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 clients.
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. 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 see what makes them tick. What could possibly cause such a quick ascent?
At first, we 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 16-month average of 99.96% uptime, .02% 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!
Last 16-month average uptime:
- March 2019 average uptime: 99.99%
- February 2019 average uptime: 99.63%
- January 2019 average uptime: 99.98%
- December 2018 average uptime: 100%
- November 2018 average uptime: 99.98%
- October 2018 average uptime: 99.88%
- September 2018 average uptime: 100%
- August 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
- July 2018 average uptime: 100%
- June 2018 average uptime: 100%
- May 2018 average uptime: 99.98%
- April 2018 average uptime: 100%
- March 2018 average uptime: 99.96%
- February 2018 average uptime: 99.95%
- January 2018 average uptime: 99.96%
- December 2017 average uptime: 100%
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). 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 – it’s the best customer support title 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.
In 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.)
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. It’s nice to have someone else 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).
5. Good Value for the Price
HostPapa’s basic pricing starts at $3.95 for the first three years. If you’d rather just sign up for a year or two, it’ll be about a buck extra in both cases.
This pricing is also lower for new customers. That means renewal pricing will increase to $7.99/month on this same Starter plan. So not the best news overall, but fairly common.
The good news is that they do throw in a lot of value for this initial pricing. You get two websites, compared to just one on the basic plan at most other hosts. You also get a free domain registration, 100GB SSD storage, and unmetered bandwidth.
Pretty good, right?
But that’s not all. You’ll also get their “Essential Features” which includes a free website migration, Cloudflare CDN, SSL certificate, and access to their 400+ apps and website builder.
So overall, it’s a pretty good value. Other hosts would make you pay for this stuff, easily pushing the monthly price up well above this initial $3.95/month range.
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 are also some issues with 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 sixteen months, they had exactly the industry average page load time(posting an 886ms page loading time compared with 890ms average of the competition).
That’s troubling because slow page loading times have been shown to decrease almost every single important metric across the board, including traffic, page views, conversions, sales, and customer satisfaction.
One month they had a very slow 1,358ms loading time. Beyond that extra sluggish month, they’ve consistently posted below average results too with the exception of those few month periods every year.
Last 16 month average load time:
2. Poor Customer Experience with Support
Personally, our customer support experience went smoothly.
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 is below par.
3. Additional Fees
Most web hosts will set up your website for free. Most web hosts will also offer a ‘free money back guarantee.’
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, free domain registration, provides 100GB of disk space, and ‘unlimited’ bandwidth. You also get all of their “Essential Features,” including a free site migration, Cloudflare CDN, SSL certificate, and access to 400+ web apps.
Business plan also costs $3.95 per month. This one allows you to host unlimited websites, free domain registration, unlimited disk space, and unlimited bandwidth. It, too, offers the Essential Features, as well as Advanced Features like unlimited add-on domains, email accounts, and MySQL databases.
Business Pro plan costs $12.95 per month. You get unlimited websites, free domain registration, unlimited SSD storage, bandwidth, plus both Essential and Advanced Features. You also get certain Performance Enhancements like rocket fast servers and unlimited pages for their website builder. You’ll also get automatic site backups, a Premium Wildcard SSL, and domain privacy.
- Ease of Signup: Very easy signup process.
- Payment Methods: Credit Card, Paypal.
- Hidden Fees and Clauses: Advertised price is only for the 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.
Digging deeper we found out that 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).