HostPapa Review: Independence at a Price

HostPapa Review: Independence at a Price

What Is HostPapa?

Based in Canada, HostPapa bills itself as a web host for small businesses. The reality, however, is that its shared hosting prices are low enough that they are open to anyone who needs to build a website.

The big question, however, is whether HostPapa is the right choice for you. To help to decide, we’ve assessed it on its features, value for money, and performance.

The two-domain basic plan is the real eye-catcher. For that very specific need, HostPapa is superb value. Otherwise, it struggles to match up. HostPapa is one of the few independent web hosting providers left in the business, but that independence means they simply don’t have the resources of its competitors.

HostPapa is a full service company offering domain purchases, site building, and web hosting. Interestingly, it doesn’t offer dedicated server hosting, where customers have control over their own hardware. Instead, the company offers the more common shared and virtual private server hosting, as well as offering a reseller service.

Reliability & Performance

HostPapa’s uptime is fairly standard at 99.97 percent. That’s a good number. It’s impossible to expect a company to have 100 percent uptime, because problems (as well as maintenance) happen, especially on the internet.

Nevertheless, you do want a company that offers uptime as close to perfect as possible. A 99.97 percent uptime amounts to less than three hours of downtime per year. That’s a great number and offers a high level of reliability whether you’re planning to run a blog or a shop front.

HostPapa’s Features

HostPapa’s basic web hosting plan, Starter, uses a mix of standard features you’ll find anywhere, as well as a few surprises. First off, its lowest tier price allows you to host up to two websites on your account. That is unusual since most web hosts only allow a single website on its most basic plan.

The Starter package also has what the company calls “Essential Features”, which include free website transfer, Cloudflare CDN, one-on-one training, free SSL via Let’s Encrypt, cPanel Control Panel, Starter Website Builder, 24/7 support, and a 30-day money back guarantee.

HostPapa also offers a free domain when you pay for a full year of web hosting. This feature is often hit or miss. Some web hosts offer it, and some don’t.

The Starter package allows for 100GB of disk space for your websites, which is a good amount of storage.

HostPapa also offers unlimited bandwidth, though you can be penalized for excessive use, which is also not uncommon. As HostPapa describes it, the company’s policy is to deliver all the hardware resources a typical website needs, even at times of increased traffic, without costing you extra. Seems reasonable.

If your site does get insanely large, HostPapa will eventually put constraints on your site performance so as not to impact other customers. Still, you’d have to get pretty big before worrying about that.

Is HostPapa Easy to Use?

HostPapa does not offer month-to-month billing, and the company declined to provide us with a trial account to check out its interface. We can quickly talk about the service’s basic checkout process, which is fairly simple.

For the Starter plan, you begin by choosing your plan and time commitment, which makes clear the cost you’ll be paying. Below that, however, are two high-priced add-ons labeled as “website essentials”, both priced at $20 per year.

Both are optional, but HostPapa doesn’t make this obvious since there are no check boxes. Instead, it uses check mark icons, which transform to red cancel “X” icons when you hover over them with your mouse. There’s also a sidebar on the right-hand side that shows your order total where you can also cancel these add-ons.

After that you have to supply our personal and payment information. Overall, a relatively easy process, but it could be a little more obvious about how you cancel the initial high-priced add-ons.

Customer Support

HostPapa’s support starts with its Knowledge Base, which is a series of support articles organized by topic. This is the best place to start when you have some basic questions about how to get started with a new product or add-on you’ve purchased.

HostPapa review knowledge base
HostPapa don’t have 24/7 phone support or tech tickets, but it’s knowledge center is comprehensive

When you need advanced help, HostPapa offers live chat and 24/7 phone support.  This page also lists any planned maintenance that’s coming up.

Pricing & Value for Money

HostPapa’s pricing for shared web hosting ranges from $3.95 per month with a three-year commitment up to $20 per month for the Pro plan without a special offer price.

If you’re interested in VPS hosting, there are 5 different pricing tiers ranging from $50 to $300 per month.

Conclusion: Is HostPapa Right for You?

HostPapa offers pretty good packages and value for its price, especially at the lower ends. The drawback is that you have to commit to three years to get the best price, though that is not uncommon in the hosting world.

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