HostPapa review: a hosting option for small business?
In this HostPapa review, I’m going to test out this little-known web hosting service to see whether the price, performance, usability, security, and customer support can match the growing needs of small businesses.
While HostPapa is not the new kid on the block. it's not as popular as Bluehost or GoDaddy. Nonetheless, it does compete with these giants.
To be fair, my paths with HostPapa have crossed before.
I’m going to be 100% honest and tell you that I have been disappointed by HostPapa in the past. All was well until the performance results came in. I won't go into details, but let’s just say that I left HostPapa soon after trying it out. It did look like that ship had sailed. And sank.
But I believe in second chances.
After reading more recent HostPapa reviews, I figured that the provider actually improved its performance and overall hosting experience. Naturally, I had to test that out myself, so I bought a plan and went on an adventure.
Now I did examine HostPapa from A to Z, meaning this article is long. So if you’re looking for a final verdict, do jump to the conclusion at the end.
|Price:||Prices start at $3.95/mo.|
|Hosting types:||Shared, VPS, reseller|
|Server locations:||US, Canada, Europe|
|Support:||24/7 live chat, phone, and tickets|
|Current deal:||Get HostPapa, now 79% OFF!|
Pros and Cons of HostPapa
- Free domain with all plans
- Standard cPanel interface
- Data centers in 3 locations
- Server response time could be improved
- The native account management panel is outdated
What my research for this HostPapa review uncovered is that its prices are quite average, with shared hosting ranging from $3.95/mo to $12.95/mo. Apart from this, it also has other hosting options like VPS ($19.99/mo) and reseller hosting (from $29.99/mo).
|Type of hosting||Best for|
|Shared hosting ($3.95/mo)||Small-to-medium websites. No technical knowledge is needed. Take 74% OFF now!|
|VPS ($19.99/mo)||Online stores and popular websites. Some technical skills are needed.|
|Reseller ($89.98/mo)||Agencies and designers, or to manage multiple websites.|
Based on the plan choices, I can definitely see that HostPapa is focusing on small businesses. Shared hosting allows you to start on an affordable option, while VPS is meant for those with popular sites or online stores. Meanwhile, relatively affordable reseller hosting plans can be your kick-starter to launch your own web hosting brand or design and develop websites for clients.
But shared hosting is where the majority of people start, so it’s my main point of focus.
When it comes to shared hosting plans, HostPapa makes a good impression. All 3 HostPapa plans come with free domain registration, unlimited bandwidth, Cloudflare CDN, SSL certificates, one-on-one training sessions, and free email accounts.
- Starter ($3.95/mo) allows you to connect 2 websites and gives you 100GB storage, alongside 100 email accounts. It is a great option for launching your first business website.
- With the Business plan ($3.95/mo), offers unlimited websites and includes unlimited storage and email accounts. This plan would be of the best value for the growing needs of small businesses.
- Business Pro ($12.95/mo) includes the possibility of connecting an unlimited number of websites, and it hosts fewer websites per server. More so, it includes Wildcard SSL, domain privacy protection, and auto backups. This plan offers increased security and better performance for medium-sized websites.
Needless to say, the plans are packed with features and resources. The prices are not the lowest on the market, but they’re below the middle range, and you get great value for money. Let’s just say that there are not that many hosts that allow more than 1 website on their entry plans.
For this HostPapa review, I chose to go with Starter. 2 websites are more than enough for many small businesses. Why not Business if it offers the same price? Well, the main difference comes down to the renewal prices. The Starter plan renewal rate is much much lower, and I won’t need more than 2 websites, anyway.
Now, before you think of making a purchase, let’s see how you can get the best deal with HostPapa.
Pricing need to know
To get the cheapest price, you’ll need to purchase HostPapa with a 3-year subscription. It also puts a couple of add-ons in your shopping cart, so make sure you take everything that’s extra out before paying.
The cheapest price long-term is the Starter plan. You will have to pre-pay for 3 years in advance, which would total $142.20. Paying a large sum upfront may seem daunting sometimes, but it does offer the best monthly rates and saves more money in the long run.
Unsurprisingly, these promoted prices are only for the initial billing period, and once after renewal, they will get back to the original price. It’s the market’s standard, and every single web hosting company is guilty of it. After renewal, HostPapa will cost $359.64 for the next 3 years.
