HostPapa Review

It's CHEAP, but high renewal fees and lack of speed...

Brad Smith  —  · Read user reviews

I’ve been a paying customer for HostPapa for the last 37 months. During that time, I’ve monitored their performance – avg. load time and uptime.

This review relies strongly on data, such as uptime, load time (speed) and customer support experience.

 

What is HostPapa?

HostPapa hosts over 500,000 websites on their data centers in the US and Canada.

That’s impressive considering they’ve only been around since 2006 (founded by Jamie Opalchuck).

One potential explanation for their meteoric rise could be their various customer services options, offering phone support in a few different languages including English, French, Spanish and German to both domestic and international native speakers.

They must be doing something right to have grown so quickly over the past few years.

In order to find out, we purchased the HostPapa ‘Starter Plan’ in June of 2015. We set-up a simple WordPress website, and you can dive into its in-depth performance statistics including uptime and speed (click ‘History’ for more info).

Let’s take a look at how they measure up against the thirty other reviews we’ve done so far.

 

Pros of HostPapa

Upon signing up, we were excited to start seeing what makes them tick. What could possibly cause such a quick ascent?

At first were pleasantly surprised by their great uptime (as you’ll see). They also offer a plethora of customer support options to choose from.

So far so good! But can they live up to the type? Let’s take a look.

 

1. Above Industry-Average Uptime

We’re happy to report that HostPapa’s uptime has been good since day one.

They’ve posted a 8-month average of 99.97% over the last few months, .03% above the industry average.

While it sounds trite and obvious, you’d be surprised just how many web hosts struggle with the most foundational element of actually hosting a website — keeping the damn thing live!

Here are the detailed results:

2017:

  • September average uptime: 99.99%
  • October average uptime: 99.92%
  • November average uptime: 100%
  • December average uptime: 100%

2018:

  • January average uptime: 99.96%
  • February average uptime: 99.95%
  • March average uptime: 99.96%
  • April average uptime: 100%

 

HostPapa: Page Load Speed and Uptime (last 12 months, here’s raw data.)

2. Extensive Support Options

HostPapa offers extensive support options to help customers in a variety of ways.

You can browse their huge library of self-help videos. They offer 24/7 support through phone, mail, email and even fax (!).

They provide phone support in 18 countries (which might be the most we’ve seen from any company). And they’re one of the only hosts to provide support in different languages, including English, French, Spanish, and German.

As if that’s not enough, they also provide an interesting support feature allowing you to connect in a one-on-one session with ‘Papa Squad Experts’, which are essentially guided walkthroughs using video or telephone conference (also, best customer support titles ever).

During our own personal investigation, we received a response in less than three minutes from their support staff. Answers to questions were provided within a modest two minutes.

Overall our experience with AbhijeetJ, our customer service rep, was pretty good.

(Despite the fact that the stock image of Abhijeet being used to represent her, doesn’t seem, well… real. I think it was the blond hair, blue eyes, pearly white smile, and stark white background that tipped me off.)

HostPapa review: Support 'AbhijeetJ'

3. Proactive Security Features

HostPapa’s shared hosting plans come with Panda Cloud antispam protection enabled, as well as a server firewall, monitoring, and intrusion detection. Over 37,000 websites get hacked daily, so HostPapa’s proactive security measures are reassuring.

Their Business Pro plan also comes with additional features including domain privacy protection, a free SSL certificate, a dedicated IP address and automated website backups.

The last thing you need to worry about is security details like spam protection, so it’s nice to be able to have someone else help watch your back.

4. 30-Day Money Back Guarantee & Site Migration

HostPapa offers an industry standard 30-day money back guarantee for most of their hosting plans.

In addition, they’ll gladly help you transfer an existing website from another host (while also throwing in a free domain name too).

 

Cons of HostPapa

Sure, HostPapa had good uptime and support options. Lots of ’em.

Unfortunately, other customers haven’t shared the same positive experience we had. There’s also some issues with their pricing model, renewal costs, and hidden fees relating to just how ‘free’ the money back guarantee and website setup really is.

We’ll dive into where things start to fall apart in a second.

But first, let’s talk about speed. Or more critically, the absence of it.

1. Average speed

HostPapa’s uptime was great.

Their page loading speeds, however, are not.

Over the last eight months, they were only 32.7% slower than industry average (posting a 1,181ms page loading time compared with 890ms average of the competition).

One month they had a sloooooow 1,522ms, beyond that extra sluggish month, they’ve consistently posted below average results too.

That’s troubling because slow page loading times have been shown to decrease almost every single important metrics across the board, including traffic, page views, conversions, sales, and customer satisfaction.

