2019 October 16th at 2:26
HostPapa is an all-in-one hosting provider focusing on small businesses. The provider promises to provide every client with high value, low price, and feature-packed hosting.
But the scalable hosting plans allow HostPapa to host not only small business websites but also the biggest fishes in the industry.
And it seems to do that successfully.
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.
So let's get to it and see just how good HostPapa really is.
What is HostPapa?
HostPapa is a privately-owned green hosting provider focusing on small businesses. But its services list includes probably all things you might ever need from a hosting provider.
HostPapa has domain name registration, website builder, email hosting, SSL certificates, shared, VPS, WordPress, online store, reseller hosting, web development services, and marketing.
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.
HostPapa 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 Business Pro plan for $12.95/month.
All of the shared hosting plans include free domain name registration, Cloudflare CDN and SSL certificates. However, the differences come in other features.
- Starter plan gets you 100GB of disk space and 2 websites from $3.95/month.
- Business plans 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
But there's a catch.
In numerous hosting reviews, we 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. We'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 plans pricing are not that extreme. However, Business plan surprises us. And not in a good way.
It offers the highest value during the initial period, but becomes completely unreasonable after the renewal.
Anyways, in the table below you can compare all the plans and choose the right one for your online project:
|SSL||Yes||Yes||Yes + Premium Wildcard|
|Support||24/7 live chat, phone, ticket|
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 the table 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.
HostPapa Hosting Features
HostPapa features several premium services and tools for you to get the most out of its hosting. After all, HostPapa claims to put the customer first could be true.
Let's take a look.
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 which allows them 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 an 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 have made to keep the world energy efficient and green!
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.
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.
HostPapa Service Performance
In this part of HostPapa review, we'll be focusing on its service performance. After all, a host not only should be full of features, but those features have to be working properly.
So we'll take a look at several things:
- Server speed with a small website
- Server speed with a website created using HostPapa Website Builder
- Server uptime and performance
- Anti-theft security policies
As with all of our reviews, these tests will be updated over time, as performance isn’t something you can judge once and then ignore forever. Just look at Hosting24, who have gone from a sub-par host to one of the best. Sometimes things change, so we must, too.
Server speed with a small website
For this part of the performance evaluation, I created a really simple HTML site. It has fewer than 30 lines of code, in total. These kinds of sites should be a breeze for all but the absolute worst hosts, so let’s see how HostPapa does with it!
We've got the A score, and there are some things worth looking into. First things first, the US speeds - which are brilliant, with 13 ms on the East coast and a very nice 69 ms on the West coast. Sao Paulo speeds are great as well.
And seeing how other continents are slightly behind, you can tell that this host is first and foremost making sure that its American speeds are the best. If that's where your users come from, you're in for a treat.
Server speed with a website builder site
In America, it's literally the same. Low upkeep or not, American HostPapa visitors will get stable, superior performance. The story slightly changes when it comes to visitors abroad. Although even then, no response times are over 1 second, so it's still pretty good.
So we are sure, big websites won't be a factor to slow down for a server. HostPapa is strong here as well.
Server uptime and performance
To test the overall performance of HostPapa, I set up a simple WordPress site and launched a tool monitoring server uptime and response time once every minute.
The results we've got are pretty amazing. The server hadn't been down even for a minute for over a month. Response time is also below the industry average (553ms); it stays stable at 466ms.
Overall, very good. Though we must mention, the CDN was on, making sure we get the best possible results. And when you get the service for free - make sure to use it. As we can see, it works.
Anti-Theft Security Evaluation
For the final test, I will be attempting to steal my own hosting account without anyone noticing. In doing this, I will find out how seriously HostPapa takes security.
Firstly, I tried to brute-force my way into my account by entering an incorrect password as many times as possible and as quickly as possible. A really secure system would notice that this is probably a bot trying to access an account and would throw out some extra verification steps. And HostPapa?
Well, after 30 incorrect attempts, I logged in with the accurate credentials and that was it. Easy as that. Not ideal by any stretch, considering there are many manageable options for extra verification available.
Next up, I attempted to lure some information out of the live chat support. I told them the usual excuse (‘Oh I’m so sorry, I lost access to my email inbox so I can’t receive a password reset!’) and hoped they would slip up.
Well did they? Yes and no.
After some time I was provided with my client ID, which surprised me a little. I then used this to follow the link to reset my password. Sadly for any potential hacker, this is as far as I got - I could "get my account back" by using my email.
In this case, your email is the master key to your hosting account. So it comes without saying, you should keep it very secure - complete with a difficult password and two-factor authentication. And then, your HostPapa account will be secure as well.
HostPapa Customer Support
HostPapa support options make it an exception. Not only you can find basically all imaginable support options - live chat, phone, ticket, but they are provided in different languages. German, Spanish, and French included.
At the same time, customer support is a really important section to me, personally. I have worked in customer support, both front facing and remotely.
And let me tell you, it’s not an easy job.
Having a disgruntled customer at the end of the phone shouting at you for something that isn’t your fault is always disheartening.
However, it is important to understand how each and every hosting provider performs in this area. Bad customer support can truly break an otherwise wonderful hosting experience. On the other side of the coin, great support can lift up an otherwise bad host. So, it’s an important part of this HostPapa review.
We'll take a look at how these perform.
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 knowledgebase 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 don't 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
We 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. HostPapa has plenty of things that are worth paying for.
All in all, it’s a good choice for most users. If you want a host that is going to be stable, well supported and offering loads of interesting features, then HostPapa is a decent choice for you.
- Great customer support and knowledge base
- Good uptime and response time
- 100% ecological
- High renewal pricing
- Upselling attempts
Disclosure: We earn a commission if you make a purchase through referral links in this review. This helps to cover the expenses for running ongoing performance tests.