What is HostPapa?
HostPapa is a shared hosting provider that launched its service back in 2006. It is a green host because it buys renewable energy credits to offset its energy uses. That’s it! It doesn’t run its data centers using wind turbines or solar panels.
The company offers multiple support options and hosts over 500,000 websites globally. The company offers fast SSD storage – something that you usually do not find in shared hosting services.
Overall, the HostPapa is a decent web hosting company with solid performance. However, the company could do better with its customer support, which often shows lack of skills.
There is absolutely no scarcity of shared hosting providers. A quick Google search can return hundreds of names – all claiming to be best in business. Technically, that’s an impossibility. Not everyone can be perfect. Some only hide behind a façade of a fancy website and big hollow promises that they never keep.
HostPapa is one of the many names that you will come across. Honestly, I am not a big fan of the company’s name just like I don’t like the names of GoDaddy and HostGator. But that’s my personal preference, and trust me, a name has nothing to do with the services and the level of excellence a company can achieve.
HostPapa is one such name. Yes, I dislike its name, but I cannot say the same for its services. On the contrary, the company offers excellent hosting solutions if you are looking for hosting a small website with little traffic.
If you are planning a switch to HostPapa with an insanely popular website, I will totally not recommend that. Don’t forget that shared hosting companies are infamous when it comes to hosting popular websites with large traffic. They simply don’t have the necessary beef to support such sites.
As I said, HostPapa is a good choice if you are looking forward to build a personal blog or a small website that is not going to receive tons of traffic right now. HostPapa’s shared hosting plans have the necessary computing prowess to deal with such small site.
In fact, it is one of the rare shared hosting providers that I recommend. However, that doesn’t mean that HostPapa is perfect or it is the best in business. In fact, there are better hosts like GreenGeeks, SiteGround, Bluehost, etc.
I personally recommend GreenGeeks and SiteGround.
Anyway, coming back to HostPapa, let’s find out why I recommend this hosting provider for smaller websites. I will begin with the features.
HostPapa doesn’t really offer something that you can call unique. Almost every shared hosting company provides the same set of features (some less, some more). So, here is what HostPapa has to offer:
If you choose a shared hosting plan with HostPapa, you will get to register a domain name for free. However, you can enjoy the free domain only for a year. Starting the second year, you have to pay for the domain. In case you cancel your hosting account during the first term, the company will deduct the price of the domain and then refund the remaining amount, if any.
HostPapa is one of the very few shared hosting companies that offer SSD storage. SSD storage is known for faster input/output operations per second compared to the traditional spinning drive storage. SSDs lead to faster server response time and faster web page load times.
The company will not put any limit on the bandwidth (the amount of data transferred between your website and your website visitors). While this may sound amazing, it is not really true. There are limitations. According to the company, the website’s use of resources should be within the acceptable and appropriate usage.
While, their legal language is difficult to understand, I will tell from my experience that you cannot have a website which has more than 10,000 to 15,000 visitors a month on their basic shared hosting plan. Also, there is a limitation on the database size (500 MB to 2000 MB depending on the plan), table size, number of entry processes, RAM usage (HostPapa restricts it to 1 GB only), etc.
These limitations point to a simple thing – sites with high traffic or sites with streaming video or audio content will not work on their platform. They will ask you to upgrade to an appropriate plan and in the worst-case scenario, they may simply suspend your account and remove your website forever.
Free Site Migration
The company will offer free site migration. However, do note that you need to be with a hosting provider where you use cPanel. If you are trying to migrate from a cloud hosting to HostPapa shared hosting, that’s not happening.
There is nothing great about this! You will get a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt. Though this is a feature, it is never the unique selling point because almost every shared hosting provider offers the same thing.
Again, don’t be too happy about this. You will get free CDN from Cloudflare, which is free anyway! Even if HostPapa wasn’t offering this, you can apply it to as many websites as you want without paying anything. What’s more? Using Cloudflare will give you access to free DDoS protection as well. The only thing good about using Cloudflare’s free CDN through HostPapa is that you don’t have to take care of the technical burden. You can activate it directly from the control panel.