Last 8 month average load time

2017:

  • September average speed: 1,522ms
  • October average speed: 1,494ms
  • November average speed: 1,024ms
  • December average speed: 985ms

2018:

  • January average speed: 1,358ms
  • February average speed: 1,098ms
  • March average speed: 1,000ms
  • April average speed: 966ms

2. Misleading Pricing Plus High Renewal Costs

HostPapa is guilty of standard pricing tricks, like requiring a long-term, three-year contract to get their ‘low’ advertised price of ‘only’ $3.95 per month.

Otherwise, the price jumps to $3.95 or $4.95 if you do a 24 or 12-month option (there is no true monthly plan available).

You might as well sign up for that long-term deal though because it only gets worse when you read the fine print.

When your plan does come up for renewal, it’s going to be billed MUCH higher – somewhere between $5,99 – $7.99 each month.

That could be 200% over your original pricing amount, and again you’d be forced to signup for a long-term, three-year deal to avoid the worst pricing increase.

3. Poor Customer Experience with Support

Personally, our customer support experience went smoothly.

However, when we conducted a background check into how other customers viewed their extensive support options, the picture wasn’t so rosy.

Despite the HUGE number of available options or avenues to reach HostPapa, the overall customer experience on average was below par.

4. Additional Fees

Most web hosts will set up your website for free.

Most web hosts will also offer a ‘free money back guarantee’.

But apparently, two rights make a wrong.

IF you DO request a refund during that 30-day window, they WILL charge you a $29.95 setup fee upon cancellation.

Which means, technically, it’s not a ‘free’ money back guarantee and it’s not a ‘free’ website setup either.

So thanks, but no thanks.

 

Overview on HostPapa hosting plans + quick facts

Below is a quick overview of HostPapa’s three shared hosting plans.

Please note: pricing tends to fluctuate often, and these low advertised prices required a three-year sign-up.

  • Starter plan costs $3.95 per month. This plan allows you to host two websites, provides 100GB of disk space and ‘unlimited’ bandwidth.
  • Business plan costs $5.95 per month. This one allows you to host unlimited websites, with unlimited disk space, and unlimited bandwidth. It also features lower-than-normal pricing is a promotion deal that (we assume) will expire quickly.
  • Business Pro plan costs $12.95 per month. It also boasts unlimited everything, with an extra ‘rocket’ icon to indicate more speed (no, seriously) along with some additional security features that set it apart from the regular ‘Business’ plan.
  • Ease of Signup: Two-page sign up. Very easy signup process.
  • Payment Methods: Credit Card, Paypal.
  • Hidden Fees and Clauses: Advertised price is only for first payment term. Renewals are much more expensive. You will be charged a setup fee of $29.99 if you make use of their refund policy.
  • Upsells: A few upsells.
  • Account Activation: Activation can take a while.
  • Control Panel and Dashboard Experience: cPanel.
  • Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.): One-click installer to install popular apps and CMSs.

 

Do We Recommend HostPapa?

Unfortunately, we do not.

Their uptime was good. They have a TON of different support options available, and we personally had a positive experience.

However, the support experience across the board is too inconsistent. Their page load times are honestly bad, posting below average results regularly.

And there are too many hidden fees that make their ‘low’ promotion pricing hard to stomach.

There are simply too many other good web hosts out there that give you a better bang for your buck.

What’s your experience been like with HostPapa? We’d love to hear about it, no matter if it’s positive or negative (as long as it’s transparent and honest).

 

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17 user reviews for HostPapa

100/100 — 

reliable service

I joined HostPapa over 10 years ago. I paid someone else to do my website and she decided to host it with HostPapa. I also have my domain with them. I eventually started to update my website myself with no prior experience and with help of my friend. Not knowing anything about it, I heavily relied on HostPapa's support. I was not disappointed. Their customer support was always great. So very helpful!!! I just finished my own website I created with WIX and I needed to point my domain to them. HostPapa just did it for me. I misunderstood and cancelled my webhosting with HostPapa having still 2 years left. A service representative from HostPapa pointed it out to me and gave me better options. He cancelled my cancellation and fixed my problem within 24 hrs. I would recommend HostPapa, especially if you have limited knowledge about website hosting. And when you have limited knowledge, that's when customer service is like gold!

100/100 — 

Great service for a simple site

I run a simple website that contains just HTML pages. As such, it delivers the pages and assets quite quickly. However, when I was using WordPress, I didn't notice any issues.

Their support is fantastic! I can always depend on them to help me find an answer.

Regards,
Ryan

1/100 — 

Rubbish Customer Services

Back in 2008 I took out a HostPapa plan where everything was pefect.
However, Since 2015, I’ve had nothing but trouble.
Poor server response times and severe lag. with technical support taking days to fix, sometimes taking even 24 hours just to respond to the ticket.

