As a small business owner, it can be tough to find the right web hosting provider.
After all, many web hosts focus on bloggers or large corporations, leaving the middleman (i.e small businesses) not knowing which hosting plan is best for their needs.
Luckily, if you’re in need of powerful hosting features, but are on a limited budget, there are a few web hosting providers out there to choose from; if you know where to look. But do you know where to look?
In an effort to help small businesses seeking a reliable hosting provider, I’ve set out to show you the ins and outs of a web host designed to help your small business succeed: HostPapa.
Here I will look at the most important features of HostPapa, what their pros and cons are and what their plans and prices are like. When you have finished reading this you will know if this is the right (or wrong) web host for you.
What you’ll learn in this review
- The pros
In the first section of this review I’ll go over what the pros are of using HostPapa.
- The cons
But there are negatives too. In this section I cover what the cons of using HostPapa are.
- Hosting plans & prices
In this section I go through the plans and prices and what the features are of each plan.
- Do I Recommend HostPapa?
Finally, here I’ll tell you if I think HostPapa is any good, or if you are better off signing up with a competitor.
Established over ten years ago, HostPapa has experienced considerable growth since then. And, while they are definitely not without their drawbacks, they do have a reputation for things like being eco-friendly, having exceptional customer service, and having a suite of tools perfect for beginner business owners.
So, let’s get started.
The Pros of HostPapa
As I just mentioned, HostPapa is doing something right to have experienced such a rise in popularity in such a short amount of time. In fact, it has been suggested that they host nearly half a million websites in the United States and Canada alone.
So, let’s see what makes them so great, and why some people choose them over all other hosting providers on the market.
The faster your website loads the better. Research has revealed that most site visitors will abandon your website if it fails to load within 2 seconds or less.
HostPapa has invested in the latest speed technology to ensure your web pages load fast:
- Solid State Drives. Your site’s files and databases are stored in SSD hard drives, which are faster than HDD (Hard Disk Drives).
- Fast Servers. When a site visitor clicks on your website, the web and database servers deliver content up to 50 times faster.
- Built-in Caching. HostPapa uses Cachewall that optimizes, protects, and improves the response time for your website.
- Content Delivery Network. HostPapa comes with CDN powered by CloudFlare, to cache your content and deliver it fast to site visitors.
- PHP7. HostPapa makes sure you are taking advantage of the latest technologies on your website too.
How fast is HostPapa load times?
I decided to test the load times. I created a test website hosted on HostPapa (on the WP Starter plan), and then I installed WordPress on it and used the Twenty Seventeen theme.
Out of the box the test site loaded relatively fast, 1 second, 211kb page size and 17 requests.
Not bad .. but it gets better.
HostPapa already uses built-in caching that is enabled by default, so there are no settings to edit, but there is a way to optimize speed a bit further by compressing certain MIME file types.
Login to cPanel, and find the software section.
In the Optimize Website setting you can optimize the performance of your website by tweaking the way Apache handles requests. Compress the text/html text/plain and text/xml MIME types, and click update setting.
By doing that my test site load times improved a bit more, from 1 second down to 0.9 seconds.
To speed things up even more, I went and installed a free WordPress plugin called Autoptimize and I simply enabled the default settings.
That improved the load times even more, down to 0.8 seconds and it reduced the total page size to just 197kb and reduced the number of requests down to 12.
WordPress sites hosted on HostPapa will load pretty fast, and I’ve shown you two simple techniques you can use to speed things up even more.
2. 24-Hour Support
HostPapa doesn’t just provide stellar support like so many other hosting providers do these days. No, instead they go above and beyond to set themselves apart from the rest of the competition.
Take a look at what they offer every customer:
- Extensive Knowledge Base. Find easy to understand guides and tutorials if you’re looking for a little self-help. Divided into categories such as Hosting, Email, and Domains, you can always find exactly what you’re looking for.
