2020 January 14th
HostPapa claims that its goal is to provide fully-packed hosting services to all users. It focuses on small businesses, however, and offers low-price packages both to get started and scale when needed.
And it seems to do that successfully.
Currently, HostPapa is home for over 500,000 websites. And we made it 500,001 when we decided to make our own website and write a HostPapa review.
But before we start analyzing what makes HostPapa successful, here's a little treat for those who prefer to see everything for themselves:
What is HostPapa?
HostPapa is a privately-owned green hosting provider focusing on small businesses. Its service list includes shared and WordPress hosting, VPS packages, reseller program, and even a website builder.
Users are also able to purchase domain names, SSL certificates as well as email, security, and marketing services.
Quite a job to list them all. And I might have missed a few.
But services are not the only thing HostPapa is rich in. One of the features HostPapa can be proud of is the choice of customer support options.
Starting with an extensive knowledge base, moving to the video tutorials, 24/7 live chat, phone support, and email tickets, HostPapa has it all; in a number of languages including French, German, and Spanish.
And if that's not enough, you may be lured to use HostPapa because of its environmental responsibility. HostPapa is one of a few hosts using green energy to power its services.
Too good to be true? Let's find out.
HostPapa has 3 shared hosting plans - pricing starts at $3.95/month for the cheapest shared hosting Starter plan. The Business plan costs the same $3.95/month for the initial period and then the pricing goes up to $12.99/month. You can upgrade up to the Business Pro plan for $12.95/month.
The pricing for HostPapa WordPress hosting is completely the same but additionally, you'll get WordPress pre-installed, auto-updates, caching for WordPress, and Jetpack Free pre-installed.
All of the shared hosting plans include free domain name registration, Cloudflare CDN and SSL certificates. However, the differences come in other features.
- Starter gets you 100GB of disk space and 2 websites from $3.95/month.
- Business includes unlimited websites, storage, and bandwidth from $3.95/month.
- Business Pro has everything the Business plan has, plus free backups from $12.95/month
You can save a couple of dollars from the original pricing by following one of the links in this HostPapa review. Currently, Starter plan costs $2.95/mo and Busness plan is $3.95/mo. But ocassionally the pricing drops as low as $1/mo.
But there's a catch.
In numerous hosting reviews, I have spotted a trend of providers doing two things to charge users more than their advertising says. The first thing is different period pricing - longer periods tend to be cheaper, and the pricing increases for the shorter periods. The second thing is the renewal pricing - after initial periods, pricing tends to skyrocket.
Let's take the Business plan as an example. It says it costs $3.95 a month - but the plan shows a different story once you put it in the cart.
That lucrative $3.95/month is only valid when purchasing a plan with a duration of 36 months. Choose 24 months, and you'll be paying $4.95. 12 months - $5.95.
In all fairness, the increase isn't all that steep. I've seen much worse but it's still something to keep in mind.
Now, let's take a look at the renewal pricing.
After the initial HostPapa package ends, you will be paying monthly fees - this is what they'd be like for each shared hosting plan:
- Starter plan which used to cost $3.95/month will increase to $7.99/month
- Business plan $3.95/month promotional price will jump to $12.99/month
- Business Pro plan price of $12.95/month will increase to $19.99/month
The increases in Started and Business Pro plan pricing are not that extreme. However, the Business plan surprises me. And not in a good way.
It offers the highest value during the initial period but becomes completely unreasonable after the renewal.
But in the HostPapa defense, a lot of providers are doing that. And HostPapa offers really good value after all.
You can see a bunch of great features - unlimited data with more expensive plans (although 100GB with Starter plan is a lot as well), SSL certificates, and 24/7 support.
To secure your website it's also possible to purchase daily automated backups for $35.88/year. Which is cheap, compared to other hosts.
But this does not reveal half of the added values you can get with HostPapa.
HostPapa is not a host that goes cheap in terms of features, that's for sure.
You get a free domain name, a bunch of one-click installs with Softaculous, eCommerce compatibility, Cloudflare CDN, cPanel, and even more premium features.
Although HostPapa does employ standard-industry tricks, its pricing is still relatively low and very competitive. Also, the packages are full of features.
HostPapa Hosting Features
HostPapa features several premium services and tools for you to get the most out of its hosting. After all, the provider claims to put the customer first could be true.
Let's take a look.
Purchasing and User Interface
The purchasing process is straightforward. You can customize your plan, select a domain name, and choose your payment method.
Unfortunately, HostPapa has some tricks here as well. A couple of extra services are pre-selected. So if you don't want to pay extra - be careful and see which boxes are checked.
After deciding on the package you want to purchase with HostPapa, you will reach the following screen, allowing you to either select, transfer or update nameservers for your domain.
After this simple step, you'll be prompted to input your personal information as well as card details, and then you're all set!
