If you are looking for a hosting solution which is ideal for a personal website or a small business, you may want to take a look at HostPapa. Let’s take an in-depth look at all they have to offer.
They currently host more than 500,000 websites and specialize in offering low-cost, no-frills shared hosting and VPS plans.
Their closest competitor is probably Greengeeks, who I think is slightly better than Hostpapa.
Quick Facts about HostPapa
- Plans are reasonably priced and in line with industry standards. You can get started at a promotional monthly rate of just $2.95. When the promotional rate expires, the Starter plan costs just $5.99 per month.
- All plans feature unlimited bandwidth.
- Domain name registration is free with hosting.
- The Starter plan is missing a lot of key features which are included at the higher tiers, but you do have the option of purchasing those features independently as add-ons to your plan.
- You get a free website builder included with your plan, which includes an easy-to-use control panel.
- A wide variety of apps are supported for blogging, images, Wiki, polls, and more.
- eCommerce features are available.
- Customer support is available via telephone, live chat, and e-mail.
- There is a 30 day money-back guarantee on all plans.
- Free marketing offers add value to your plan. This is especially helpful if you are running a small business website or a web shop.
- HostPapa guarantees 99.9% uptime.
Web Hosting Plans and Pricing
Now let’s check out the different plans HostPapa offers. On HostPapa, you can choose between a shared hosting plan and a VPS plan.
Shared hosting is the least expensive option, and ideal for most personal websites and small businesses. If however you would like a little more control and flexibility, you can opt for a more expensive VPS plan.
A VPS plan, like shared hosting, has you using the same hardware as other customers. Your hosting runs on a virtual private server however, which provides the same kind of functionality that you would get if you were renting the actual server hardware. Think of it as “dedicated hosting lite.”
Shared Hosting Plans
HostPapa offers three tiers of shared hosting plans:
- Starter: $2.95 per month starting rate, $5.99 per month after that.
- Business: $2.95 per month starting rate, $9.99 per month after that.
- Business Pro: $12.95 per month starting rate, $18.99 per month after that.
With the Starter plan, you can host up to two websites. With the Business or Business Pro plans, you can host as many websites as you wish. At the Starter level, you get 100 GB of disk space. Disk space is unlimited at the top two tiers.
With all three plans, you get unlimited bandwidth, free domain registration, and 24/7 FTP access. All plans also come with email accounts and security features such as a firewall and ongoing monitoring.
If you would like automated backups or an SSL certificate, you will need to pay extra at the lower two tiers. These features are however included at the top tier.
All of the apps and e-commerce features are included at all levels.
Website design tools are also available at every tier, however you gain functionality at the higher levels which is not available at the Starter tier.
One thing you need to know about all of the shared hosting plans on HostPapa is that the billing cycle you choose has an impact on the price that you pay. Not only that, but there is unfortunately no option to pay on a monthly basis. So with the Starter plan for example, if you want the $5.99 rate each month, you need to be willing to pay a total of $215.64 upfront to cover the cost of hosting for three years. If you opt to pay 24 months at a time, the cost comes out to $6.99 per month. The lowest amount you can pay at one time is $95.88. This covers a 12 month period, and comes out to $7.99 per month.
This is obviously quite inconvenient, and I can find no indication that there is any sort of free trial. The closest thing is a 30 day money-back guarantee. A lot of website owners will not want to take the risk of putting down a year’s payment on a service that they are still on the fence about.
Aside from the billing cycle issues however, there is not much in terms of pricing to cause complaint.
The prices are relatively low even after the promotional period ends.
Now let’s talk about the VPS hosting plans HostPapa offers. There are three different tiers available here as well. For all of them, you may choose between a Linux- or Windows-based environment. The only snag is that the Windows-based plans are substantially more expensive than the Linux-based plans.
Here are the Linux VPS plans:
- VPS-Plus: $9.99 to start with, $49.99 per month after that.
- VPS-Pro: $39.99 to start with, $79.99 per month after that.
- VPS-Premium: $109.99 to start with, $149.99 per month after that.
All plans levels include 2 IP addresses and unlimited bandwidth, as well as cPanel/WHM. You get 4 cores of CPU power at the Plus level, and 8 cores at the Pro and Premium levels. RAM starts at 1.5 GB and goes as high as 6.0 GB. Disk space starts at 50 GB and runs up to 200 GB at the top level. All plans include $175 in free marketing credits.
Here are the Windows VPS plans:
- VPS-Plus: $39.99 your first month, $79.99 per month after that.
- VPS-Pro: $89.99 your first month, $129.99 after that.
- VPS-Premium: $159.99 your first month, $199.99 after that.
These plans are the same as the Linux plans in terms of CPU power, RAM, disk space, and bandwidth. All of them include unlimited FTP accounts, $175 in marketing credits, and 2 IP addresses.
HostPapa can be integrated with OS Commerce Cart or ZenCart Shopping Cart, both of which are included at all plan levels. At all plan tiers, you can accept payments through PayPal. This is excellent, as there are many hosting sites which do not offer eCommerce features at the lower tiers.