- Video Tutorials. If you’re more of a visual person and prefer to follow along to video tutorials, this is the place for you. Learn how to use every feature HostPapa offers and watch step-by-step tutorial content.
- Live Chat. Talk to a real live person with an issue you’re having right now using HostPapa’s 24/7 live chat feature.
- HostPapa Dashboard. Manage your HostPapa account using the intuitive dashboard. Login using their login page, Facebook, Google, or even Twitter. Make purchases, view billing information, and even print invoices for your own records.
- Support Tickets. Submit support tickets, or check the status of existing ones, all through your HostPapa dashboard.
- HostPapa Experts. Join their weekly webinar, or even schedule a 30 minute one-on-one training session with an expert support representative (for FREE!).
As an added bonus, HostPapa also makes accessing the status of the network simple to do so you always know what’s going on.
See the status of web hosting and email services, DNS hosting, the Linux servers, and even the billing and support systems. Not to mention, see if they are any current issues being addressed and whether there is any planned maintenance coming up that may disrupt your service.
And if that’s not enough, know that HostPapa translates the content of their site into English, French, Spanish, and German, which caters to their growing international customer base.
And get this, not only can you read HostPapa’s site content in multiple languages, you can get live chat and telephone support in multiple languages too.
3. Highly Secure Data Centers
HostPapa has a reliable hosting infrastructure and maintains the highest standards when it comes to securing their data centers.
For instance, expect the following security features to be in place on all HostPapa servers:
- Climate and temperature controls
- Raised floor facilities
- Fault protection
- Fire-suppression systems
- Water detection systems
- Uninterruptible power supply (UPS)
- Standby and redundant power generating
- Diesel backup generators
Intel Server products power all HostPapa equipment and a fully-featured Cisco-powered network ensures your site’s data is fully secure.
4. Impressive Uptime
The team at HostPapa want to give you a 100% uptime guarantee. But the nice thing about them, is that they understand that because of the way shared hosting is set up, this is not only unrealistic, it’s wrong to promise.
After all, it only takes one website on a shared server to throw everything into chaos. Whether it be a security breach, an overuse of resources, or a huge spike in traffic, the truth is, shared hosting servers will go down from time to time.
That said, HostPapa does guarantee 99.9% uptime.
And, if within the first 30-days of hosting your website with HostPapa you are at all dissatisfied, you can get a full refund (minus any setup and domain name registration fees).
5. Tools for Small Businesses
Remember when I said HostPapa caters to small businesses? Well, in an effort to see how true this was, I looked into all the features they offer customers that may be helpful to small business owners.
And this is what I came up with:
Inexpensive Domain Names
Run a quick domain name search using HostPapa’s own domain name tool. Choose from classic domain name endings, or pick a more unique one such as .guru or .club. Either way, you can choose a truly standout domain name to be the foundation of your new website in a cinch.
And, if you happen to sign up for HostPapa’s hosting, you can register your cool new domain name for free for the first year of service.
Email is crucial to the success of your small to medium business. Luckily, HostPapa has plenty of email solutions for you to pick from:
- Basic email that comes with a professional identity using your business’ name
- Advanced email that comes with more mobile-friendly security features
- Office 365 email that comes with Microsoft Office, and none of the management cost
- G Suite email, complete with productivity tools and online storage, again without the added cost
Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate comes included for free. Premium Wildcard SSL certificate is not offered for free, HostPapa does have some robust SSL certificates available for your growing site. And, since securing your site’s data, and more importantly the data of your site visitors, is important for your reputation, you might look into purchasing an SSL certificate from your hosting provider.
If you invest in HostPapa’s SSL certificates, you’ll enjoy:
- 256-bit data encryption
- Immediate and automatic installation
- 99% browser compatibility
Lastly, you’ll be able to display a clickable seal containing your SSL certificate’s information for site visitors to see, which adds credibility to your site and makes you appear trustworthy.
Content Network Delivery (CDN)
All HostPapa Business and Business Pro hosting plans come with free Cloudflare CDN services to help deliver your website’s content to a global audience faster than ever.
