In addition to the standard ActiveCampaign service (where we offer email marketing as a solution you can simply log into) we offer the email marketing software as a server based product that you install on your own server. You would need your own server, mail server, manage your own email deliverability, and install the software. If you are unsure of any of these things or would prefer us to handle it (as we have quite some experience with this) you should use our hosted service.
The downloaded version of ActiveCampaign is not the same as our hosted service. They are different platforms with different development code bases. We suggest reviewing the differences and viewing the online demo of the downloaded version.
The On-Site Edition requires a web server with PHP (5.3+), MySQL (4.1+), and the ability to setup a cronjob/scheduled task along with a mail server for sending your mail. Additionally your server must be able to support Ioncube loaders to run the PHP files.
Have reasonable expectations. The software can only perform as well as your web server allows. So a $4/mth hosting plan will not give you peak performance. Such a plan typically works fine for users with smaller lists / less email demands. If you are looking for the best performance we suggest a dedicated linux web server (with 4+ GB ram, optimized for MySQL, and a mail server that can handle the amount of emails you are looking to send...)
The software is installed on your own web server and your pricing is based only on the number of administrative users needed. An administrative user is any user who needs to manage subscribers, send campaigns, etc.. As the software is installed on your own server you need a web server, need to know how to install web software, and understand that email deliverability is all up to you.