The only way to avoid renewal prices is to simply switch hosts. But even that is a temporary solution.
Take a look at how other providers deal with pricing and renewals if you’d like to get the same features as with HostPapa:
|Provider||Plan||Billing period||Total initial||Total renewal|
|InMotion Hosting||Launch||3 years||$215.64||$395.64|
So overall HostPapa is very much average with only Hostinger being cheaper.
By the way, if you decide to go with HostPapa, make sure that extra stuff is not added to your cart. The provider likes to put in things like daily backups ($19.95/year) or extra security ($19.95/year). That can increase the price significantly – buy only what you think is essential.
More so, HostPapa has a money-back guarantee, and it’s nothing out of the usual. You have 30 days to change your mind about its hosting services. If you’re not happy, you can get a refund. But don’t get your hopes too high up because you’ll not be refunded for everything you have purchased. SSL certificates, domain names, domain privacy, and email services are not eligible for a refund.
- Check out all available HostPapa coupon codes to get the best deal!
Lastly, for added convenience, HostPapa offers a completely free website migration services. You want to transfer to HostPapa, no worries, the professionals will take care of everything for you.
All in all, HostPapa prices are not the cheapest out there, but the plans are quite inclusive in resources, and you get good value for the price you pay.
Hosting management – is HostPapa easy to use?
One thing I found to be true while preparing this HostPapa review is that it’s definitely easy to use as it uses the original cPanel for hosting management. This tool helps you to easily manage every aspect of your website – from adding a domain and an email address to installing WordPress and configuring security settings.
If you’re looking for proof, it took less than 3 minutes for me to add a domain and install WordPress once I purchased a plan.
But cPanel is not the first interface you’ll encounter. HostPapa greets you with the native account management dashboard, which I find… tasteless.
Right in the middle, there’s a huge ad urging you to buy a domain name while important stuff is hiding in the menu bar at the top. All I can say is, I’m not a fan.
Thankfully, cPanel is one click away – just press on the “My cPanel” button to reach it. Other things that this interface is good for are contacting the support (notice the green “Chat Now” bar at the bottom), managing services, and checking if the network of HostPapa’s servers is working nicely.
Other than that, you won’t see this interface often. Which is for the better, I think.
Now, onto the more important bit - cPanel.
HostPapa cPanel – what does it look like?
All HostPapa’s hosting management is based on cPanel, and it uses the standard version of it. This is immediately intuitive for the new users and always familiar to those who had more than one rodeo with web hosting services.
This is how HostPapa’s 100% standard cPanel interface looks like:
You’ll use cPanel for a bunch of different stuff like WordPress installation, backups, adding a domain name, email account, and so on.
Whenever I purchase web hosting services I always:
- Add a domain name using “Addon Domains.” I really don’t enjoy using the domains I get for free because I have dozens of web hosting accounts, and it’s just easier to have a domain registrar dedicated to this stuff. But you should definitely take advantage of free domains!
- Install SSL using “Auto SSL” or another tool available in the cPanel. With HostPapa, we’re lucky as it takes care of this for you. Once I added a domain, an SSL was automatically activated for me.
- Install WordPress using the Softaculous installer library that the provider has available.
- Create an email account. By the way, on the cheapest plan, you can create 100 mailboxes, which is a lot!
Based on this, I can tell how easy and functional a provider is. If it takes just a couple of minutes to do all the tasks – I know that all works well, and it’s easy to navigate. If I take more than 5 minutes, something is not right.
So HostPapa nailed it, and I don’t think it even took 3 full minutes to complete all the tasks. Very easy and quick if you’d ask me.
Is it easy to install WordPress with HostPapa?
Installing WordPress with HostPapa is very straightforward. You’ll just have to find the Softaculous App Installer section at the bottom of cPanel and click on the “WordPress” icon.
This will automatically redirect you to the Softaculous installation page. This is the screen you’ll be met with. Simply click “Install.”
And now, fill in all the information fields for your website to be fully ready. I find it more accurate if I do it manually, rather than choosing the “Quick install” option, which fills out the fields for you.
And that's it! Took like a minute, right? Now your website is live and ready for customization of your liking.