Maximize your site’s uptime by balancing the server load, boost site speed and performance, and even enjoy added security from hackers and other security threats. Plus, get analytics to help you see where traffic is coming from so you can monitor potential threats.
Automatic Website Backups
There’s nothing worse than investing a lot of hard work into building an online business, only to have it wiped away because of a server crash, hacker, or some other site malfunction.
That’s why HostPapa steps in and gives its customers automatic daily site backups:
- Choose from 7 different restore points
- Data stored in separate locations for added protection
- Basic plans come with up to 1GB of backup space (additional space available)
- Backup your site’s files, database, and emails
Keep in mind, this is a premium service.
6. Website Builder
Building a website has never been easier using the exclusive HostPapa Website Builder.
Use the drag & drop web page builder, choose from hundreds of pre-designed templates, and even build an eCommerce shop to sell either physical or digital products and services (or both!).
Here are some of the key features you can expect when you use the HostPapa website builder:
- Easy customization of all site elements including color schemes, fonts, and images
- Mobile responsive design for all size devices
- Customization of HTML, JS, and CSS if you have the skill set (though it’s not required)
- Integrated social share icons and contact forms
- SEO optimization for better search rankings
- Facebook publishing capability
- Live preview mode for desktop and mobile devices
With the HostPapa website builder, you can publish a professional looking website in minutes without knowing a lick of code.
7. Green Hosting
HostPapa prides itself in being one of the first hosting companies to declare they would be going green to help the world we live in.
They promote the development and use of wind and solar energy by purchasing green energy certificates. This is to offset the power being used in both their data centers and offices.
HostPapa uses nothing but 100% renewable Green Tag energy, coming from a variety of sources across the United States and Canada. In doing so, they not only reduce their own carbon footprint, but hope to get more people on board with using clean energy and trying to reduce their imprint on the Earth too.
You can add banners to your website to let site visitors know you’re doing your part by using green web hosting.
Add a full banner, half banner, or even a small rectangle to complement your website’s design.
The Cons of HostPapa
Now that you have a good idea what HostPapa has to offer customers, it’s time to look at some of the drawbacks, so you can make the most informed decision when it comes to choosing a hosting provider.
1. Expensive Renewal Fees
At first glance, HostPapa seems like a very cost effective hosting provider, especially because it’s a green web host, which can bump up prices significantly.
In addition, it’s customary for hosting providers to have exceptionally low signup prices to encourage more people to start using them. Then, after a year of satisfactory service, the hosting provider then jacks up the monthly prices and hopes most people renew.
After all, no one wants to change web hosts every year, especially when they’re happy with the service.
That said, increasing renewal prices can be unexpected and cause some serious sticker shock. And unfortunately, that’s exactly what HostPapa does.
Come to find you have to invest in a long-term contract to get the low introductory price and the markup for renewal is significant.
2. Missing Features
HostPapa’s initial feature set seems strong for small business owners. However, I feel they are missing some key things:
- Their money-back guarantee of 30 days comes up short compared to competition that offers 60 or even 90-day money back guarantees
- Automatic backups are a premium service for both Starter and Business hosting plans, which is again unlike the competition, where at least weekly backups are offered as part of the hosting plan
- Though they claim to be an international hosting company, the data center locations are quite limited (even with CDN services, this is bound to affect the speed of sites that are geographically far away). If you are located outside of the United States or Canada then HostPapa isn’t the most ideal web host to use.
HostPapa Hosting Plans
HostPapa offers many hosting plans, such as VPS and Reseller hosting. That said, I’ll look at their shared and WordPress hosting plans so you have a good idea what to expect when you sign up to use HostPapa hosting.
HostPapa has shared hosting that works great for those just starting out or those that have minimal traffic coming to their websites.