Despite moving my services to a newer server (twice), we still suffered severe outages or web site lag.

This has greatly impacted our Google ranking, and without doubt lost us customers.
In my opinion shared servers are over populated.

So I took it upon myself to raise a complaint with HostPapa, asking how they expect I run a small business with such frequent outages and downtime.

What do I recieve for my complaint ?
HostPapa terminating my contract.

I’m absolutely appauled and discusted.
It seems HostPapa’s way of keeping customer satisfaction high, is to terminate the contracts of those who have the audacity to complain.

Please read for yourself.

We want our customers to be happy at HostPapa, unfortunately following a review of your feedback regarding HostPapa and the services we provide it is clear that you have not been happy with us. As this is not a healthy business relationship we have taken the decision to end the relationship at this time and we are now providing you with 30 days notice.

Absolutely appauling customer services.

100/100 — 

Host Papa's Support Team Is The Cat's Pyjamas

I have been hosting multiple websites with Hostpapa for quite a few years and I have had nothing but positive experiences with their team. It can be so stressful for a casual web developer just starting out and the Hostpapa team have been so supportive of every question I’ve had or problem I have experienced. Keep up the great work!

85/100 — 

6 years of great service

I have both a personal and a business site with HostPapa. I find their services to be of good value, and their support is great. I have had quick responses on the phone and through the site chat the few times I had questions. I would certainly recommend HostPapa to my friends and colleagues.

99/100 — 

Do what they say = write!

My first impulse was when what was promoted clearly was actually the deal, with no costs or ridiculous conditions to obtain the price displayed. I am saying it because all other main providers did just that. And on top of that the cost if very good. I must add that customer service is swift, knowledgable and full of solutions. Also their automatic communication is just complete, that leaves you with no guesswork. This is important to me as I am not experienced with all of this, when even transferring my hosting for for the first time :-/
I can only highly recommend HostPapa as a provider for all you small and big websites and mails.

100/100 — 

10 Year Satisfied Customer

I started with Hostpapa in 2007 after some bad experiences elsewhere. Mostly I develop web applications in PHP and MySQL. Hostpapa has been improving steadily over the years. If I have performance problems, one “call” to the chat guy and they fix it. Same with technical problems, one online chat and it’s fixed in minutes. Cpanel is getting better and better, Hostpapa gives me enough access to ini files to configure what I need. If I need more than 50 emails per day, they consider and usually grant my request. The account interface is intuitive and billing/payment is simple. I recommend Hostpapa to ANYONE.

100/100 — 

Quite content

I chose Host Papa on the recommendation of a colleague when I was looking for someone to host my blog. That was a year ago and I have been completely happy with their service, their assistance and their people. I have contacted them a few time for support and they have been very good. Recently I contacted them as I was getting an error message that no one seemed to understand or correct. This firm did and took care of the problem and maintained contact with me to ensure that the correction worked and that I was problem free.
I have been very happy with them.

100/100 — 

Excellent Support

HostPapa was recommended to me by one of our developers. I decided to build some websites myself, partly as a DIY experiment, but more so as an education process so that, to a degree, I have a better handle on what our developers deal with.

As I came across various newbie development issues the HostPapa support people and the online chat people were not only very helpful, they were quite patient. So much so, a few of the HostPapa support people were so kind as to provide me with a tutorial/explanation or a link that provided me info.

Also now that I know a few more things I can say the overall service and hosting has been very good.

So if asked today I would highly recommend HostPapa.

95/100 — 

Good quality service!

I’ve used Hostpapa for four years now, and recommend them to any of my clients who require hosting. The hosting provided by Hostpapa has consistent and reliable uptime, good speed and good stability.

One standout feature of Hostpapas service is their 24/7 support, which I’ve found very useful for helping to resolve and answer technical questions and issues that arise from time to time. Previous hosting providers left my sites open to hackers (which did occur) and did not deliver anywhere near the levels of support that Hostpapa does.

50/100 — 

Great Support

I was only with Host Papa for a year for a new domain I was meaning to develop. As it turned out, I launched a simple site but never made the time to grow it into a viable project so I chose to cancel my hosting since I wasn’t going to use that web page anymore. For the time I was with HostPapa I found them to be helpful with clear and understandable support. I was not treated as a doddering old fool. They had patience with my questions. Also when I was late in cancelling, they did not charge me extra as they could have which for a business these days is outstanding customer service. I recommend them for excellent hosting and customer care.

75/100 — 

Overall: Long-Term, Satisfied Customer.