HostPapa email hosting – can I set up a professional email?
Ease of use is definitely HostPapa's strong point. Just like with WordPress installation, setting up an email account will take you a minute. In the cPanel, you will find the Email section. There, simply choose “Email Accounts” and click to add a new email account.
This is what you’ll see once you do all that.
Yes, a little bit more field-filling, but one, two, and you’re done here too! And you have a professional email account. Just keep in mind as these email accounts are stored on your server, they are not fit for massive marketing campaigns or frequent mailing.
The bottom line is that HostPapa is very easy and intuitive to use. Everything is functioning flawlessly, and you won’t have any troubles navigating cPanel. All the necessary tools, like domain, email, database management, and many others, can be found there.
Performance – is HostPapa fast?
For this HostPapa review, I’ve put the provider through 3 reliability and speed-oriented tests. While the provider kept a perfect 100% in two weeks of examination, its response time wasn’t the greatest. However, the provider presented very good speed.
Let’s take a closer look into the reliability, speed, and stability test results of this provider.
HostPapa uptime and response time
The first thing I tested for this HostPapa review was the host's reliability. For that, I’ve monitored the provider for around 2 weeks.
In that time, it kept an impressive record of 0 outages. This resulted in the perfect 100% uptime. Simply put, this is an amazing result. Especially when HostPapa officially gives you a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Its response time, however, is a slightly different story. The average response time came up to 1.19s. And while it’s not the worst out there, it could be much better too. As an example, the market’s average response time circles around 600ms.
So while it’s nothing your visitors will complain about, it’s almost double the market’s average.
Overall, HostPapa showed impressive reliability by maintaining 100% uptime. Talking about response time, it’s not great, but nothing to worry about just yet either.
The second test is all about the website’s speed and what your visitors can expect. First, I tested a blank site’s loading speed from the US, the UK, and India.
As my website is hosted in the US, the best results were also in the US - the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) was at 434ms.
While the UK and India showed significantly higher LCP, they can still be considered as good results.
But wait, why does the LCP matter?
LCP is one of the many measures Google considers when ranking websites on its result page. As long as this measure does not surpass 2.5s, the site has more chances to rank higher. Or rank at all.
When purchasing your hosting plan, you can choose where you’d like your server to be located. HostPapa offers three possible locations - the US, Canada, and Europe.
So, knowing that, you can tell that HostPapa is doing very well so far. However, it’s all fun and games to examine an empty site. But what would it look like if we’d test a fully built site?
For this, I’ve installed an Astra theme with a Startup template and its content and ran the test again. This time around, its LCP was 1.2s.
An increase in LCP is very expected, as the heavier is the site, the longer it’ll take to load. Yet it fits within the recommended 2.5s, no problem.
However, now it’s not the only measure you should look at. Your visitors are also concern about the site's load time and when they can start interacting with it. For this, we look at the Fully Loaded Time, which is only 1.5s. For the best visitors’ experience, this time should be no longer than 3s, and HostPapa nails it, no questions asked.
All in all, HostPapa showed a very good speed. It was quick and loaded smoothly. However, I’m curious to see if the provider can handle increased traffic without slowing down.
HostPapa stress testing
The last test for this HostPapa review examines how well a provider can handle increased pressure on the server. For that, I sent 50 virtual users (VUs) onto my site to roam around for 5 minutes.
Just to give you a better understanding, 50VUs is a lot. That many users can seriously slow down the server or even crash it entirely. Continuous traffic as such could easily result in ~50 000 monthly visits.
And it seems that this many visitors did not sit well with HostPapa. The first test was a fail.
Very peacefully, without any jumps in the response time (blue line,) HostPapa failed 6 617 requests out of 8 905. That’s 74% of all requests, which means that the provider got knocked off of its feet entirely.
I must note that it’s not an uncommon thing for a shared hosting provider to fail the first test. But I’m still curious to know what can HostPapa handle.
The first pass was with 15 VUs.
This time around, the response time (blue line) was much more dependant on the increasing number of visitors (grey line.) This means that the server did slow down quite a bit when more visitors joined in.
Yet 15VUs is still a pretty good result. 15 continuous visitors on your site every 5 min could result in ~15 000 unique monthly visits. And that's on the cheapest plan.
