What is HostPapa?
HostPapa is one of the more spirited hosting companies out there.
Maybe it’s the name, maybe it’s the small-to-medium sized community of users, but HostPapa strikes me as a friendly platform.
It’s a smaller hosting service, but it’s still managed to make a name for itself.
Whereas the bigger hosting companies have provided for millions of sites, HostPapa’s number is closer to 200,000 (it was 160,000 two years ago, so grain of salt).
It’s been in business since 2006 and seems to have done nothing but grow since then.
It sells itself as a familial platform, where everyone is connected in a warm-hearted HostPapa community.
I kind of see the appeal—actually, HostPapa makes me think of a local, popular pizza place, but for the hosting world.
But is it?
Is HostPapa a small-medium sized hosting provider that still manages to deliver top-notch software?
Keep reading to find out!
Overall: The Cons
Let’s get my least favorite part over with quickly: what’s bad about HostPapa?
A little bit, unfortunately, but just a little!
The first notable issue is something in the pricing: overall I find many products well-priced for HostPapa…with the exception of VPS hosting.
VPS hosting on most other platforms is significantly cheaper, and that’s including the renewal prices.
Another issue is aesthetic: I personally think HostPapa looks a little bland and could use an update—it might make navigating the cPanel and using the website builder feel a little more modern.
This, of course, is completely subjective.
Finally, I find their security tools to be a little frustrating.
This is mainly because they need to be purchased in addition to your hosting plan, and it can add up to get even basic security with HostPapa.
There are a couple hosting plans, with higher tiers, that include these security tools, but unless you get those you’ll need to purchase add-ons to have a secure site.
These are tools that would be available for much lower cost, or perhaps even included with lower-tier packages on other websites.
The good news is, that’s about it!
Aside from these caveats, HostPapa has a lot going for it, so let’s dive into that!
Overall: The Pros
HostPapa surprised me with how many advantages it offered.
First of all, VPS hosting might be expensive, but many of the other types of hosting have good deals.
Reseller hosting is significantly cheaper than major competing companies’ offers, for example.
WordPress hosting is either cheaper or on par with the competition’s prices, but it offers a very solid set of features.
Moreover, WordPress hosting does not have a higher price upon renewal, which makes it an exceptionally good deal—maybe one of the best deals on WordPress hosting I’ve seen.
The same goes for shared hosting. Although the shared hosting packages start on the pricier side of average, the features that get allotted to even a first-tier account are impressive.
Aside from that, the customer support is overall pretty solid, and even goes a little beyond the standard.
Despite my distaste for the aesthetic, HostPapa is pretty easy to use, and that’s a definite plus.
Overall, things look good for HostPapa!
But hey—don’t get too happy yet!
We’ve only just covered the basics, and now it’s time to get into the details.
HostPapa sounds and acts like a friendly and familiar small business.
But can it be your neighborhood hosting service at an affordable price?
Frankly, I was pretty surprised when I first saw HostPapa’s plans: they are just as competitive as any other, mainstream hosting company.
Let’s look at basic web hosting (shared hosting) first as an example.
“Starter,” the first tier, is $3.95 a month for the first term, and the price upon renewal is $7.99.
“Business,” the second tier,” is also $3.95 for the first term and later expands to $12.99. The third tier (“Business Pro”) is $12.95 a month and $19.99 after renewal.
$3.95 a month isn’t the cheapest first-tier price for shared web hosting, of course.
It’s admittedly on the higher side; however, it’s far from uncommon these days and if the service is good, the price is justifiable.
WordPress hosting also starts at $3.95, though the renewal price is $8.99, and ends at $12.95.
This is a pretty good deal; Bluehost, a significantly larger competitor, starts its WordPress hosting plans at $19.99. GoDaddy’s WordPress plans are about identical, so this puts HostPapa’s WordPress plans about as low-cost as can be found.