It is very rare to find a shared hosting company that doesn’t offer cPanel. Almost everyone does, and often, you cannot find a damn difference among the cPanel offered by different hosts. HostPapa offers the same cPanel from where you can control everything for your website.
You can create email accounts, activate Cloudflare, enable hotlink protection, install web applications like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Open Cart, and more. You will get a file manager to access your website files, and you can even find an option for accessing MySQL database through phpMyAdmin.
The cPanel that HostPapa offers comes with Softaculous. It will allow you to install more than 400 applications with a single click. These applications include the famous WordPress CMS as well. However, I will never recommend installing anything and everything except for the most popular ones like Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, Open Cart, etc. Most of the applications you find on Softaculous are poorly-coded.
Starter Website Builder
They will give you a website builder that will allow you to build a website using a simple drag-and-drop interface. The problem with this builder is that you can build a website with only two pages. Really? That’s totally useless. Anyway, this feature exists and they kind of promote it as if it is something great. In reality, it is a piece of crap.
Free One-on-One Training
If you are a complete noob who cannot learn a damn thing without a helping hand, this feature might come in handy. However, I don’t think you are someone like that. You are smarter.
In this feature, you will get to interact with someone from HostPapa who will teach you how to install an application and what you can do with things you see on cPanel.
Trust me, you can get it done without their aid. Things are too simple and straightforward. There is nothing to get trained.
You will get a 30-day moneyback guarantee in which you can ask for a refund if you are not satisfied with their hosting service. You need to ask for a refund within 30 days from the date of purchase.
HostPapa is going to sell a lot of things to you when you purchase a hosting plan with them. I really detest this, but hey, I will be honest! Even I fell for all these when I first started by journey with BigRock. I foolishly purchase a few extras that I never needed anyway. Here are the things that they will try to sell:
Protection Power Website Security
It is just a fancy name for a security suite to protect your website from malware injections, DDoS attacks, etc. They will also throw in what they refer to as advanced CDN. Trust me, nothing is more advanced that options like Cloudflare, CloudFront, Sucuri, etc. This thing is pointless. You don’t need it. Simply purchase a subscription for Cloudflare and you can get everything include WAF, DDoS protection, CDN, etc.
Automated Website Backup
You don’t get backup option for your website with HostPapa’s shared hosting plans except their most expensive plan – Business Pro. I will suggest that you purchase it. Alternatively, you can use some WordPress backup plugin like Updraft Plus or BackWPup.
Most of the plugins will be subscription-based. You can barely find an option that will allow one-off purchase for lifetime. The choice is yours. You can choose the option offered by HostPapa or anything else that you choose. Just do a comparative study of prices and decide.
It is absolutely necessary that you have backups enabled for your website. This will help you in the event of catastrophic situations where you can lose your entire website.
Single SSL Certificate
You will already be getting free SSL from Let’s Encrypt. You don’t need to purchase one separately unless you are running a massive e-commerce website that deals with financial and personal data of customers. In such an event, you will anyway not stay with HostPapa. For a simple blog, the free SSL will work just fine!
Managed Shared Hosting
I will be honest! This is something I have come across for the first time in my 12 years of blogging career. Apparently, they are going to give you priority support, expert advice and help with technical installations.
Wait a minute! Technical installations? What’s technical about one-click installations with Softaculous? You are anyway not allowed to run complex scripts or install a complex commerce CMS like Magento. Shared hosting is not powerful enough to deal with Magento anyway.
This Managed Shared Hosting is a complete rip-off! People avoid it!
Okay, now that you have learned about the features and upsells that you will get with HostPapa, it is time that I tell you why I recommend HostPapa for small or new websites.
Site Speed, Server Uptime and Response Time
These are, by far, the most important aspects of any type of hosting be it shared, managed, VPS, or cloud. If your website loads slow or if your server responds slowly, or if the server faces frequent downtimes, you should avoid the hosting provider. There’s no excuse for staying with a hosting company that has slow servers.