It took around 1.5-2 hours of waiting to get everything sorted out after the payment - which is pretty alright. Here's the email I received then:
It was worth the wait. This email contained links to the HostPapa dashboard, to a quick start guide, to cPanel and more. It also told me all the logins for each of those things. Really useful, really good.
So with that information, I headed over to the dashboard to see what awaited me.
HostPapa continues the trend of "it's simple and it works."
We are provided with a standard ‘paper_lantern’ cPanel theme to begin with, but there are customization options in the cPanel settings section. So if you're used to a specific layout, there's an easy way to bring it back.
The cPanel itself is very functional and has pretty much everything you could ask from it. For example, here are a few things:
- Softaculous App Installer (Over 400 installations available, from WordPress to SEO improvements)
- Site Publisher (A simple and quite lovely way to publish a ‘coming soon’ page to your site whilst you build the full thing)
- CacheWall (A site optimizer, improving speed by regulating website cache)
- File Manager (Really useful for adding images and files to your site’s backend)
cPanel makes things really simple. I am a firm believer that unless the company has absolute confidence in its own solution, it should be using cPanel.
Let’s take an example of how easy things are to show you why I value cPanel so much. I wanted to make a simple HTML subdomain site, for our performance testing. With cPanel, this took me less than 30 seconds.
Hit the ‘Subdomains’ button, type in the word ‘HTML’ and click create. And that’s it. Done. No messing around with settings and the rest of it.
One-on-One Training Sessions
In case you're a complete beginner and cPanel is not self-explanatory to you or you just want to learn something extra, HostPapa has something very extra for you.
In all of the plans, free 30-minute training sessions are included.
You get to schedule a call and get into the topic that interests you. This might be setting up a website, building it, or even managing a database.
Whatever you need - in those 30 minutes HostPapa will guide you through.
Emit, in the video above, has tried the service himself and left pleasantly surprised. "Maybe they are a little bit too helpful",-he said.
I say otherwise - if you get good support, take it while it lasts. And the fact that this feature is included for free, makes HostPapa brilliant for beginners.
HostPapa WordPress-Optimized Hosting
In case you know for sure that you're going to be using WordPress for your site, it's best to choose one of the plans optimized for the platform. The pricing is completely the same but you get a bunch of benefits.
- Pre-installed WordPress CMS - you won't even need to go to cPanel to start your website.
- WordPress optimized servers for better speed and performance when comparing to regular servers.
- Built-in WordPress security and monitoring tools.
- WordPress-expert customer support
- Free WordPress transfer
- WordPress caching for the speed
- Jetpack Free plugin pack pre-installed
These come as essential features included with all plans. WP Business Pro plan users will also get Jetpack Premium license, Wildcard SSL, SEO optimized plugin, and there'll be fewer users per server.
All in all, if WordPress is your go-to CMS, HostPapa equips it really well.
HostPapa does not lag behind other premium hosts and includes Cloudflare Content Delivery Network (CDN) in all of its plans.
What does the CDN do?
Cloudflare CDN can benefit your website in several different ways. It's both safety, stability, and performance booster.
The CDN creates a network of worldwide servers that all can deliver your website contents to the visitors. Not just one server located somewhere in the valley.
By that, a server closest to your visitor will load the website. And the closer the server is, the faster it can load.
Also, CDN can guarantee 99.999% uptime - should something happen to one server, another one can jump right in.
Last, but not least, it's a protection from traffic surges. Cloudflare promises that by enabling its basic services, you'll receive 65% fewer requests and save 60% of the bandwidth. That's a good premium feature to have.
Green Web Hosting
HostPapa joins a prestigious club of hosts, which power their servers using only renewable energy sources. Together with GreenGeeks and Eco Web Hosting, HostPapa makes sure to do its part in promoting green energy.
However, it's not like HostPapa has huge windmills or own-branded solar panels. The company uses a system that allows it to use renewable energy without any separate infrastructure. HostPapa purchases what's known as green energy tags.
A certified green energy supplier then calculates the total energy consumption used in HostPapa's operations and then uses their suppliers of green energy to pump a 100% equivalent of that power back into the grid.
This is the most common way that 'green' suppliers do business, but it's not something to turn your nose up at.
By doing this, HostPapa completely offset the fossil fuels used in their operations and help remove thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gases from the environment.
So that's some seriously good commitment HostPapa has made to keep the world energy-efficient and green.
HostPapa Service Performance
In this part of HostPapa review, the provider proves its promises to deliver stable and reliable performance results.
My performance evaluation results show an average response time of around 100ms on-page with 50 virtual users imitating real-life visitors.
Although the performance is a bit bumpy, it does even out as the number of VUs increases and stabilizes.
Long-term monitoring results also show a rather great performance. HostPapa averages at 517ms response time which is close to the industry average of 553ms.
The provider also has a 99.9% uptime guarantee and manages to outperform it. The provider had only one outage which resulted in 7 minutes of downtime and a 99.97% uptime rate.