Virtual Private Server hosting has a range of options: six different tiers, starting at $19.99 a month and ending at $249.99. It’s important to note, however, that these prices aren’t for the first term, but for the first month.
The regular price for HostPapa’s VPS hosting starts at $49.99, more than 2x $19.99, and ends at $299.99 instead of $249.99.
The overall range is not too out of line with the competition, but the starting price is very expensive.
It’s only normally priced for the first month—at least other companies give you a year discounted before the price rises.
Moving on: HostPapa actually does not offer dedicated hosting options.
However, they do offer reseller hosting plans, and for pretty decent prices.
HostPapa’s five tiers of reseller hosting start at $19.95 a month and end at $79.95 a month. That’s far cheaper than Siteground, which starts at $42 a month, and pretty much the same as HostGator’s prices.
The key thing here is that HostPapa’s reseller prices are consistent. That is to say, they do not rise after a certain term.
If what you see is what you get, then that’s a pretty incredible deal.
Finally, HostPapa offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for all its hosting plans, except WordPress hosting.
It’s unusual to exclude one, but forgivable, especially considering their low price for WordPress hosting.
Overall, HostPapa is surprisingly affordable.
Regular, shared web hosting is on the more expensive side of mainstream prices, but not relatively expensive at all.
VPS hosting with HostPapa is unfortunately quite expensive, and I would recommend going somewhere else for VPS hosting on price alone.
WordPress hosting is pretty cheap, however, and reseller hosting is an exceptionally good deal—one of the best I’ve seen.
Combine that with the 30-day refund guarantee, and HostPapa is mostly an affordable option.
Overview of the Features
Features are everything though, no matter how “good” a price might seem at first. As usual, I’ll focus more on shared web hosting plans due to their popularity.
The Starter shared hosting plan ($3.95) allows for two websites, a free domain, 100GB of disk space, and unlimited bandwidth.
It also comes with a website builder, a bunch of free apps, and even free one-on-one training, among other items.
Frankly, I could stop here: this is probably one of the most fully-featured entry level hosting packages I’ve come across.
Unlimited bandwidth and that much disk space far outpace the competition, not to mention getting two websites instead of the usual single site.
Business, the second tier, upgrades you to unlimited disk space, unlimited websites, unlimited email accounts, and unlimited add-on domains (among others).
Business Pro comes with some security enhancements: SiteLock detect, automated website backup, premium Wildcard SSL, and some sizable enhancements to your service with the shared server.
WordPress hosting is similarly on-par with the shared web hosting packages in terms of having a strong toolkit, making it an exceptionally good deal.
VPS and reseller hosting primarily offer better accommodations and more resources per price point, rather than more or less tools—this is usually the case, after all.
My conclusion gives much more credit to HostPapa than I expected I would give. Both shared hosting and WordPress hosting are very well-equipped even from the cheapest options.
Combined with the fact that WordPress hosting on HostPapa is relatively cheap, both of these types of hosting offer very good deals.
Customer support is essential, and HostPapa has taken particular care to handle it well.
Most hosting companies greet you with a knowledge base, and a page that gives you options for communicating directly with customer service representatives. HostPapa does this and more.
They have a live chat, which I experimented with briefly.
The moment I began the live chat request, I was given an automatic greeting.
It took me a couple minutes to type out the question.
This question was answered in less than a minute. Yes, the question was pretty simple—but it still yielded a speedy response.
So that’s great! Aside from that, they offer a number for phone support if it’s desired, and a ticket/email support system (though you need to be logged in to use it).
They also have a standard knowledge base, which seems pretty comprehensive. HostPapa may not have the largest community of users, but they seem to be well cared for.
There is also a little center for video tutorials separate from the knowledge base, which is very handy.
An interesting feature HostPapa offers is the ability to check the status of the network live, at any time. And no, you don’t need to login to see it.
Overall, I’m impressed! A speedy live chat, the ability to easily check network status, and a comprehensive knowledge base all compound to a solid system for handling customer concerns.
