HostGator comes with so many different hosting plans it can be difficult to know where to start when you’re a beginner blogger. Most people start off with one of their shared hosting plans but which is best? Should you choose the HostGator Hatchling, the Baby Plan or even the Business Plan?
Read on as I explain the differences – no technical knowledge required! When you’re ready to start your site, follow my guide “How To Start A WordPress Blog On HostGator In 2020“.
Why Choose HostGator?
When you start a blog or website you need three key elements:
- A domain name which is the address of your site, for example mine is simplyhatch.com
- Your hosting, the server where your site is physically located. Think of it as renting space for your blog or website.
- An SSL certificate so the world knows your site is securely encrypted and safe to use.
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HostGator plans included free SSL certificates, provides all your self-hosting needs and for a limited time only there’s the bonus of a free domain name with every 12, 24 or 36 month plan.
Plus HostGator meets my three amigos for hosting – speed, reliability and security. It’s a company that started back in 2002, based in Houston Texas. There’s a lot to be said for going with a big established provider that’s been around the block a few times and knows what it’s doing.
When it comes to hosting, reliability is hugely important and HostGator provide a 99.99% uptime guarantee. If your site’s down you’re losing money and it’s painful.
I had a site down once for 3 days over Easter.
Talk about learning the hard way! I lost thousands of dollars. (I’m not going to name the culprit but I haven’t used them since and I definitely won’t be recommending them). Let’s just say there’s a lot to be said for going with a reliable company like HostGator.
HostGator Hatchling Vs Baby Plan
These plans are very similar. The only real difference is you can host multiple domains on the Baby Plan. On the Hatchling Plan you’re limited to one domain.
That’s perfect when you’re starting out. It’s best to get to grips with one blog or website first before launching your online empire! Plus you can always upgrade your plan later.
What Are The Features Of HostGator’s Hatchling Plan?
The Hatchling Plan provides everything you need as a first time blogger or website owner:
- Free Domain Included (Limited time offer)
- One-Click WordPress Install
- Unmetered bandwidth
- Free SSL certificate
- Free WordPress/cPanel Website Transfer
So let’s look at this in detail:
Free Domain Included With Hatchling Plan
The Hatchling Plan currently has the offer of a free domain for the first year. After that it renews at a standard rate of $17.99 for a .com domain.
Getting your domain directly from HostGator makes the set-up process easier. One less thing to worry about when you’re a newbie to websites or blogging.
One-Click WordPress Installs
HostGator does have it’s own free website builder. It’s a really easy to use drag & drop editor with an incredible 4500+ templates to choose from. Great if you’re a complete newbie and want to get started quickly.
However, WordPress is best. It’s the platform used by 35% of all sites worldwide (and just about all PRO-bloggers). It’s also free and it’s essential if you’re serious about making money from your site.
HostGator make the setup process easy with their One-Click WordPress install. Be up and running in no time!
Some hosting companies limit the amount of disk space and bandwidth you can use on your site. This can be really frustrating as your blog or website first starts to grow.
You can find you’re being asked to pay out more money for upgrading your hosting before your site starts making much money.
HostGator provide unmetered bandwidth with both the Hatchling and Baby Plans. It’s not exactly the same as unlimited but you’re not charged based on the amount of disk space or bandwidth you use.
Instead HostGator will only ask you to upgrade your site if you exceed the bandwidth or disk space of a normal personal or small business website.
What does this mean?
If you meet the following criteria you should be fine on the Hatchling Plan:
- You’re a new blogger or new website owner
- Your website has relatively low traffic
- You don’t offer downloadable products
- You’re not self-hosting lots of high resolution images (for example a photography site) or your own videos. (Embedding YouTube videos will be fine).
As you start to grow watch out for images and email usage. All the images you use on your site should be low-resolution to make sure your pages load quickly.
If you’re using HostGator’s unlimited free email this can start to take up significant disk space as your blog or business grows. It’s best to switch to a separate service.
Make sure you use a good fast loading theme – it’s good for fast loading pages and cuts down on disk space.
From experience, most bloggers and small business websites will be fine on the Hatchling Plan. It’s only fast growing, high traffic sites that run into issues. If this is you, congratulations – just expect to spend some of that money you’re making on an upgraded plan.
Free SSL Certificate
An SSL certificate is essential these days along with making sure you blog or website is HTTPS. HostGator takes care of both for free.
Free WordPress/cPanel Website Transfer
HostGator is one of the few hosting companies to provide a free website transfer service. This makes it easy to transfer your site from another hosting provider or a WordPress.com site.
Once you’ve signed up for their hosting just fill in the free transfer form, sit back and let HostGator do the heavy lifting!
Any questions – just jump on their 24/7 support!
When Do You Need The HostGator Business Plan?
