocol will change from http:// to https://. 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. Google is also pushing hard for websites to embrace https://to make the internet a ‘safer’ place with more ‘user privacy protection’ (maybe when surfing porn and torrent sites?).
Things has changed a lot in the last few years. Without making it too complicated, to have a SSL certificated install in the past without some nasty warnings from the browser telling you it is not secured and will explode anytime soon (I make the second part up), you will need to buy your own private SSL certificate AND also a dedicated IP address. And these are two big items that contributed a lot of profits to web host. That’s why you have to pay a lot more for HostGator Business Plan.
However, thanks to technological advancement, you no longer need to buy a standalone SSL certificate and dedicated IP address to have https:// connection for your websites. All your websites will automatically have SSL configured for you totally free of charge! That’s a lot of money saved. Previously if you have 10 websites, you will need 10 different SSL certificates and 10 dedicated IP addresses! Now it is all free even if you have 100 websites. So you know it is something. Even the previous Business plan is only giving you one SSL certificate and one dedicated IP address and you will have to fork out more money for your second and third and fourth websites…
What about the “Premium” SSL certificated provided by the Business plan? Well, didn’t you notice the two double quotes?
(Bonus Question) 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!
“Free” Upgrade Anytime
HostGator allows you to upgrade your account anytime you want without any upgrade fees (that’s what they meant by ‘free’). You only need to pay the differences on a pro-rated basis. You can learn more here if you are interested. But caveat emptor, you will be paying the regular (i.e. more expensive) price instead of the discount price you are seeing here when upgrading. So it is really not that ‘free’ after all.
At the end I would say the choice is easy. BABY plan is the way to go.
Shhhh! Secret Discount
The current discount of 60% is already very high, what about 65% @ $3.50 for the Baby plan? :) Use this link while it lasts.