The marketing credits are also great if you are setting up an online store, since you can use them to advertise your business for free on Google, Facebook, Bing and Amazon. This should help you get off to a great start.
If you get one of the top two tiers of shared hosting, HostPapa will also provide you with email marketing software called HostPapa Connect. You can add this on at the lowest tier, but you do need to pay extra for it.
All accounts include a server firewall, monitoring, and intrusion detection as well as Panda Cloud AntiSpam protection. At the Business Pro level, you get a ton of advanced security features.
These include a domain SSL certificate, domain privacy protection, automated website backups, SiteLock Basic, and a dedicated IP address. You can optionally pay for any of these advanced features at the Starter or Business levels.
HostPapa backs up its services with a 30 day refund policy.
If you cancel at any time during the first 30 days of service, you can get a full refund, minus any one-time fees involved in your order (to HostPapa or third parties). Such a fee is e.g. the free domain name that’s not free if you cancel your hosting plan.
Again, this is the closest thing to a “free trial” I was able to find. It would be better if there were a real free trial, but the refund policy is better than nothing.
HostPapa really was designed as a simple turnkey solution for small websites and businesses, so ease-of-use is one of its highlights. cPanel and the website design tools are very intuitive, and you should have no problem getting off the ground even if this is your first website.
Server Speed Issues
One unfortunate complaint which I have seen crop up time and again for HostPapa concerns server speeds. Unfortunately many customers have mentioned that it can take a long time for a WordPress websites to load. Some people have stated that the WP admin interface is quite slow too.
When asked about these problems, HostPapa was quick to point toward plugins as the culprit. Whether or not this is the case is hard to say, but customers who transferred their sites away did say that they received much faster service elsewhere.
I had a case with one of my clients where they complained of slow loading times. I checked with support and it turned out to be a plugin indeed. Disabling the plugin sped up the site significantly. The strange thing is that the same plugin didn’t cause any issues on sites hosted on Inmotion.
They actually have a whole series of WordPress tutorials on Youtube:
This is not a ubiquitous complaint, but it is pervasive enough that it may be a concern. The initial 30-day period should be adequate for you to test-drive the system and figure out whether the servers are fast enough for your needs. If they are, you can stick with the plan you have chosen. If not, you may want to look elsewhere.
I would recommend considering VPS instead of a simple shared hosting server, but you may not want to make that commitment. If you notice a couple of weeks into the 30-day period that shared hosting isn’t cutting it, consider upgrading to VPS to test it before the money-back period expires.
That said, the HostPapa team has put together a hard to beat offer with lots of goodies that’s worth considering!
Like many other web hosts, HostPapa has received mixed reviews for customer service. Whether service is excellent or terrible seems to depend entirely upon whom you reach.
Some customers said they waited forever and then ended up with unhelpful outsourced agents. Others report that their calls were picked up quickly and the agents on the other end were fast and knowledgeable.
I have never called them for my clients, but live chat and ticket support were up to my standards.
Who is HostPapa Best For?
HostPapa was not designed for large commercial businesses. It is aimed primarily at customers who operate small personal websites, shops, or other businesses. Many of these people are beginners, and HostPapa knows that. If you are not overly tech-savvy, you should find their solutions easy to use.
Pros of HostPapa:
- Costs are affordable and in-line with industry standards.
- You get unlimited bandwidth with all of the plans.
- Domain name registration is free.
- eCommerce features are available at all account tiers, including Starter plans. If you are looking for a low-cost choice for a web shop, you are in the right place. A lot of web hosts make you pay more if you want to run a store.
- There are plenty of apps which you can use to enhance your website. These apps are all included, even at the lowest tiers.
- You can get started quickly and easily. A lot of users report that they had a great experience right from the off with HostPapa. The tools which the company provides make it easy to get your website set up or transfer an existing site. Even if you are a total beginner, you shouldn’t feel lost. Video tutorials are available at every level.
Cons of HostPapa:
- While the Starter plan is cheap, there are a lot of extras that you need to pay for if you want additional functionality. The higher cost packages arguably offer a better value. It is annoying to have to pay for backups, though it is pretty common industry-wide.
- You need to purchase at least a year’s worth of service at a time. If you want the lowest rates, you have to purchase up to three years at once.
- A number of customers report server speed issues. These problems may cause you hassles while you are working on your site, and may also plague visitors with slow load times.
- Customer service seems to be hit-or-miss, depending on when you call and the agent you get connected with. If you luck out, you may get great service, but if you don’t, you could find yourself dealing with a lot of frustration. There are other web hosts which offer more reliable customer service.
HostPapa may be a good choice if you are looking for a simple, easy-to-use solution which is budget-friendly and ideal for beginners operating small websites. If you are technically-minded and looking for a fuller suite of features or you are running a large commercial venture that requires dedicated hosting and reliable server speeds, there are better options out there.