As the name suggests, the HostGator Business plan is geared up for business, or more specifically eCommerce. If you intend to accept payments directly through your site you need extra security features.
The Business Plan with HostGator is incredible value with it’s free dedicated IP address and a free Positive SSL upgrade. This will secure a domain and subdomain, is backed by $10K warranty, and provides a TrustLogo® Site Seal to display on your website. All this starting at just $5.95/month.
If you have no plans to accept credit card payments on your site, you don’t need the business plan. For example, I sell my courses via Teachable. I don’t take any payments via my own site, so I don’t need the extra features of a Business Plan. Similarly you can use a third party checkout system such as PayPal or Stripe who handle the payments for you.
Personally I think this is the best way to do eCommerce – leave the difficult security headaches to the experts who are set up to deal with them. I would always be wary about handing my credit card details over to a small business website.
Benefits Of HostGator Shared Hosting Plans
Shared hosting has a lot of advantages as a new blogger or website owner. These plans are really affordable with significant savings if you opt for the 12, 24 or 36 month plans at just $2.75/month.
On a tight budget? HostGator are one of the few hosting companies to offer a pay monthly option with the Hatchling Plan starting at $10.95/month.
Here are a few extra benefits:
Upgrade At Any Time Without Penalties
HostGator are really helpful when it comes to upgrading your account. It’s free to upgrade and you’re only charged the price difference between your current plan and your upgrade plan on a pro-rata basis. You won’t lose out if you decide after 6 months to upgrade from the Hatchling Plan to the Baby or Business Plan.
The Control Panel
The cPanel control panel is standard for all HostGator plans. It’s easy to use and popular with many hosting providers. For example, Bluehost and SiteGround also use the cPanel.
You can choose to take advantage of free email hosting with HostGator. There’s unlimited POP3 email accounts and a long list of features such as SpamAssassin protection.
HostGator comes highly rated for it’s 24/7 support via phone and live chat. From experience the support is helpful and friendly via competent technical staff.
45 Day Money Back Guarantee
In my view that’s a generous length of time to check out a service. Sign up and try out the Hatchling Plan and if you’re not happy you can get a refund in full if you cancel within the 45-Day period. This refund offer only applies to new accounts and doesn’t include domain name purchases. (A fee of $15 plus any taxes is deducted for a free domain name).
Downside Of Using HostGator Shared Hosting Plans
A review of HostGator wouldn’t be realistic without pointing out pitfalls. Just like any shared hosting with any service provider you have to watch out for slowdowns in site performance – page load speed.
Sometimes with shared hosting, such as the HostGator Hatchling Plan, another site on your server can can experience sudden high traffic loads and start hogging resources. It’s something to watch out for with all shared hosting plans but on the whole you can expect good page load speeds with HostGator.
HostGator have a lot of upsell products which can get a bit tedious but for most people it won’t be a reason to avoid their service.
Backups is one pitfall of HostGator. They only provide one backup per week plus you have to pay for a backup restore. The solution is to take your own regular backups. Alternatively you can sign up for their CodeGuard plan and take daily backups to the cloud for just $2/month.
WordPress users can install the popular plugin UpdraftPlus. The free version provides all you need to backup up your site regularly and restore as required.
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The HostGator Hatchling or Baby Plan are good choices for beginner bloggers and new website owners. Choose the Hatchling Plan if it’s your first site and you just need one domain.
You only need the Baby Plan if you want to set up more than one website (or blog) on the same hosting plan. Otherwise these plans are exactly the same.
The HostGator Hatchling and Baby Plan are shared hosting plans. These are fine for most new blogs or small business websites. They’re less suitable if you have unusual uses such high resolution images or digital products for download.
Expect to upgrade your hosting if your traffic takes off big time and you exceed the typical usage of a blog or small business website. Some sites will get by on a shared hosting plan indefinitely. Other high traffic sites will need to upgrade to cloud hosting or a dedicated server.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Hatchling Plan is HostGator’s entry level shared hosting plan. It’s ideal for new blogs and websites and comes with one free domain (if you sign up for their 12 month plan), unmetered bandwidth, One-Click WordPress install and a free SSL certificate.
Unlike some other hosting providers you can choose to pay monthly with HostGator. However, the best deals are on their 12, 24 or 36 month plans.
Pricing starts at $2.75/mth for their 36 month plans but you can also choose to pay monthly.
HostGator has a wide range of plans to suit the needs of all blogs and websites. Their shared hosting plans are ideal for new sites. Established businesses will benefit from their Cloud Web Hosting or Dedicated hosting plans.
Hostgator has a One-Click WordPress install feature on all plans.
HostGator has it’s own easy to use drag & drop website builder, just right for beginner bloggers and new website owners. You can also quickly install WordPress and benefits from of the world’s most popular open-source software.