Here is HostPapa’s performance from February 2020 to November 2020 (as per Pingdom monitoring):
The company promises 99.9% uptime, and it delivers. Also, look at the response time. That’s pretty good for a shared hosting company. In fact, it is at par with options like SiteGround and Bluehost.
So, you can rest assured that HostPapa will give you the promised uptime and fast server response time. Okay, I agree that Google prefers to gave server response time below 500 milliseconds. That’s usually not possible with shared hosting providers. Still HostPapa does a very decent job.
What about website speed?
Here is are the screenshots of Google PageSpeed Insights test results for one of my new websites hosted on HostPapa:
The site runs on WordPress and uses GeneratePress theme. Cloudflare is activated. The total number of plugins used on the site are ‘four’ and there are no ads. Yes, it has Google Analytics installed to track visitors.
The speed score on mobile is amazing, to say the least. What about desktop results?
That’s impressive, don’t you think so?
Things to note here are:
- You can achieve great speed if you are using a properly coded and well-optimized theme.
- You are using a proper cache plugin and you have CDN enabled.
- You are using only the plugins that are necessary.
- You are not using heavy images and videos on your site. You need to optimize your images and videos and preferably use the WebP and WebM formats.
Now, HostPapa offers SSD storage, which helps to improve server response time and hence, the website load speed.
If you are not optimizing your website properly, your website will be slow irrespective the hosting company you are using. But again, a proper host can give you the necessary boost. Optimization is always in your hands.
The Bad Sides of HostPapa
HostPapa is not the lone culprit. All shared hosting companies do the same thing. They will offer the lowest price only if you are opting for their longest term. In the case of HostPapa, you have to choose the 3-year plan to get the lowest price. That’s a long commitment.
Don’t think that their 30-day refund policy is going to make eligible for a full refund. Of course, if you have taken their free domain, they will deduct its price. They will also deduct an additional $29.95 from the total amount. What’s that for? That’s the setup fee! If you cancel your subscription within the first 30 days, they will charge you money. That’s ridiculous.
No, I didn’t run into any customer support issue so far. In fact, most of the webmasters who are using HostPapa often say good things about HostPapa’s customer service. That doesn’t mean that the company is excellent in this segment. There are many customers who have complained about terrible customer service. So, watch out!
There is no doubt that the company has one of the most extensive support channels I have seen so far. They have phone support in 18 countries. You can reach out to the support through email, mail, and fax.
The company also provides support in various languages including English, German, Spanish, French, etc. That’s rare, especially in the shared hosting industry.
They also have one-on-one session available with what they call Papa Squad Experts who will give guided walkthroughs through telephone calls or videos.
No Short-Term Plan
This one sucks! The minimum commitment has to be for one year! You cannot purchase their hosting plan for a month or a quarter. You have to pay up front for a complete year. That’s the minimum. The maximum commitment is three years.
There is no free trial either! This means that if suddenly HostPapa starts giving poor service, you will be left with no other option but to leave the company and your money. Free trial, in my opinion, is one of the most important aspects of selecting a service. A free trial will allow you to get a sneak peek into the offerings of the hosting company.
HostPapa Plans and Pricing
HostPapa offers three different shared hosting plans. They are:
- Starter – Priced at $3.95 a month [Regular Price – 7.99 USD].
- Business – Priced at $1.99 a month [Regular Price – 12.99 USD].
- Business Pro – Priced at $12.95 a month [Regular Price – $19.99 USD].
What’s horrible is that these prices are applicable only when you are purchasing their 3-year plan and pay upfront. If you are purchasing a 2-year plan or a 1-year plan, the rates will increase. Also note that when you renew your plan, you will have to pay the regular price. You will not get discounted pricing.
Well, HostPapa may not be perfect at everything, it may engage in aggressive and unnecessary upsells, and its customer service might not be up to the mark at times. But what matters most is that the hosting provider ensures that you get the promised uptime and fast loading websites. That’s what you will need to stay in good books of Google.
HostPapa is one of the rare companies that achieve this most important thing and that’s the reason why I recommend the company if you are looking for a shared hosting provider that promises and delivers fast page load times with minimal downtime.