Even though HostPapa did pass this test, it still happened to fail 8 requests. Far from the first trial results, but it still suggests that this might be just about a max this provider's plan can manage.
In sum, HostPapa was very reliable with a 100% uptime. And while the average response time could be better, the provider was very fast to load. However, it slightly leaked the power to handle a significant increase in traffic to the site.
Security – is HostPapa secure?
While writing this HostPapa review, I found the provider's security to be okay but not perfect. It adds all essentials such as SSL certificate, server-level firewall, and DDoS protection for free in cheaper plans while more advanced features are paid, or you need to buy the most expensive plan.
To be a little more specific, here is what you get by default:
- SSL certificates – they’re critical for all websites. They make sure that the connection between your site and an external client is kept secure.
- Server firewall and monitoring – a firewall filters the data entering your network, and if it detects anything suspicious, that data is prevented from entering the network. There isn’t much information about it on HostPapa’s website, but it’s enough to know that it’s there.
- ModSecurity - it is a web application firewall that filters the traffic. Simply put it's a brute force detection which prevents common malicious attacks on your website.
- DDoS attack prevention – this one protects the server from being taken down by third parties. HostPapa has multiple layers of protection, and you can add one yourself by enabling free Cloudflare CDN that’s included in all plans.
More advanced features are available with the Business Pro plan or for an extra charge:
- Automated website backups are vital, as they are a safety guarantee that if anything goes sideways, your website can be restored to the last good version. If you want automatic backups, HostPapa charges you $19.95 for the first year. On renewal, you have to pay $35.88 per annum. Not exactly cheap. Alternatively, you can set them up for free via WordPress plugins or take manual cPanel backups.
Protection Power Security Software costs $19.95 for the first year and $35.88/year on renewal. It’s meant to protect your website as well as your visitors. Here’s what this feature ensures:
- Automatic daily malware scans,
- Automatic malware removal,
- 24/7 support for manual malware removal assistance,
- DDoS (distributed denials of service) protection.
- Domain privacy is an additional security service that you can buy to protect your personal data that is stored in a publicly accessible database when you register your domain. This service costs $9.99 a year.
All in all, HostPapa provides more than some providers in terms of security measures, but some important features like automatic backups are paid. Nonetheless, whether you have a personal blog or a small business, the included security features should serve you well against the most common threats.
Customer support – will HostPapa help me?
If you need help, you can contact HostPapa’s customer support via one live chat option, phone support, open a ticket, or send a fax. All options are available 24/7/365. Plus, the provider’s knowledge base contains over 2600 articles and guides.
HostPapa calls their support PapaSquad, and they are available in English, Spanish, and French, which is impressive.
Seemingly, the company takes its support seriously. So I decided to check it out for this HostPapa review and turned to my favorite option, live chat.
I asked how to change my primary domain, and there was absolutely no wait time. The agent was very polite and knowledgeable. He quickly introduced me to what the procedure was like and what should I expect. He also created a ticket to proceed with my request.
What pleasantly surprised me was that I received the ticket while still chatting to the agent. That’s what I call serious speed.
All that was left for me to do was to confirm that I accept the risks of changing the primary domain. Once I did that, all the requested changes were made in less than 30 minutes.
So overall, the experience was great. I got to experience that both live chat and ticket support are functioning excellently.
Just keep in mind, when you talk to a person, there’s a human factor involved. That’s why many other providers’ and HostPapa reviews have such conflicting evaluations of customer support. Some people get connected to amazing experts, while others get trainee-level support. That’s not something to frown upon, yet good to be aware of.
Apart from a live chat, phone, and ticketing system, HostPapa offers an extensive knowledge base. There are more than 2600 articles, step-by-step guides, and tutorials. They are designed to help you learn everything you need about hosting-related topics. It’s available in multiple languages too.
Everything is well-categorized so you won’t have any issues finding the topic of your concern.
I even think that customer support and knowledge base, in particular, was one of the key selling points of Hostpapa some years ago. It’s a brave claim, but it is one of the best knowledge bases I’ve seen.
All in all, HostPapa support is knowledgeable and fast. You have many options to get help by contacting a real person or visiting the knowledge base. Although some agents may be more helpful than others, that’s just the human factor.