Depending on the tier you choose, you’ll receive features like:
- Multiple to unlimited hosted sites
- Unlimited disk space and bandwidth
- Free domain name registration
- 24/7 support
- Free Let’s Encrypt SSL, Cloudflare CDN, and website transfer
- 99% uptime
- Performance and security enhancements
- CloudLinux servers
- And much more
You’ll also have access to the HostPapa website builder, cPanel control, the Softaculous tool for integrating apps, and even free one-on-one training.
HostPapa shared hosting ranges from $3.95/month to $12.95/month depending on which plan you choose.
The Business Pro plan is the most expensive plan but it’s well worth the extra cost as it comes packed with enhanced performance, security and speed.
It comes with rocket fast premium servers (3x server performance) and double the RAM and hard drive space.
- Faster servers
- 300% performance boost
- Fewer accounts per server
- 4x more CPU and MYSQL resources
- Premium wildcard SSL
- Automated website backup
- SiteLock detect
- Domain name privacy
HostPapa also offers WordPress hosting that caters to those who choose to use the popular WordPress content management system.
And, while most of the features mirror what is offered in the shared hosting plans, you can also expect these additional hosting features:
- Auto-installed WordPress (very handy for beginners)
- WordPress caching
- Free WordPress site transfer
- Enhanced SSD drives
- 24/7 expert WordPress support
- Built-in SEO optimization plugin (Yoast SEO)
- Automatic WordPress core updates
When I tested HostPapa’s page load times I tried it on their WP Starter plan.
WordPress hosting plans differ slightly when it comes to price: $3.95/month, $5.95/month, and $12.95/month, again only when you invest in long-term contracts.
As with the shared plans above, I recommend the WP Business Pro plan. Yes this is the most expensive plan but it comes packed with enhanced performance, security and speed. You’ll get rocket fast premium servers (3x server performance) and double the RAM and hard drive space.
- Faster servers
- 300% performance boost
- Fewer accounts per server
- 4x more CPU and MYSQL resources
- Premium wildcard SSL
- Automated website backup
- SiteLock detect
- Domain name privacy
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:
- What is HostPapa? HostPapa is a Canadian-based privately owned web hosting company that provides Shared, Reseller, VPS, and WordPress hosting. Their official website is www.hostpapa.com. Read more on their Wikipedia page.
- What kind of control panel is used? The commonly used cPanel.
- Will my website load fast? Most hosting plans have access to free Cloudflare CDN services, which help boost site speed and performance. If you use WordPress hosting, you’ll also get a built-in WordPress caching solution for delivering static files to site visitors fast.
- What happens if my site falls below the 99.9% uptime guarantee? After reading through the website and Terms of Service, I can’t seem to find anywhere that addresses whether you receive credit for any downtime. HostPapa instead relies on their claims that they will maintain 99.9% uptime, all the time.
- Is there a free SSL certificate available? Yes, though there are some advanced SSL certificates available for purchase, every hosting plan can receive a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, which is great for small business owners accepting payment on their site.
- Are there any built-in marketing tool? Yes, you can use the HostPapa website builder to integrate social sharing on your site, optimize your site for SEO and higher search rankings, and even work together with Google Analytics so you can track where site visitors come from and what they do once on your website.
Do I Recommend HostPapa?
In the end, HostPapa is a solid web hosting solution for those that need something a little more beginner friendly. It’s also good for those that are running small businesses. The feature set is large enough to get the job done, but not overwhelming to those that just don’t need that much.
However, if you begin to notice your small business scaling, you will find the resources available may not be able to serve your needs in the best way possible. You will however, have a secure site that maintains an impressive uptime. Not to mention, you’ll be able to feel good about the fact you’re reducing your own carbon footprint by using a green web hosting.
If you decide to use HostPapa for your hosting needs, make sure to examine your budget beforehand, since there are some questionable fees built-into each plan. You’ll also have to make sure to give your host a good go, because you only have 30 days to decide whether you want to keep them or not (if you want a refund that is).
If HostPapa sounds like a web hosting provider that you want to check out, hop on over to their website, see what they have to offer, and make sure they having the hosting features you need to run your small business website successfully.