I’ve been with HostPapa for about 5 years. My personal website is a portfolio, so it is nothing content-heavy – just a paragraph of text and a minimalistic gallery. For this, HostPapa has been excellent. I never experience any downtime & speed is lightning fast.

For another website I run, which is a much heavier site with WordPress and WooCommerce installed, I am experiencing issues. This is on a separate shared hosting plan, and this site is facing a TON of downtime.. Almost every day the site has some sort of connection error. This site gets a lot more traffic and I am told that this is just “one of the risks of shared hosting”, and that I should upgrade to VPS to solve all my problems (almost a $300 difference annually). I’m still going back and forth with them to see what my options are.

I will say, however, I always have a pleasant experience with HostPapa’s support team. They always respond almost instantly, and are happy to go through any issues I have until the problem is solved. I am considering upgrading that second website to see if it makes a difference, but if it doesn’t, I will need to go somewhere else for hosting.

I don’t want to leave HostPapa because for my personal site I’ve had nothing but positive experiences, it is only in the past month or so where I’ve been experiencing issues with that second site, but obviously I need a website that is up at all times.

30/100 — 

Good set of tools but horribly fluctuating load times

Initially I was pleased with the set of tools available on Hostpapa and their Support also seemed responsive. Was able to build a website fairly quickly and at good quality however the rest of the story is less positive.

The load times of the site fluctuate at incredible rates. Sometimes the site loads under 1 second (5-10% of times), then goes up to 3 seconds (40% of times), it loads above 3 seconds (45% of times) and reaches 5-10-15 second load times easily. Finally about 4-5% of times the site times out. The site is quite small in size – about 4 pages , and 1.5 mb in size.

Problem isn’t solved yet, not even after providing them proof and monitoring the site for weeks.

This means visitors have a terrible experience therefore I must consider changing host!

Too bad! Initially I liked their tooling and their support.

1/100 — 

Absolute Thieves

I was with Hostpapa for 12 months. During that time my site was hacked into numerous times. The response from support was usually that I should consider upgrading. I was testing the company for the 12 month period to see if they were suitable at the level at which I had purchased, had I been happy I would have upgraded. The company often didn’t know when the site had been hacked and was offline. They would make silly statements such as ‘the fault is with your browser, other people can see your site’ which wasn’t true, ‘other people’ had contacted me already to say the site was down along with all my other sites.
The worst was yet to come. I purchased hosting elsewhere and began to move my domains and sites away. I moved only two before suddenly I could not get access to my domains or sites. Hostpapa held my domain names captive and refused to let me have them!!! They kept the domains for at least 6 weeks then charged my account for services I didn’t want! I ended up getting some more domains and just left the others which host papa are now trying to charge me for!!! They blocked my emails and ‘support’ would simply lie to me. They have no phone connected in their “Sydney” office (and I have to wonder if it actually exists at all.
The worst in hosting ever! Never ever go near them. They may appear reasonable for a while but if you refuse to pay for more ‘services’ or criticize their poor service you will pay a hefty price. Google ‘host papa won’t give me my domains’ or ‘hostpapa wrongfully debit my account’ and similar searches….which reveal their illegal practices.
If a lawyer happens to read this I would love to take legal action against these thieves.

100/100 — 

Outstanding support

I have been with Host papa for just over a year. I had issues with my website including malware which they helped me remove and offered me a service for protection from this happening again. The server speed is fast and the support are very friendly. I highly recommend Host papa

20/100 — 

cheating webhost

First year they gave the website with minimum cost. Next year without your permission debit the money from your account. Be careful. Cheating Fellows

100/100 — 

I'm pleased...

When I first found HostPapa I couldn’t believe I was getting everything my old host offered for a fraction of the price, and figured there had to be a catch. So far I can say the only downsides I have found are that FTP access is a little slow and there have been maybe 2 or 3 instances I’ve noticed in the first year that my sites were briefly inaccessible (which happened on my old host anyway). This hasn’t happened for a few months, however.

On the upside, there is the price, the great customer service, and the fact I have everything I need at my fingertips to host several small sites for my friends’ businesses & take care of their emails. Overall, very pleased.

50/100 — 

Cheap, but nothing spectacular

I bought HostPapa cheapest plan in 2013 – it cost less than $2 at that time. It seems like they’ve raised their prices.

I’ve been using them for smaller projects, thus I haven’t really kept an eye on the uptime/speed. However, for me it seems like it’s on the slower side as I can’t complain much about my internet connection.

Another con is that their renewal fees can be higher (around $4/month if I remember correctly).

Overall they aren’t a bad host. Support is quite helpful and it’s perfect for test/smaller sites.