HostPapa isn’t the largest company, but offers customer support services on par with that of any leading name.
Ease of Use and Options
Something bigger hosting services excel at is making their products easy to use.
After all, they’re big because they successfully appeal to large amounts of people, and having something with an easy learning curve is a good way to get there.
HostPapa, being a bit smaller, might seem the type of service to get more technical on its users.
Maybe its base is more intermediate or advanced, right?
Look at this menu at the bottom of their site, and tell me this wouldn’t scare off a beginner to hosting:
Right. Such a fear isn’t ludicrous. Well, HostPapa is easy to use overall, but there can be a bit of a learning curve at times.
This is compounded by the aesthetic: HostPapa doesn’t look super new, and you can see that just in their video tutorials and knowledge base articles.
It’s not the sleekest looking service or dashboard, and that can make navigation a bit of a pain here and there.
But hey, it’s not out of the 90s, and you can go about the cPanel with HostPapa about as easily as you can with any other service, give or take a few extra steps.
The aesthetic of HostPapa may not be to everyone’s liking, but no one should have significant problems using the service in the first place.
Security and Reliability
Security is essential to any hosting service. Almost all companies include extra security features for additional payments, but sometimes some stuff comes default with your hosting package.
Unfortunately, the bulk of HostPapa’s security tools seem to be extra features you need to pay for.
I couldn’t get much on the actual infrastructure and protocols used to protect the servers, but our uptime with them has been pretty solid, so I assume server security with HostPapa is at least standard.
Again: you can check the strength of the HostPapa network at any time, so they certainly don’t feel they have much to hide.
Anyway, there are three main types of additional security features on offer here: SiteLock, Automated Website Backup, and SSL certificates.
HostPapa seems to do pretty well with integrating SSL certificates, if you’re willing to pay for them.
It seems the main benefit HostPapa excels at is making SSL certification quick and easy, aside from just strong.
Automated Website Backup (AWB) is exactly what it sounds like: the feature automatically saves a backup of your site every day.
HostPapa seems to do a good job with it, but it costs $35.88 a year—that’s roughly an additional $3 a month.
That’s not ridiculous, but it is a little expensive. Some higher tier hosting packages on other platforms include daily backups, so this feels a bit stingy.
Lastly, there’s SiteLock. SiteLock is a security software that many hosting services have integrated into their packages.
HostPapa offers four different options: you can purchase SiteLock for an emergency scan and cleaning job if your site gets infected with malware. This will set you back $199 per event.
Other than that, there’s a three-tiered package with offerings at $2.99, $8.99, and $25.00 a month.
These packages respectively offer malware scans, malware removal, and malware prevention (though each package offers the preceding tools as well).
I don’t doubt that the quality of HostPapa’s security tools is top notch; the problem is this can quickly become costly, especially to small websites, because such features are not included in higher-tiered hosting packages.
In short, HostPapa’s security is good, but expensive to use.
Do I recommend HostPapa?
Whew! Congrats on reading this far—let’s get our final synthesis.
HostPapa has overall great pricing: reseller hosting is cheap, shared hosting has a good amount of tools and accommodations relative to its price, and WordPress hosting is one of the best deals I’ve seen so far. VPS hosting, unfortunately, is kind of pricey.
Customer support? In my experience, and from my guest visitor-test of the live-chat, things are running pretty well. Nothing exceptional, but beyond average for sure.
Ease of use is fine, though I do think the user interface is a little outdated looking.
Security? Good enough, but could be a bit better. It’s particularly annoying to have so many security tools that are important, but relegated to being add-ons that raise the price of your hosting package.
Overall, HostPapa is an excellent hosting service despite its small size. I believe it measures up to any of its much larger brethren in the hosting world.
If you’re searching for VPS hosting, HostPapa may not be the one for you, but aside from that—yes, I do recommend at least trying it out.