One-on-one training session
If you’re a beginner, HostPapa gives you a one-on-one training session with a professional. You have to schedule a 30-minute session in which you can ask an expert anything you need to know. Plus, you can request guides and tutorials on topics of interest.
Since I found this feature unique in the hosting industry, I decided to give it a shot and see how things turn out. And they turned out great. I transformed into an absolute beginner and asked the expert to tell me how to install WordPress and make my website look somewhat professional.
I was given steps to follow, from how to install WordPress to how to customize my theme. The agent was thorough, and I was given all the resources I needed to do exactly what I wanted to do. To say I was impressed would be an understatement.
Of course, if you’re a veteran and need more advanced information, the expert will give you just that. But I think this feature is like a golden key, and personally, I can’t believe it’s free.
HostPapa review - the final verdict
This HostPapa review proved to me that providers can change. Some years ago, I had an awful experience with HostPapa due to poor server performance. This time around, Papa redeemed itself by showing reliable performance results. Altogether, the plans offer good value, servers are reliable, and it’s so so easy to use.
So if we take each aspect piece by piece, what’s the final verdict?
|Feature||Hosting for small business websites|
|Pricing||The prices aren’t the lowest within the market, but still on the lower end, with shared web hosting starting at $3.95/mo. What is impressive is that all plans are very well-equipped and come with free domains, generous server space, and free email accounts. Business essentials included.|
|Ease of Use||HostPapa uses the standard cPanel for hosting management that’s the pinnacle of ease of use. However, the native account management panel is slightly outdated.|
|Performance||HostPapa’s performance was very good overall. The site outperformed the 99.9% guarantee by delivering a 100% uptime. The host proved to be fast and trustworthy. However, a bigger traffic surge proved to be a little challenging for the host.|
|Security||Basics such as SSL certificate, DDoS protection, and server firewall are included in all plans. However, you need to pay extra for malware protection and removal as well as backups. However, all of that is included in the most expensive plan.|
|Support||HostPapa support is available 24/7 in multiple languages. The agents are very fast and knowledgeable. I had a great experience.|
So who do I recommend HostPapa to?
HostPapa reaches its intended goal, and my recommendation to use it goes to small business owners. All HostPapa’s features are intended to help you manage and grow your business website with little to no limitation. Plus, server location choice can help quite a lot if you have a specific target audience in mind. This can speed up the site quite a bit.
Alternatives to HostPapa
Even though HostPapa is a good hosting provider, it may not be what you’ve envisioned for your website. After all, there are many alternatives out there. For this reason, I offer you a couple of choices: Hostinger and Bluehost. Two providers where you can get very similar deals to what HostPapa has to offer that might suit your needs better.
Hostinger could be named the cheapest shared hosting provider in the market with its lowest prices starting just at $1.39/mo.
Its plans may not be the most rounded-up package, but Hostinger is very much performance-oriented. So you can expect to get a fast website for cheap.
When comparing the price point, Bluehost and HostPapa are almost identical with the former prices starting at $3.95/mo.
Bluehost is focused on WordPress hosting and includes many helpful features such as staging. It’s a great option if you’re looking to start a small-to-medium online business.
Is HostPapa any good?
Yes, HostPapa offers a good range of different hosting options, well-equipped plans, and many security tools. Better yet, the prices are very reasonable, and the customer support is always ready to help make your user experience as pleasant and as smooth.
Does HostPapa support WordPress?
Yes, HostPapa supports WordPress, which you can set up using 1-click installation on any of the plans. HostPapa also has “WordPress hosting” plans, but they are the same as the standard shared hosting.
Is HostPapa secure?
HostPapa is a secure hosting. The provider comes with many security tools like server firewall and monitoring, ModSecurity package, and DDoS attack prevention.
Where are HostPapa servers located?
HostPapa has servers in the United States, Canada, and Europe. When you purchase a plan, you can choose the closest data center to your target audience.
How to install WordPress with HostPapa?
To install WordPress with HostPapa, you have to locate cPanel in the client management area and then click on the Softaculous Installer icon. Click on WordPress, and then follow the instructions. It should take you only a couple of minutes to go through the entire process.