Overall, the performance is not something extraordinary. To put it simply - HostPapa just works. It ensures fast loading times for the websites hosted with the provider as well as their high availability
HostPapa shows great performance results - it's both reliable and is able to load websites smoothly. Also, uptime, despite a rather standard guarantee, remains great.
HostPapa Customer Support
HostPapa support options make it an exception. Not only you can find basically all imaginable support options working 24/7 - live chat, phone, ticket, but they are provided in different languages. German, Spanish, and French included.
In theory, you should be able to get all the help that's needed. On the other hand, not always does customer support function to the best of its ability.
To find it out, I performed my own tests and talked to the support department on multiple occasions.
HostPapa Live Chat Support
HostPapa delivers excellent and knowledgeable 24/7 live chat support. With basically no waiting times, I've got a response immediately. And it felt relaxed as well.
When it comes to technical/sales knowledge, HostPapa agents are performing really quite well. There's another to that though - one noticeable thing about HostPapa live chat is its simplicity.
As mentioned earlier, it takes mere seconds to connect and chat agents tend to answer the inquiries with the utmost simplicity. One-word replies are actually quite common. And while they may seem even rude and take some getting used to, it's actually a genius move.
If it takes less time to understand the answer, your problems can also be solved much quicker. This kind of chat support simply gets things done - and this is precisely what's needed.
I can definitely see what the company was going for here, and this live chat support is one of my favorites.
As widespread and advanced live chat might be, they still won't fully replace the customer support tickets. When you have technical issues that need addressing or long questions, which require a lot of someone's time and skill, live chat doesn't quite cut it. So I'm glad to see HostPapa still supporting this.
I opened up a ticket with a fairly simple question about the HostPapa website builder and awaited a response.
Even in early morning hours, HostPapa had someone that could do a response. With a result of around 1.5 hours, HostPapa is one of the fastest responders we have on our list. Compared to an industry-average 12 hour response time, this was much, much better.
This is how tickets should be handled. Quickly, professionally and accurately. Good stuff, HostPapa.
HostPapa Knowledge Base
A knowledge base is a must these days. It is often the fastest and easiest way to let your customers find useful information. Not to mention that essentially, it's training materials.
Articles and tutorials found in a knowledge base help the users do things themselves and improve as professionals of the field. It reduces the resources spent on training support staff too, so it should be a win-win all around.
That is, of course, if the knowledge base is actually good and helpful.
And HostPapa passes the test in flying colors.
I'm really happy to report in this HostPapa review that this provider has perhaps one of the best knowledge bases I have ever seen. It's truly fantastic and even rivals that of InMotion, who we praised very highly for theirs.
A lot of that praise comes from sublime attention to detail - especially when sorting a lot of great material into folders.
There are separate knowledge bases for many various hosting-related topics. Should you pick one more extensive one, you'll see all of the articles put into folders, which further explain what kind of problems will those topics solve
For example, a WordPress beginner could click the "WordPress" section in the knowledge base - and use the information placed in the "Getting Started" section to start learning.
As for the articles themselves - they're examples of what tutorials should be. Fully in-depth and including plenty of informative pictures. They not only help solve the problems - they educate as well.
Every page is full of details, from simple things like how to open cPanel to complex things like fixing HTTP errors.
This is a really interesting one. Not many hosting providers offer video tutorials, so when one does it's certainly something I want to check out.
And you'll be pleasantly surprised. There are a lot of training videos to help you become a pro.
Quite extensive to begin with, but just wait and see what is coming next. Let's take a quick look at the phpBB3 tutorial for example. I went ahead and clicked on the link and was presented with:
Options are abundant and very cool. The only downside I can see with this set-up is the lack of a search button. You have to know exactly what you want to see before you get here.
But, I suppose, if you need to search then you're probably better off checking the knowledge base in the first place (which links to here for relevant videos too).
Overall, looking at both text and video resources, there's only one thing racing through my mind. It's very obvious that HostPapa easily has one of, if not the best knowledge bases in the business. Quite frankly, I am surprised just how not many people know of this perfect learning tool. If you start using HostPapa, don't miss this opportunity.
HostPapa Review - Conclusion
I can quite positively sum up this HostPapa review - the provider is pretty darn good. The plans have loads of features, support is well-established, and the knowledge base is one of the best in the business.
The prices, while not the lowest in the market, also offer overall good value. Especially if you get our special discount. HostPapa has plenty of things that are worth paying for.
Take one-on-one sessions, for example. Each user gets a chance to talk to a professional and get expert training on the hosting/developing topic that interests them.
All in all, it’s a good choice for most users and especially beginner ones. If you want a host that is going to be stable, well supported and offering loads of interesting features, then HostPapa will do a great job for you.
- Top-level support
- High reliability
- Packed with features
- Green hosting
- High renewal pricing
- Upselling attempts